For years now, one dance practice that has helped transform my soul time and time again has been 5Rhythyms. This experience was designed by an incredible woman named Gabrielle Roth to help free us from our emotional and societal chains and helps to foster self-exploration and acceptance. As I refined my spiritual practice and incorporated the 5Rhythyms in to all aspects of my life, I wanted to challenge and expand the ways in which my body moved, how it moved, why it moved and connect all these facets of the dance to a greater sense of reverence and connection with Spirit.
Thus, I began reading Gabrielle’s book, Sweat Your Prayers: Movement as Spiritual Practice. In this book, Gabrielle inspires movement through her words and outlines the background, context and practice for diving deeper in to each one of the rhythms. In her break down of the first two rhythms (flow and staccato), she connects flow to the feminine within all of us and staccato to the masculine. For each rhythm she assigned three archetypes to help us understand the complexity and variation of roles and energies we are capable of embodying. The feminine was given “Mother,” “Mistress,” and “Madonna” and the masculine was broken down in to “Father,” “Son” and “Holy Spirit.” Each archetype posed an interesting reflection for the roles we play with one another and in society and how we balance these roles and energies within ourselves. She also posed the theory that in relationships, we generally tend to gravitate towards partners or those who have a dominant archetype that brings balance to any imbalances we might have within ourselves.
While reading her description of “Father” energy, and especially the stories of students and peers she knew in her life that were lacking in this department, I was confronted with a jarring realization. It became clear that this part of me had been neglected and in a way rejected…up until now. As I am constantly finding ways to bring myself more and more in balance, internally and externally, I decided to take up her challenge to help strengthen “The Father” within me. I realized in the past I had always admired and looked up to women who were very in touch with their inner “Father.” They tended to be women who were independent, had their own business, knew how to get things done and could inspire you to change the world. One interesting point Gabrielle makes about this “Father” energy is that it is important that it be grounded in our feminine energies. Without this connection, this energy can become abusive and lack any form of compassion for ourselves or those around this. We see this in many typical fast paced women who believe they need to “act like a man” to make it in business, but instead they work themselves to the bone, and all those around them, without any care for the heart. Quoting the “Tao Te Ching” she writes, “Know the masculine but keep to the feminine.” Well that is exactly what I intend to set out to do.
Action Steps to Connecting with my inner “Father”:
- Starting this week (per Gabrielle’s suggestion) I have begun to find specific music that I feel fully embodies the archetype of the “Father” for my daily dance practice. In the past I have found this music challenging to move to and am now pushing the boundaries of how I connect to this in movement and in my own soul.
- I am intentionally pursuing “Father”-like activities which include:
o Working on new business ideas
o Being more efficient in the way I work and how I work
o Taking more pride and an active role in managing my finances
o Doing things like wood making, lawn mowing and other such activities that make us “feel like a man,” or at least feel more empowered.
As I develop this relationship with myself in a new way, I hope to connect to this part of me that has been forgotten and discarded and build up his strength and confidence. This current practice of mine is part of a series of observations I’ve had over the last several months of the importance of having a balance of masculine and feminine energy (Shiva and Shakti) within ourselves, our cultures and in our physical environments. My hope is that in bridging these gaps through love, compassion, awareness and action we can reduce conflict and restore harmony and balance on a global level. I invite you all to join me in exploring these various natures of your own psyche and to leave any comments or feedback on your personal process towards this sacred union of the soul.