The Dance of Nothing

In week two of my e-retreat we discussed discovering our Divinity and practicing presence. I mostly focused on stillness meditation via the breath, but also another practice which has been instrumental in connecting my mind to my body to my soul: dance.

I call it a Divine Dance Party For One and I have been practicing it for a while.

It’s dancing like no-one is watching (because they’re not) to your favorite, most uplifting music and letting it all go.

While stillness has played a big part in my level of awareness, I gotta say that sometimes, stomping it out through my feet is the only way I get completely free.

I’ve danced for as long as I can remember, first on the coffee table, then the trampoline and then in formal settings where steps and skills and competition were the focus.

Sarah kid small

I loved it, but it became problematic for me, so I stopped.

Talking about dance in our e-retreat facebook group the other day, however, I was able to verbalize a truth which has been buried within me for a long time; “Dance is my most natural expression, it’s when I feel most me.”

I also shared that in 2010 on retreat in Bali our meditation teacher Gisela took us through a class of the ‘5 Rhythms,’ a free movement meditation developed by Gabrielle Roth. Moving through the five rhythms of Flowing, Staccato, Chaos, Lyrical and Stillness, we allowed our bodies to lead the way and tell its story without steps or instruction.

The biggest challenge is to allow self-judgement to fall away. After we moved through the rhythms we were encouraged to dance freely… like no-one was watching, because they weren’t. Everyone was ensconced within their own rhythm and movement.

It was one of the most magical experiences of my life.

Bringing this to the forefront of my awareness again shifted something for me. On Thursday I Googled the 5 Rhythms and saw that there was a workshop the following day in the nearby town of Salida.

I got excited. Then I got shit-scared.

So I outed myself on the ‘Journey to Shine’ facebook group to make myself accountable.

Thank God for those women, because if it weren’t for them and the serendipitous chain of events which led me to do that Google search (thank you Karyn and Sarah!), I would not have danced myself silly for FOUR hours on Friday.

Visudha De Los Santos, a teacher and healer from Taos, New Mexico led the class. She only visits Salida for workshops a few times per year. To say the timing was cosmic was an understatement.

She said little, but her presence was powerful. Strong yet nurturing, she DJ’d an amazing set to naturally draw the rhythms from our bodies.

My fear wasn’t of not enough, but of too much, which is equally destructive. So I knew there was no other option for me but to completely let it go.

I allowed my feet to stomp out my story.

I gave my body permission to move in its most natural way.

It wasn’t about aesthetics, but an internal rhythm being expressed outwardly; the true purpose of dance.

I rode the waves of energy pulsating through me, at times becoming completely exhausted and spent.

.“The more you dance, the more you sweat. The more you sweat,

the more you pray. The more you pray, the closer you come to


– Gabrielle Roth, ‘Sweat Your Prayers’

Miraculously, more energy would move into me, coaxed by the music. Any time drumming, African or tribal music of any kind came over the speakers, my body would translate the beat into movement without effort.

In fact, the releasing of effort was the whole point. Surrendering to the motion and the rhythm without thought.

We identified fear and released it. The same for judgement and perfectionism. We literally threw them out the door.

By the time the afternoon session rolled around, I was mostly dancing with my eyes closed, detecting waves of inner energies and releasing them.

There were tears.

There was overriding joy.

At one point, my eyes firmly shut and my body telling its story to the space, I lost myself.

Nothing existed except the undulations of movement and I disappeared into the core of that, within it and without it at the same time.

The sheer ecstasy of that is like nothing I have ever experienced. Not on any stage or in any structured dance class.

 “Throughout human history,

people have been searching for something…

A drink from the river of life,

that stirs the soul awake

mystics, poets, madmen, artists, prophets and saints

describe the journey as….

                                          The Dance of Nothing”

I found home in The Dance of Nothing, as though it had been calling me since birth; calling me to return to myself.

At about the three hour mark, Visudha cried through the microphone, “DO YOU DARE TO SURRENDER YOUR LIFE TO YOUR SOUL?!”

I danced out my answer to that question, surrendering everything I had to the rhythm moving within me, expressing through me, daring me to allow it.

She posed the question, do we dare? Do we dare live the natural rhythm of our unique life force? Do we dare allow our soul its most authentic expression; to expand itself through us via the vessel of our physical bodies?

My answer was yes.

I dare.

Sarah Somewhere Dance 2subscribe to sarah somewhereSee the website, 5Rhythms, for information on teachers, workshops, classes and more.


The Dance of Nothing — 14 Comments

  1. Yes Yes Yes!
    I’ve gone to ecstatic dance a handful of times and have loved it (except that once when my body and soul weren’t feeling the music).
    The times when I allow myself to move, to be free, to play is when I remember just how much I enjoy and need to dance. I Love it yet tend not to dance as often as I’d like. My body, soul and mind need it and I always feel refreshed when I connect with myself on a deeper level.Thanks for expressing dance for the sake of dancing in such a fabulous way and in a way I fully relate but never thought about it just like that.
    A few weeks ago, I put on pandora to “telepopmusik” and found my body moving and thought, “it’s been too long since I’ve danced”!
    imroamingtheworld recently posted..Gratitude and Reflections: A tribute for my fatherMy Profile

    • Yay! That is so great to hear, Lauren! I have recently reconnected with it myself and now I am hooked. You should check out a 5 Rhythms workshop or class as I would imagine there would be heaps in the Bay Area! Keep dancing, Chica xxx

  2. I love the pic on the trampoline to!!! I have never been much of a dancer but have always loved music, responded to music, got lost in music.My physical expression is running, that is definitely my release and my happy place. There is something about my heart pumping and music in my ears that helps me find mindful peace.
    Tracey recently posted..Get Out of Town! Travel to Salt Lake City for CheapMy Profile

    • That’s awesome Tracey! I gotta tell ya, I couldn’t walk for two days after the workshop… everything HURT! So I am happy that I finally found a cardio workout I actually enjoy :-)

  3. I’ve never heard of 5 rhythms before but was happy to see it’s all over Toronto! I grew up dancing too (and singing) and realized last year that I don’t do those things as much as my soul needs. I’ve made an effort to get back into singing and now I don’t have an excuse to quench my thirst for dance :)
    Emily recently posted..15 Ways We Made it to 15My Profile

    • Hi Emily! I have always wanted to sing, but alas, it is not a talent of mine. That is so cool you have started again, good on you! I HIGHLY recommend 5 Rhythms, especially if you have classes near you. My closest one is 4 hours away in Taos, New Mexico but I would be going weekly if I could! I agree, that there are certain things our soul needs, and dance is definitely one of mine. Funny how it’s been under my nose for so long and I have finally reconnected with it. I think the 5 Rhythms and sacred/ecstatic dance is so freeing because there is no choreography to learn! When you are traveling (or returning to dance after a break) it can be daunting or downright frustrating to join a class, but with free dance there is nothing to learn or know, you just come as you are. Thank you for sharing your journey and good luck! xxx