Recipient for Riding the Wave, Colombia, 2012
Through the experience of dancing with so many lovers from around the world, I had the simple but profound realization of the truly universal nature of the dances. I saw something I had never before been able to articulate: As I danced on the bare earth with peoples of greatly varying origins, I thought of the dances as the manifestation of our indigenous soul's inner desire for ritual, and ritualistic prayer. Being from a society of spiritual orphans in a time of cultural appropriation, I experienced the dances as an indigenous exercise—a rite, and I felt a sense of belonging within this way of praying that had previously eluded me. Even beyond being connected to “a lineage,” I felt connected to a living body of prayer that we feed and are fed from, through the repetition of the sacred words, melodies, and movements.
I know no better container than the Sufi Sesshin in which one can call on so many allies (in body and not in body) and sit face to face with wounds. I know no other collection of teachers that I would use up the majority of my vacation time to be with. Murshid Sam made it clear that Sufism is based on experience, not premise. My time in Petaluma gave me many experiences of stillness, which opened the way for strong and subtle understandings to come into my consciousness. The effectiveness of meditation, the building of relationships with the divine qualities, and the immense love that our lineage shares made and continue to make deep impressions in me.
Please help us continue to make experiences such as these possible!