Spiritual Dancing, Part 2

Photo on 11-6-14 at 1.23 PM #2

As more and more people entered, the energy of the spiritual dance kept getting fuller and fuller. I let my eyes go to a soft-focus because I lost, early on, any desire to dance with anyone’s skin or their story. I wanted to stay in my own prayer and also, to the extent that I interacted at all, wanted to simply pray for the souls that were housed (for such a short time) inside these bodies we were using to pray in this way. If I thought about any of the other dancers individually at all, it was so simply pray for them and then move on.

It’s so interesting to me to observe my thinking sometimes. As I danced I became aware for brief moments that I was aware of wondering if other people were watching me. “Is my dance okay?”,”Am I doing this right?”, “Do I look silly?” And yet, with these thoughts present, to just reinvigorate my dance to God and remember why I was there and to not even judge myself for having these thoughts. In fact, I even came to love the part of myself that was having these thoughts. I’ve been ridiculed so much in my life, especially early on and so I began to pray a prayer of celebration that I would have the audacity to be doing something like this spiritual dancing when so much of my experience had tried to make me “shut up and sit down.” I love that sensitive little gay boy who was so mercilessly bullied who absolutely refuses not to dance. He, not the muscled-wearing Marine, is the strongest part of me.

The intensity of the music ramped up another level and before I knew it, I was soaked with sweat.

I danced much of the time with my eyes closed but occasionally would open them to enjoy the beauty of the other dancers, to celebrate their prayers with a physical manifestation to represent them. At one point I turned and saw a breathtakingly beautiful young man in front of me. He had the body of a carved-marble statue one might see in a museum. But it was his face, the look of ecstatic worship on his face that drew me in; there was such beauty there. I felt like I could have just stared at him for the rest of the dance. And although he is definitely sexually attractive, it wasn’t just a sexual attraction I was feeling. I was attracted to how in love he was with his dance and his prayer. His arms were raised above his head and my eyes were drown to his serratus anterior muscles. Do you know them? They are the “banana muscles” that wrap around the ribs from the back. His moved like the strong spines of a fan as his lungs filled and then emptied of deep and cleansing breaths. I found myself breathing with him. He turned halfway and I could see the intercostals on the other side of his ribs and a single word tattooed across them, “trust.” That breath caught in my throat and I felt like gravity had become horizontal and someone had placed a hundred-pound anvil on my chest. “Trust!” It was like a message and a challenge directly from God. Trust is not something that has historical come easy for me and now, after having been together with Adam for all those years and what that entailed, it is a concept that has seemed at times simply impossible. Here, dancing before me, was this beautiful expression of God with an admonition printed right on his body, as I saw it, as a reminder from my Creator. The young man opened his eyes and ours locked. His were the color of the sky. His hands went towards the heavens again and I saw that he had another word printed on his body. You know most of my tattoos are words. For me, that’s a lot about getting the words “on the outside,” a reminder to me as a writer and an artist— a reminder to me as a spiritual traveler. The word across the dancing Adonis’ bicep said simply, “Love,” another message from God that hit me squarely in the heart. I laughed and just dragged my index finger across the word on his arm. I lifted my left arm and showed him my “brother’s keeper” tat and he laughed too. He fell into me in this great fraternal hug that felt so good I almost cried. I was willing to give him all the physical space he needed because everyone deserves that but also because I know because of his physical beauty, he must have people “coming on to him” all the time. But his hug was genuine and there was an instant connection. I’m kind of sketchy about people touching me without permission. People often do it with me, especially women. I’ve been touched a lot in my life in ways that did not feel good or safe to me. I like to be in charge of when people touch me. In this case, it was one hundred percent okay with me and not just because he was so physically beautiful; more it was because he is so spiritually beautiful.

I have a very furry chest and belly and as I mentioned before, by this time I was drenched in sweat so when we disengaged from our embrace, he was wearing a lot of my liquid on his torso. He sort of made this funny face and squeegeed it off with his hands. He was so okay with it, he performed the gesture as sort of joking around thing but all of a sudden I felt shame and embarrassment and a ton of historical bullshit associated with any part of me being “bad” and/or unwelcome in someone else’s life or space. He laughed again and I knew he was okay with it. We danced apart and I got to pray more about my reaction to his gesture. Life is beautiful and the lessons are sometime not all that pleasant. Sometimes the lessons have pleasant components and difficult ones too.

I danced for another hour— or maybe it was ten minutes— time had become somehow irrelevant in my ecstatic state. I weaved in and out of the other dancers— they were all ages, all shapes and sizes, all races. All beautiful.

At some point I became aware of three young men, dancing in a circle. The form their dance had taken was basically facing each there and jumping straight up into the air and making animal noises. It was boyhood energy at is most pure. I stood a few feet from their circle and closed my eyes. I held up my hands and arms in a way that would have encircled them in a huge hug if my arms could have reached that far. I imagined that the three of them were my sons. I felt how proud I was of them and how much I loved them. I prayed, “God, thank you for these beautiful boys. Thank you for the incredible expression or your energy they are here on this earth. May their lives be filled with love and may their lessons come gently. Amen.” When I opened my eyes that had opened a space in the circle for me to enter. It felt great to be so warmly welcomed into a circle of men. (This was not always the case for me in my life.) But now it was! And I was no longer holding the space of Father energy, I was one of the boys now. I began to leap into the air with them, added my shouts to theirs. We would fly high up into the air, looking at each other, laughing and growling and roaring and barking. I love boy energy. I love to let my inner boy leap.

As if he had materialized out of thin air, there was, all-of-a-sudden, an actually boy, about seven years old, dancing in the middle of our circle. It was outstanding! Our dance/prayers immediately became about him and I knew the hearts of the other young men were in the same space as mine— all about the wellbeing of this little dude who had had the courage to step into the circle of a whole bunch of masculine energy and just to start drinking it in! He would dance for several seconds and then just stop, breathing deeply, as if it was too much to take. Something in me wanted for us to lift him up above our heads, I actually “saw” it in my mind’s eye. For a second I considered instigating that but reconsidered. As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, I don’t want to be a part of setting a paradigm where its okay for strange men to do things with a child’s body that has not been carefully and safely organized by their parent or the person charged with keeping them safe in that moment. I couldn’t see who his parent was so I was content just to hold the vision of the four of us holding him up— indeed, we already were in a way.

We’d all been dancing for a long time but I really had no idea (and very little care) of how long exactly. I’ve seen film of actual whirling dervishes and wondered how they spin like that without getting dizzy and sick. I’ve heard that they simply focus only on the word “Allah” while they are dancing. I’ve also seen a fair amount of Sufi dancing and I’ve always been intrigued by the concept of prayer through dance. I didn’t get dizzy. I didn’t get tired. It was all good.  It’s sort of heartbreaking to me that any religion would teach that dance of any form is sinful. I certainly felt anything but sinful yesterday.

I found myself spinning around and around; most of the people around me were dancing in the same way. When I stopped, I was face-to-face with the young man with whom I had interacted early in the dance, the one with “love” and “trust” written on his body. I don’t know what made me do it but I just held up my hands and placed them on his chest. I stopped dancing and just focused all my loving energy on his heart, praying as hard as I could pray for him, calling on God to grant him blessings beyond his wildest imaginings. I felt an incredible amount of power flowing through me, down from above and throughout my body, down my arms, heating up my hands and entering his body. The power was so all-engulfing I literally started to shake. I just breathed deeper and prayed harder. When it was complete, I opened my eyes and so did he. He said, “Wow brother, you got some power in those hands!” I opened my mouth to say, “It’s not my power” but nothing came out. It was as if some force stopped me from saying it. It’s not until now, telling you about it, that I realize what that was about. That guy knows that it was Divine energy I was channeling and not “mine” per se. I certainly know that too. It came through me and not from me. But I think God knows that I have had a lot of experience discounting my value and my worth in a  lot of ways and by stopping my tongue, God was forcing me to accept the man’s appreciation for my part in his healing and in his prayers. I’ve felt too small, even when there was a lot of evidence around me that would have (had I been able) lead me to see my part in God’s unfoldment here on Earth. I too often step in for the oppressors of the past. I’m too mean to myself, sometimes downright vicious.  I’m willing to stop that. I’m willing to surrender that to God and allow this perfect work to happen for me so that I can live in bliss and be of service— which are usually one-in-the-same for me.

Having had the first experience with this one fellow dancer/traveler/spirt would have been enough but I was blessed by this second helping of what he was bringing to the dance. I was about to bow out of the connection but before I was able, his hands were on my chest, beaming love back into me.

A wave of grief came immediately over me and the tears came like a flood. There was nothing gradual about it. I was instantly “in process.” Over the course of my years with Adam, I came to feel very unattractive. His physical rejection of me was only a part of it but coupled with the psychological abuse, it has been a very slow healing process. I think I actually stayed in the “marriage” for years after I should have left because I intuited how difficult it was going to be for me to get over it. That’s not sane and I realize it. It’s the same mentality that keeps the alcoholic drinking even though he knows it is killing him for fear of what life without alcohol will be like, how hard it will be to recover. I was much younger man when Adam met me and not only were chronological years added while we were together, there were double that many years added because of the stress. To reenter the “dating pool” after all that— well, I still don’t even know if that’s going to be possible a lot of the time. It got so bad that I felt like no attractive man would ever want to touch me again and having this young beautiful dancer interacting with me in the way that he was was just an incredible contradiction to the story I tell myself about all that.

There was so much power surging out of his strong hands and into my chest, I started to feel like my heart was going to be pushed out the back between my shoulder blades. I began to wish there was someone else back there, supporting me from the behind. A wish is a prayer of sorts, I reckon. No sooner had I wished for that second pair of hands than they appeared. I felt the warmth of them hovering over my back. I assumed it was Scotch and almost turned around to see. But then I decided not to; it wasn’t really important who it was after all. Whoever it was has shown up at just the right time and I figured God was behind that. I just stood there sobbing— about Adam, about Dad, about the war, about my recent struggles, about it all. I surrendered completely to the process and let God and these angels help me with this important work. I just let go.

When the young man (I later found out his name is Jesse) had finished praying over my heart, he pulled me into him and gently guided my head onto his shoulder. I just let him hold me. I just let the tears come. I could see with my peripheral vision that the person who had been supporting me from the back had moved to the side and was just holding her hands up in prayer, blessing the activity represented by our embrace.  She was beautiful, radiant, blonde. I reached to her and pulled her in. The three of us stood there holding each other for several minutes. She brought Mother energy to our union, it completed it in an important way.

I know all this must sound peculiar to some of you. Others will “get it” in a profound way. For those of you who’ve been keeping up with my story of late, you know how badly I needed this and more experiences like it. Somewhere along the way I had forgotten who I am. I’m starting to remember.

At the close of the ceremony, we all stood in a circle and held hands. We went around and each person said his or her name. Then the facilitator invited anyone who had a birthday this week to step into the circle. Who do you think entered the circle? The seven year-old boy! The tradition of this “dance tribe” is for everyone to lift up the person(s) whose birthday it is and gently rock them overhead. My vision from before had been made manifest in the most perfect way. I understood why I had “seen” him being held above our heads earlier. I had simply been seeing what was to be. I was happy I had followed the guidance of my heart. I understood that there were powerful spiritual lessons for me around that whole situation. For everything there is a perfect time under heaven. Sometimes it’s important to be still and wait.

After the dance, in front of the facility we bought coconuts from a man who opened them with a machete in front of us. The cool liquid came into my body and I could feel it almost immediately all the way down to my fingertips. The warm California breeze began to dry my salty, wet skin.

As we were pulling away, I saw the seven year-old boy leaving with his mother. I yelled out the window to him, “Thanks for dancing with the boys little brother!” His mother leaned in the window and smiled, “Do you want to know the full story behind that?” Of course I did. She said, “He came up to me and said how afraid of you guys he was, all that powerful jumping and yelling. I told him he had two choices, he could stay far away from you or go join you. That was when he came over and got in the middle of your circle.” I was absolutely speechless. I looked at the boy and my heart flooded with joy for him. How wonderful that he was able to challenge his fear in that way! How honored I felt to have been a part of it! I thought about how many similar situations I had felt when I was his age. It did not go so well for me. There was no resentment in this realization though, just joy— joy that here was a group of adults doing very well by this kid and joy that in some way the pain of my past path had made me appreciate this more!

As we said goodbye, Scotch said to the boy and his mother, “I have three little ones at home. I’m going to take this lesson to them!” I told them, “I’m going to take it for myself!”

See y’all tomorrow.

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