How can dancing and somatics help us and the Planet?
Updated: Mar 17
It is official! We are at crisis point with our planet, as human actions have significantly altered about 75% of land environments and 66% of the marine environment. Every ecosystem around the world is threatened with extinction including about 1 million animal and plant species.
However it is not too late for transformative change.
Many ancient cultures recognised the nature of interconnectedness. For example in native American cosmology there is a core commitment to move from a profane way of life in which we mistreat our environment to one where we honour and preserve it –in the Lakota tradition this paves the way to becoming a sacred human being. On the other side of the globe, the ancient Taoists and Shintos also believe nature is sacred, to be revered and treated with respect.
The Austrian American physicist Fritjof Capra wrote in 2014:
“As the twenty-first century unfolds, it is becoming more and more evident that the major problems of our time – energy, the environment, climate change, food security, financial security – cannot be understood in isolation. They are systemic problems, which means that they are all interconnected and interdependent. Ultimately, these problems must be seen as just different facets of one single crisis, which is largely a crisis of perception. It derives from the fact that most people in our modern society, and especially our large social institutions, subscribe to the concepts of an outdated worldview, a perception of reality inadequate for dealing with our overpopulated, globally interconnected world.”
As we have been destroying our planet with our fast paced lifestyle- so we are in effect destroying ourselves as we destroy our own life support systems. Transformative change is needed at every level to save our beloved earth – and we have the power to do that. If we begin by changing our inner reality, that is if we go deep and search inside ourselves to find the issues that really matter to us, then that searching may prompt us to take action to change our outer reality, our world.
Mindfulness and meditation is one way to search deep within, that can manifest in outer change, and somatic dance meditation is another.
When we drop out of our ‘monkey mind’, our cerebral cortex, and allow that energy and activity to go into our bodies as we move and dance, we can get into that magical zone of Csikszentmihalyi’s ‘flowstate’ when time stands still and we are in an optimal zone where we feel strong, alert and in effortless control. When we dance, through the movement and our breath we can release our physical and mental blockages and connect to deeper feelings and an instinctual knowing within.
We drop from trying to understand through the intellect, and use our bodies as a gateway to access bodily knowing and communicating through the heart.
Research at the groundbreaking HeartMath Institute in Boulder Creek, US, has shown that the brain and heart are in a dynamic two way conversation. The heart communicates with the brain and body in four major ways – through the nervous system, through hormones, through pulse wave and electromagnetic fields. When we dance we can transcend our small ego-self, and cultivate our heart based compassion. We develop compassion for ourselves, extend it to others and develop a richer connection to nature and the earth.
It is a transpersonal experience, and according to Stanislof Grof, a founder of Transpersonal Psychology, ‘transpersonal experiences can lead you to connect with something greater than the human realm. All of the living world, including animals and plants – even rocks and minerals – may be experienced as part of your family.’
Thus by dancing, crazy though it may sound, it is possible to have conscious conversation with the universe. It is only when we start to think outside of ourselves and our personal needs that we can start to look beyond the devasting statistics of our high speed expansion to vision new possibilitiies. And somatic dance is one very accessible way in, with the rhythms and musical soundscapes that often are part of and enhance the experience, we can resonate with the frequencies of the earth, expand our capacity for compassion and manifest influential change.
2 Capra, F, (2014) The Systems View of Life, A Unifying Vision, Cambridge University Press
3 Csikszentmihalyi, M, (1990) Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, Harper Collins
#️somatics #️mindfulness #️climatechange #️flowstate #️heartmath #️transpersonal #️environment #️meditation #️somaticdance