Late 80’s, a chapter of intense orthopedic manual therapy training. One moment remains crystal clear: case presentation, standing before my peers, explaining each turning point in treatment, how multiple options narrow into singular choices. The instructor stops me mid-stream, asks why I chose that particular alternative. My reply…“It was intuitive.” He promptly seized that opportunity to call me on the carpet, to derail intuition as a guiding force, to make his own point about what guides a truly worthy clinician. Practical, functional, hands-on, logic. Total reliance on observation and palpation.
I watched a piece of me travel underground that night. And I regret this only some, because this apprenticeship to technique allowed me to develop in powerful ways. From this vantage point, a quarter century out, I see how that stellar moment played out in the long run and I’m grateful for the training discipline it afforded me. It continues to serve me. And, thank the lord, my intuition, that whined in the back seat for a while, did not die. It re-emerged with renewed vigor and perspective as I began to dance again.
I see our style, our approach, our modus operandi to many things – teaching, treating, writing, who knows what else – as lying at some point on this very fluid continuum. And the facility to draw from a well of grounded, practical, technical and also access what is intuitive, unpredictable, (dare I say?) shamanic…well, who wouldn’t want use of all of that? And why am I relaying this story here, now? Because the experience of Open Floor, dancing seven days with my shifted teachers, is sifting and settling in me. And I’m finding my way through a bit of my own messy confusion by looking at the experience through this lens.
A bit of back story for context: the 5Rhythms Nor Cal teachers have decided, for understandable reasons, to split away from 5R and do their own thing. In their own words…“Our task is to distill the wisdom embedded in all healing movement modalities, and highlight the universal principles they share. This is our contribution to the field of movement as healing art, as a conscious growth process, as a fun and fundamental tool for our well being.” Their university style organization is called Open Floor.
Also in their own words…everything’s a re-mix. They’ll offer weekly classes, opportunities to stretch into intensive workshops and they will train new teachers. I made the journey down there with an open heart and (to be honest) a bit of a closed mind. I so wanted to hear about their new world but really, why would I want to do another training? But the truth is I am a continuing education junkie and they’ll offer quality education in the soft lap of the dance/teaching community to which I belong. And they’re quite clear it is not about choosing one or the other. I’ll continue to hold space for 5Rhythms as I integrate whatever new comes my way. Same as always really. Gabrielle always wanted us to bring the fullness of who we are to the scaffolding of the rhythms. I have always been a weaver.
Just a first impression, mind you…but based on those seven days, feels like these new offerings will lean toward the practical, technical end of that aforementioned continuum. Sitting here in deep reflection, I would venture to say that my 5Rhythms training leaned more toward the intuitive. The wildness, the unpredictability, the shamanic…that’s what called me in, quite frankly. I was starving for it. After all, each rhythm is an energetic state, more akin to the chakras than to any psychological model. And, of course, this is not black and white territory. I learned a great deal technically in 5Rhythms training and no matter what the content of Open Floor eventually becomes, there is always the mystery that arises when we dance. And I am basing these ruminations on a very small, very early sample of a developing practice. For what it’s worth.
But this is what is utterly true for me right now. I walk a tightrope between the practical and the intuitive and I feel this strongly in every fiber of my being. I know how to orient to the natural, observable, palpable world – our anatomy, the four elements, directions, and seasons. When I hold this palpable piece and then call in the energetic states inherent in the rhythms – body grounded & fluid, heart passionate & expressive, mind released & surrendered, soul aligned & expansive, spirit an empty channel for unity…I am delivered. This is an embodied practice of orienting. This is a call to presence, to being fully here, right now. And that’s where the mystery unfolds.
Wow, to come back to Coloma on Sunday morning was beyond phenomenal. We have such a good thing going…thank you for creating that. Come on some other days and walk this tightrope with me…it is always present on Thursday night, when I teach Friday night and we’ll be back on Sunday morning again. Check the new & improved calendar for the Tues/Thurs mornings in September I’ll be offering access to aligned spirit in Gentle Yoga as well. Look at the full sidebar.
Let’s just keep walking that tightrope together…love, bella