“Some people experience ecstatic communion at rock concerts, other people in sport stadiums, still others in the church. I find it on the dance floor, where I join a tribe of dancing maniacs, people who move. On the dance floor, differences disappear; nothing matters but sweat, surrender and soul.” GABRIELLE ROTH
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!!