I accidently attended a Dances of Universal Peace event for a few days, at the Atlantida ecovillage. Here´s what fell onto the keyboard the day after:
Holding hands, dancing in circles, chanting strange religious mantras in arabic, spanish, greek, french.
Hugging men, looking in their eyes, looking in the eyes of strangers.
Withered prune grandma of Danzas de Paz, spidery shaky voice, guitar, but force of leadership.
Feeling low, depression coming through, cold front, cloudy crates of future chaos stacking ominously over me, billowing and flexing, solid as a tower of lead, threatening to suck me up and crumple me like a ball of tissue paper, spit me out like a broken hail stone, useless.
Warm welcome. Such a warm welcome. Te volviste! Happy Birthday. They remembered!
Taken seriously. Art of leading dances. No personal poetry. Drawn from ancient tradition. But not about outward, NOT a show, not professional looking. About the group, creating that space, the energy, clarity so all can participate, move beyond the pragmatics of which-foot-where and into the emotion and spirit of being one.
Acting together. Acting as a team. Acting as one body. Moving as one, speaking as one, expressing as one.
Huge silly grin on my face, at the silliness of dancing, but glorious silliness. Clasping hands, little formal bows to right and left, stately, measured orbit, change hands, move to next partner, like Pride And Prejudice.
Country dancing at school. Urrrgh! Holding a girl's hand! Round the Maypole. Irrelevant, Stupid. Foolish. Old.
Isn´t it just, well, a little bit ... feminine?
Unpack. To make oneself vulnerable, to express openness in a physical way to others. To be soft. Men are meant to be hard. Tough as nails.
Do we replace this absense with digital divulgence of the minutiae of our daily lives? Does FaceBook replace physical contact?
Mocking voice. Stupid, irrelevant, laughable. The hippies have lost. The machine speeds onwards.
Didn´t win over the world. Consumer capitalism marches on, drum beat of reason, numbers, economics, unarguable, unanswerable, unnegotiable, unpersuadable and insensitive to the fluffy bullshit of love and light and Mother Earth.
Why is is bullshit? Because it is not powerful. Not powerful enough to stop what they object to. Not strong enough to draw in the masses. A fringe event on a side-street to the main carnival of carnivory, consumption.
New Age. Fear in the church. Post-modern mix, any religion from any where. Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Catholicism.
Allah your will be done, Shiva Shiva Shiva, Christ, Buddha-Dhamma-Sanga.
Toby and his family Ohms up the mountains. We mocked because it was strange. Because we didn´t understand, to dismiss it, box it and put it away, so it wouldn´t challenge us, wouldn´t shake what we knew.
LOST language of fellowship, to express togetherness in our atomised consumer soup. Language of movement, dance, and of harmony, music. No strong shared musical culture. In England at least. My parents have, from Protestant Ireland, but coming from The Troubles, not updated, laced with the us-vs-them of a divided society.
This is ANCIENT. Since dropping from the trees we have danced together, normally in a circle, touching, looking at each other, singing together, focussing on shared values, a shared idea of the world. The MOTOR of unity, the alchemist, the catylist to mix all our souls together, emulsify, to turn the separate elements into a whole.
This is soul food. It does not feel like a hobby, like an optional extra. It feels primordial, fundamental, satisfying a basic need, coming home (Burning Man, "Welcome Home"). Is this what we are all searching for? Partly at least. Is this what drives XFactor orphans, desperate for adoption into the family of the famous to find love and be valued?
So funny! And so FUN! Is this how we would unwind at the end of the day if we didn´t have TV?
Feel lifted, buoyed up, more air in my water-wings, I am not alone in this world. We are here together. And all the other things settle into perspective. The shallow, wispy Worryweeds part as something more vigorous and real grows up, solid stemmed, broad leafed, soaking up the sun. The Worryweeds start to wither a little in the shade. There is some real and solid truth to this equation: capitalism splits up, atomises to allow free movement, tears great holes in the fabric of communal life, and massages this emptiness with advertising, and offers in its place a mountain of stuff, and we pour the pointless plastic forgotten-in-a-moment widgets into the hole, and pour and pour but it will not fill up. Like a black hole swallowing the whole world, the forests and mountains and fish and coral and cleanliness and deep down freshness and ourselves and life in all its abundance.