In Summary…Sweat Your Prayers and Play

Written April 12, 2013

When I was a kid, dancing my soul came easily. There was no separation, no self consciousness, nothing more pressing to do. Each one of us had this freedom, this lack of inhibition at some magical time in our early lives; nothing getting in the way of going with our rhythm.

Somewhere along the timeline of growing up most of us lose that free-flowing propensity to move with our own rhythm. Sometimes we can pinpoint the exact situation that made us shut it down. Sometimes it just kind of slipped away gradually and we don’t quite know when or how. Right now, contemplating it, you may be agreeing wholeheartedly, able to tap right into the memory of it all. Maybe you’ve already discovered and embraced that former self. Perhaps it’s still so blurry that you’re not convinced it ever applied to you.

The thing is, time goes on and life gets busy. Years can pass. And then we remember. Something triggers a flash of memory. A sensation or an observation, an old song or a poem. Whatever form it comes in, it stirs a little niggle and you think, “Wait a minute. That feels oddly familiar.”

I had all sorts of niggles through the years, some of which I ignored and some that I allowed in to reclaim their original position of freedom. The older I get, the more of these things I allow in. In fact, I look for them now. Once you get a taste of the freedom you had in those early years, you want more. And more!! You want to put all of the missing chinks back into place so freedom becomes a state of being rather than a fleeting deja vu moment.

One of those reminders came for me about 15 years ago in the form of a brilliant artist and teacher named Gabrielle Roth. I never met her. I would have loved to, but in those earlier years I’m not sure I was ready to be immersed in the truth. I just wanted to explore these niggles on my own terms. And thankfully, she was so big of an energy and so pervasive in her work, that I felt her loud and clear through her music and one of her books, Sweat Your Prayers. I read, reread, danced, prayed, sweat, and remembered.

This week all of those learnings came back to me as the topic of dance resurfaced. I pulled out her book and started reading it again. I copied the pages that grabbed me related to the five rhythms of life and dance that she coined – flowing, staccato, chaos, lyrical, and stillness – and used them to create some uninhibited artwork. I hunted through my ipod to find her music and blared it in my headset while I wrote, created art, meditated, and yes, danced.

It was a really good week.

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Regina Leffers McCaleb, Ph.D.

Master Teacher, Midwife to the Birth of the Wild Soul

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