Spiritual Dancing, Part 1

Photo on 11-6-14 at 1.21 PM

Scotch invited me to join him for Spiritual Dancing today at 11am. I said yes without asking any questions. I’ve come to trust Scotch over the years and he knows me about as well as anyone. If he thinks I will find something edifying, I probably will.

We drove to West LA, to a Masonic Temple. (The dance is not a function of the Masons; the “dance tribe” rents the space.) You may find this hard to believe about me but I actually have a fair amount of social anxiety and being in a large group of people who are strangers to me is not always the most comfortable place for me to be. I decided I’d let myself be as reclusive as I wanted, committed to doing whatever I needed to do to feel safe during whatever it was I was about to experience.

As I’ve told y’all before, I grew up in the Church of Christ which teaches that dancing is a sin. I think they’ve lightened up on that a bit these days with regard to certain kinds of dancing but when I was a kid it pretty much applied to all kinds of dancing. I always hated that because dancing always has been a way for me to express myself and I imagined God liked to see me dance. One of favorite scriptures has always been 2 Samuel 6:14, “And David danced before the Lord.” I know what it feels like to “dance before the Lord” because I done a bit of it myself. I’m glad that I overcame the limiting teachings of that church and went on to dance a lot as an adult. Even so, I wasn’t so sure about what this “spiritual dancing” was going to look like so, although I was compelled to say “yes” to Scotch when he invited me, it wasn’t without a measure of trepidation.

When we arrived I found a place up next to the wall and laid down as close to it as I could. I was like a snake in the crack between the wall and the floor. I made myself as small as possible and stayed there, still, and watched as others started to come in. They were mostly the sorts I would expect to come to something called “Spiritual Dancing,” healthy looking and beautiful, clear and sparkling eyes. Everyone who entered had a pure and clean energy about them and I started to feel more at ease. I hadn’t even noticed that the music had started to play.

There’s almost no talking during the whole event and during the dance part, talking is actually discouraged. I watched as the first couple of people started sway and begin their dance which struck me immediately as a physical way to pray. One beautiful man, wearing yoga pants and no shirt, sat in lotus mediation pose at the end of the room. The music was trancelike and had a distinctly Eastern feel to it. Before I knew it, the snake (me) was started to slowly flow with the sound and was creeping out of his crack of safety. The space and the people gathered there felt so extremely safe to me, I figured out pretty quickly that this one going to be a righteous experience where it would be okay for me to express by prayer with my body. I remembered how, when I first came to California to live in 1997— that I had finally found “my people.” There’s a moment in the Showtime doc where I’m talking about that time. I say, “I moved to Hollywood… to be with the other freaks.” It doesn’t even have that much to do with the central message of the film but that might be the most memorable moment of the whole movie for me because I’m so happy remembering it. I was so happy when it happened. There is joy in my voice when I’m recalling getting out of the oppressive geography of my youth and into a place where I could be myself. Beging at the dance today reminded me how much I love and belong in California. And I’m still very much a New Yorker. Although I hope never to live there again, I also will always be a “Bama boy.” But as far as my residences, I have now decided to be bicoastal and spend my time between New York and LA. As much pain as it caused, that’s one thing I can say about having amputated the troubled ex— I can live wherever the fuck I want to now. I just have to make sure my fur babies are welcome.

I want to tell you more about the dance but it will have to wait until tomorrow morning. My eyes feel like they are about to shoot blood I’m so tired. I love y’all and

I’ll see y’all tomorrow.

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