Svetlana Akimova, 82, shelters in a parking garage after heavy fighting took place
outside her apartment building in Kyiv on Saturday. – Lynsey Addario/The New York Times
Dear Dancing Friends,
I feel helpless as I watch some of the images of what is happening in Ukraine. It’s like watching an accident or more accurately watching a genocide happening . . . and I’m at a loss as to how I can help. 😢
And then it came to me. I know how to hold space. I know how to “dance my prayers” and connect with the Ukrainian (and the Russian people – as we need to hold space for them as well) and bear witness & open my heart to their pain . . . which ignites my own empathy and compassion . . . and offer them my love, support and prayers.
And I realize, to some who may be new to ecstatic dance, that dancing our prayers when people are suffering may seem insensitive. As if we’re dancing to try and avoid what’s going on & what we’re feeling; while we ignore other people’s suffering.
But that’s not what this practice is about. We are NOT trying to ignore or whitewash anything. We are NOT avoiding feeling sad or angry or whatever we might be feeling in the moment; or turn away from whatever is going on in the world. Instead we turn towards it and face it . . . and invite it in. (For more on this, read “Guest House” by Rumi)
We take a deeper dive into whatever is happening and learn to “be with” whatever is present – along with any feelings it may bring up – and allow this energy to move in our bodies. We are bringing our awareness to whatever is present, while also holding gentleness and compassion for ourselves; instead of trying to distract or numb ourselves to avoid feeling uncomfortable. This practice is a moving meditation where we focus our energy on whatever’s happening in the world; while also noticing any places in ourselves where this may bring up our own suffering. And we hold space for that as well; as sometimes “events” can also bring up unresolved emotions in us that we haven’t given ourselves space to feel; and ultimately comes up for healing.
This kind of “Radical Acceptance” says Tosha Silver, “inspires a deep and honest space for your feelings and stops spiritual bypassing; and stops the argument with Reality, in order to rest in the Now.” And don’t get me wrong. This isn’t a path of passivity, but rather leaves space for any action that may be needed, to arise from this space.
“Ukraine is the George Floyd of the World” is something I read yesterday in an article by Thom Hartmann. This feels so true, especially in the age of the internet and cellphones, and my heart breaks for the Ukrainian people; just as it did for George Floyd when I watched the 9 minute video.
So this practice is a way we CAN help! We are taking our “prayers” and setting them in motion; like prayer flags dancing in the wind. And don’t underestimate the power of prayer!
It’s also amazing, how at the very same time that I am feeling immense heartbreak, my heart is feeling so much love and has been deeply touched by the good of humanity; and the love and support for the Ukrainian people. For example, at the train station in Poland, a couple that arrived from Denmark held up a sign saying they could take 8 refugees back with them to Denmark. Another woman from Germany said she could take 4 refugees home with her. And as each refugee arrived into the train station in Poland from Ukraine, they were welcomed with a big sign saying “You are safe” as they were also provided with clothes, food and shelter. And these are just a few of the many of acts of love & kindness that are happening right now! I had to laugh when the reporter said the food was really delicious! Growing up with Polish food, I know this to be true! And I couldn’t help but imagine all these “Babcie” (Polish for Grandmothers) cooking some of this food!
“Strong back, soft chest” is often a prompt offered in meditation. So how do we soften our heart and feel the pain of the world, while also remaining centered; enabling us to be able to respond and not react. IT’S NOT EASY! It’s much easier to turn on Netflix or whatever our “drug” of choice might be (work, sleep, sex, drugs, alcohol, _____fill in the blank) rather than bear witness to these atrocities. And I don’t write this to bring up any shame. We are all doing the best we can in each moment. This path is hard sometimes and we need to be gentle with ourselves And I feel this practice allows for that as well. There are times we need take a break from world events so we can rest our nervous system. Self love and self care is a revolutionary act! When a Ukrainian man in Kyiv was asked the other night if he had a message for the world, he said, “Just don’t take anything for granted. Appreciate all that you have!”
So I invite you to join me, as we offer our DANCING PRAYERS this Sunday for the Ukrainians, for the Russians, for ourselves, for our loved ones . . . and for the good of all beings.
And perhaps the pain we feel is actually our hearts breaking . . . open. Allowing for more compassion for ourselves and for each other.
And this Sunday, I will be also dancing my prayers for my younger brother, John, who passed away two years ago this Sunday; after learning he had Stage 4 cancer only 11 weeks earlier. And as I offer my dancing prayers for my brother and our family, I also invite you to bring in whatever prayers you may have for any person and/or situation.
Peace & Love, Diane
This dance is by donation. I will be tithing 10% from this dance to the “World Central Kitchen” and “Together Rising.” I’ve also included the links below if you feel called to donate; however, also know that by offering your prayers (in whatever way you “pray”) you are doing a lot!
“There are many paths to God. I have chosen that of music and dancing!” – Rumi
10:30am – Warm Up (Music to Rest, Meditate, Stretch and/or Move to)
10:50am – Opening Circle
11:00am – Special Playlist
12:00pm – Sound Healing & Group Om followed by Closing Circle (15-20 minutes)
– PayPal: Diane Horbacewicz (If you can, please use the “friends and family” option)
– Venmo: @Diane-Horbacewicz
– Check – Please email me for my address.
Any amount is appreciated!
DANCING PRAYERS ECSTATIC DANCE ASHLAND
Ashland’s Longest Ecstatic Dance
Dancing together for over 18 years!
Sunday mornings, 10:30am-12:30pm
A Safe & Sacred Space to Move & Just Be
No experience Necessary.