The earth shook me to dance: a reflection on my experience with inkBoat's Dance on Land

The rooster crows crawled into my ear and feathered my dream -- I was talking to someone in there, and we both stopped to hear it -- IT happened again...until finally, I jolted myself awake.

Am I in PerĂº? I mumbled to myself.  I bolted and spiraled slightly. My eyes slowly opened, my mouth wanted to say something --- in this place between fantasy and reality -- but only mumbles came out. A white flaring light blinded me, and I sunk my head down onto soft fabric. After a few seconds I was finally able to focus and glanced at the blue-grey screen before me -- on it -- a water dew, hanging on for dear life.

I'm in a tent.

Then it came rushing back. The day before I had left "civilization" to go to a spacious and beautiful piece of land in Petrolia. Small images flashed through my memory: the drive up with Tim, the run to the river with Robyn and Haruko, the Aikido partnering work on the mats, the wasp warnings, the horses, the shared dinner, the trees, the dirt path, the blackberry bushes, the ocean mist over the hills. Everything. 

I had decided that for just six days, I was going to run away from technology, from the never ending beeping sounds of my alarm and cell phone notifications,  from the desire to know everything, from the desire to want everything, from the desperation that comes from longing for something greater and always reaching. I wanted to just dance and be away from the many selves I have created and divided into the world of the net. I found the opportunity to do so when I stumbled upon the workshop called Dance on Land with inkBoat. It was my first time ever participating. The experience is slowly becoming something I continuously revisit in my mind when I want to think about peace, stillness, breath and connectivity. 

I walked into the kitchen for the first time and saw people eating together. Beautiful people with different stories, and different reasons to which why they were there. They, us -- we became a community; embarked together in this earthy dance journey, leaving our jobs behind to become awareness experiments or specimens. 

The experience become mystical to me. I learned how to meditate, I learned to bathe in the river, I learned that silence is really a loud experience, I learned that listening to your breath can bring you back to your center, I learned that energy and power can be shared between multiple bodies, I learned that even the thinnest of threads can still be strong enough to carry a stone--a piece of beach wood--a person's story. I learned that old friends can be like strangers, and new friends can be like siblings. I learned that connecting with others on a non-verbal level brings tears to my eyes. I learned that children have all the answers to life's big mysteries. I learned that horses are just as curious with humans, as humans are with them. I learned that kindness should be a universal language between people and nature; and I have a wasp bite to prove it. I learned that I still carry my love for martial arts in my body. I learned that I love to tell stories. I learned that music makes brings a smile to my face no matter how sad or thoughtful I may be. I learned that my upper back holds onto my past, and stiffens most when I want to dance it out because it means it has to feel. I learned that my voice wants to dance too. I learned to embrace the prickly grass that would get stuck to my clothing after rolling in the dirt.

A memorable moment is the day we danced by the river. The red thread that connected me to another person and another object. And the conversations we had with our beings without saying a word. Trickling through the vibrations of the hilo were stories; communicating anticipation, nerves, strength, vulnerability, and confusion. All to create and be witness to creation.

Epic: that night we all howled at the moon.

Day three: I was learning things about myself I did not know were there. My usual default of talking and networking, muted. Catching myself, more than once, staring at the hills without a thought in my mind. I judged it at first; worried what others may think. That lady is zoning out again. And then I let go of the judgement and just admired what I could, when I could. The hills were specially beautiful at night, when the moonlight highlighted the back of the trees. All I could see were clouds and mist tracing the branches, combing through them as if wanting to make them sing---in me, they inspired a sigh. Sometimes, they inspired a memory of love. And I'd forget that I was sitting on a picnic table, wearing high socks, and holding a cup of tea.

My little dance space was a patch of dry dirt. On that piece of land -- I screamed, whistled and jumped--- meantime, all the little songs hidden within me came out. I longed to share the tune con los pajaros that were sharing chirps with me. Grounded, light, strong, desperate, prickly, beak-like hands that ultimately were meant to help the earth --- now flailing, desperately desiring to communicate with it. I wonder if mother's still listening, after so much carelessness. The earth shook me to dance, and I stomped back at her wanting to feel her rhythm. Sometimes, it came through and it made me cry, sometimes it made me laugh, but just sometimes. There's lots of work to be done.

Click here to check out the Dance on Land 2014 Photo Gallery.