Wherever we are, at any given moment, is a place of transition. Every millisecond, every nanosecond, an infinitude of infinitesimal, seemingly undetectable changes are occurring in our body, minds, and in the air and earth around us. To be alive is to be on a journey between the ever-disappearing past and the still-not-arrived-at future. To be alive is to be moving, changing – to be alive is to dance.
As we exist in a state of change, we can embrace the idea that a state of transition is no less relevant, important or “good” than the state of arrival. Sacredness also exists in the in-between. If we open our eyes, our ears, our hearts, psyches, and souls, we free ourselves to experience wherever we are as “a certain place” - a place of power, a place where the holy and the human are dancing together. To paraphrase the visionary poet William Blake, “If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear as it really is, infinite.”
That said - when your spirit-vision is muddied, when the “doors of perception” have gotten glued shut, when you find yourself thwarted in your dance, how do you begin moving again, how do you return to the vibrant state in which we are meant to dwell?
One of the ways, as people from many different cultures around the world have believed since ancient times, is to go on a pilgrimage, to go to those “certain places” on our planet. These “certain places” seem to have a potent magnetic field, a high vibration, a powerful mana, that helps to free us from the limitations of ordinary perception and, in the process, awaken us to radiant vision, awaken our bodies to the dance.
Anthropologist Martin Gray describes the Hindu concept of tirtha, a Vedic word that originally meant “river ford, steps to a river, or place of pilgrimage,” but evolved to mean more than physical locations. Devout Hindus, says Gray, “believe them to be… the meeting place of heaven and earth.”
The most intense of these power places are sometimes called “Earth’s Chakras” – sacred energetic vortexes like Australia’s Uluru, the Great Pyramids of Giza, Machu Picchu, Mt. Shasta, or the giant redwood groves of California. These places foster a higher sense of connection with all life.
Among the California redwoods, the towering trees offer incredible examples of beauty, strength, wisdom, and resilience. Some of the trees have been growing for thousands of years – predating much of the world of human society – the world as weknow it. The redwoods have roots that can extend a hundred feet wide, which both help them withstand raging floods and powerful winds, and also literally feed the other trees around them. Their bark is built to withstand fires that obliterate everything else. They teach us to live where we are, to make the most of what we have and the conditions we face, to be generous, and to be magnificent.
As Thich Nhat Hanh reminds us, any
tree can be a power place, as it contains the cosmos. It is the sunlight, the rain, the earth; it is all of these, and their coming together, that forms the tree. You can find his meditation here
, or use the meditation guide below to connect to this energy of rootedness, strength, and growth:
- Find a tree – and if one is not accessible to you, bring one to your mind’s eye.
- Find your center with mountain pose/tadasana – planting your feet solidly beneath you, distributing your weight evenly between all four corners of each foot.
- Notice the roots of the tree – how it holds onto the earth and how the earth holds onto it. Let your feet be your roots, both pushing down on the earth and pulling up the energy beneath you.
- As the tree pulls up nutrients from the soil, allow the energy from your feet to travel upwards, elongating the spine, and lifting up through the crown of the head.
- Notice the shape of the tree, its bark, its branches, its various textures. Observe the complexity of the tree, its solidity, its connections. Offer the tree gratitude, and then allow it to inspire internal questions, like:
- How can you feel more solid in your life? What area feels like it needs to be more planted?
- The tree is rooted, deeply connected, to the earth – where are you feeling connected?
- As the tree draws up energy through the roots – what is uplifting you? What causes your branches to expand and grow?
- The tree provides shade to beings, homes for insects and animals, branches for bird nests. In what ways are you, or can you, show up in service of your fellow beings? How can your heart be uplifted in service?
- The tree’s leaves draw in the sunlight – how do you draw in sunlight, joy, and radiance into your inner child?
For a deeper dive into the power and magic of the redwoods, join us on a spectacular Vision Quest Retreat Aug. 30 – Sept. 1 at 1440 Multiversity.
I am so honored and excited to be co facilitating this excursion with Joe K, master yoga teacher and founder of Urban 728 Yoga Center.
Spend a magically powerful weekend with Dance of Liberation™ founder Parashakti and master yoga instructor Joe K enjoying a soul-opening blend of yoga, dance, and shamanic exploration.
Based on a series of shamanic practices known as the Seven Foundations, Dance of Liberation helps you shed inhibitions, heighten inner awareness, and awaken joy. This powerful soul work—blended with a unique and accessible twice daily yoga practice—is designed to ignite kindness, radiance, health, and a deep sense of renewal. You will:
Ride illuminating and metaphorical waves of energy while activating your flow state
Integrate mindfulness, pranayama (breath), and yoga asanas (postures) with the deeply communal and powerfully individual experience of deliverance known as Dance of Liberation
Take advantage of one-on-one time with both Parashakti and Joe Komar—available throughout the retreat.
Discover the fiery lights of your most authentic self through the healing art of yoga and the freedom of dance. You’ll return home connected with the vastness of your spiritual potential and ready to live a life of joy, vitality, and purpose.
For Onzie subscribers I am offering a gift of a one on one SoulHealing follow up integration session when we return from our retreat which will include a complimentary hot yoga class with Joe at Urban 728: http://urban728yoga.com
Parashakti has been an Ambassador for Onzie for 3 years. As she shares in her last blog
"Onzie’s bright and bold patterns help me express a powerful side of myself that sometimes gets muted by the process of spiritual inquiry - the self in me that is wild, wise, free, and feminine! This embodied transformation is a type of profound metamorphosis, like a caterpillar becoming a butterfly. It involves a mysterious dance of letting go of the old structures, patterns and forms that no longer serve me. Like the caterpillar hearing a call for its own rebirth my body, mind and soul dance heard a call to express the vibrancy within. A Dance of Liberation indeed. I wear my Onzie morning, noon, and night; they’re comfortable and I love that they help me seamlessly go from work to play, moving through life with an authenticity that bursting with rich color and texture".
Parashakti's shamanic healing work is born of more than two decades of experience facilitating workshops, trainings, and retreats around the world. As a lifelong dancer, her path as a healer followed a severe injury – a period of what is often called shamanic dismantling, after which her mission shifted towards healing. Over the last 20 years, Parashakti has developed the Seven Foundations and the Dance of Liberation™, as maps for her spiritual practice, living and breathing these foundations in daily ritual.
DOL'S mission is to help people experience ecstasy – without taking it.
Working on both an individual and a group basis, Parashakti has successfully adapted the teachings of the DOL as a modality for recovery from addiction. She was the Spiritual Director at Breathe Life Healing Center an inpatient treatment facility and Co-founder of Sanctuary in the City an outpatient treatment program at Recover Integrity in Los Angeles.
Parashakti has studied with some of the world’s most revered Masters, including Swami Sachidananda, Anna Halperin, Dr. Gabriel Cousens and Lakota Elder Wakia Un Manee. Her award-winning documentary, the Dance of Liberation, produced by the Wolper Organization, had its world premiere at the Sedona Film Festival and was recently acquired by FMTV, Itunes, Amazon & Google.
Above all, Parashakti is dedicated to serving community and creating a sacred container where people feel safe enough to experience their deepest essences, honor their voices, and shine their brightest light. Join her on the Dance floor: www.parashakti.org