By Vicky Quinlyn
In a society where we fence our yards to establish boundaries, where the fast pace of our jobs and family activities keeps us racing from one event to another, we can easily over look taking time to connect with ourselves and with each other. We smile at our neighbors from the doorway without even knowing their names. We glance at our own reflection hastily in the mirror as we rush out in to the world.
We pick up fast food on the way home barely having enough time to look our spouse and children in the eye and ask: “How was your day?”, before we lay our weary heads down and rise the next morning to do it all again. It is no wonder that we feel disconnected, we hunger with a burning in the pit our soul to belong, to know, to feel the connection to ourselves and to one another. Few years ago, I had an experience that took me out of the chaos of my daily schedule and gave me a renewed relationship to myself and others by creating the vision of inspiration I needed to help me reach out and quench the longing for that connection deep in my soul.
I attended an amazing and unique workshop called ‘Ritualistic Dance’ by Sandra Domigos. The philosophy of her workshop is to create a space to help facilitate a way for people to feel safe to reconnect to the place she calls “Soul Fire”. Within each of us is the connective force which unites us to ourselves, to each other and to the bigger picture in the cosmos. She believes that once we embrace all of who we are in the vibration of acceptance, the energy of love transforms and healing takes place. Where synergy abounds we are in the space of limitlessness. In the place of eternity there is limitlessness and we find bliss and happiness. In Sanskrit this is called, “aananda or kama which means emotional fulfillment”.
Tribal or ritual dance defines the room where one can experience and have a protected place to explore themselves through music, movement and visualizations. Another concept that is an integral part of the work shop is Sandra’s belief that often our consciousness is based outside of our bodies, which is a projected image of how others see us and their perception of how we look on the outside, which translates into self esteem. By using our bodies in an expression of movement we raise our consciousness to reconnect with our soul drawing our perception within.
As we join with others in open movement we connect to their soul which softens the boundaries of separation and creates a sense of unity. Sandra carries that torch of ‘soul fire’ to us through symbolic visualizations, music and movement. The workshop began by all participants sitting in a circle facing each other. Sandra described the visual journey she would be taking us on, how the music would be slow at times and quiet and then, would become louder and stronger as the imagery called for.
I really appreciated her attention to all the different ways we might feel, and how we are here to release our inhibitions, giving us permission to be free. Free to dance, free to move, laugh or cry and to just to be!
As our journey began we lay flat on the floor on our backs with our shoes off, we became germinating seeds, covered by earth, springing to life, and we reached for the rays of the sun. Sitting and then standing as we grew into form, growing taller and taller, blossoming into being, allowing our bodies to awaken and begin to express in whatever way the music and visualizations inspired us.
We experienced the influence of the elements, such as Water, the flow; a freeing, cleansing and releasing took place. Wind blew away all that was holding us back and Fire gave us boldness and warmed the stiff places inside and out. We became the elements and experienced the power of their forces. Sandra explains, “By using ritual and connecting it to an element, these are ways for the subconscious to connect with the conscious mind which creates a very powerful place of healing.” We transitioned as we were guided to move as one.
We all came up into the center of the circle moving individually and together imagining we were the trunk of a tree with our arms upward waving branches. We moved with an ebb and flow to the music as if we were one living organism all moving simultaneously with each other. After experiencing the archetype of the tree Sandra had us rejoin in a circle, instructing half of the group to move clockwise, while the rest of us moved counterclockwise.
During this time we were asked to look into each other’s eyes and connect by following each other’s movements for a few moments. Sandra explains, “Looking into the eyes is looking into the window of the soul, to feel the connection”. At first I felt awkward and clumsy as a newly freed soul, looking into another’s eyes made me feel uncomfortable. Sandra expressed how helpful it is to push through the feelings of discomfort and how important it is to create an inner dialog within our body in order to become aware of weaknesses and feel them, without judging how we are feeling. ” It is important to become the weakness… the purpose of my dance is to bring to the conscious mind what has been unconscious, asking yourself ‘what is in me that I don’t want others to see while I peer into their windows?”
At this point I was asking myself that very question. There was a whole community of my own inside my head creating an inner dialog that sounded something like this, ‘All of these people move so much more graceful than I do, and they act like they have no fear. ’ We would rather choose to push away what we don’t like in
ourselves. It is important to continue an inner dialog to magnify the feelings bigger so we can see it more clearly and come to self acceptance and self love. “When we become aware of our limitations it can bring to our conscious what created the fear in the first place.”
As I began to open, pushing through my resistance I saw each person as a mini microcosm of a life time of their experiences. Some of their windows let me see beautiful realms that I have not reached; all in unspoken words that flowed through their eyes made me laugh, and cry and feel the expanse of heaven and the synergy. In celebration of our unified movement we once again created a circle where each person had the opportunity to break away one at a time and come into the center and creatively express their own way of moving to the music, with the rest of us clapping and cheering them on. This was a supportive way to validate each others individuality and to receive the vibration of love and acceptance.
Slower music signified the winding down of all our joyful exuberance. Our movements slowed and our awareness was directed within. Incorporating yoga moves we ended where we began, flat on our backs in Shava-asana. Sandra directed us to an internal dialog concerning our goals, dreams and intentions, ending with self acceptance, attention to who we are, to allow our self to be, and the awareness of self love. We were reminded to keep the openness we had achieved, bringing it into our daily lives, to love ourselves and others which would continue to create the greater sense of community, love and compassion for all beings.
I felt an internal shift. Participating in the Ritualistic Dance brought up feelings of awkwardness and uncomfortably, while accepting my fears, it was very symbolic of everyday life in the challenges and fears that are faced. I had a beautiful experience connecting, reconnecting and participating in the healing power of love through the RITUALISTIC DANCE workshop. Sandra Domingos brings a true sense of community and the
power to help it thrive through her spirited vibrato of synergy, charisma and intention or, “soul fire’. Through this community of dance each one of us can create our own theme. This theme can become the pattern for our life bringing enlightenment which sets the ‘soul fire’ ablaze, burning away the fences, ferocious pace of life and any preconceived judgments we have long held against ourselves and others, bringing to light the knowledge that there is only one of us here.
*Sandra Domingos is a certified yoga teacher, life consultant and a very charismatic Brazilian woman with a free spirit. She has lived in California for more than twenty years, has traveled alone for one year visiting many Asian countries, and now lives in Itacare, Bahia (Brazil). She also writes or gives consultation to Soul Brasil for the section “Art of Living”.