“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
“So the body is where the dancing path to wholeness must begin.
Only when you truly inhabit your body can you begin the healing journey.” GABRIELLE ROTH
Dance was always for me the fastest route to that place where I feel I have lost myself and actually I found my true nature. From teenage years, this was a way for me to completely surrender to something else and stop being a victim of my own thoughts and worrying what other people think of me and about me. I loved offering my body to the music, to the beat. I didn’t feel alone when dancing at the times when I felt that nobody sees me and nobody understands me. I remember first time I read Gabrielle’s “Maps to Ecstasy” I was so thrilled and so happy as I felt both that I totally understand her and what she is saying and that she totally get me. What a gift! The dance was teaching me to be authentic, to be honest with myself, to trust my body and my breath. In the dance I discovered the presence of something bigger, something sacred, something holy, something that was empty and had a lot of space for me. This emptiness is always here to hold me, even when I knock its door with so many things that I carry in body, with such a heavy heart and a really clogged mind. This dance is always here for you too, whenever you are ready to enter, you are welcome.
“Letting go of the known and receiving the unknown, we can sense new possibilities. When we expect change, life rarely disappoints us. In the dance we can get to know ourselves well enough to be aware of the judgments, expectations, and attachments that inevitably get in our way.” GABRIELLE ROTH
After a lovely and intense passage from the Old Year into the New, at our Tribal Dance workshop, I dove deep into my winter sleep. After many working winters, getting stuck in snow with the car on my way to lead workshops in other cities, halls without heating, cancellations at the last minute due to illness or snow, I realized that, like a squirrel, I had been working hard gathering food during autumn and was now able to allow myself to spend a part of winter in my tree hole, chewing on hazelnuts, watching good TV series. This year I also gave myself a present of going into the unknown. I have not done something this exciting and stirring for quite a long time. I travelled to a place I had never been before and did not know anything about where I was going or who and what awaited me there. There I was met by wonderful people who manage a little retreat (I was the only one of three possible guests) with a lush garden overflowing with flowers, fruit, and vegetables that they had created on volcanic soil up on a hill overlooking the ocean. During the day the ocean merged with the sky and every day the sunset told me when it was time to stop eating on this detox retreat of mine, as I enjoyed the most amazing star-studded night sky that I had ever seen. The taxi driver by the name of Angel, who saved me several times during my “hiking” adventures, told me everything about his life in Spanish, which I barely understand and speak even less. Every day I went through a letting go of the old shit, quite literally thanks to the hydrocolon therapy, which by itself did not make me very happy, but the lightness that I felt afterwards was certainly worth it. I was surprised to see that in this silence I was embraced by so much peace and quiet. It is as if I was not really aware that I had it within me through life, that I had this ability to settle down, just be, observe the clouds, and now I was mature enough to be able to enjoy it, too. One of the great driving forces in my life, as well as a source of much anxiety and neurosis, is my need to be useful. This time I was useful to myself – everything was there for me, my health, my balance, my cleansing, my rest. I knew I had deserved it. I knew that I had gone through a very difficult, demanding and tough period of my life at full speed recently and that this was prevention instead of me waiting to break down completely. And actually, when I look back over the years, it seems that I have a period like this every year. Like every wave has its turning point, the moments of the darkest night, the point where we get lost in order to find ourselves, the life test or life alarm clock that asks us to be fully ready for whatever is going on. The moments when we know what it is that we should keep holding on to and what it is that we need to let go. When we need to keep both our feet on the ground, with flexible knees so that we can change direction when the undercurrent that is guiding us changes, with our minds focused on our breath, and our bellies relaxed so that we can hear the inner voice which bypasses all the crazy voices in our head, with our heart as a compass in our chest that stands tall and is open even when it is breaking under a palm of a hand that instinctively found its way there to give it support. With our eyes that can see the smallest details and our consciousness that can see the bigger picture and encompasses both where we came from and where we are going.
Coming home was like a plane landing on rough ground. The period right after my return was like equalising the air pressure after being submerged deep in the water or coming back from Outer Space or coming down from some hallucinogenic trip. I am observing how quickly old habits return and how they come into conflict with the newly formed ones.
I am still grateful that I went, grateful for new dances that are waiting for me around the corner, for new and old friends in the dance.
I hope that our feet shall meet in some of these sacred dance spaces! Kisses, Silvija
“There is a dance only you can do, that exists only in you, here and now, always changing, always true. Are you willing to listen with fascination? If you are it will deliver you unto the self you have always dreamed you could be. This is a promise.” GABRIELLE ROTH
I want to acknowledge this invisible force that brings us together on each class or workshop, the mysterious thread that connect us in the right place and in the right moment. How did I find you, how did you find me, how did we find the 5Rhythms, how did the 5Rhythms find us?!? I don’t really want to know the answers, I am learning here and now to trust this force of life and enjoy the surprises. I feel somehow a part of my job as a teacher is to remove all the obstacles that stand in between us and the dance. The dance that is our birth right, the dance that is our soul mate, the dance that is our home. I feel so blessed to have the honour and privilege to hold space for us befriending our bodies, loving our emotions, opening our minds and rooting our souls. It is truly a gift to witness the very humanity in its raw organic version that is so easy to fall in love with, and so much kindness that can happen on the dance floor tribes, towards ourselves and others. I am so aware that I can not to anything I do in this work alone. All of my work is possible thanks to steady support of my beloved family, my inspiring teachers and assistants, the 5Rhythms global teachers tribe that I can reach out to about anything and everything at any time, my amazing organisers and crews and flyer designer, and to each of you and you and you and you and you and you… I want to remind us all to include ourselves in this time of celebration and gifts, our happiness and wellbeing is the best gift to our family, friends and community. Maybe what you need is one of these workshops and maybe a winter’s pause and dream.
With love, Silvija
“The word comes from the Greek word “chaos”, meaning empty space or abyss. Most of us are afraid of emptiness because we consider it a vacuum, a negative force. In reality it is a positive space, loaded with potential, free of all strictures and structures of the ordinary world.” GABRIELLE ROTH
I have always felt good in this autumn month, perhaps because it was the time of my coming into this body and this life. That is why I am not surprised to see that it is so intense and full on this time around.
So many things are changing, shaking, rearranging at the moment, some things are falling into place. In the midst of all the changes on so many levels, I see how it is easier to hold on to the old and familiar even though it makes no sense any more or is no longer necessary or has already ended. Whatever is coming is so unfamiliar, a real leap into deep void. How do you hold on to something unknown, something that has not happened yet? It is as if all the chaos is pushing me into the hands of creativity, my own as well as the great creativity of life and the Universe. The creativity from which I emerged but also that which I am still holding on to although I know it is time to let go, to surrender. The deep void then becomes an empty page of a book or an empty canvas to paint on. I begin to ask myself what it is I wish to create in this new, unexpected opportunity. What was once daunting now becomes exciting. Chaos that brings polarities together, connecting what was with what will be, what ends with what begins, what is known and experienced with what is unknown and comes from life itself. I begin to grasp the deeper message that is actually very simple and keeps repeating: If I want to move on, if I want to take the next step, I must let go of the one before. I realize that there is no next step without a previous one. I see how deeply and closely connected the known and unknown, the old and the new, are. They are cooperating with each other: one dissolves so that the other can emerge.
I love the wisdom that comes from the feet, from the body. I love the intelligence that is awakened through movement and dance. I love the intimacy that grows when we meet each other in space where hearts speak without words.
I hope to meet you in one such dance soon. Love, Silvija
“Wolves find the balance between separateness and unity. Even the lone wolf is part of the pack. Instead, we tend to seek one or the other, making individuality and community into an either or proposition. Wolf knows he is both. For us humans, this wisdom is lost early on, as soon as the ego makes its debut….When you know your place in the pack, you too, can sit back, relax and howl at the moon.” GABRIELLE ROTH
At this time I feel drawn to write about how we are all in this together. Or, as Gabrielle often used to say: “There is only one of us here.” Actually, I want to write about how that is possible in a workshop, in a room full of people, where all of us are going our own way, healing our own wound, following our own body and destiny, uniquely and originally – this 5Rhythms map opens the same doors for all of us, the same song moves the whole group (maybe each one of us in different directions) and when the teacher speaks many people have the feeling he or she is talking directly to them. This is something I have always loved about this 5Rhythms practice – the emphasis being both on personal freedom and sense of tribe, community. There is space for spreading our own wings and rooting our own feet, with no need to follow others’ footsteps or choreography and at the same time there is invitation and need on being aware of the empty space between myself and the other. So many times at the end of the Wave, there is a deep sense of belonging and connection to the group without necessarily working it.
In my life, there’s been a huge hole with this apparent dichotomy. I haven’t seen many examples of it being possible, that it was possible to be yourself, unique, free, and at the same time to belong, to connect with the group, tribe or family. As if one excluded the other. For a number of years now, I have been realizing, understanding and practicing the idea that one is closely connected to the other, actually that these are inseparable. We are hungry for both of those, and we don’t have to choose one over the other.
When I am in need of attention, hug, company, feedback, one of my behavioural patterns is to try hard and pretend not to need it, or even push it away when it’s offered. The dance is a place where this has become even more evident and more painful, and that’s why it is the place where healing, risk-taking, playing, exploring and connecting can start. Just the fact that every part of my body and my being is immersed in the movement means that „I“ as I know it, my ego part, is less. My usual patterns, old fortified defences, my own games of thrones are less present, weaker and fall silent. I am able to meet this lonely part of myself more easily, and when I let myself in, I can let you in, too, I can feel my place in the group, the ecosystem, the Solar system, the Infinity.
Every time when you come to the dance you have a chance of meeting yourself, of meeting someone else, especially when you least expect it, or when you stop expecting it; there’s a chance of meeting with the group and the bigger picture; there is a possibility of the feeling that we are all in this together and that there is only one of us here. See you there hopefully.
“When you dance, you experience God, that fierce force, the energy that is universe. Its power, its infinite wisdom, become part of you. In these moments, I don’t think, I know that there is something beautiful and good and loving underpinning everyone and everything. That’s not to say that dancing on this earth isn’t going to cause us its own kind of pain. As we move in the Mystery, we have to offer all of ourselves back to the dance, and there’s room for blisters, wounds, and healing there.” GABRIELLE ROTH
There are a hundred voices in my head, not just one for and one against. They wish to please my ego, the people I care about who love me no matter what, and the people I don’t even know, the society that perhaps I do not belong to. I go down into my belly, I relax it with breath, allowing it to soften, my knees drop lower, I am closer to the ground, closer to myself, closer to the answer which I had known from the beginning.
On my shoulders, responsibility that is not all mine, a sense of importance that is holding me back instead of lifting me up, tension that is offering false promises of achievement and success. I breathe deeper into my chest, expanding the space for my heart that sometimes contracts deeply. It contracts although it is full of energy, full of passion, full of life. My heart is totally dedicated to life.
I am walking ahead of myself, leaning forward, as if I needed to cross the finish line. I am in a hurry in my head as well as in my feet. As if somebody or something was pushing me. I am afraid to look whether there is really something behind me. I take a deep breath in and out, and I stand in the middle, in my centre. That is when I can feel the support behind me that I can lean on. It is close enough for me to lean on it when I need it, and far enough so as not to push or steer me. So what if I arrive a little bit late to wherever I am going, it is far better to turn up standing tall, open, centred, and supported.
I have a question that I like to ask myself: “What is really important right now?” Somehow that question brings me back to the present moment, to the things that are within my power, to the first next step that sets the direction, back to that for which all else must be let go of.
Right now for me it is important to be a mother and to stay at home.
With love, Silvija
“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for few minutes, including you.” Anne Lamott
For me August and January are THE months when I can switch off the biggest number of days in a row. Sometimes it is only this longer break, longer state of stillness and being that has an effect on the hardwired stress and being tired from myself, from automatic actions and words as well as the daily addictions that successfully manage to separate me from myself, from others and from nature. In those days of “rest” I am visited by a whole host of emotions, thoughts, and ideas, physical sensations. From boredom to noticing beauty in details; from guilt to pleasure; from staring at the TV screen like a zombie to deep regenerating sleep; from planning what to do next to living as if I had only this moment; from worrying to carelessness; from wasting time to finding myself; from the feeling that nothing makes sense to the dedicated focus on my own breath; from the fear that I will lose my groove to the relief when I realise that the groove always goes around; from continuously trying to escape the black hole within to floating on my back on its calm surface.
This summer I gave myself my favourite workshop “Naked Soul” with Jonathan as a present. It was in Denmark this time and it brought me back to the dance floor, my sacred space. It was challenging, enlightening, and deeply touching to meet the dancers who I usually teach. One person did not even recognize me because they had not expected me there. I also decided to spend more time at home, in Zagreb, this summer, to stop travelling because I have learnt that it is right here that I can get most rest, as I have the strongest support circle here (my child in the kindergarten). However, my fins are already itching and we are getting ready to go to the seaside; my favourite sea, the sea that always recognizes and receives me. This summer the place where we usually spend our vacation – Sutivan at the island of Brač – has become the location of our summer workshop for the first time. The workshop is taking place at the end of the month and will be an opportunity to explore the connection between moving and stillness and that eternal quest for balance between the two. I am very happy that we have managed to turn this workshop into a special experience for the both of us even beyond the workshop itself because we shall be sharing a house with our colleagues teachers who will be assisting us at the workshop and our children will be playing together again.
Easy and light summer greetings, Silvija