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I was guided towards profound insights that have shifted both my understanding of myself and my way of being on this planet. — Justin Caruso, Yoga Teacher ~ NYC
I have a totally new understanding of who I am. I HAVE THE POWER TO CHANGE MY LIFE, and the knowledge that I am supported by love to make these changes! I am ready to move forward from a trust in my own light and power. — Roko Ona, M.D. ~ Tokyo
I am claiming and remembering my power. I am remembering to listen for my inner guidance. I am remembering the language of my heart. I have ALL the power within me NOW. I remember I am the ONE I had been waiting for. I carry this message with me every day! — Meghan Dwyer, Raw Food Chef ~ Sedona
It was like the dam broke, and everything came out to be healed. I felt totally revealed and safe in the nurturing space you created. We went so deep, and yet it was so easy. Thank you. — Shela Tarwater, Paralegal ~ Florida

Posts Tagged ‘dancing freedom’

We would LOVE to introduce you to one of our facilitators, Sophie Bolton from SW England. Sophie has had a lifelong passion to dance; she found gold on the psychedelic floors of the UK trance scene in the late nineties- seeing the light beyond her patterns of behaving and relating in order to survive.  We are proud to have her in our Dancing Freedom family and are happy to share some of her embodied wisdom with you. Injoy <3

“What is it that you really love to do?  And I mean for ‘a living’, what makes you feel like you are ‘living’ your life?   I’m hoping that you’ll receive this at a time when you’re thinking of starting something new and here’s the sign to take that leap!

I have chosen to follow my heart of late.  I am choosing to align with the smallest, humblest and largest stirring inside- to DANCE and facilitate free form dance, to cultivate more connection between others at a time where feelings of separation and loneliness are growing!

I’ve discovered that holding Dancing freedom sessions means I get to share my passion for music and dance as a, ah-hem….DJ lady! From the new experience I have of mixing tunes I’m more bothered about being available to the people than I am with the next great mix – as long as I can share a journey with good music that I love with those that are there, then I’m winning!! So with my New Year’s intention of ‘do what you love to do’, I got to purchasing a sound system and DJ equipment. And I’m taking small steps to get to know my new toys.

A question I have is, what are you good at naturally?  For me it’s shining my light, being open to talking to strangers in queues, being wild, breaking self conscious norms and dancing freely.

Hopefully your job is what you love to do and if it’s not, then your gut knows that you’re building up to leaving and doing something you do love to do, right?

So, I dedicate this post to those with an inclination to no longer play it small, to those ready to open their sails to new adventures where they can shine. We are amazing and life is short.  Be it and Do it.”

~Sophie B.

You can read more and find out about Sophie on her personal blog- https://sophiebutterflybolton.wordpress.com/2016/03/16/dont-live-life-impressing-others-live-life-impressing-yourself/

And check out her classes! http://www.yogasophie.co.uk/dancing-freedom/

And, we’ve got one more month until Early Bird ends for our upcoming Dancing Freedom Training in August. Maybe this did find you at the perfect moment and you’re finding that you’re ready to take the leap and share your passion for dance medicine. Or, maybe you believe in the same things we do, help us spread the word about this Medicine, share this with your friends! After all- we are all in this together <3

www.dancingfreedom.com/aug-training/

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 3 May 2016 07:29

This morning I took a photo of my belly, folded over itself, revealing a little snail trail… I looked down at it as I drank my coffee and felt grateful for its softness and the wisdom of my womb… And it made me realize I have not always been grateful for this part of myself…

This morning I did what I have been doing, what has been second nature for an incredibly long time, I casually glanced at my belly in the mirror and thought “need to loose some weight”, had I been wearing a shirt I would have pulled it up to reveal my soft flesh in the mirror and thought “I need to loose some weight”.

However today is different. Today I am putting down a sword I have been holding, a weapon against my own flesh that I have been carrying for so long I didn’t even recognize my knees buckling under its weight until I was free of it. I shall walk a little taller now.

I am free of it. Well, for now. Because today. I love my body. Like they all tell us to. Love yourself. It makes me sick. The truth of it. But its true. So do it. Love your body. In your own time.

I had no idea, until an hour ago, how deep in it I was, and over the last few years I have let pieces of my armor drop away, piece by piece.

I think the last link fell, I heard a faint clink as it hit the floor, I don’t need my chain mail anymore because I choose to put down my sword and stop fighting against the only place I have to call home, my own body.

Not many people know this, but I have carried around shame about my body as long as I can remember. Being a woman with perceivably masculine features has always been a challenge for me, I’ve hated my muscular legs, the fact that I am hairier than many men I know, the sharpness of my jaw, and then there is the one part of my body that I have hated the most, for the longest time, the one part of my body that would lead to me endless nights with my head bent over the toilet bowl regurgitating my food… I suffered from bulleimia on and off for years. When I was 15 I didn’t eat for a week, but that got ridiculous, and I got hungry, however, the hatred didn’t end, nor did the battle in my mind against the softness of my flesh.

My belly.

My beautiful, soft, feminine, belly.

I had always been confused my how the rest of my body could be so muscular and my belly would never match, never harden, never submit to all the excersise and dieting I would put it through, it must be my digestion I thought, so I’ll fix that. But nope, still soft, plump and round.

But today I am grateful, for the space that one day will stretch out to carry a child.

I am grateful to have a functioning beautiful body, that, in truth, I will probably still compare to other people, however, right now, I feel at home, comfortable in my own flesh. And I am grateful for that. I am grateful for the beautiful partners I have had over the past few years who have made me feel so beautiful, sexy and delicious. I am grateful for dance as it has been my medicine, my gateway, my journey home to myself, to this vessel of divinity, flesh and bones.

I am grateful for my body. I am at home here. I am beautiful.
—–
Serra Stone graduated from the Dancing Freedom Facilitator Training held in Australia in November, 2015. You can dance with her in Melbourne every 1st and 3rd Friday of the month at Y Dance, 909B High St, Thornbury. Check out her bio here: http://www.dancingfreedom.com/serra-stone-melbourne-aus/

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 3 May 2016 06:59
“Teach me how to love.”
“Teach me, Great Mother, how to be your daughter.”
These are the prayers I keep coming back to, again, and again, and again. These are the prayers that have shaped my life. Through my work as a Dancing Freedom Facilitator, Yoga Instructor, and Storyteller, my intention is to embody these prayers in ways that benefit my community, both locally and as a great whole. I live on a sailboat in the Georgia Straight, spending my time between the city, forest and open water. Please contact me at redfoxblackbear@gmail.com if you’d like to come and share the dance with me. I would love to dance, work, play, pray, create, and be with you!
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Last Updated on Monday, 29 February 2016 04:42
Brian’sdancing background started with taking lots of psychedelics and dancing at all the outdoor trance parties in the late 90’s and early nineties. At the same time he dove deep into yoga, and in 2003 he spent a year in India studying a post-grad diploma in yogic studies. Returning to cape town, he discovered  5-Rythms and realized that dance was the medicine. This became a major practice which led him to his Dancing Freedom training in Bali in 2013. He has been teaching Dancing Freedom in Cape Town since then.

He is a passionate DJ who really gets off on crafting playlists that lead his dancers deep into trance. Along with the dance, he runs an non-profit called SevaUnite, bringing yoga and mindfulness training to prisoners in South Africa, and works part-time as a welfare vet to small four legged creatures in Kayalitsha (a township just outside Cape Town). He dances in all of these roles.  Every Tuesday he alternates Dancing Freedom with his friend Clive, who teaches Movement Medicine. They call themselves Muti-Tribe.

Contact him here: https://www.facebook.com/Dancing-Freedom-Cape-Town-691200990968694/?ref=bookmarks

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Last Updated on Monday, 29 February 2016 04:43

Hey Dancers,

We’re wanting to give you a little inside view into one of our Dancing Freedom communities around the world. We’ll be taking you to Berkeley, California with Dancing Freedom Facilitators Kanna Scoville and Chen Lehner to hear a little bit about how they teach, what the bring to each class, and what gets them super pumped up about Dancing Freedom. You ready?

Begin Transmission

Hi! We’re Kanna and Chen (aka Channa) aaanndd we met, four years ago this March, at a Dancing Freedom Facilitator Training. From then on we’ve continued to deepen, and explore, our loving connection. It’s evolved to support us in teaching a weekly Dancing Freedom class in the Berkeley Hills. In every class we generally focus on the theme of ‘Come As You Are.’ We are always looking to create new ways to invite people into a deeper experience of their life through dance, music, and radical self-expressive acceptance. Together, our deepest wish is to create and exist within community that is grounded in love, dance, and authenticity.

One of our greatest challenges that we’ve encountered as facilitators is finding our own voices and facilitation style. It has taken some time to really own what we want to say, when we want to say it, and even if it needs to be said at all. We often find that when we are called to speak in class that what actually wants or needs to be said is coming directly from our atunement to the group. It’s quite an interesting experience to open your mouth and feel like something is speaking through you to the group as a whole; and then reflecting on what you said and realizing that it totally came from spirit!

What continues to be our favorite part of holding Dancing Freedom classes is the closing circle after we dance. The vulnerability that is shared and the wisdom that comes forth continues to awe us, every time. And the bonus is we get to make money doing something that empowers and inspires us.. every week! There is nothing quite like it. Seriously.

We hold an open door policy with all of our classes. If you’re in the Bay Area and you’re new to dance or have been dancing your whole life, we welcome you to a safe place to fully express yourself, and explore movement. We invite you to Come As You Are.
We hold our class every Tuesday night at 7:30-9:30 at a private residence in the Berkeley Hills. If you are interested in joining us you can reach out via email to dancingfreedomberkeley@gmail.com for more information. Or, if you’d like to join the community online to hear about upcoming classes you can connect to our Dancing Freedom Berkeley Facebook group here.

If you want a taste of the music magic we co-create, we’ve uploaded last week’s playlist so you can check out what we’re dancing our prayers to. If you want a little dance-speration, hit play, and PLAY! You can access that here.

Much love,

Channa

 

How much would you LOVE to get out of your own way and be the voice of spirit that speaks to the world, AND make money while you’re doing it? We’ve got three weeks left on our Super Early Bird price for our Facilitator Training! Join us this summer Aug. 1-22nd for our unique, 22-day initiation. Find out more HERE.

Much love,

The Dancing Freedom Team

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 23 February 2016 09:02

Sometimes, when I’m on stage at a festival or facilitating a class, I look out at a sea of dancing people, and I think:

“Wow.  This is what the it looks like when we ‘arrive.’  This is what it looks like when people are awake – not just as consciousness – but fully in their bodies, in expression, in connection.  This is real freedom.”

“This is what the world would look like if peace were a reality for all beings.”

“Dang… this practice could totally change the world.”

“Whoah… it really IS.”

Why?  It’s just the way evolution is moving.  Watching a group of people dance is like watching evolution happen – everything conspires towards greater connection, collaboration, resonance and synergy.   Dance is a microcosm of the macrocosm.  It’s the cutting edge of consciousness as a practice that anyone can do.

I’ve witnessed uncounted miracles on the dance floor.  I’ve gotten feedback from literally thousands of people that Dancing Freedom has been a safe space to finally know and engage higher purpose, to heal what felt impossible to heal, or to know and trust membership and empowerment in community.

Collective awakening is awesome.  Seriously.  It’s a power that transcends the individual.  In Buddhism, it’s called Maitreya – collective Buddha – the thing that happens when a whole group of people awaken together and come into ownership of the indomitable power of WE.

(If you’ve ever been on a dance floor when everyone breaks into ecstasy at the same time, you know what I mean.)

We left tribal living a long time ago in favor of knowing ourselves.  It’s been an amazing ride.  We got really good at being individuals, and in the process, we’ve evolved culture and technology to extraordinary levels of complexity and capacity.  Now, the requirements of our earth and the expansion of consciousness are spiraling us upwards into the truth of our interconnectivity.

Some like to say say, “we is the new me.”  I like to say that now is the time for a softer, stronger me and a more interwoven and mutually engaged we.  It’s time to be and dance as people who can co-create a beautiful world.

This is why dance is the next yoga.

Yoga brings us home to our bodies, our essential energy and our connection to source consciousness.  It’s a self-focused way of practice that opens people to the fullness of what we really are and can be.

Dance takes our spirituality off the mat and into community.

Dance brings us fully into life – into relationship, onto the earth, and into the chaotic unfoldment of engaged purpose as the place where real freedom happens.

Spiritual liberation without the encouragement and the support to bring it into life is meaningless freedom.

The difference is community.

When we’re in it together, we get freedom in relationship:  freedom to grow, freedom to see and be seen, freedom to co-create, freedom to give and receive, freedom to fall down, freedom to fly.

This is the kind of freedom that can change the world.

<3

Do you resonate?

 

~Samantha Sweetwater

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Last Updated on Monday, 14 December 2015 04:54
Today, I’m inviting greater collaboration.  Here’s the deal:  We’re all in business.  It’s tempting to get into scarcity about giving away resources or bringing more facilitators into the tribe.  It’s tempting to buy into competition stories – and the worries of others working to protect “their share.”  But, the truth is that Conscious Dance is a big growth sector, one that the yoga community has caught onto, one that more and more people recognize as a foundational practice for an awesome, awake and healthy life.  And, the innate energy of dance is all about sharability and collaboration, so most people who really embody their practices want to be mutually supportive.  So, the more we can support each other, dissolve fears of competition and instead hold a shared vision of growth, the more any one of us will succeed.  And, as the community matures and grows, you get to be one of the people who made it all happen.  Many of you are growing deep roots and sprouting wings as facilitators, DJ’s, soul guides and leaders.  Today, I invite you to shine bright, take up as much space and invite as many new dancers to the tribe as you possibly can.  The world needs more dance.  WE make that happen.

Love,

Samantha

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 25 February 2015 05:27

Every once in a while, I begin to doubt this practice.  I look around our world at all the challenges we face, at global warming and species extinction, at clear cutting and factory farming, at injustice and inequities of all kinds, and I think, is this enough?  Are we contributing enough to this magical, broken world that so desperately needs healing?  Are we giving people the tools and the skills needed to mend the broken hoop?  Are WE helping to mend that hoop?

Then I pull my thoughts back into mindful stillness.   I pause, take a deep, dissolving breath of clear air, and listen.  And, in my way, I pray.

Every time, guaranteed, I get the same answer:  the world needs this dance.  The world needs this medicine.  The world needs people who are alive in this way.

The answer comes not from thinking, but in the quiet spaces in between thoughts – from the space where god makes a home in my body and soul.  The answer comes from the whispering trees, from the rushing stream, from the moist soil, from the frogs- all celebrating the way the dance opens my heart and cells more deeply in communion.  And it comes almost daily, in email after email, Facebook post after Facebook post, from people like you, telling me that this practice has changed their lives.  Often they say things like this, “I can’t quite put my finger on it, but this practice is different.  It’s special.  Thank you.  It’s the best thing in my life.”

Why?

When I say “medicine” I don’t mean it in the limited way that Western Medicine uses the word, but in the ancient sense, referring to anything and everything that wishes us well, and the deep things in creation that we can align and co-create with in order to live a more full, loving, divine and human life.  The word medicine used in this way refers to the animating force within creation that is amplified through our right relationship with specific objects, practices and ways of being.  The most basic medicine is love.  Other medicines that may be familiar to you include sage, sweetgrass, cedar, tobacco, Grandfather Peyote and Grandmother Ayahuasca.

I was overcome with this truth today as I prayed with water and sage and the slow dancing of rain. I felt all those who are dancing and teaching all over the world. And I knew – we are remembering the old ways and creating new ones as we go.

Dance is an original medicine. The first peoples danced and sang to create the world. They danced and sang to heal, to thank, to align, to sustain, to destroy. They danced with the Ancestors and with the Circle of All Beings to remember and sustain wholeness. They danced to be one with Spirit. This is the essence of Dancing Freedom – freedom to belong fully to life.

We came to this earth with Original Instructions.  The instructions we received from those who sent us were simple.  We are here to care for and steward the Earth.  We are here to tend and propagate the plants.  We are here to befriend and support harmony with the animals.  We are here to live in alignment with these universal instructions, and to give the unique gifts each of us has been given as a soul.  And, we are here to create beauty.

Dancing Freedom, first and foremost, is a creation of beauty, disappearing just as soon as it arises.  It is also a space that supports both universal and personal alignment with these instructions.  As you dance and pray, the very nature of the practice reminds you of how to harmonize your life and actions in integrity with the Earth and All of Your Relations.  At the same time, it is fruitful ground to receive very specific reflections and instructions for your unique self and purpose in the world.

Because it can do all of this, it is medicine.  And, while it is not a panacea, it is enough.  So, begin here.  Come dance.

The dance will help you take the very next step.

Love,

Samantha

 

ps.  If this speaks to the heart of how you want to lead and love in the world, check out our next Dancing Freedom Facilitator Training in Byron Bay, Australia, November 8-29, 2015.  <3

 

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Last Updated on Monday, 28 September 2015 10:52

 

“One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.” – Carl Jung

It’s scary to be scared.  It’s hard to like yourself when you are depressed.  It can be challenging to love another person when they are angry or in trigger.

On the other hand…

What would brightness be without shadow?  Could the universe exist without the mysterious 90% dark matter that comprises it?  Could we ever know ourselves fully without journeying through the dark?

I don’t think we can.

We need to rub up against the unknown, against challenge, pain, loss, insecurity and inadequacy to know ourselves.  We need to journey through the dark in order to wake up.

I call this the friction principle.  It seems we are designed to thrive by meeting and moving though challenge, to dance with the mystery as our partner and so to know ourselves as light.

And, since life is fundamentally unsafe, the only way to safety is to be safe with our selves as we dance in the dark.

I’ve noticed that dance is a particularly compassionate and embracing space for doing this kind of work.  Why?  Because if forces us to meet our real feelings and sensations in real time, and to meet ourselves in the mirror of other in a real experiment of intimacy with what is.

When Jung referred to shadow, he didn’t just mean that which was dark, he meant any part of one’s self that was outside of awareness.  Any part of one’s self that we do not see or have not fully embraced. 

For most of my life, I’ve been doing shadow work through movement and ceremony.  I’ve gone straight into the intelligence of my body and the sacred mirror of community to work with the shadow as the womb for deeper soul expression.  As I’ve done this, I’ve come to notice that a wider, wiser experience of my life and a more total acceptance and love for the perfect imperfection of the human experience as a whole.  I’ve become able to listen to and navigate my life as an expression of my soul.   I’ve learned how to compost my s**t.  Sometimes, I even give it back as flowers – as my business, Dancing Freedom, as all the daily acts of giving and receiving that make my life awesome, as a song, as a dance.

You can do this, too.

This is not a lifetime to be small, weak or fearful.  It’s not a lifetime to come into your life from anger.

It’s a lifetime to enlighten, to enliven.  A time to make the darkness conscious.

So, when you are feeling that smallness, that insignificance, that not enoughness, or that feeling that you are just going to explode, or implode, or float away, turn into that feeling.

Bring it to the dance floor.  Make your darkness conscious.  And in so doing, be the light.

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Last Updated on Friday, 19 December 2014 08:07

Waking up is sacred business.  In the moments between dreaming and waking, the universe changes.  That is, the universe as you (and you really are a whole universe!) shifts consciousness in a truly basic and radical way.  When we are asleep, we dream the world awake.  When we are awake, we live it.  How you surf the numinous bridge between your dreaming and your waking matters to the way experience meaning, authenticity, connection and fulfillment in your life.  Do you live in and create from the architectures of your soul’s dreaming, or do you live as a lonely wanderer in a world that alienates your essence?  The choice is up to you.  It’s all about making the bridge between your true creative capacity and your daily life.  The moments between sleeping and waking hold powerful keys to becoming the You that you dream you can be.

What do you DO with your dreams?  Literally.  What is the first thing you DO upon waking?  The difference between really “inspired” people and other people is that inspired people DO something with their guidance.  Everyone gets inspiration.  But it takes focus to let that stream of big information flow through you into words and actions, blogs and art pieces, conversations and businesses.  It takes attention and diligence to repeatedly create a living bridge between your dreams and the behaviors and physical forms of your life.   But, it’s pretty much the only game worth playing while living a human life.  That is, if you want to know and feel and experience the crazy awesome pleasure that comes from creating in integrity with who you really ARE. So, you might as well get GOOD at it.

How do you wake yourself?  What thoughts are habitual at that tender moment of bridging this world and the other world of dreamtime?  Do you pause to receive your dreams?  And do you take the time to thank your life and pray your way into the day?

Here’s some tips from my own practice of navigating waking.

What do I do upon waking:

Listen.  Stay as still and as quiet as possible and listen to the tender bridge between my dreams and my waking.  Occasionally, I will write them down.

A yawning big-cat stretch.  Taking a few moments to feel the soft animal of my body.

Here’s what my inner self talk sounded like:

Long listening silence, simply feeling.

“Good morning beauty.  Good morning dreams.  Good morning breath.  (Big breath!)

Thank you for my life.”

Listening to my dreams:

What often comes for me, these days, is something like a directive.  This blog, for example.  This is what came through my dreams to DO, to SHARE, to co-create a more awesome and evolutionarily optimal conversation with my world.  But, sometimes, what comes is visions that aren’t so easily translated.  These are fun.  Other times, what comes is the need to feel into something disturbing, or to let myself thing and feel long and hard about some old unresolved loss.  It is always a healing opportunity.  And, if I am honest with myself (about my honest feelings, pleasant or not) and present with the dream images themselves, the healing bundle always reveals itself.  Dreams can be subconscious or superconscious, lucid or non-lucid.  All of them are valuable.  The more present you become to them, the more lucid and superconscious they often become, and the more powerfully they inform the living of your life.

Remember, even if you feel grumpy or stiff or a bit hung over, this is YOUR day:

All the world: the bird, the dawn, the smallest green thing, is saying to you, “LOVE YOUR LIFE.”  All that life wants from you is that you soften and open to living.

It’s up to you to listen and to STAY AWAKE.

Originally posted at: Samantha Sweetwater blog

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Last Updated on Sunday, 17 March 2013 08:55

Lessons In Unconditional Love:

Travelling is learning.  Whenever we venture into foreign lands, some part of us wants to grow.  We want to expand our horizons, test our edges, and experience greater unity with our global human family.  Sometimes this connection comes in obvious ways – in a smile, a kind gesture, in the convergence of a pod of people standing together in awe of a rainbow or a sunset or a soaring bird, in the laughter or tears of a child, in something given, in something received.

In my experience, I it rarely comes in the ways I expect…  Human beings are preferential creatures.  I, like just about everyone, am a creature of habit.  We gravitate towards what is comfortable and easy.  But, travel can be testing, at times.  Growth often comes when I don’t get what I thought I wanted or intended – when a bus gets delayed for 5 hours in the heat of an Indian afternoon, or the tickets to Machu Pichu are sold out, or I get stuck in the Brazilian jungle for an extra week with two strangers and a misanthropic Royal Parrot named Ed.  I find that, if I allow space in my heart for the bumps and the kinks, I always get what I need to soften and open more fully to love.

I’ve been travelling in South and Central America for two months, now.  I’m saturated in the colors, flavors, smells of this land of mysterious and diverse cultures and climes.  Like a stone in the river of life, my edges have been polished by the rolling, sometimes disjointed, rhythm of constant movement.  I started this trip in the windswept Sacred Valley of Vilabamba, Ecuador, then headed North up to the technicolor lakes, jungle volcanoes and tribal textiles of Guatemala, Belize and Southern Mexico for a 20 day tour of the Mayan Heartland and a week at Lago Atitlan.  Then, I flew back down to Peru, where I am now, high in the mountains above Cusco, at over 11,500 feet above sea level (wow!).  I’m travelling with a Peruvian friend and staying at the home of one of his mentors and teachers.  We are living life en Español… a language I’ve never studied and am only now beginning to stutter into.  What a challenge.  What an opportunity – an opportunity to let go of all my ideas about what I think love and loving is and to live more quietly and wholly into something real and practical and responsive – something I recognized this morning as unconditional love.  It’s really ridiculously simple… and very worth taking note.

Given that we are, by nature, preferential beings.  It seems to me that living unconditionally is about shaping my preferences according to the natural patterns of unconditionality.  God, I love paradox!

8 Keys to Living Unconditional Love:

1.) Love who you are with.

The person or people in front of you are your opportunity to love.  Period.  Right now, there is no one else with whom to give and receive that mysterious currency called love.  So, turn towards who ever you are with and give them your eyes, your awareness, your listening, your curiosity and compassion and see what happens.  You don’t always get to choose your company, but you always get to choose how you attend to and respond to them.

2.) Let love be it’s own language.

 

Giving and receiving requires no words.  Presence requires no language.  Gestures form a complete language.  And, in the absence of language, it is easy to feel the heart.  It’s as simple as a smile, a gaze, a giggle, an exhale in the face of stress.  Let it be light.  Let it flow.  It will grow!

3.) Learning is a way of loving.

Whether traveling internationally or connecting with a new friend or lover in your hometown… everyone has a different language of love.  We ALL want to connect, to share, to understand and be understood, and we all do this differently.  So, love motivates us to learn how to observe and to communicate.  It’s really helpful to learn the language and customs of our new friends so that we can more fully understand and be understood, give and receive.  And, regardless of shared language, we can observe the habits of another with curiosity and respect to discover the non-verbal and gestural language beneath language.  We can also ASK QUESTIONS.  With observation, communication and questions, we can respond more coherently to our friends day by day.  Love invites us to rest into observation and learning BEFORE imposing our own ideas, opinions and preferences on a person, a people and a place.

4.) Love is a stillness.

Sometimes there is nothing to do.  Have you ever noticed those old couples who sit together in easy silence?  Non-doing is a place where shared peace, contentment, presence and delight are available.  Chill out.  As an American, I can be rather obsessed with optimal experience, with getting somewhere and gettingh things done.  In these South American (and many indigenous cultures) the value of not doing is penultimate.  People value relaxation and enjoying the moment above achievement and efficiency.  This can really confront the ego program that says “I am valuable because I achieve.”  Yeah!  By sitting still… we simply are OK. Tranquillo….

5.) Love waits. 

“Patience, my love.”  In the absence of shared language, we have to be patient with our selves and our companions.  Relaxed, patient presence is one of the greatest things we can give or receive.  It takes time to look up that one key word in the dictionary… it’s worth it.  The greatest suffering when travelling generally arises through our impatience, the frustration of not being able to communicate or immediately get what we want, and the shame that we don’t have all the answers.  Travelling sometimes implies the bumpy process of communicating at the level of a 5 year old.  It implies letting other people do things for you, which means not being in control.  It’s a fantastic opportunity for ego death – for letting go of more ideas, opinions and preferences and being grateful for what is available in the moment.  Patience then, becomes a foundation for peace and enjoyment.

6.) Love does not need to “be understood.” 

Words can really get in the way of loving.  Our obsession with understanding and being understood is often the biggest block to simply sharing love.  I’ve been recognizing that I generally enter into relating with a perceived need to “be understood” as a prerequisite to that relationship working.  And, that what I really mean by this is that I want to have my worldview and my private inner world affirmed.  I’m realizing that this perceived need is more a function of insecurity than of love and loving.  If I am secure and grounded in myself, sharing is easy.  And, I don’t project an imagined need to be affirmed into the space of the relationship.  I mean, really…. It’s not the responsibility of my friends to understand all my little distinctions and the specific details of my perceptions.  This is just a projection of my ego desire not to feel alone.  Understanding can come in the silence, in the patience and in the gestures.  It really isn’t necessary to “be understood” in order to love and be loved.

7.) Love acts/responds. 

It’s the little things.  Every mother in the world is overworked.  Everybody appreciates getting a little shoulder rub, or having a cup of coffee poured.  Every person in the world appreciates a humble bit of help.  Whether you speak the language or not, you can clean the kitchen, do the laundry, hold the baby, fold the towels or give an old man a ride down the hill.  Love is a poetry of action.

8.) Love let’s go. 

“If you love someone, set them free.”  When travelling, we often love more freely and fully when we know that the connection is temporary.  We’ve all had that experience – the fierce, beautiful and fleeting love that will not last but that fills us with memories to last a lifetime.  This, in and of itself, is delicious.  But, the grace here is the capacity to hold lightly and wholly the object of our love.  If I can translate this to ALL of my relationships – to hold and to let go, to pour myself into the precious moment and hold the outcomes loosely – then I can really love!

~s.s.  November, 2012

Reposted from Samantha Sweetwater’s blog.

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 February 2013 04:56

Re-posted from Samantha Sweetwater’s blog:

Some thoughts on information overload and the path of non-violence.

Lately, I’ve been present to how information overwhelm is a subtle form of violence – a stressor on the nervous system that prevents me from actually embodying peace.

Have you noticed the way your body feels when you are working to take in all the information coming at you – to answer the phone, the SMS’s, the Skype, the IM’s, to read all the emails, to stay up to date on the latest breakthroughs, to track the emotions of your friends and partners, to maintain political participation, etc, etc, etc…???

There is a subtle and very important distinction between working in a curious and disciplined way to expand your capacity to assimilate new information, connections and experiences, and the place where it becomes an overwhelm to your system and thus inhibits optimal presence, assimilation, integration and action.

PEACE means navigating a healthy boundary between expanding your capacity and weeding your garden.  It means breathing into the more to find flow.

Elegant, implicate presence and action arise in the space of “nothing extra” – a less-is-more simplicity that includes the full spectrum – from extreme momentum to doing nothing.  This supports an inner experience of non-violence that cannot arise from over-pushing; it can only arise in flow.  Listening for and acting from the “nothing extra” supports you to navigate this this post-2012, post-information, neo-time era, when the fields of time, space and information are nearing singularity, in a graceful way.  It supports you to BE the zero point in action and in essence.

Questions: 

  • How can you ground your nervous system in the context of immense amounts of information while staying open, alert and curious to new and important information and patterns?
  • How can pattern recognition create a filter for information?
  • How can you be ok with what you can’t attend to while vibrantly offering your presence and attention to what you can?
  • How are expansion and containment related?
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Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 February 2013 04:51

Okay… so, I live inside a YES culture. 

And, I love it.  I am ALL ABOUT the Big Yes to love, to life, to intimacy, to more life… I’m all about the delicious bio-chemistry of embracing my life.

But, really folks, have you taken a moment lately to celebrate NO?

NO it the other side of the big YES.  Without it… we’re just a ceaseless, unbounded, amoebic blobs.  Without no, we are unable to negotiate our time, energy attention, and intimacy.  Without it, we are unable to create healthy boundaries, to make coherent choices or to be effective in our leadership.

But, we are really afraid of the no. 

We are afraid we will disappoint, upset, off-put or loose out.  We are afraid to be perceived as negative.  We are afraid that NO will inhibit the yes.

We have equated no with negative.
What if no IS profoundly positive?
What if NO is the secret ingredient in a coherent system?
What if NO is the key to living a sane and healthy human life?
What if NO is also part of the BIG YES of oneness?

WHAT IF YOUR STRONG, CLEAR, NO FREES AND SUPPORTS THE BIGNESS OF YOUR YES?

Really… if I were a cell, and I only said YES, I would soon become a cancer.

  • If I were a gardener, and I only said yes, I would only have a plot full of weeds.
  • If I were a mother and I only said yes, I would exhaust myself and my child would grow up without healthy boundaries or respect for others.
  • If I were a woman, and I only said yes, I’d be recapitulating the same dysfunctional I came here to heal this lifetime.
  • If I were a leader and I only said yes, you would walk the other way….   Wouldn’t you?

I am here today to firmly and lovingly, joyfully and lightly, embrace NO.  Sometimes it takes a BIG NO to create an even bigger YES.

Originally posted on: Samantha Sweetwater’s Blog

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 February 2013 04:52

“YOU HAVE TO DO IT BY YOURSELF. YOU CAN NOT DO IT ALONE.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

We embody mind. Essentially, we ARE awareness in Action. Our energies move inward and outward through the vehicle of the body. In terms of meditative awareness and the experience of stillness, it is not so important whether our physical bodies are still or moving. Rather, what matters is where we rest our minds. Dharma dance and other movement meditation forms train our focus on the moving truth of Stillness. In placing awareness, feeling and sensation completely in what we are doing, we learn that doing and stillness are not separate. In DANCING this awareness, we are honing the creative principle of being-ness, inviting active meditative awareness, skillfulness and surrender in a graceful flow with our lives.

The Buddha described all existence as a simultaneous, interconnected sea of subjectivity: Dependent Co-arising. Nothing exists without its dependent parts. The tree is in the forest because of the earth beneath it, the sun shining on it, the air around it. The leaves are its children. Without the leaves, there would be no trunk, no sap, no bark. Nothing exists distinct from existence. In this same way, action and perception are always simultaneously interwoven. And now, what the masters knew, the phenomenologists, quantum physicists and cosmologists confirm: Creation is The Mind of God. Dharma Dance is a grounded and complete experiential entry into the truth of Dependent Co-arising. As we dance with a partner, we are both leader and follower and neither, we are wound into the seamlessness of the creative flow. We drop in to the place where we are neither seeking nor grasping for the dance, for any particular thing to happen. Instead, we enter a state of being-ness where impulse is in effortless continuum with action and sensation. Dependent co-arising describes effortless action as well as effortless awareness. No doing is required, only the drop into the seamlessness of sensation and the willingness to remain in the now.

This dance is spontaneous creation, a jazz. All great jazz comes out of skillful relationship to change. This is true yoga: effortless presence in action. We cannot change the nature of change, but we can choose the way we relate to it. Discernment and Surrender in appropriate portions are the substrate of Grace. Dharma Dance invites conscious play with the interconnected fabric of the alive world. Deepening skillfulness and availability to change, we explore the technologies of being human in nature. To dance the dharma is to widen the bridge of Grace. The practice invites integration between how we experience being-ness, stillness, spirit and how we meet, experience and respond to life in every moment.

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Last Updated on Thursday, 1 November 2012 03:36