Are you nervous?

“Are you nervous?” I asked Jo as we were driving to Oakland ALIXIR dance Sunday morning. He replied, “I’m not sure what to expect. Who will be there? What will it be like, really?” The night before, he tried on three different shirts to find the ‘right’ one. This is the guy who takes five minutes to pack for any trip. He’s usually confident in any situation. My heart melted, remembering the times when I was nervous about dancing with others, noticing how I still get nervous. 

Going to ALIXIR ecstatic dance requires courage. Every time. We show up, yet we have no clue who will be there, what the music will be like, or what will emerge. We might dance solo, or with another. We might experience a lifetime of joy in one dance, or be stuck in a pit of despair, or the more ubiquitous (for me, lately at least)—boredom. I dance the ho-hum-will-this-beat-ever-change dance. And then, like a flash of divine grace, something does change.

I was dancing the bored dance, in my own space, probably thinking about something I had to do the next day like writing this newsletter. All of a sudden, Chris started swirling about me. He entered my safe zone with an attunement that felt good. I smiled, grateful to be taken out of my own thoughts. Chris started doing a little playful contact dance with me, which I responded to by reaching out my hand and then shifting a bit of weight towards him. After a moment, he lowered his body and my feet left the floor. Back on solid ground, I was dizzy, unmoored. I moved back into my solo dance, a bit shaken by how such a simple dance threw me off balance. I was also thrilled by the unknown. The moment, the experience, shifted my internal balance to open just a crack more for others to enter my private space. And this openness is still with me. What a blessing.