With this letter we’d like to share our excitement at the journey we’re all about to embark on together as we begin our immersion in Unveiling the Dance of Your Life. We’re very much looking forward to our first weekend together (September 27-28) and have some information to share, and some requests for your contributions, that we think will enrich our mutual experience.
Our goal is for each of us to emerge from this time together more fully present to each other, and to ourselves. Part of this opening process – this flowering – builds on a foundation of mutuality and trust. To help us get to know you and (with most of these assignments) to know each other, we’re asking you to complete 3 assignments before we come together in September. The first of these needs to be sent to us by September 15. There are also 2 optional assignments that you may want to consider.
Assignment 1 (Threshold Letter)
We’d like you to write a “threshold letter,” no more than 500 words. We will treat this letter confidentially. In this letter we ask you to please share with us (in whatever order works for you):
- Your strengths. Celebrate with us things about yourself you love. Let us know what about You is beautiful. Let us see the gifts you bring that others enjoy.
- Your beautiful weaknesses. Things about yourself that you struggle with and maybe want to change. Any wounds you carry (and remember that our wounds often make us more beautiful).
- Your goals – both for this first weekend, and for the whole Deepening experience.
- Your prior experience with dancing (DUP or anything else), leading, teaching… anything you’d like to share with us. Spiritual practices… spiritual traditions/faiths you identify with or particularly enjoy. Whatever it is that brings you to join us in this weekend together.
Our hope is that this Threshold Letter will help you to fully acknowledge your unique self as you step into this commitment. And… it will help us prepare for sharing the initial and subsequent weekends with you.
Note: We need to receive your threshold letter by Sept 15. Send your letter to [email protected] Stephen Matin, 681 N Catron St, Monmouth, OR 97361.
Assignment 2 (Passion Presentation)
The second assignment is one you’ll be sharing with everyone during our first weekend together. We’re asking you to prepare a passion presentation, five minutes or less, that expresses why you feel passionate about going deeper into the Dances (you can draw upon your threshold letter or not). Here’s a chance to play! Let your imagination loose… your presentation can be verbal or non-verbal – it could involve poetry, dance, music, images or other artistic mediums… whatever calls to you. Your Passion Presentation is an opportunity to share your soul and your creativity.
Here are some questions to use a prompts, if they call to you:
- What was the most profound moment you’ve ever had Dancing?
- As you enter a Dance circle, what’s most alive for you?
- What does grace look like when you’re in a Dance?
- Are there bridges or walls between your Dance experience and your day-to-day life?
- It’s said that Shiva danced the world into existence. What do you dance into existence?
- You’re about to open a gift. What’s inside?
- If your heart’s song has lyrics, what are they?
- If you are the artist, what is your medium – breath… voice… feet…eyes… something else?
- What does it take to allow you to go outside your comfort zone?
- What do you REALLY love?
Assignment 3 (Reading, Practice and Contemplation)
The third assignment is to read Chapter 5 from Spiritual Dance and Walk by Samuel Lewis, entitled “Ten Lessons on Spiritual Walking Practice”. Spiritual Dance and Walk is highly recommended, for any dancer on this path. If you don’t yet have it, you can find it the link to download this material at the bottom of this page (below).
Read it, with a highlighter in hand and then delve into the suggested practice. After you have contemplate the following questions and/or anything which you chose to highlight, make an entry in your journal. We will be exploring this further during Session I:
- “..one learns to feel the magnetism go in and out of the feet… As one feels the breath go out the feet, this also helps one to overcome fatigue, as well as feel courage and direction.”
- Try this activity consciously every day for a week.
- What did you notice about your experience? Was there any shift in your experience of your daily life?
- “Breath-currents have energy values as well as chemical and mechanical ones.”
- What does this sentence mean to you?
Note: if you don’t feel attracted to journaling or consider yourself and unskilled writer, remember:
- This journal is for your eyes only, unless you choose to share it.
- If you sit with an open journal and a pen in hand, and the page remains blank after 5 minutes of relaxed breathing…. smile, close the journal, and lovingly set it aside. It may take some time to make friends with this part of your being…. No worries!
For any who are ready and interested in leading a Dance during our first session, please send your offering(s) to [email protected] by Sept 15. Dances that are simple, well-known, and mantric will be easiest for us to schedule into Session I. We will accommodate as many as possible (without giving any in-session feedback), while maintaining the continuity and goals of our first Session together. Note that our first session is more about building the framework for our voyage. There will be ample time to lead and get thorough feedback over the next three years.
Assignment 4 (Optional – Additional Information)
Is there anything else that you would like to share with us… as facilitators, about you (i.e. physical limitations, emotional concerns….) Please indicate if you have any need for confidentiality regarding this information.
Things to bring
Please bring the following to our first weekend together.
- Your calendars and schedule-related information for the next three-plus years…. Winter 2015 through Spring 2018 (Yes, we know – hard to predict. But do your best, so we can best plan out our future times together).
- Addresses, directions and phone numbers for meeting sites.
- Journaling material: a few writing utensils, and… we recommend devoting a special, sturdy and generous notebook to the Deepening process
- Walking shoes. Comfortable, loose clothing. We’re hoping to spend some our time together outside, so bring something to keep you warm and dry in the potentially cold and wet!
- Anything you need for comfortable meditation (benches, sweaters, slippers, etc). We’ll have a variety of chairs and cushions you can use.
- Any special food or beverages you need (we’ll provide a variety of teas).
- Any tools or props you need for your passion presentation.
Founder of the Dances, Samuel Lewis, stated his peace plan as: eat, dance, and pray together. In keeping with this sweet inspiration, we will eat lunches together. Angela will be coordinating these lunches which will be provided during the first weekend session so that we can focus our time to continue our deepening without worries of finding food.
Our Saturday evening sessions will sometimes be happening at a public venue to provide opportunities for leading with a more typical dance circle. Dinners will be on your own, with a list of local restaurants provided.
We’re looking forward to sharing this journey and are truly honored, by all of you, who have stepped forward to co-create this sacred circle!
Ya Shakur! Ya Fattah!