Dancing Open Your Heart

I recently completed my third weekend of buddhist studies immersion and meditation instructor training with the Interdpendence Project.  This weekend was comprised of roughly twelve hours of instructing, receiving instruction or discussion on compassion and loving-kindness meditation.  A lot can touch your heart when a group of people come together and focus two and a half days on these practices.  As the weekend slowly fades in the distance of my “busy” New York life, I am left with a sense that what transpired was a dance of the heart.  It was a dance to help us all remember that even in the darkness of our worst self-aggression, glimmers of true happiness arise.  And even in the shadows of ourselves where envy, ill-will and judgement dwell, the opportunity to see the light that casts the shadow is ever greater…. 

Compassion practices take us home to the tenderness of our hearts, which is both incredibly powerful and quite jarring at times.  Practices like metta (loving-kindness) ask us to work with not only those people who inspire and support us, but also those with whom we may have conflict or challenge us in some way.  Metta doesn’t stop there.  It further looks at the ways in which we move away from the open heart, ways that we cling to or create conditions for the love we give to ourselves and others.  

So nothing about Metta is fluffy.  It is not all love and light, and that is what makes it such profound work.  One of the things I appreciate about this work, is that it very much forces us to keep it real, to look at our shadows with great gentleness and work with the things that bar us from the vast capacity of our own heart.   

Dancing is also not just fluff.  It is gritty, sexy, light, fluid, graceful, sometimes awkward, still or frenetic, intensely sad or humorous.  While remaining a serious discipline it also evokes all of the hues and saturations that color a life.  

As we sit down to open our hearts, we might contemplate our work as a dance.  We can approach it with a real sense of discipline, but we will not be surprised when it evokes tears or tightness in our throats or deep longing.  We can work with these emotions just as we work with the heart: with gentleness, openness and hopefully an occasional giggle or fit of laughter.  

For more on compassion practices, check out Sharon Salzberg, or join a course at IDP. 

“I am Don Campbell”  - film by Toni Basil

a brief peek into some of the major dancers that have come through Toni Basil’s world…  this clip specifically centers around Don “Campbelllock” Campbell, the creator of what is now known as locking…  

Featuring the likes of Ana Sanchez, Popin Pete and Don himself…  


Pretty spot on.  This speaks to colonialism in regards to the exoticism of Indian ethnic dance in the UK.  We consume what we view as other.  We integrate what we view as ourselves.  Colonialism extends to the US every day in the form of hip hop consumerism, even within the ranks of the hip hop artists themselves. 

This woman is totally inspiring.

A short feature on Chandralekha, the late Indian feminist choreographer who challenged the definitions of Indian performing arts. She summarizes her mission quite well in the video:

This whole ethnic Asian image, I would like to subvert. The whole idea of dance in the Western world has been like exotica. It perpetuates a colonial relationship… without understanding, only consuming. I believe that somewhere, I am interested in subverting that notion.

this track takes me back to philly days. 

what’s funny is we both went to the same hs in columbus, knew many of the same people… when this album came out i was living in philly and found out he was too… sort of.

i listened to it constantly, thinking it a reminder of my home.  little did i know my home was where i was in the city of brothers and love. 

years later, it doesn’t remind me of my hometown, but of philly, the place where i believe it all really began.

thanks, RJ, for some help on the journey. and for making music that made me feel at home.

via thekrizzo:

RJD2 - Work

a life in a night

we step into our words and lay them on the floor
you move into my breath and i leave you wondering
what did i say?

here we wade through creating our memories
in every moment
we whisper our painted future dreams

this is worth a golden weight
that one is left behind.
holding each truth like a penny or a diamond
letting each one fall

or cling.

this is a moment i will not allow to pass beneath my dancing feet to the floor…

this is a piece of me. 
wrapped in a piece of you.