/dɪsˈrʌpt/ (verb) – to cause (something) to be unable to continue in the normal way
A personal account of Disruption
The disrupting ability of conscious dance was the reason I got hooked on it in the first place. I was in a dark space. The predominant pattern moving inside me was one of crippling depression brought on through grief at the loss of my marriage. Nothing I was trying helped to free me from the state I was in. I could not sleep. I was barely functioning. People said it takes time, but how do help yourself while it takes time?
I started to dance twice a week. During the class I remember feeling (it was only for a moment at first) an emergence into a greater fuller more encompassing version of myself. I could distinctly feel the fullness of my being. Energetically it was flowing much more freely. It was so much greater than the depression.
The experience was like coming up for air, before being plunged back underwater. It was keeping me from drowning. A lifeline. This kept me showing up for class.
Over time I was able to disrupt the negative pattern for longer and longer. Ultimately it lead to embodying a new a more positive expansive pattern. I’m convinced that conscious dance helped me move through this pattern faster than if I just gave it time. Certainly faster than any other modality I was then working with. More importantly, disrupting the pattern allowed me to be creative in a very dark period of my life. I haven’t stopped dancing since.
Never before in history have humans as a specie become so disconnected from our nature and from all nature. The speed at which technology is contributing to this now makes it exponential. Everyday something new is at our fingertips. Distracting us further. Disconnecting us further. It is seemingly reaching a crisis point where we have become a threat to our own survival and other life on the planet. You know the rhetoric.
Nowadays before we can even begin to appreciate the great mystery of our true nature, we have to free ourselves from the energetic patterning being ingrained into our being through our modern lifestyle and history. For this to occur we need to create disruption within ourselves on a daily basis. To disconnect from the patterns so that we can connect to more natural creative way of being. Traditionally this would be seen as the movement from material obsession to spiritual connection. Once we have broken the patterns we also need to learn how to move the energy in ways that are natural.
Our bodies are the most physical representation of the energy that we are made up of. It is solid and palpable. You may not yet be sensitive to your energy but you can feel your body. As such the body is the best tool we have to create disruption to the energetic patterns we have become stuck in. Disrupting the patterns, grooves, habits, and conditioning, whether they are physical, mental, emotional or psychic. Mindful movement or conscious dance is a great practice to create disruption.
The beauty of using the body to do this is it bypasses the intellectual and rational thinking mind and brings us into a field where we are working directly on the energetics through the body. It is an embodied practice.
Disrupt practices must create disruption.
For a disrupt practice to be effective it must create disruption. It should not be a place that further entrenches the habit and pattern. If this is happening in conscious dance you will find (although perhaps not notice) that you always move the same way and the experience will generally always be the same. Furthermore you will resist the change it could bring. Eventually you will find reasons not to go dance (and listen to them). You will ignore the guidelines, or move with another agenda. Always check in with yourself that you are actually following the guidelines.
Patterns will resist the disrupt
It always amazes me that we can become so comfortable in our patterns. That we’d rather stick with the known patterns of depression, boredom, lethargy, even anxiety then break out into the unknown. The patterns and habits are comfortable and familiar. There will be a big part of your identity that is attached to them. We become enslaved by them. It is a slow death. Initially it may be seem like the easier path. After all it is much easier to move in a known groove that to blaze a new trail.
When people come to dance initially, it is new and exciting and fun. It doesn’t offer much challenge to the patterns and grooves. As you continue however and the dance begins to create disruption. This is often where the dance becomes less fun and may begin to offer one real challenge. We have to push out of our comfort zone. People either will embrace this, in which case conscious dance becomes the powerful tool of awakening and transformation. Or they will stop coming and find a myriad of “good” reasons not to do it further. (They may never see that the reasons are borne from the resistance of the patterning.)
So how is conscious dance used as a practice of disruption? Below are a couple of keys to unlock the potential of the practice.
Present to it
The first aspect of practice is to be present. Thinking about being present is as far away from being present as you could be. Being present is to allow our awareness to expand beyond the energetic patterns that are holding our thinking, feelings, moves, and actions in a particular groove. We start to perceive the patterns without being identified with them. A big aspect of being present is to remain non-judgmental and equanimous to what you are present to.
Move with it
Then we move. First we explore the movement that is borne out of the patterning we wan’t to disrupt. It will have a dance too. We explore how it feels to move with it. Even intensify or amplify the movements and gestures of the pattern. We really allow ourselves to embody it fully and take it to its conclusion. This is an important aspect of disruption. To throw a piece of trash in the bin, you need to pick the trash up first. We cannot let go or change a pattern until we know it fully. Since this is a movement practice, we must know the pattern through movement.
Once we are moving fully embodied in the pattern we can disrupt it. Stretch and expand the body. Slow down or speed up. Shake loose or hold tight. Open ourselves up, breathe more deeply and fully. Explore new and totally different movements and gestures to that of the pattern. Allow ourselves to shake it out of our bodies.
We find ways of moving that continuously break the groove and flow of its energy. It is deliberate movement in new ways. It requires attention and curiosity. A willingness to explore yourself and parts of yourself that you could not feel when moving in the pattern. We may find we need to let other parts of our bodies lead the dance. If the pattern is in the knees, then what is it like to feel the elbows.
Finally we allow new patterns to be created. This is where we begin to dance and move in new ways. We listen more deeply to the parts of our being that did not have voice when the pattern predominated. We ask ourselves questions like “Who am I?”, “What is my true nature?”, “How can I connect more meaningfully and purposefully to life?” and we move in answer to the questions. There is nothing intellectual about this process. It all happens in the body and in our dance. The understanding and insight that comes, is embodied in our cells. Stay present and open. We receive the insight in the form of feelings, thoughts, images, flashes of intuition and many other ways.
Allow the dance to dance us. Trusting it to come up with them most natural, nurturing and expansive movement. Or we can dance the dance and start to move in ways that make us feel more connected, expansive, creative and free. Move in a way that helps us to reconnect to ourselves more deeply, as well as to others, the space and nature we are moving in.
Old habits die hard.
Initially you may break free of the patterns for little bits of time. Maybe a minute or two in a whole dance class. Over time the disrupt begins to last a little longer. Eventually the patterns will fall away. Regular daily disruption as often as possible will keep your from falling back into habits.
It is important to practice this until you feel that your movements are more natural and born out of presence, feeling and listening as opposed to habits and conditioning. It also helps to think of other creative ways to create disrupt in your normal life. At the very least regular practice will help us establish new patterns that keep us open and connected to life.
Eventually even these will be discarded in favour of simply being present and awake to each moment. Responding appropriately from your nature. You will see the fruits manifest in your life.
At this stage we allow our conscious dance practice to take on a different focus. One of creativity. As we reconnect to our true nature, we explore ways of moving in the world born out of that.