Naked Under My Skin

Being Human is the Real Spiritual Practice.

Being Human is the Real Spiritual Practice.

Solitude. Intimate. Vulnerable. Humble. This is how I feel when I’m naked under my skin.

Naked Under My Skin

Yeah. Naked. Humanly Naked.ecstatic chakras

Last Sunday in Portland’s Ecstatic Dance, someone stood up and said

“I’m from Grass Valley California, and our dance is ‘the cool’ dance. You know you can’t dance ugly when you’re all caught up in looking cool. I feel so at home in my skin here in Portland. Thanks for dropping your shit, and being real today.”

I don’t show up to dance to be- anything. Not cool. Not happy, or nice or spiritual. I show up to be…human.

Okay. I suck at being human. Right? To get here to dance, driving, I cut in front of people. I passed homeless folks without giving them money or even eye contact. I drank coffee and ate chocolate grown in non-sustainable farms. My ‘doggy bag’ was put into a styro-foam container.

 

…I arrive at dance. Rattled. Just drove through traffic. Highways. Tunnels. Bridges. Noise in you to music againCars. Bicycles. Pedestrians. Dogs on leashes. Concrete. More concrete. I drank 2 shots of espresso. I’m wearing tight-clingy dance clothes. I drop on the dance floor.

Horizontal.

I sprawl flat and attempt to touch as much of my body from head to toe on the floor. My round skull feels lumpy. My bony protrusions-shoulder blades, elbows, hip bones and ankles feel extra large and it takes awhile for my body to let go. It’s like I am wearing a Fireman’s armor, and as I roll on the floor, I slowly shed it and maybe eventually I begin to feel my body touch the floor.

Sometimes someone else is rolling on the floor near me and I’ll roll over and join them in a contact dance. We’ll take turns smashing and rolling out each other’s crunchiness. One person is a rolling pin and the other person gets rolled flat like dough. 

I often feel compressed-from the inside. Literally I am crowded with sensation. contact Eugene Yahats 2013Even when I’m sitting still, inside I’m swirling. My mind is tossing and turning. My mental images might be strobing from all the visual input of my phone screen. My ears may be roaring from audio input-music, urban noise, recalling conversations and shouts of unsaid withholds to avoid conflict.

Then an ‘Angel’ appears and squeezes me. My outside is squeezed, like how my insides feel cramped. 

At first, I can barely gasp for air.  I die. The ‘old’ life is squeezed out of me. The agitated, eager, caffeinated part of me surrenders under the external pressure of human pressing human, and what remains is humble, vulnerable, naked human . I go from solitude to intimacy. Inside the hug- My heart beats with their heart. And then I have to let go. Present tense human pressing me flat-pushes out past tense survival skills. The ‘Now’ me dominates the old me.

The smush of body weight against the floor feels like a full body hug.

Now, let’s return to ‘ecstatic dance’.

ecstasy  Latin from Greek ekstasis ‘standing outside oneself’.  

Ecstatic Dance:  To move, flail in rhythmic motion, a spontaneous combustion of authenticity in human form.

To be an empathic, sensitive, authentic Human Being

demands discernment;

requires choosing responsibly;

feeds on doing service;

and produces compassion-

AFTER LOT’S OF DANCING.Ecstatic Dance August 2015

My greatest desire is that eventually, by the end of 90 minutes of sweating my prayers, I’ll become human again. Naked under my skin.

Vinn Marti -Arjuna, Father of Soul Motion says “Dance ugly and drool”. 

When I’m dancing, I feel my roots. Around my tail bone and between my legs, I feel energy.

My heart twinges, my skin tingles.

Energy enters me from the soles of my feet runs through the palms of my hands and blows out from the top of my head. And then energy enters me from the palms of my hands and dances out my feet. I am spontaneously combusting love.
picasso dancer

When I show up, my presence makes a difference. There is no doubt that my dance impacts my world.

Every breath ripples laughter in and out of me. Laughter moves me. Joy moves me. Gratitude blasts through my body like sonic waves. I am Boundless. I Defy gravity. Lyrical comes to me. I am danced.

Vibrating, purring. I hum. I am humble.

Titilated.  Every cell stimulated.

My skin wrapper is glittering.  

 

Being Human is the Real Spiritual Practice.

Solitude. Intimate. Vulnerable. Humble. This is how I feel when I’m naked under my skin.

 

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Dance Ecstasy-To Touch or Not To Touch

Poking around with a sharp tool I came across 2 articles I wrote published by Spirituality & Health Magazine on Ecstatic Dance.

To Touch or Not to Touch

by Carola Marashi

contact Eugene Yahats 2013First, a little history (or “her-story”): My first “Sweat Your Prayers” dance was in Houston, Texas, in 1989. We danced Gabrielle Roth’s five rhythms — Flowing, Staccato, Chaos, Lyrical, and Stillness — evoking the prescribed emotions of fear, anger, grief, hope, and compassion. We danced in Spandex and running shoes. More important, we danced vertically, not rolling horizontally on the floor, and we rarely touched one another.

In 1994, three of us moved to Austin and started a new kind of dance. With Gabrielle Roth’s blessing, we borrowed her 5Rhythms, but our goal was to expand the boundaries of touch and intimacy. We wore cotton and danced barefoot. Our guidelines were to “bare your soul,” be nonverbal to hear each other’s heartbeat and breath, and keep our eyes open to witness authenticity. Often, we all ended up in a heap.

In 1996, we changed the name of our dance from Sweat Your Prayers to Body Choir. Our dance expanded from 90 minutes to two hours, to include a warm-up, opening circle, and closing share-back with community announcements. Our goal was to build community through dance. We touched and partnered as a primary dance expression, rather than dancing the five rhythms. To touch or not to touch, and to partner or not to partner, became a great divide in ecstatic dance.

Beyond History, Mystery – My Story Emerges

Ecstatic DanceToday, Conscious Dancer magazine lists 134 variations of ecstatic/freestyle dances offered throughout North America, Europe, Latin America, and Australia. The dance now integrates Hula-Hoops, hip-hop, and Acro yoga with Contact Improvisation and Authentic Movement. Music varies from electronic mixes, kirtan chants, and tribal drums to tango and classical ballet. I like to think that ecstatic dance, in all its forms, is popping up to slow down human soul erosion — in all its forms.

To find the right ecstatic dance tribe for you, you just have to know the ABC’s:

A. Be Aware of the Dance Agreements. Is it a Dance Jam? Barefoot Boogie? Sweat Your Prayers? Dance Jams and Boogies are usually social and improvisational, and they embrace a diversity of expressive movement that includes Hula-Hoops, Contact Improvisation, and/or Sufi spinning. Sweat Your Prayers more likely is a solo class that dances the five rhythms, specifically guided by a certified 5Rhythms teacher. This usually means no touch or Contact Improvisation and specifically follows a Wave with guided dance movements.
B. Boundaries. No matter where you dance, take care of your own boundaries. Definitely stretch your boundaries and find how elastic they are. Remember, you are your primary partner for life. In Body Choir, we say, “Our boundaries are elastic, just like our hearts, giving and receiving love. Stretch your capacity to share love.”
C. Follow Your Center. Whether you’re alone or partnered, know your center. In Contact Improvisation, the “small dance” is feeling your center move. In psychotherapy, it’s called having choices in how you respond to your world. In art, it’s called creativity. The point is to express yourself from the inside out — and discover your “awe-thenticity.”
Carola Marashi is the co-founder of Body Choir in Austin, Texas, and Ashland, Oregon.

– See more at: http://spiritualityhealth.com

LEAP OF FAITH

LEAP and Linger.

My 53rd Birthday Present.  Tandem Paragliding over Southern Oregon Mountains.

Linger.

Linger is my new friend.  I choose to become very familiar, as intimate as I can with Linger.

“To be slow in parting”

is one definition. My relationship with this word linger stuck to me like ‘white on rice’ in contact improvisation dance. In my last jam, we were directed to talk with a partner about how we like to initiate and close our intimate contact dances with each other. Instantly I saw how I ‘leave’ a dance is how I move through my world. Withdraw. Dis-Engage. Drop Out. Impulsively I laughed aloud in class. If I had lingered even briefly, I would have felt sad and not laughed.

A dear friend Nick Crane gifted me with a tandem Paraglide flight. Tandem Paraglide  How ironic that he was my contact partner that I dropped, withdrew, disengaged without notice during dance…Now his pre-flight instructions:  

“I’m strapping you into this harness. When I say run, you run. When I say stop, you stop. Now RUN!”

I sprinted toward the edge of the mountain, pulling him and our wing attached to strands of long colorful lines. And then I lept off a mountain top with Nick close behind me. We were caught by our one long wing filled with air. We glided silently and gracefully high in the sky.

Running, pulling, leaping and then just being carried felt too opposite.  I wanted to flinch, jerk, somehow throw off this Huge Rush of adrenaline making my thigh muscles twitch.  Yet my gift was to just sit and relax into the beauty that enveloped us. Lingering suspends the moment and pleasure expands time and space. Sitting still, I actively moaned and exhaled loudly, to calm myself down. I intended to enjoy the ‘flight’ of paragliding with my friend Nick.

What do I hold onto when I let go?

Jumping off a mountain, what did I hold onto? I trusted my familiar relationship with Nick. We’ve been dancing together for 6 years in Ecstatic Dance/Contact Improvisation in Ashland, Oregon.Contact Improvisation  I know he’s a Paraglide Instructor and flown Tandems hundreds of times. My body knows his body. I trust that he is in his body.  I trust Nick and I have faith in me. Floating through the sky, hovering over mountains, cattle, and sage brush I wondered how Faith relates to Intuition.  I hear myself say “Trust Your Intuition.” How about “Have Faith in Your Intuition”?

Leap of Faith!

Following my intuition frequently feels like a leap of faith. My last blog post broke all my rules of self-preservation and left me feeling raw and exposed. Amidst all the support of my friends, and new friends, my trust in others reached an all time LOW.  Since my last post, I have felt awkward stares, and sideways polite hugs. Fear of alienation escalated after a difficult conversation with a girlfriend.  Instead of going to the second day of a Yoga Festival-I withdrew. A whole Yoga buffet of  lingering moments to sink into myself…I chose to skip out.

In retrospect, authentic blogging compares to dying and being reborn. Transformation is a rush. What follows is a crash. Rushes are not sustainable.

I spent Saturday wandering around town alone feeling lost. Within familiar (withdraw), I did something different (engage). Later in the evening, I humbly asked a friend to listen to me and reflect honesty.  We walked up a dirt road in full moon light.  I was throwing rocks and sobbing.  My friend courageously said to me,

“Carola, it’s time to talk to your Higher Power.  Ask God questions. Surrender.”

Grrr…I gritted my teeth, made a fist.  Dammit! I spit under my breath.

“Surrender? Trust God?”

Quietly, he walked me home. I wanted to be alone with my journal and pen and sulk awhile. The Yoga Festival was in my neighborhood. Jai Uttal was playing a Kirtan outside on a full moon, down the hill from my house. No way could I participate in a spiritual celebration. I was angry. I was angry with God.  Once alone, I furiously started writing.

“God, how can I trust you? You ditched me when I needed you.”

“How can I have faith you’re here for me, when I can’t count on you?”

I had never allowed myself to be angry with God, Higher Power, Spirit before. I kept writing, crying, asking, writing. Writing helps me listen. Writing helps me linger a little longer with my feelings. The message I got from ‘God, Spirit, Higher Power’ when I surrendered:

LINGER. Hang just a little longer!

Have a little faith? Have a little hope? Ask for help from my Higher Power?

Hmmm.  What is my relationship with My Higher Power? Okay God. Do I feel your presence? Do I really know I’m not alone? Where were you? or Where are you? I’m not angry that my parents abandoned me-I’m angry that YOU abandoned me.  I gotta be honest with me. I lived in HELL. I’m angry that you were not there.  If you were there-is that even harder to accept?  I feel lost and I want help.  I’m feeling hope-LESS. I am sooo ready to check out. Really lost/HURT/ angry that I keep losing energy fighting this alone. God I’m asking for your guidance. Please point out my path so I can stay committed to my path. yeah. I keep feeling like I’m on a detour. 

 God! Right now I am in Hell. Hell is inside me. My mind. My doubt.

My path God? Goddess? What did you put me here to ‘DO’?  I nod my head. I feel the truth. Yeah. I can feel the truth in this. God, you didn’t make it easy ’cause my Path isn’t easy. 

 Oh…The journey of a Shaman/ Healer- you try to Kill them. Right. Living in Hell had a purpose. My dying and coming alive-helps me be whole. My forgiveness is real.

I can Accept now – this descent into Hell.  This ain’t religion I’m believing. This belief is real inside me. Is this Faith?

 Yep. I feel the space open in my gut-when I hear the truth. I am here to Love. Accept. Forgive. My path is to Love my enemy. Forgive my enemy. Accept my enemy. Be better than my enemy. My enemy is inside me- it’s my Doubt. 

 Did I ask? Did I surrender?

“Carola You are here to know what it is to be alive, breathe, move from your heart and soul. Then you bring others to their Hearts. Simple.”

 Okay. I feel you. I am not alone. You do help me feel You-through others. Ah Yes! Human Angels. My dear friend who held me and told me to talk to you- is a Human Angel. Thank you God, Goddess. I am smiling. I am at Peace Now.

Back to Linger.  Linger is what I ‘DO’ to help me surrender to Spirit. Linger conjures subtlety.  Linger helps me respond instead of react. While I linger, I quiet down to listen to my intuition. The more faith I have in me, as a newly born Adult, the more I can relax and linger a little while longer. Like right now writing. I’m lingering.

 
Thanks for joining me. My Human Angel.MarcusScott
Unsteady, wobbly, shaky? Your higher self is requesting attention. My sessions are intended to sharpen your own tools for self discovery.

512-925-0625  (Customary love offering $1 per minute.)

Intuition Counseling helps you listen and respond to your own inner guidance. Have faith in your intuition.

About Me-Carola Marashi M.A.I live simply in Southern Oregon on a permaculture sanctuary owned and designed by my Heart Circle Mate. Surrounding me are gardens, animals, wild nature, and a wild dance community with open hearts.

My Intuition Counseling (since 1982) weaves authenticity, integrity, art and movement. I am author of 2 self-published books: SENSUAL EATING, and SACRED DANCE with 22 Card Tarot Deck. I hold a Masters degree in Transpersonal Psychology and Bachelor’s degree in Nutrition. I am Co-Founder of Body Choir Ecstatic Dance Established 1994.  In Austin, Sante Fe, Ashland, Medford.

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