Joseph Campbell

There are so many reasons I admire Joseph Campbell's work and writing. He always inspires the artist to be brave and live by the strength of their own convictions, even if it goes against the sentiments of prevailing society. Here is a quote from his book "Hero with a Thousand Faces:"

"The modern hero, the modern individual who dares to heed the call and seek the mansion of that presence within whom is is our whole destiny to be atoned, cannot, indeed must not, wait for his community to cast off its slough of pride, fear, rationalized avarice, and sanctified misunderstanding. 'Live,' Nietzche says, 'as though the day were here.' It is not society that is to guide and save the creative hero, but precisely the reverse. And so everyone of us shares the supreme ordeal - carries the cross of the redeemer - not in the bright moments of his tribe's great victories, but in the silence of his personal despair."

The day is here. It is not always easy to heed your own call, but you must. What are you going to do about it today?

Breathing and belly dance

What are you doing with all parts of yourself when you dance? Are you going inside, feeling the earth, following your breath, sensing the sky, giving love to your audience and yourself? And are you breathing while you're at it? A lot of people lose track! And that is totally natural. We all hold our breath when learning new techniques in any discipline. I even find myself holding my breath when I'm plugged into the computer in the course of my cyber business, stopping my inner flow and bracing myself as I bump along the choppy internet river. And its true, in belly dance there is a lot to keep track of -- like how are you standing? What's going on with your pelvis - where is it looking? Are your knees rotating inward or outward? What part of you is bearing the weight? If one arm is up in the air looking gorgeous, what is the other hand doing? Is it a dead energy hand, dangling by your side in sad neglect? What part of your body is initiating a movement? Tune into the whole of your dancer self, from feet to top of head, through hands and arms. The path I take is breath. Breathing into all parts of you to keep everything energetically pulsing, even if its just a gentle, relaxed charge. In the warm up I try to tune everyone into how to stand and to go inward, following the breath inside of the body as the lungs fill, then exhaling fully while visualizing and locating our center. Relax, center, pay attention to your inner workings, and your outer expression will sing more beautifully.


The temple bell stops--
but the sound keeps coming
out of the flowers.
(translated by Robert Bly)

I love this little Basho poem. What bells are we ringing? What are our actions and how do they affect the quality of energy that we offer to the world? When I ring my bell I hope the reverberations are sweet for the flowers around me.