This is a story of joy, and faith, and delight.
Facebook just asked me what's on my mind today.
What's on my mind is Blaise.
Is it really six years ago that I birthed her? Six years since my world stretched out promising a future of family, of the three of us wound into each other like otters, living and loving each other, with her the most important thing in my life, one I would die for, never for a moment considering that she would leave before me.
When I gave birth to her I had the shortest hair; after three months of chemo it had just started to grow back. She had no hair at all, probably for the same reason.
In the beginning of the pregnancy, Lee had talked about having a son.
'Nah,' I'd joked, patting my pre-bump belly where she swam all small and asleep, dreaming her baby dreams of her life to be. 'We'll have an asian-eyed, red haired girl.'
About three weeks after she arrived, we were outside, soaking up the winter sun, and I noticed what looked like amber sparks on her head. There they were, the first of her fiery locks, crystallised motes of light, like a crown of tiny flaming stars.
There was so much light in her.
When we took her to London, six months before she died, she was amazed by the swarming masses of humans.
We got off the tube one morning at peak hour, where the heaving throngs were almost-running on their way to work. A river of furrow-faced, black-clad people streamed past in one direction, another tide like a school of fish came in the opposite direction.
Blaise was travelling at her usual pace, so people had to swerve to go around us, which they did with an unconscious, morphic intelligence, like starlings in flight, not even slowing.
The haunting notes of a saxophone wound into the tunnel; some busker everyone had heard before, a familiar backdrop to the morning rush hour clack of heels and scuffle of feet.
I saw the music strike Blaise like lightning, and she stopped still, entranced, and o-so-slowly started to gracefully dance. One arm floated up and started to coil, then the other, her fingers twinkling like glacial stars. She turned a slow twirl, her head cocked, eyes rapt, the music falling on her upturned face like manna from heaven. Each movement was exquisitely slow. It was like watching a flower bloom.
This is when magic happened.
She had dropped to a halt, and now the streaming waves of people had to actually look at her to avoid her.
When they looked, they SAW her.
It was like watching a light bomb go off.
She was oblivious to them all, deep in her own trance, and I watched the incredible beauty of her presence startle them awake, break them out of their own trances into the perfection of a child dancing to music they hadn't even heard.
I watched stressed faces break into delighted smiles, at her, at us, making eye contact with each other. On-comers, noticing the disruption, started to focus in, and the smiles spread. I heard giggles whoosh past. Delight exploded around us, and the shock waves spread out and away.
A woman in an immaculate suit and perfect make-up laughed and twirled as she went past. A man doffed an invisible hat as he raced by. A little girl clapped her hands and tried to stop but her mother tugged her away. The child looked back over her shoulder until they disappeared from sight.
Blaise was like an unearthly being, dropped from some other planet, who had brought the atmosphere with her; alien scents and exotic energy and some new crackling form of life. Nothing existed for her but the music. She was utterly in the moment, being danced.
Joy ignited in the reflection of her beingness; joy leapt from heart to heart like flames in the dark, and that joy was swept out and away, like a shout in the wind, where I could no longer hear, but I could feel it, feel the energy of it travelling, radiating, as people carried it into their day. I knew that there would be conversations around water coolers about the flame haired girl in the rainbow skirt, dancing in the tube tunnels. I knew that people would bring their smiles to work, and that those ripples would move out, colliding with other people, further and further.
I saw how one single moment can change the world.
We all do this all the time, we are immensely powerful. In every single interaction we completely change reality, it's a living co-creation, again and again, over and over. We can co-create by radiating stuckness and darkness, or we can radiate light and joy. This is teaching by being. I saw that being truly present for just a few seconds can create ripples, subtle and profound, that move out in ways we can never track, but those ripples make other ripples and those ripples make waves and those waves make bigger waves until that one moment can level mountains, part oceans, unite humanity, or make a single flower bloom.
Since Blaise died, her power has still radiated into the world, through me, through Lee, and through everyone her light touched. Every word I write, every move I make, every time I speak, it is partly her message, her dance, her music; because everything I am is partly her, and she is me, we are one.
I am who I am because of her. Everyone I touch is who they are, in some way, because of her. We are all who we are because of each other.
As I write these words I have so much faith in humanity, in the power of all of us to move through darkness and be transformed, and in that transformation, pass on our gifts simply by breathing. I have faith that we can see the beauty that is right in front of us, to be ready to notice the tiniest things that are actually the biggest things. To do the part that is ours right now, just here; not needing to know how the shock waves may travel, just having faith in our own rightness in this moment, and listening as if our lives depend on it, which in a way, they do.
So if you see me in the street dancing to music nobody can hear, or singing out loud, know that I am passing on the gift of my daughter. And I invite you to rejoice in this way as well; to sing simply because your voice demands to be heard, no matter who might be listening; and dance because there is a fierce joy in you that must be moved; dare to swim against the tide and know that rather than upsetting the flow, you are creating a magnificent new wave that will change the world, remaking it again, and again and again.
Today I am dancing with my daughter.
My arms may hold only air, but the music is all her.
GinsIt's three years since Blaise and I spent some weeks in the children's hospital, after I found the fist sized tumour in her belly. Three years since the beginning of my unmaking. Two and a half years since she flew away.
Time seems to be the obsession of my grief. How many months since we watched the full moon rise, how many days since she clapped her hands and cried 'clever mama', when I got the car to start. How many sleeps since we last danced down the street together, since I kissed her milk-soft cheek, since I watched her assemble her latest sartorial creation, since her ecstatic laugh brought me to tears. And now we are into years; time stretching and rolling away, like waves on the ocean, rippling out, taking me further away from her, deeper into my life without her, deeper into the expression of all that I have become because of her, because of her birth, her life, her leaving, and my grieving.
She has made me.
In losing her I was undone, and in grieving her I am remade, every day. There is so much space in me. There is so much light shining through the cracks in my soul. Great chips and boulders of darkness loosened and dislodged in the earthquake of her passing, to dissolve into their own inky liquid and flow out and away to balance the cosmic scales as I flood with light, and more of who I truly am shines forth.
I understand more and more how what breaks us, makes us. How if we say yes to our shattering, we grow into something so much more than who we ever thought we could be. That life is about letting go of everything we think we can hold. And that on the other side of that is the divine.
And more and more I see that we are connected by the spaces between, that space is a thing, alive and real, that kisses against my edges and permeates my centre and swirls through all creation. It connects me to her, to the spirit of my daughter, in whatever form she dances through the universe right now, whether as a memory in the heart of someone she touched, or the actions of someone whose life she changed, or in the fiery breath of her spirit as she whispers to me that we are always one, and cannot be anything but, because this is the secret truth of life.
This morning I perched high above a glassy ocean as seals glided and swallows swooped and whales turned joyful backflips below me. An otter floated on its back, blissfully turning and rolling while it snacked on an abalone. Far across the ocean, on the other side of the world, my husband still slept, and I felt through the space to where he dreams, and there he is, right beside me, slow-breathing; and there also are our brushy-tailed dingo and love-dog, twitching in puppy dreams. I danced a slow flowing dance with them all, becoming one with the liquid heartbeat of that ocean, with the high flutter of the swallows, the careless wisps of cloud, the slow sleep-sighs of my beautiful man, the otter turning and spinning through the water because it could, for the sheer pleasure of it.
And in all these things I danced with Blaise, with her joy, with her heartbeat, with her glorious laugh, with her tenderness. I danced with every part of her, except her body, and in a way I danced with that also, because are we not all made of matter and atoms, and in her body's return to Earth Mama she freed those atoms to dance with me as well.
Thank you, little one, for freeing me. Thank you for showing me that falling is really flying. Thank you, always and forever, for this eternal dance.
This is my last night in the States before heading back home to Australia. This is an ending and a beginning.
Ai-yai-yai-yai-yai... Tonight I am an exquisite vessel brimming with feeling, emotions like weather blowing through my soul.
This last six weeks has been a dance into divinity. I have discarded skins, sloughed off stories, dived into my darkness and been swallowed by light. I feel like ouroborous, eating its tail, light into dark into light into dark, the perfect oscillation, the cosmic ohm.
Words can only approximate the entirety of the thing, are mere fragments of colour in my internal rainbow. I need to express where I am while it is fresh, before I return to the shape of my life and this state becomes dream.
I came to the States because instinct demanded I must. That wise ancient voice inside me shook me by the hair, shouted at me in the breaths between sleeping and waking, insisted that I must go, go now, go dance, go dance here, go dance with these teachers. Like a stone in my shoe, like a splinter in my thumb, a maddening itch I could not ignore. Go dance. Now.
I learn in the presence of. Not through books or videos or theories, I need to download information through my body, from someone who embodies that very thing. My teachers have been Jonathan and Lucia Horan, both children of Gabrielle Roth, the visionary who called this dancing path into being decades ago, before shedding her body and dancing now through fields of stars.
So I danced. At first I was self conscious, clumsy, working through the crusted barnacles of past stories, of judgements and projections and old wounds. I danced them all. And the water began to flow, the edges began to soften, and somewhere in the hours and days and weeks of dance I found something profound, something utterly magical.
I am a dancer.
Not in terms of being able to bust out moves or showy tricks. I am a dancer not of doing, but of being. I got out of my own way and there, nestled like some perfect pearl at the centre of my being, this simple truth was revealed. I am a dancer. I woke slowly, at first, shy as a maiden, then with more confidence, more vigour, more spirit and soul.
I am a dancer.
I breathed life into this newborn part of me that is as old as creation, and she awoke, she awoke, blessed be; and her limbs started to move and her heart flowed with gratitude. Shy and tender and ready to flee, but there was nothing to run from, only toward, toward myself, my life, my truth.
I am a dancer, and every time I say this more tears come.
I am a dancer.
I could write this in the sky, carve it into mountains, shout it into all creation. This is a journey I will never leave, I can only fall deeper into myself and dance what is true. This is who I am, when everything is stripped away. I am the place where earth meets sky, where ocean kisses sun, and my heart is the dance floor and has no edges, because everything is a circle. I understand what it means to be danced, I understand it in my bones, my belly, my talons, my teeth and fur. My wings rip the sky, my fins slip through water, I am a dancer and I am danced by the Isness and the Oneness and everything in between.
I am a dancer.
I danced and the skins fell away, one after another, discarded husks littering my feathered feet. I danced and all the doors and windows in my heart flew open, and winged things flew out and away, free to soar. I danced and the music stopped and I rang like a silver bell, vibrating with love and bliss and connection and purpose, knowing at last who and what I am.
So this is what I am bringing home, this vastness, this poetry, this magic. I am deeply, deeply grateful to everyone with whom I shared space on and off the various dance floors, to these brothers and sisters of the dance who have nestled into my heart so thoroughly I am bereft in their absence. To the indigenous space holders who gifted us with their wisdom and ceremony. I am so thankful to have been cradled by Gaia in all places; to have danced in the desert and jungle and high on the cliffs while the whales sang their slow songs, deep in their liquid dance.
And I am grateful beyond words to Jonathan and Lucia for holding such perfect space, for your endless wisdom and authenticity and for showing up, again and again and again, no matter what. For living this lineage. For blazing a path. For doing your work. For being.
From the desert...
And then last night, as I lay spreadeagled and naked under the hot velvet kiss of darkness, an eerie sound pulled me lucid from deep desert dreams. Part ululation, part harmony, part savagery, all wild. Coyotes were singing under the stars, and it was all I could do not to tug on clothes and follow the sound, like some barefoot ghost, into the darkness.
I understand how people go missing in wild places. My atavistic soul yearns to run with this pack, to nuzzle furry flanks, nip and be nipped, run until my pads are bloody. It seemed the sanest course of action, panting deep in my base brain.
And then, as I was flinging clothes around the room, I woke properly, and of course the coyotes were miles away in deep desert, their song arrowing through the clear night air to lodge uncomfortably in my pelt and heart and belly. I lay back on the bed and let the barbs work their magic, loving the familiar feeling that prickled my scalp as the unearthly strands of dog-music wove and soared and vanished.
The feeling: that I am a wild thing in a tame skin, restless between worlds, never quite fully in either but filled with awareness and grateful magic from both. And more, that I am grubbily, beautifully human, and at the same time am the coyotes, their haunting music, and the infinite night cresting above like some dark and starry wave.
Three workshops down, one to go. And in the space between, a sojourn in the Arizona desert.
It's 41-45 degrees here, heat like a fist, old man saguaro cacti majestically guarding the crags and valleys. This grandmother kindly donated a rare low fruit... Fat and delicious and shocking pink, yum.
I like this desert; light splashing my eyes, volcanic rock speaking of an ancient furnace that melted the land. This is an environment you cannot wish away, even if you wanted to. The heat crawls up my feet, seeps under doors, blisters paint. Locals hop from shade to shade. Hummingbirds dart like feathered moths. Hawks scour the land for scuttling things.
I like this desert; horizons of jagged rock and searing blue. Untameable. Disobedient. Pulsing. Breathless. The plants have spines and thorns and spikes. I must be careful where I place my feet. This place demands awareness; be awake, now, or I will hurt you.
I am awake, and the desert opens its hot heart and welcomes me with fiery breath.
I love this desert.