GPS is trendy awesome.  Tap a screen, eerie voice calls the shots, arrive at destination.  I’m always clear about where the GPS journey begins but I’ve only a vague idea of the territory I traverse leading to the destination.  I have a strong sense of direction, pretty much always know where north is, and without GPS for the return trip, I’ll probably lose my way.   Maps are different. The entire journey from point A to point B stares you in the face.  You remember to turn right on Main and left on Second.  You know what’s coming and you remember how to make your way home.

The porously definitive 5Rhythms map delivers partly for the same reasons.  The entire journey is apparent.  You know what’s coming and you remember how to come home.  Two decades ago I spent a full year of 26 minute mornings dancing this embodied map with Gabrielle as Siri. Over and over, morning after morning, I travelled, fortunate to be supported by a weekly class.  It took about a year to re-wire my nervous system.  “It takes discipline to be a free spirit.” GR

I deeply trust this map—flow, staccato, chaos, lyrical, stillness—a guided sequence to full presence.  Connect hips, weight, instinct of feet on ground then launch from that rooted base to the fire of heart’s expression. If we stay on that dual track highway, and then surrender thought, memory, worry to the beat, open to intuition—a gateway opens for us.  Integration, authenticity, insight, freedom…I call it the Big Whatever.  My faith in this lyrical crossroad almost always delivers me to the quiet of breath, of unified being, of channeling spirit. 

So I entered this recent workshop weekend in deep trust of the map and our guide Davida Taurek.  And, having danced the heartbeat map many times, I knew it would be layered on the basic one, systematically traversing fear, anger, sadness, joy, compassion.  For me, moving with fear was fueled by climate change.  With two grandchildren in my heart, shapes of fear easily moved from inside to out.  Anger at our cultural complacency and paralysis was also easy to tap.  This second rhythm of staccato where anger lives is my home base. I’m grateful for a floor where full expression of my rage is possible.  Because it never comes out as Anger with a capital A in real time.  For made-to-order balance, I was witnessed in bona-fide expression:  contained, seething, back-burner fury—with a four year old’s foot stomp for emphasis.

Because it is a map, I knew Day 3 would start with sadness.  Easy-peasy for me.  So much to touch base with starting with all we are losing on this planet, personally how much I have lost in this lifetime, currently how much I am letting go of in holding this precious space at Clara.  But life had another let go for me to be with.  The workshop gathering was at our home on Saturday night.  After everyone departed, one remaining guest, sweet hubby and I hot-tubbed.  As hubby rose to get out, his head dipped forward.  He righted himself, then dipped forward deeper.  By dip three I knew something was drastically wrong.  Thank G. that other person was there.  It took our combined strength to move him into bed, fret about calling 911, assess his condition.   A total of five terrifying minutes before he came around.  The logic of high temperature and dehydration came later.

I lay awake all night monitoring his breathing and heartbeat, the emotions of the day pulsing unabated through me.  I felt fear in a whole new way.  I felt anger as an expression of illogical betrayal—how could he leave me? I was deeply immersed in all that as we began to dance on Sunday.  As we moved into chaos, tears spilled over. I allowed myself to feel the ultimate let go of this beloved, partner of 50 years come November.  This level of intensity is not for everybody.  And because I am so wired in this trusty map, this interlude of preparatory grieving, if you will, was perfect for me.  I felt it, it was real, I am grateful.  Always another layer to be with.  BTW, sweet hubby is fine, hiked eight miles with me yesterday.

Here’s why a map is crucial.  Why GPS would just not work.  Because I was totally familiar with this route.  The first two emotions had been traversed so intentionally that implicit trust catapulted me into the third, no holds barred.  Because the road was so well demarcated, I knew it would eventually shift, turn a corner.  The lyrical crossroad was a given. To enter the rarefied zone of joy and compassion was natural.  No transcendence required.  We might wish we could punch in the address of joy and compassion, but the map tells us to first travel/embody fear, anger and sadness. Damn.

“Dance is the fastest, most direct route to the truth—

not some big truth that belongs to everybody,

but the get down and personal kind,

the what’s-happening-in-me-right-now kind of truth.” 

Gabrielle Roth

A fast and direct route.  Quite often why we study a map.  So much happening-right-now truth has paved this route for me. A long and winding road.  I love this map.  I trust this map.  It’s why I offer this map in our community.  Tuesday mornings.  Wednesday nights.  Sunday mornings.  Come travel with us. 

Love, bella