Life is sacred. Life is art. Life is sacred art. The art of sacred living means being a holy actor, acting from the soul rather than the ego. The soul is out of space and time and hence always available, an ever-present potential of our being. It is up to each of us to celebrate and to actualize our being and to turn each meal, conversation, outfit, letter, and so on, into art. Every mundane activity is an opportunity for full authentic self-expression. The soul is our artistic self, our capacity for transforming every dimension of our lives into art and theater.
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Each of us has the power and responsibility to heal ourselves, to be our own medicine man or woman. Awakening our innate powers of being, loving, knowing, seeing, and healing involves ongoing work at all levels and in all dimensions of our self. Exploring the range of rhythms and emotions, achieving insights into our conditioning and ego, moving through the energy levels of spirit "" these are all activities to be integrated into our daily lives.
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When we experience moments of ecstasy-in play, in art, in sex-they come not as an exception, an accident, but as a taste of what life is meant to be. . . Ecstasy is an idea, a goal, but it can be the expectation of every day. Those times when we're grounded in our body, pure in our heart, clear in our mind, rooted in our soul, and suffused with the energy, the spirit of life, are our birthright. It's really not that hard to stop and luxuriate in the joy and wonder of being. Children do it all the time. It's a natural human gift that should be at the heart of our lives.
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Our soul, our true self, is the most mysterious, essential, and magical dimension of our being. In fact, it is not a separate reality, as traditional Western thought views it, but the cohesive force that unites our body, heart, and mind. It is not a ghost trapped somehow in the physical machinery of our body but the very essence of our being.
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When I am dancing, it feels like my prayer. It's like an offering. I offer my head back to the dance, I offer my shoulders back to the dance, my elbows, my hands, my spine, my knees, my feet, my whole self, my bones, my blood, my experience, my suffering... I offer it all back to the dance and I say: take it, do whatever you want with me. Release me.
As Einstein queried, 'Why is it that I get my best ideas in the morning while I'm shaving?' Shaving is like meditation with a sharp object. When the mind is empty and receptive, big ideas flow through every cell of our body. When we're thinking too hard, we tense up and nothing can flow through us; our energy gets stuck in our heads. Sometimes you have to take a leap of faith and trust that if you turn off your head, your feet will take you where you need to go.
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Your body is the ground metaphor of your life, the expression of your existence... So many of us are not in our bodies, really at home and vibrantly present there. Nor are we in touch with the basic rhythms that constitute our bodily life. We live outside ourselves - in our heads, our memories, our longings - absentee landlords of our own estate. My way back into life was ecstatic dance. I reentered my body by learning to move my self, to dance my own dance from the inside out, not the outside in.
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In many shamanic societies, if you came to a medicine person complaining of being disheartened, dispirited, or depressed, they would ask one of four questions: 'When did you stop dancing? When did you stop singing? When did you stop being enchanted by stories? When did you stop being comforted by the sweet territory of silence?'