cultivate ritual...

Here’s something I’ve noticed of late. When it comes to showing up for practice, we’re so willing to come with our heartache, knowing from past experience we’ll be able to feel in, be soothed or have resolution or some degree of definition. We’re grateful for a place to explore our mental confusion since sometimes a gift of insight or clarity opens for us. When our souls thirst, when our spirits flag—the mat, the dance floor—it’s where we seek sanctuary. When our physical bodies are somehow less than, when an injury creates challenge, when we visibly appear broken or unable to move in our usual ways…well, we’re just less willing to show up. It’s an observation I’ve seen validated over many years.

And, for me, in the past and of course recently, the value of showing up with my own heartache, mental confusion, thirsty soul, flagging spirit AND my broken body has been over-the-top amazing. There’s potential for healing on every level, including the physical, we’ve only begun to tap. And I dare say that potential is very much based on a well-established personal practice. However, right now I’m sensing the “P” word—practice—is just as scary as the “D” word—discipline. Both these words have back stories full of routine and technique and somehow getting it “right”. In the two rich weeks since surgery, I feel a softer something emerging.   A softer something I’m grateful to lean into. A softer something akin to a gentle encouraging hug.

I’m coming to my mat and dance floor to engage in the softness of ritual. There is a humbling way I open to the experience with breath and intention. There is a subdued way I melt into reception. There is a tender way I nudge myself back when I stray. There is a conscious way I bring the ritual to a close. The day after surgery I brought myself to the mat to breathe, to visualize, to feel. The next day I could move my legs a bit. The next day I was on the roller. Each new ability was a moment of grace. Now I’m moving in many of the ritual ways so blessedly familiar to me. And there’s such strong clarity of how this personal journey feeds my work in the world.

On Tuesday morning, my Deeper Being students move in ritual with me. Every one of them has been a patient at some point. Every one comes to be supported in their home movement practice. Except now I shift to referring to it as ritual. There’s an opening. The moves evolve slowly over time secondary to changing needs, curiosity, study, awareness. But mostly they’re the same moves. Over and over. It can be as brief as 15 minutes. It might be an hour or more. A long term reliably practiced ritual greases neural pathways such that when the physical body is stressed, we have a place to land, a place to return to, a place where there is incredible access to healing.

I am very aware of the healing power of this. I want this for you. If this peaks your interest, if you want to prepare for the inevitable ways the body goes south, if your body is south and wants to move out of that place…if you want to cultivate a tailored-for-you home movement ritual…I want to see you. Here’s how to cultivate ritual:

  1. Come for a physical therapy session and leave with a cell phone video support to guide your home ritual.
  2. If you’ve been a patient already, a few spots are available for winter quarter Deeper Being . Email if you’re intrigued. Experience the lift of community support.
  3. If you’re a dancer, three winter Sunday afternoons are devoted to merging self-care ritual with dance. Enroll in one session or all sessions of Fluidity, Power and Release.

Come feel it. So grateful to be in ritual with you…love, bella