I considered several juicy options to mark the momentous wheel turn at birthday fifty. Ultimately I chose what scared me most. And began to own up to a lifetime of consistently fear-driven selection. Adrenaline junkie? Thrill seeker? Crazy woman? Well…maybe. In light of my precarious childhood, you’d guess I’d be a big fan of safety. But my soul, in its maturity, knows how incredibly instructive living on the brink is.
When I fell head over heels into 5Rhythms it scared the bejeezuz out of me. Especially Gabrielle. It was years before I could form a coherent sentence in her presence. Over and again she dangled me on personal precipices. And then always leant a firm hand to climb to safety re-defined. Not isolated, secure, walled-off security. Instead, a more expansive, inclusive, courageous territory.
And guess what? Clearly I like it on the edge and I like taking others with me. Case in point last Sunday, a special morning at Clara. Not the first time I’ve held space to dance in memoriam. In fact, I officially surrender to the fact that I have some earned skill in marking the passage of a life. In dropping us all into a field of feeling. The very particulars of what we’ve lost concurrent with the inevitable and universal tenderness of our human suffering.
I was musing about how we go to funerals, look around and recognize that many in attendance will be present for our own demise. What I wanted was to follow an impulse that arose from this reflection. Create a circle and welcome the elders into the center to be witnessed as the next to go. Talk about edgy.
Edgy is one of the qualities of staccato, my home rhythm. Lines and angles and boundaries…and edges. Edges that were necessary to keep me defended, edges that could be excruciatingly sharp, edges that could actually be menacing. Edges that were uber-visible early on in my dance. I trust the physicality of this practice and the hard-earned revelations it delivers. And it’s been a long and winding road toward softening these edges.
Case in point continued. I took that impulse and softened it. Found a way for every one willing to take a turn being witnessed in their grief. And in the end, invited into the center those who looked around the circle and realized how many might be present at their own passing. Invited those that were feeling the bittersweet taste of their own impending mortality. And those that wanted to be witnessed, entered the circle. Softly edgy.
Later, another teacher was talking to me about the experience, the impact, the beauty. And I found myself saying to her, “I feel like in the time I have left my mission is to let people know they are going to die.” Edgy. I can touch that. I’m not afraid of that. Just feels like utter truth. And such a golden pathway to freedom. Which I’m all about. In an edgy kinda way.
There is so much out there about trauma-informed practice. I get how important safety is. I really do. But when we’re ready, too much shelter can keep us treading water. I like it out where the possibility of sheer drop heightens my senses, keeps me awake. A precipice inspires a dynamic curiosity. I like it out there…and I love to take others with me.