Gabrielle Roth….I have some crazy stories to tell about the ten years I was her student. And just as many tales generated by her practice of the ten years since her passing. Because the rhythms are alive in every part of me. That’s why knowing her in the flesh was just icing on a way big cake.
Every practitioner out there has a story to tell about when and how the 5Rhythms earthquake shifted their bedrock. For me, it was twenty years ago…age fifty-two. A bit late, but right on time. Last kiddo launched, hemmed in by the daily grind, dark shadows obscuring all the light in my life. Ready to break free, beyond willing to step into the mystery, destiny tantalizingly one step away.
On a whim, we made a sharp right turn off Highway 1 when the sign said Esalen. Never been. One empty room: 24 hours for $200. In the dreamscape trance of early morning I stepped across the Huxley threshold and began to dance. As if I had been dancing my whole life. Which in a way I had. All this magic happened in the very room the 5Rhythms practice had been birthed. By the end of the hour, my life would never be the same.
Gabrielle left a legacy that woke my feet up and then my whole body followed suit, moving me in professional directions I could never have imagined. This practice ripped the crust off my heart to reveal childhood scars desperate to be danced, re-written, forgiven, celebrated. And now 5Rhythms is a lens through which I view the world, a trusty guide through thick and thin.
When Gabrielle was alive, I felt a trembling overwhelm in her presence, bordering on abject terror sometimes. Those sharp edges, that incisive look, her uncanny ability to call out the depth of my internal experience. So. Many. Stories. But now, in the dark of my bedroom, sometimes she comes to call. She slips in wordlessly, just how she black-clad slid onto all those dance floors I was blessed to share with her.
But in my dreams all her sharp edges are muted now, holy hug of support, hushed, patient, benevolent. I like to believe this was/is her true nature. And I hope she knows that every day I give thanks for these two woke feet, wordlessly moving me across this ever-shifting ground.
This week the ever-shifting ground delivers me to Montreal. It’s where my mom was born in 1927. With my daughter and grandson, we’ll explore and feel and search for some of the places her feet traversed. Leonard Cohen was born in the same neighborhood in 1934. Perhaps their feet moved on some of the same paths.
I’ll be home just in time for Tend Your Aging Body on October 22…an offering that emerged right out of my soul when I veered off the straight and narrow professional path. Thank you Gabrielle. And then I’ll offer up Sweat Your Prayers October 23. Thank you Gabrielle. Never, in my wildest dreams could I have imagined I’d be doing this work either.
Thanks to her and the winds of fate we are waking up together, wordlessly moving across this ever-shifting ground.