I find myself lately saying when I am teaching « this is why this is a practice… ».
And sometimes I would even hear myself saying it so it got me interested to dig a bit deeper into it.
What are we practicing when moving with these 5 Rhythms, when dancing body parts, when doing walking meditation, when dancing with a partner or when dancing unity circle?
For me the most general answer is that I am practicing being present.
Dancing Flowing I am practicing finding my ground which can be really helpful when I feel I don’t know who I am and where I am going. I practice following my feet into the empty space and being open for the doors that open for me and I find that very useful when I stop moving and get stuck hitting into the closed doors.
Dancing Staccato I am practicing the clarity that only my heart can offer and this is a good medicine when I get so separate from my emotions that the only thing I can feel is my tension. I practice moving from my center and that brings me back to the best place from which to make connection with people and world outside of me.
Dancing Chaos I am practicing dancing so wild, so free that I can break through the deadly safe habitual way of thinking, feeling, moving. I practice letting go of my head to my dancing feet so that my preoccupied mind can be released of its confusion.
Dancing Lyrical I am practicing being so deep in the effortless movement of my body so that I can wake up from this autopilot running my life. I practice lightening up from the hands to my feet to create a welcome for my soul into my dance that was waiting for somebody to finally come home.
Dancing Stillness I am practicing uniting my movement with my breath as so many times I am frozen and witnessing my life passing by and feeling dead inside. I practice putting all I have into the emptiness of this dance, letting the breath move me and finding hope again.
What do you need to practice?
I am writing this just after our 9th Tribal Dance, 5 days workshop from Old to New Year (you can have a look here in this short video).
It was truly a full on one so this letter from me will be short and simple and hopefully sweet.
I belong to my body.
My body belongs to the dance.
I commit to my heart.
My heart is committed to the love.
I am co-creating with my mind.
My mind is co-creating with the mystery.
I am connecting to the nature of my soul.
My soul is connected to the nature of all things
I breathe my spirit alive.
My spirit lives in my breath. My spirit dances with my breath.
May this New Year 2019 be full of dance, love, mystery, nature and breath aliveness.
May we find any possible way to feel more at home in our bodies, any possible way to feel alive in our bodies. May we find ways to give our bodies fresh air, clear water, nourishing food, safe touch, healing sleep. Again and Again. Practice.
May we find the discipline to keep coming back to our center, no matter how many times we loose it. May we find honesty with ourselves in the times when we are lying to ourselves and others. Every time with more forgiveness and more responsability. Again and again. Practice.
May we find the strength in the moments when we are breaking down and in pain, when we feel we are the only ones feeling this way, to reach out for connection. Reach out to a friend, to a stranger, to a cat, to a tree, to a river… to ourself. Again and again, Practice.
May we find the way to be easy with ourselves when things are not going easy. May we find the comfort in the simple things that can be shared; like a smile, like a cup of tea, like a favorite song, like a story of our life, like a dream we just can’t forget about. Again and again. Practice.
May we find a way to rest, that guilt-free way of resting my mind on my breath for few minutes, that unapologetic way of resting my whole body down on the ground like a cat for few minutes, that carefree way of resting my heart on a sight of beautiful sunset for few minutes. Again and again. Practice.
There is something deeply human in our search for that something which will always work and that something which will work for everybody.
One of the favorite answers that I like to give when asked the 5 Rhythms, is: “It is not everybody’s cup of tea, but it is open to everybody.”
The more I teach, and especially when I dance, the more I am fascinated with by how different each rhythm is from all the others on a very physical and energy levels. The very uniqueness of each of these 5 Rhythms fascinates me, and how much we sometimes tend to stay in one of them, for whatever reason, and how beautiful it is that we actually can do so. We can spend the whole Wave in a Flowing mood, or in a Staccato vibe, or in a Chaos color, or on a Lyrical level or in a Stillness vibration.
What a challenge it is to travel the whole Wave, to really visit these different energy fields and different states of being by moving in their maps.
Sometimes at the end of the Wave I really feel like I have travelled the whole world. My world.
I have visited this deep inner part of me, that very cozy place inside of me , a place where I feel good inside my own skin, a place where I can welcome myself and others. The part of me where I feel the roots of my feet dancing with the roots of my mother and my land. The part of me that is in the same hood with my resistance to move, and my fear of being moved, and my courage to just be. Flowing.
I have visited that part in me that gets me from one place to another, from my heart to another, from what is inside to who is outside and what is needed. The place where some things are actually organized and have clear boundaries and there are stickers on each jar saying what is inside and there are some manuals with instructions. Staccato.
I have visited a part of me where it feels like both my neurons and my neurosis are dancing, and there is nothing else to do but bow my head to this masterful creativity that includes constant shattering and dissolving. The place where there is so many things going on in the same time. I am listening and I am speaking, I am seeing and I am being seen, I am inhaling and I am exhaling, I am giving and I am receiving, I am feminine and I am masculine, and I am you and you are me. Chaos.
I have visited a part of me where my smiles are born from, a part where I do my best to keep my faith safe and sound, a part of me that is a helpless fool for love and a part of me that can’t get enough of the beauty of flowers and sunsets and moments of truth. A place of trance where my movements go through time and my love travels through space. Lyrical.
I have visited a part of me that somehow still feels like the furthest destination, something like the South Pole of me. And it still keeps calling me to visit these unvisited parts of me where emptiness can feel soothing and embracing. A place where I have enough distance from the things I am leaving behind, the endings that need a good goodbye. A place where I am touching with my fingertips the beautiful uncertainty of some new beginnings. Stillness.
Welcome to the 5 Rhythms practice, these maps can take you on a journey around your whole world.
For me there is nothing more loving than being able to be present for somebody’s fear (including my own). To hold the ground when it feels like the ground is shaking.
“I am scared that you will leave me. I am scared I will leave you. I am scared I am too much for you. I am scared I am not enough for you. I am scared of coming too close. I am scared of being too far away….”
May we find courage in love.
Nothing more loving than being able to be present for somebody’s anger (including my own).
To hold the center when it feels like the fire is blazing.
“You never see me! I always fuck up! You are just like the rest of them! I am just like my mother! Shut up! Talk to me! You are such a mess! I am such a bitch! I can’t take this anymore!”
May we find forgiveness in love.
Nothing more loving than being able to be present for somebody’s sadness (including my own).
To be soft when it feels like waves of sadness are washing over me.
“This is the end. I don’t deserve love. Why me? Why now? Here we go again. When will I learn? It makes no sense. What’s the point? I don’t believe in love anymore. Alone again.”
May we find freedom in love.
Nothing more loving than being able to be present for somebody’s joy (including my own).
To be light when it feels like being touched by grace.
“Is this true? Wow. Awesome. Oh my God. Yes, more please. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Let’s do it again. You are so beautiful. I feel so beautiful with you. To the Moon and back.”
May we find gratitude in love.
Nothing more loving than being able to be present for somebody’s compassion (including my own).
To keep breathing when it feels like each breath is hallelujah. To keep breathing in this place where we look in each other’s eyes and we see the part of us beyond emotions, the clear blue sky.
“Inhale. Pause. Exhale. Pause.”
May we live in love.
With love, Silvija
My growing up was during the time of Yugoslavia and so at the age of 7 I became Tito’s pioneer and this pledge that I swore to, left a big impact at me:
Today, as I become a Pioneer,
I give my Pioneer’s word of honour –
That I shall study and work diligently,
respect my parents and my seniors,
and be a loyal and honest friend.
That I shall love our homeland, self-managed
Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
That I shall spread brotherhood and unity
and the principles for which comrade Tito fought.
And that I shall respect all people of the world who value freedom and peace!
As a child my idea and the image of Yugoslavia that I had in my mind was made up of one couple from each of the 6 republics, each dressed in their own unique folk costumes, dancing their kind of dance as they all form a circle holding hands and dancing around and singing together. This image is still strong in my mind.
At the same time, my life at home as a kid was pretty lonely, my sister is 6 years older than me and somehow we almost never had much to talk about and connect with. My memory of our meals at home was being the youngest and somehow not a part of the conversation when there was one and sometimes there was no conversation at all. Our family felt very small. My mother was an only child and my father had a brother who wasn’t connecting with my father at the time, moreover, my aunt and uncle had no children. All this shaped me in some way.
Finding 5Rhythms was suddenly finding all that I was missing for such a long time. There was a sense of unity and togetherness and dancing towards freedom and peace no matter where we came from. It felt like finding a family where I was a part of this non-verbal conversation where each of us has something to say/dance. Somehow the things that were missing or were broken, started to come together in a beautiful and healing way.
My first step with 5Rhythms was to bring this practice to Zagreb, so I became an organizer. In the beginning it was the only way I knew how to dance myself. It was an amazing combination of bringing people and teachers together and creating spaces for magic to happen and lives to heal. In the midst of all that I realized that actually I was still on the outside, I was not fully in; not completely participating, I always had some work to do and my inner control freak found a full time job. I had a role to hide behind. I was somehow still on the sidelines watching groups and people get what I needed and had found in this practice.
Becoming a 5Rhythms teacher helped me to feel more involved and less at the periphery, and still I could hide behind my desk, and be jealous of people in front of me having a great time. This has changed over the years. First I found more and more ground and courage within me to be able to really see everybody in the group – to see the suffering and to see the healing. As the years of teaching went on I felt more and more comfortable in my own skin and started to allow myself to show in my truth, in my power and in my vulnerability. There was a time when I had such a back pain at a workshop that all I could do was crawl on the floor and then there was a time when I had pissed my pants while demonstrating jumping on the trampoline.
With the Heartbeat Training there was an important and crucial shift in my heart, and I found ways to open my heart to those in front of me and around me and feel loved as well as loving.
I am very proud that this year I enrolled in an Ongoing group as a participant, and I am making my way to being a part of the group, part of the tribe, part of this crazy dancing family, to letting myself be held.
This summer I also accepted that I actually am a social animal and I enjoyed sharing a big house with our friends and colleagues and our kids during both of our summer workshops so much. I realized that I found it living together in this way so much easier. I love that like in the dance, you have possibilities to dance by yourself in a room full of people, and you can dance with one person in a very intimate way for a few minutes before you move to the next one, and during all these dances knowing that I have a place in this big circle and that only I can take myself out of it was a big realization for me. A part of me does not believe that it would be possible to live like that here in Zagreb (we don’t have community living as far as I know) and the part of me that is writing these lines is hoping that it is not too late to find or co-create something like that.
Looking forward to the next time we meet each other on the dance floor when all our elbows become a part of a bigger elbows circle/community!!
Tonight I want to write about fear. The fear that is right here, so much of the time. Maybe even all the time. I hope so actually, as in its essential power it is my best ally, that one friend that will keep my eyes open and remind me of my instinctual self. I was recently at a concert, and we were one of the first people who arrived. As others were joining in, I noticed how all of us found our place close to the walls, and left the whole open area in front of the stage empty. It was scary to go there, and the wall behind our backs gave us the support, something safe to hold on. Once the concert started the energy changed a little, it was as if because the musicians on the stage were brave enough to stand out there and share their gifts, we were invited to come closer. This is something I notice often on the dance floor. At the beginning of the class, fear holds us close to the walls, in the parts of the room close to the exit door where there is less light and for sure further away from the teacher’s table. And then just like magic, one by one we start with our flow, with finding our feet and we let our feet find our courage to go for empty space and slowly step by step, your step, my step, most of the room is moving and wherever we step in the room with our awake embodiment is our safe space. We can find the roots of our freedom in our feet following each other.
Tonight I want to write about anger. I thought anger was this heartless unpredictable over the edge punishing lashing out energy. Oh yes there was also this constant complaining verbal putting down and bitching and holding back. And yes, I learned about it from the first row, when directed to me.
I learned it so well through imitation that I started to believe this is who I am. This is what anger is. So no wonder I feel guilty and ashamed of this truth warrior living in me, the lie and bullshit detector that never fails me, the protective mama cat ready to defend not only her kids but all the innocents. It is taking me a long time, many anger dances where I keep re-defining and re-aligning this anger energy, to find its pure wisdom of a heartfelt yes and no. The part of me that feels like I could go through the walls and move any mountain, the part of me that is a rebel with the cause, the part of me that feels the passion to be real and alive.
Tonight I want to write about sadness. I see sometimes parts of us that are avoiding other’s people grief like it is contagious and in a way it is. It is like swimming in the same water, and we try so much to walk on water rather then surrender to it. Surrender to the waves of this cleansing releasing liberating energy. It feels sometimes like my sadness is a river that just wants to go back home to the ocean where it came from, where it belongs, and I need to stop holding onto it like it is only mine and like I would be lost without it. Sometimes I need to be a sadness whisperer, as my sadness is more solid then flowing, in some places of my heart and body it even feels it is calcified. So I whisper to it, and she says “but I don’t know why I feel this way, I don’t know what this is about, I don’t know why I am sad, I don’t know how deep this goes, I don’t know how long I will cry” and I keep whispering and giving space and rocking myself and allowing myself to have strange sounds to leave my mouth, my heart, my soul. I allow myself to grieve about things I never even had at the first place, not just those that I lost.
Tonight I want to write about joy. There is this part of me that is going for happiness and it wants to be entertained, it wants to be invited to the school dance, it wants to be picked out from all the other flowers. And it waits and it gets lazy, and becomes really miserable about missing all the joy out of life. This part loves to think everybody else is happy but me, and if it is not their fault that I am not happy then it must be mine. Or it is the weather or the football or the government. I realize more and more that this is one of the reasons why I love the dance so much, as it has always been such a simple accessible gateway into pure joy for me. The kind of joy that is hard to pin down and box, even name it. It is such a shape-shifter. It is always here somewhere. It doesn’t always have a smile on its face. It doesn’t always skip and jumps around. It is not always in bright colors. Sometimes it is actually like a striptease of all the things that I am, not to find the joy I came here to share with you.
Tonight I want to talk about compassion. The one that we are born with. The one that comes from simply seeing each other. The one the bypasses thinking and goes straight into action and many times the action that is needed is to do nothing, just to let it be. To breathe. Compassion that comes from knowing our own heart so well and from living it over and over again. Compassion that happens when we all move and breathe like one, no matter what movement it is. No matter who is this “we”.
With love, Silvija
How much weight I put on my own flow, on being who I am, on my own truth. And when this goes for longer time, I start to identify with that weight, with that resistance, as I forgot the taste of my own self, the one that is ever changing. I start to believe that I am that heavy energy that just wants to sit all day through, that wants to hide rather then to say the truth and show up, that hand that keeps pulling me back and shutting my mouth. So much effort into holding back this natural force of energy I was born with, my unique flavour. And then I am surprised why am I so tired, as it looks on the surface that I am not doing anything. But I know how strong life is and how much it takes to hold it back. And then to make things even harder I start judging myself for being like that, and I start to fight with something that is not even who I am, so it feels like fighting with the shadow. And when the pain of being closed and living so shallow becomes to much to bear, I drag myself to the dance floor, and I begin exactly where I am, by dragging my ass around, by rolling on the floor in my own self-pity, by making myself as small as I can physically get and in the midst of that I start to feel acceptance infusion running in my blood, my breath being release by the grip of my ego, and the dance starts to reveal itself to me. Again.
Tears start pouring out without me even allowing them as this time the gates were open for the flood of sadness. The pain in the joints of my body, in the locks of my heart begins to cry for freedom. And in that cry for freedom I find the lioness scream in my belly, in my womb, in my vagina – and the dance is born out of my frustration. All that frustration about other people this and other people that, and I am too much and they are not enough, and I need help but I am beyond help, and this keeps happening and I learn nothing because it keeps happening. The steady beat in the music is cheering for me, is backing up my whole body shaking it out, burning it down. And in this scream and in this dance, nobody gets hurt. I am not eating myself anymore from the inside, I am not blaming those on the outside and biting them just to keep them at the distance, I am not bursting out in uncontrolled rage towards the little ones.
The big wall of Silvija crumbled down like a ginger cake house, and I find myself sharing the sweet crumbles with those around me as they welcome me with eyes and arms open. I even find myself with some extra energy after long time, I overflow into the corners of the room to those whose eyes and arms are closed. I notice the lightness of my being, I am aware of the spaciousness inside of my heart. It feels like before all my emotions were squeezing into this waiting room just outside, in front of my heart, and everytime I would postpone, ignore, reject, push away those emotions they would just fill in the waiting room, and that crowded waiting room of emotions that were to be honest kind of loosing their patience, was squeezing in the heart and taking more space then the heart itself. As they were let in, sometimes more emotions in the same time, I could let them go and as I kept dancing, the waiting room emptied out and the heart could stretch its legs and arms and breath easy again. And in that stretching, I was hit by waves of gratitude. You know those moments when all makes sense. The pain and the pleasure, the fullness and the emptiness, the shadow and the light. You and me. Oh yes.
Can’t wait to dance again…
What about you?
“When joy does come, it should be celebrated, although many of us are embarrassed by spontaneous bursts of elation. It’s not that we think there is something wrong with being joyful, but that we have a notion it’s not cool or sophisticated to be too joyful, or too openly emotional. We’re often as uncomfortable about having hearts as we are about having bodies.”
The joy of dancing. The joy of being alive. The theme I need, the theme I explore, the theme I offer.
In the dance, I find enjoyment when I allow my body to do what it needs to do, what it wants to do. I have a feeling that my body laughs as a little child who was finally allowed to take of its shoes and get its clothes dirty. In the dance, I somehow manage to dig out the spontaneity under layers of politeness, fear and prohibition. When I dance, I sometimes realise that I feel like laughing, but that I hide that silly, flushed, sweaty face of mine. The best thing happens when, out of the corner of my eye, I somehow spot another silly, flushed, sweaty face which laughs even though nothing is funny. So, I laugh back, like a mirror. There are some special friends, some special moments we have together, some films, some comedians I laugh at from the top of my lungs, I scream with laughter, I have to get up, can’t sit back any more, I have to jump and wag my tail. Crazy! I sometimes catch that moment of happiness like I have caught a beautiful butterfly in the mid air, and as soon as I catch it I know the only way for it to continue living is to let it fly away as soon as possible. There are those moments of joy that hold me in their arms only when I surrender totally to everything, even to the deep sorrow. You know that laughter which vibrates the same as crying which vibrates the same as laughing, belly- and chest-shaking, and that crazy feeling of release through that laughing, through that crying. Sometimes when I lead workshops I am seduced by the beauty of what I see in the group, in the dance, in the people – it is so real, so honest, so human that I forget to play the next song on time. What a wonderful “error”, one that I enjoy indulging in, even praise myself for it! I love feeling the sense of fulfilment which actually makes me empty as much as full, the sense of peace which I somehow earned and which is actually always present inside. When I finally get in touch with it and let it overflow me I get that Mona Lisa smile. I am grateful for the joy of play I rediscover with my children – there is nothing more precious than watching them play together, make each other laugh till they cry, make each other laugh till they pee their pants. I am also very lucky to find so much goodness, so much frolic, so much new things in my work and the fact that it has brought me to you.
I am also happy to offer MENTORING for 5Rhythms Teachers and Teachers in Training. Individual Skype Sessions offering a safe space to share and to express. A place where I am being a witness and a listener and creating a possibility for you to hear yourself and find answers and ways through your questions.
I wish you a wonderful, flourishing and dancing month of May, Love, Silvija
“You can’t fake the aftermath of an experience if you haven’t had the experience, and lyrical is the aftermath of chaos. Lyrical is the process of delightenment.” GABRIELLE ROTH
I pray to the Lyrical Rhythm to lift me up from the swamp of my personal chaos where I hold a VIP box, and in which I still get lost although I know it so well. It is as if I was born with it, as if I was born from it, as if I was born into it.
Lyrical lifts me up, it literally takes my hands, without fear of being dragged down with me. Lyrical fully knows its magic powers. Lyrical implicitly trusts its unique quality of lightness which comes after relief and release. At times it manages to lift me up even before my work has been done, and it often lifts me up while I am still entangled in the web of my own thoughts, in the limbo of my guilt and shame and accusation. For me Lyrical is like music. Music is in itself lyrical by nature. Created to inspire, guide and seduce us, to twist and turn us, to elate and enchant me, to open my eyes and ears. Music loves to introduce me to her friends, the other muses. I love it when they quarrel over me, who will welcome me in her lap first, when they are impatient, passionate each in her own right, each in her dress that sometimes completely falls off their bodies in the midst of their passion.
I love it when I see that I ended up in a different place without even noticing that I moved precisely because Lyrical works with such charm, such ease, so naturally, so subtly, so invisibly that I do not even get to resist it, argue, take out the list of all the reasons why I am no good and why it would do better to give up on me.
Lyrical is one of the reasons why I dance, why I live, why I am writing this. Lyrical teaches me how to share, regardless of whether my hands are full or empty, my heart open or closed, my mind calm or restless. In sharing I find gratitude not only in those with whom I share but within myself. It is a kind of lyrical sharing that transforms, that multiplies energy which moves and gets shared, the sharing that connects. I am more and more able to share with myself. When I go for a walk and see a lovely flower, I have learnt to share the experience with myself. It is the same with dancing. It is incredible how much pleasure I can find in my body’s movements, how much joy that does not depend on anyone outside of me or anything special, but simply buds and blossoms from my presence in my own and in the cosmic dance.
I hope we shall meet dancing this spring… Kisses, Silvija