My family moved to California in 1958 and I’ve spent major chunks of time in the Sierras ever since. Back in the day, my crazy adventurous parents took us backpacking all around the eastern slope. This was low tech camping—no tent, no stove, no water filter. This childhood experience created a robust imprint. I’ve travelled many mountains since, but this one…I’m just connected to this range. My heart thrives in the Sierras.
So when the opportunity to spend eight continuous days in these heights arose, I took it. The first three days were at 6000 feet: smooth exposed granite expanses, lush meadows, water cascading. I’ve returned to Grover Hot Springs south of Tahoe decade after decade. The infinitesimal changes remind me how teeny my life is. From there I dropped down to 4000 feet, close to Sequoia, for dance camp. Where else but California would have dance camp? I love this state.
Every morning I showed up super early lakeside for my own mat practice. Just me, an open air wood floor, the birds, the coolness of breeze right off water. Two mornings I taught Self Care for Dancers and one afternoon dance session. Participants were so receptive and curious and embodied. Picture up top gives a flavor. The balance of the five days: total immersive dabbling in offerings like song circle with MaMuse, Yin Flow Yoga, pavilion dances, cabana concerts and kirtan, moving to live music (my favorite!), singing each and every day, vocal jamming, Authentic Movement practice. Plenty of time for me to be supported in practice in a smorgasbord of ways.
As I moved through each day, sang each song, danced each set, quietly listened or fell into deep conversation, slept in my nest loft…I felt I was continually moving in organic waves. Open enough to let everything indiscriminately in: the sweat, the love, the overwhelm, the discomforts, the joy. Finding ways to let that brew out, expressing truth of the moment, heart sharing, deep connecting. And when it was due time, simply letting go of whatever I had a grip on in that moment. The upside of the wave: it begins with let it in, it builds to let it out, and it peaks with let it go.
Over and over, recurrent practice, certainly not limited to the dance floor. There were so many shots to surf and eventually be delivered to the other side of the wave. The landing zone on the other side is the rhythm of lyrical, by definition the landscape of soul, your personal purpose for incarnating on the planet in this lifetime. Somehow it felt fresh to me. Often what feels fresh or new is really just another revolution around the spiral. But on a daily basis, I felt clearly that I was landing in my true destiny.
Maybe this repeated sense of destiny was shaped by a Library Angel—a seemingly random appearance of written material that shows up just at the right time. Right before I left for the Sierras this angel appeared on Pinterest of all places, from an online fashion training program. See? Random. A Venn diagram of four intersecting circles, at the center of which is the word Purpose. See above
I would substitute the word Destiny for Purpose. There is this place where that which you love intersects with that which you are good at. We often experiment over a lifetime consciously and unconsciously searching for that intersection. When these two intersect with that which the world needs we arrive at our reason for being on the planet in this lifetime. Destiny.
There is a fourth circle in this diagram: that which you can be paid for. Hmmmm. I find this a very interesting intersection. When the first three circles—love, good, need—intersect with paid for, well, that is awesome. There is work I have done in my past I did not love and/or it was not really what the world needed. There were years where it seemed like my destiny was about survival, keeping one foot in the compromised present and gently holding space for landing in an ideal future.
In this very moment my life feels aligned with authentic destiny. And I am grateful for this, knowing it can change in a heartbeat. Part of my current life is community service, work that I do that is not that which you can be paid for. Or for which you get paid very little. So I have a bit of a quibble with this fourth circle. And I feel how fortunate I am to be able to have this quibble, to be able to offer service of this nature. Truly I am among a lucky few on this planet, a human being for whom survival is not the ultimate motivating force.
So know that you are not alone in our common never-ending search for meaning. Ultimately, the rhythm of lyrical flows into the rhythm of stillness. The so-very-personal disappears into the universal, our day-to-day incarnate questioning, longing and striving dissolves into the one and we surrender to the mystery.
What a blessing….bella