Sunday, November 30, 2014

Circles. Part II

When I am teaching a class, I often see one of my clients doing something really interesting, like a movement that hadn’t occurred to me.  I love that.  The student is teaching me a different way to interpret the music.  It allows me to see from a new perspective, which gives rise to further innovation.  It is a gift. 

Teaching dance is really a gift to myself that I am so lucky to share with everyone taking a class.  My clients are also a gift to me.  I love to dance and I love it even more when I can share that love with others. 

We teach our children, but our children are truly our Buddhas.  We are in relationship with our significant others, with our friends, with our co-workers, with the guy we buy coffee from -- sometimes we are teaching, but always we are learning.  Life is never a one way street.  That is an impossibility. 
The best student is one who teaches; the best teacher is one who is also a student.

The person we admire is our teacher; the person who makes us crazy is also our teacher.  And in our interaction with them as students, we are, in turn, their teachers. 

If we believe that we all spring from the same source, what we do for ourselves we do for everyone else as well.  What we do for others is a gift to ourselves, too.

To give and receive are one and the same.

Life is a circle.  (Which came first, the phoenix or the flame?) Since a circle has no beginning and no end, we can only hope that the circle spirals upward into higher levels of understanding.

So I am grateful this Thanksgiving (and every day) for all my teachers and all my students. 

Thank you.

Thank you.

Thank you.

Photo by MaryEllen Hendricks

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Circles, Part I

One of my favorite things to do in dance is turn.  It feels wonderful.  It’s like you are drawing a circle of energy on a blank canvas or the (seemingly) blank space of energy that surrounds you.  Sometimes you spin and end up back at the beginning.  Sometimes you pass the starting point and turn multiple times, always returning home.  Sometimes you circle and end up pointing in another direction – maybe one you didn’t anticipate.

In our lives, we are always in movement in our emotional and spiritual growth.  Sometimes we end up back home, right where we started but with a different perspective, a deeper point of view. 

There is a joy in the spin.  There is a sense of complete letting go, until you are ready to use your strength to slow down or stop (at “home” or pointing in another direction) and take stock of where you began and what you have learned on the journey.

As always, in dance, it is ideally our core strength that controls the spin and the stop.

In our lives, what is deep within us determines our journey.   Where we begin and where we choose to go is directed by our hearts.

Our journey can be filled with joyful abandon, so wherever we land – even if it’s a surprise – can be a place to leap forward, propelled by all we have learned on the way.

Photo by MaryEllen Hendricks

Sunday, November 9, 2014


One of the things I like to always keep in mind in dance class or when creating choreography is that there’s no right or wrong way.  There’s only what is right for me and my clients.  Further, my clients may or may not like what I’m presenting but they have their own sensibilities about what feels good and can change the movement so that it does feel right to them. 

Everyone owns their own dance.  Sometimes the dances are similar and sometimes widely different.  And that’s good. 

Certainly we can call a movement “wrong” if an injury occurs in class.  But in the moment when the injury happened no one thought or meant to do something “wrong.”  Mishaps – and missteps – happen, but not with conscious intention. 

My husband and I watched a really good movie called, “Locke,” which is the name of the main character.  In the story, this man has made a decision about how to go forward in dealing with a “mistake” he made.  A mistake that most people would judge as wrong.  His choice turns out to have many repercussions.  Injuries (not physical) occur. Calamites happen, all stemming from one action Locke made.  I could empathize with every single person immersed in the consequences of his choice.  And when I look from the point of view of every character involved, no one is wrong.  

I find that fascinating.  And I would say that there are universal acts of evil that we would all agree are unequivocally wrong.  But in the course of our everyday lives – in our relationships with our loved ones, our families, our co-workers, when we look through the eyes of others, at their choices, even if we don’t agree, we can often understand and believe that the other is not “wrong” – at least not in the context of her own experience.  

I am not often able to do this, but I would like to be more adept at seeing the other person’s point of view, especially when I am upset. Even if I don’t agree, even if I feel hurt, I hope that I can at least try to understand.   This understanding has nothing to do with being a doormat or denying negative feelings, but I believe it could soften the hard edges of disappointment. 

I would really like it if someone would do that for me, too, when I’ve angered someone.  It would go a long way to forge bonds of comprehension and promote intimacy.   

I am making it my intention now to remember that just because I don’t agree with someone it doesn’t mean she is wrong.

We are all dancing our own dance to the music that plays in our own heads. Comprehending this might make us hear someone else’s tune and understand her dance a little better.  

Photo by MaryEllen Hendricks