Stress in our lives sometimes comes when we feel that we are not in control – or that we are at the mercy of other people or circumstances. Circumstances and the demands of people outside of us puts pressure on us which leads to stress. Deadlines for example or situations that require our immediate or prolonged attention are things that are imposed on us. Stress arises because we feel that we are the victims of circumstance. The events that lead to feeling like this maybe do not change but we can change how we relate to them which gives us the opportunity to let go of stress and act with focus bringing all our capacities to deal with what is going on. The key is ‘feeling’ different instead of having to ‘be doing’ something about it.
When we take the path of having to do something we go into our mind to start thinking, planning and imagining what action we should take. If we do not have the tools to get into action we simply reinforce a feeling of incapacity that leads to more stress. To feel differently we need to take a different path. For me the most powerful way of feeling into something is Conscious Movement and Dance as this integrates that busy mind with the physical body and our feelings and emotions. By engaging all dimensions of our being we shift our experience into a broader perspective that naturally leads to the emergence of new ideas and possibilities.
Dance flirts with the subconscious, a source of rich material stored through a lifetime of experience. The other most powerful way in which dance can help us feel differently is to give us the opportunity to feel our own agency.
Agency is the capacity to know that you are in control and can do something about your life. This is a shift from a victim mode of relationship to life to one of being an active creator. Dance has this amazing possibility because there is no separation of the dance from the dancer. We experience directly with all our senses, mind and feelings, the dance as we are in the act of creating it. There is no object of creation such as a painting that exists outside of our subjective experience. This can set dance in a space of non-judgment as all experience is valid. We do not look at the dance as we would a painting separate from us, something to critique or hold opinions about. Dance is immediate, ephemeral and embodied. The knowledge we gain from what we feel and experience in the dance is immediate and when we switch off the mind of thinking etc, we find ourselves with the wisdom of the body which can have a therapeutic effect. With an intention, we can dance into feelings of agency to feel that if I am the choreographer of my dance, I can also be the choreographer of my life – true agency.
And so the circumstances that created the stress in my life may not disappear miraculously just because I danced but the way I deal with them and the way I feel about them can change as I draw on the creative power of my own agency. In this way dance connects us with our own power.
Has been involved with dance for the past forty years as a performer and teacher. Beside his technical training he is also a Biodanza facilitator – a therapeutic system of dance used for personal development. In the last five years he developed his own forms of aquatic practice and shamanic style dance experiences called En~Trance.