There I sat, a grandchild nested both sides, focused ready for a re-read of a favorite Dr. Seuss. It was a golden oldie when my kids loved The Sneetches. Pretty amazing how this classic has not only endured but telegraphed a future we are now living. Maybe you’ve not had the pleasure. The sneetches: large yellow creatures that live on their own planet, some with stars on their bellies. The star-bellied sneetches parade around, shoulders thrown back, pride smeared all over their faces. Snooty noses way up in the air. Those with empty bellies slink around ashamed and dejected, obviously in deep longing.
Everything changes when an enterprising young man shows up with his new-fangled star belly-making machine. Lacking sneetches hungrily line up, pay a fee and come out the other end with “stars upon thars”. Their noses snoot up as well. The original sneetches are appalled. No problem. The entrepreneur has another machine designed to remove stars. You get the picture. Utter chaos ensues as the sneetches try to keep up with the prevailing and ever-changing trend. Which after awhile is impossible to fathom.
My grandkids, both under twelve, still masked in public, did not miss the convoluted parallel. We are living in a weird sneetch planet right now, crazy-making judgments flying through public space. When the sign says no masks required for the vaccinated, what does it mean when someone is masked? Maybe they’re not vaccinated. But they could be vaxxed and living with a health risk or dealing with the unknown public every day or wanting to be extra cautious. And who knows about the unmasked? They could be rebellious Covid skeptics and/or mask efficacy non-believers. All this ambiguity tolerance seems healthy on one level. I could tolerate it better if I were less worried about the spread of the delta variant.
Last month 15,000 vaccine-required New Yorkers filled Madison Square Gardens to enjoy a Foo Fighter concert. I have yet to experience the unique joy of huge group participation. There is a ton of research indicating that joy and happiness and laughter are hugely amplified in the company of others. A few years back I wrote about “collective effervescence”, the energetic harmony generated when folks come together with a common intention. Dancing, singing, eating, exercising, worshipping…so many collective activities we have put on hold. We’ve had a long haul of lack of opportunity on this front.
Now that we are slowly, tentatively finding our way back, what does it mean to nurture our yearning for collective effervescence when we know some are excluded? Or have to mask or have to weigh risk over benefit or know that some differ from us in risk assessment? Sorry, lots of questions. No answers. For myself, vaccinated since April, there’s been a slow but steady peeling away of personal concern. My mask, an accessory for so long, was mostly off the last couple weeks.
But my collective concern still runs deep. There are people I love who are not vaccine-protected. It seems so clear to me that 7 billion people cannot live on this planet without this miracle that medical science has provided for a century. There are just too many of us. These five upcoming events illustrate what a crossroads we are all living upon:
Essentials: mostly online, most Friday mornings 10:00-11:30. I love this cavalcade of Zoom-ers. Some are virtually present, some participate via recording. The last four weeks: an embodied exploration of fluid spinal cord; sending and receiving of peripheral nervous system; four lobes right and left of cerebrum; and ever on the job brain stem. Next week: balance and your cerebellum. Each class in this nervous system series stands alone as we roll and release, subtly strengthen and become ever more flexible.
Sunday 5Rhythms Dance July 18 10:00-noon: live and in person every Sunday (except July 25), entering our fourteenth month outdoors. Staying with this until we come back to Clara morning of Halloween.
Cultivate Being July 23-25 at Four Springs: so excited for this long delayed three day 5Rhythms/art creation retreat, live and indoors. Vaccination or current Covid test required. We are full up but things change. Let us know if you want to be on the wait list.
Resource and Renew July 26-30 at Esalen: I’ll be assisting Lucia Horan for 5 days of dancing and meditating. I do not need to write about how thrilled I am to return to the magic of Esalen. Which is 100% live in person. Maybe you want to come with me.
Release in the Rhythms: Saturday August 7 10:00-1:00. 100% online. Which allows me to team up with fellow teacher Erik Iversen in Montreal. This is for you if you want a dance exploration of the unique way we each embody stress and the basics of rolling that tension away. And if you love this idea, Fluid Spine is available on demand 100% online through July 23,link at home page bottom.
Yes, feeling that. This yearning for collective effervescence. Joy magnified because it is shared. Maybe you are, too. So willing to tread these ambiguous waters with you. It’s better that way.