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Dancing Refresh

A common phrase used when trying to understand the refresh process of dance is “It’s more than an activity, it is a way of life.” This phrase is used mostly to try and find some certainty that there is one way of life that works to keep us encouraged and productive.

The essence of the dancing process is the “refresh” that happens every moment. Refresh rather than one way of life is a moment by moment play between vulnerability and certainty, between strengthening toward a goal and the open-ended reflection on the surprises that occur in the process.

Refresh is not one way of life but a way to navigate the meeting of many “ways of life” at once. Refresh is both gathering all that “works” and integrating the unknowns of moment by moment surprises. What this means is that each moment is “a way of life” that asks to be integrated into all the other ways of life from our experience and from the experience of our ancestors.

The dance process integrates both processes into one activity as does music. Yet one derail element of this central refresh process is our love for distraction. Distraction is a part of our tool kit to rest and rejuvenate. Yet our weak link is a desire for self deception. Usually it is a belief that “I know what is best no matter what consequences to myself or others.” At its extreme we call that approach insanity or for everyone else, we call it distractions or addiction.

Dance classes happen as a group. That is not a mistake. The dance learning process is as much a mirroring of our teachers and fellow dancers as it is our own discovery. Our tendency to deceive ourselves is always brought to the next moment of vulnerability that is the insistence that we engage fully and integrate information as we go.

The human system is built for the intricacies of these binary shifts on many levels at once. What the human system is not built for is the avoidance of error or self deception. This is clear when we look at what we value more than our opportunity to refresh each moment.

Our most intimate inclination is distraction. In our multiple shifts between goal specific focus to a broader unifying focus, we shy away from the broad integrating focus sometimes called the day dream or meditation or prayer. We replace the vulnerability and unknowns of the broad focus with a temporary certainty that our distractions and addictions are more important than any future consequences. See Dancing Refresh Model to continue reading.
Tim Hurst 01/01/18

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Dance Binary Basics

Dance and music are unique realms of study. They train the body to experience three simple processes.

The first process is a way to distinguish one experience from another. The simplest element of both dance and music is the distinguishing of short from long. Both begin with long extended movements or sounds. Both learn to mix short movements or sounds with the long. This is the basic binary learning that becomes an experience of the entire person creating and responding to movement and sound.

Another is to connect one experience to another. As in music each sound and each rhythm is a part of a phrase. The connecting of one sound to the other is built on a detailed study of the curve. A curve in dance and music bends down and bends up. The experience is of a series of loops that blend separate elements into a whole. Notes that appear all alone create a different experience than notes that connect in a phrase. The same is true with dance. A single movement by itself becomes a different experience than a movement phrase. The dancer and the musician learn to think in phrases of connected elements. This again is binary learning that is easily integrated in body brain networks.

The other is to play with simple variations that define a new experience. This is the process of discovery by experimenting with a combination of elements. This is the essence of curiosity and creation. In dance a beginning movement is to lower and rise called in Ballet the plié. This movement combined with articulation of the feet and coordination of the entire body becomes a jump or a skip or a leap. Each movement is a different experience that came from combining simple variations to the plié.
Tim Hurst. 12/28/17

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Resisting Healing States

As I proceed in my quest to massage and free my bladder from pain, I come across a resistance. I know this well especially when trying to slow down my movement, my thought, or my runaway energy.

In meditation as I begin to slow down I want to move around. I sometimes must have the car radio on or some activity to keep my mind occupied. All these are my resistance to slowing down and receiving calm or even a basic care for how I am doing. Too tired, hungry, frustrated, in pain, all these elude me as I resist slowing down enough to respond.

So this morning I am spinning following the gentle spiral of a double helix image. The image is my massage tool to encircle and undulate the bladder area. Yet as I slow down to receive messages from the area, I feel the urge to keep the speedy spin going. Acceleration is exhilarating and it seems easier to feel the entire body engaged at once.

Yet when I slow down, my whole system want to urge me to speed up. I can only surmise what this feeling is, a deference to my directed system of body brain or a fear of knowing too much or a lack of responsibility to respond once I am asked to respond. Whatever it may be I have only one approach other than forcing myself to be still in meditation or increasing the intensity of my focus on moving slowly.

One approach is to follow the movement. In meditation we are encouraged to follow the breath and allow energy to flow through us. In dance, acceleration and deceleration are two ends of a spectrum so the approach is to simply follow the movement to the end of the spectrum of slowness and then stillness. This is a specific study in dance and feels normal.

These are procedural answers that seek to by pass the resistance. My problem is that if I have to keep thinking and conjuring up ways to get around resistance, that takes away energy and throws me more toward the forcing of myself to sit still or moving slowly.

Instead I always revert to one basic approach. I ask. This is more elusive and comes with more responsibility. I ask myself to accept the slowness. I ask my body what it needs to release. I ask to receive strength, care, and clarity from the basic processes of life within me.

Asking and willingness to receive is called surrender. This is a different network of brain and body that has no goal, only to receive. Challenging? Confusing? That is why most people do not pray to know and respond.

Surrender is an open space with no guarantees, only the freedom from direction to receive what we need. Of course the warning is that as humans we jump to conclusions and deceive ourselves. Comes with the territory and means for me more asking and more listening. Argh. I do not want to make the mistake from deceiving myself. I do it anyway and get back to clarifying my question so that I can recognize the next message as clear.

This is more information than any of us wants to know. So we choose our piece of the pie that we can live with and ignore the rest. That has got me here with a compromised system allowing my blood pressure and bladder to respond to my busy life. More asking now and more surrender to an open view that allows agility of movement to prevail. Tim Hurst 12/08/17

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Enter Healing States

Today I am challenged by my illness and my body wants to lay down and cry. Everything wants to tense around the internal hurt of a compromised bladder.

As usual I begin to move and immediately shift to a dance state. How are all those grungy feelings erased? They change as I raise and lower through my entire body and as I rotate around my spine in every possible variation.

My focus shifts between my whole body with all its emotion and specific areas like the pelvic diaphragm that alternately expands and lifts. I use a simple pressure point on the side of each hip to encourage this movement.

Then I shift the double helix image into vertical and horizontal placements to keep a gentle rotation going while I focus on the nurture of specific areas.

In healing, I have to keep reminding myself to receive signals as much as I send them. My eyes are the best teachers for receiving, releasing, and refreshing myself. The eyes naturally receive images except we direct and focus our eyes to match our desire to push toward more.

When I relax my eyes and slowly follow a hand or follow a tilt of my spine, I experience a refreshed lift in my attention and in my hope for the next moment. Then as I allow my eyes to circle in an opposite direction from my facing palms, the movement is calm and releasing to the muscles of my eyes and to my breath.

The healing state is one of receiving strength, hope, care, and joy. I experience the dance state as a methodical process of entering the healing state.
Tim Hurst 12/08/17

An explanatory view.
I enter Healing states to experience movement as agile, supple, and supportive to my entire body. The basic principle of connecting body and brain is to move slowly. Signals with in my body will move at lightning speed yet my attention is on slowing everything down. Slower means more integration of healing signals and more ability to receive healing signals.

Whether I use the defined center spine movement of Ballet, the counter rotations of Tai Chi and Chi Gong, or the spinning of the child and the Sufi, I enter a healing state.

For me this is a dance state trained to access every section of the body horizontal and vertical. The dance state interconnects all the body sections while setting up networks of signals between them.

Especially for healing it is important to not only build connections but be able to receive signals through those connections. Instead of pushing the body with a singular focus, it becomes important to receive strength, to receive the warnings and the care offered, and receiving the joy that comes from entering the dance state.

The moment I begin dancing I feel my emotion and body join. I anticipate the next movement, the next insight as a precious surprise to be nurtured and shaped. My hope is to respond to the calls for help and for celebration from every aspect of myself.
Tim Hurst 12/08/17