Dance is the Next Yoga

Bali, 2013.  Photo: Rolf Gibbs

Bali, 2013. Photo: Rolf Gibbs

Sometimes, when I’m on stage at a festival or facilitating a class, I look out at a sea of dancing people, and I think:

“Wow.  This is what the it looks like when we ‘arrive.’  This is what it looks like when people are awake – not just as consciousness – but fully in their bodies, in expression, in connection.  This is real freedom.”

“This is what the world would look like if peace were a reality for all beings.”

“Dang… this practice could totally change the world.”

“Whoah… it really IS.”

Why?  It’s just the way evolution is moving.  Watching a group of people dance is like watching evolution happen – everything conspires towards greater connection, collaboration, resonance and synergy.   Dance is a microcosm of the macrocosm.  It’s the cutting edge of consciousness as a practice that anyone can do.

I’ve witnessed uncounted miracles on the dance floor.  I’ve gotten feedback from literally thousands of people that Dancing Freedom has been a safe space to finally know and engage higher purpose, to heal what felt impossible to heal, or to know and trust membership and empowerment in community.

Collective awakening is awesome.  Seriously.  It’s a power that transcends the individual.  In Buddhism, it’s called Maitreya – collective Buddha – the thing that happens when a whole group of people awaken together and come into ownership of the indomitable power of WE.

(If you’ve ever been on a dance floor when everyone breaks into ecstasy at the same time, you know what I mean.)

We left tribal living a long time ago in favor of knowing ourselves.  It’s been an amazing ride.  We got really good at being individuals, and in the process, we’ve evolved culture and technology to extraordinary levels of complexity and capacity.  Now, the requirements of our earth and the expansion of consciousness are spiraling us upwards into the truth of our interconnectivity.

Some like to say say, “we is the new me.”  I like to say that now is the time for a softer, stronger me and a more interwoven and mutually engaged we.  It’s time to be and dance as people who can co-create a beautiful world.

This is why dance is the next yoga.

Yoga brings us home to our bodies, our essential energy and our connection to source consciousness.  It’s a self-focused way of practice that opens people to the fullness of what we really are and can be.

Dance takes our spirituality off the mat and into community.

Dance brings us fully into life – into relationship, onto the earth, and into the chaotic unfoldment of engaged purpose as the place where real freedom happens.

Spiritual liberation without the encouragement and the support to bring it into life is meaningless freedom.

The difference is community.

When we’re in it together, we get freedom in relationship:  freedom to grow, freedom to see and be seen, freedom to co-create, freedom to give and receive, freedom to fall down, freedom to fly.

This is the kind of freedom that can change the world.

Do you resonate?

Share your experiences below.

Or, help us bring more dance to the world.  Join our next Dancing Freedom Facilitator Training.

November 8-29, 2015 • Byron Bay, Australia

(Literally, THE most beautiful place I’ve ever been!)

Can’t wait.

For Us All


Today I have received news of the second suicide of a young person in one of my communities.  The news falls hard.  There’s a lot of news like this, these days.  Have you noticed?  How are you feeling?

Today, I have softened my heart to listened and offered the gentle counsel of non-blaming, no-faulting.  I have quietly offered words of embrace to the people still living, navigating the constellation of grief, shock, loss.

And, today, I have found this poem.  I wrote it in 2008.  It is as relevant now.  It is FOR US ALL.  Whatever you are dealing with today- ease or challenge, loss or the burden of having, love or the strange absence of loneliness, or all of the above… This is for you.  This is for us.  These are healing words for today.

34For Us All

These bones – translucent – are your bones. They find us in the halls of her-story.
This blood – fire – is your blood, pulsing the tides of a timeless ocean.
This heart – royal – is our heart. Shall we share the majesty?
Shall we remember our birthright as leaders and children?
Shall we fall quietly into the deafening silence
Of a greater promise?

Your cheek, my sister, is so soft, as we hold each other sighing. I want to walk forward with you, like we know who we are, like we trust one another, like fullness. I want to forget the doubting, and remember the fierce certainty of loving. I want to cradle the one and the many in the expanse of my wings, and to take flight when you squeeze me tight, gathering me to the Earth. I want to resign this job of trying, and take a post of radical success at Café Unconditional. I want to meet meet myself, and see you, and us, and forever, AND feel safe – because I choose to.

I want to fall down laughing – again.

This Harvest is mixed.
Shall we play?
This catch is small.
Shall we sing?
This table is empty.
Shall we dance on it?

Shall we work, and pray and do the long, hard labor of dying and birthing? Together?

We do. And we shall.
Rise up in courage beyond hope
As a tidal wave on unknowable shores.
We do. And we shall.
Surrender arms and take up the one weapon that matters –
An awake heart.
We do. And we shall.
Be the will and the waking of the One.

~ Samantha Sweetwater, October 24, 2008

Embodied Leadership Basics

188673_10151360355406578_4379643_npssst… did you hear?  I’m writing a new book.  It’s called More Life, Please.

Yes.  I want more life.


Anyhooo… In the process, I’m digging up some of the old treasures of writing I’ve done for the Dancing Freedom Manual, the Peacebody School and other projects.  I’ve decided to share a bunch of goodies with you – unedited.  (Please be kind with typos or less than perfect structure.)  For all of you co-creating evolution out there, here’s a piece to help you better understand the higher power dynamics at play as you develop and share your unique and perfect gifts:  Embodied Leadership Basics. I think you’ll like it. The 24 Keys of Embodied Leadership will follow in a few days.



Embodied Leadership Basics

Hey Embodied Leaders! Here are some basic principles that apply holographically to every aspect life and action. They are equally applicable to whole-being, psychosomatic health, co-creating healthy relationships and co-creating healthy systems (businesses and institutions) that function in integrity with life. They are alchemical principles. Alchemy describes the actual process of being the change: when you change yourself, you change your world. And, as the world changes, you are also changed. (As above, so below. As below, so above. As within, so without. As without, so within.)

Leadership is both an archetypal position that some people hold and an attribute that all people have. Some people are simply “born leaders” – they radiate archetypal qualities that people trust and follow. They attract attention and move large amounts of energy. They are charismatic and easily take the lead. Not everyone has this quality. (Think of JFK, Gandhi, MLK or Michael Jackson.) OBSERVE: Who do you naturally “follow?” Why? How do people naturally follow (or not follow) you? How do you radiate the archetype of leadership?

On another level, leadership is an attribute that every person exercises in different ways at different times. Each of us leads through example as we co-create our lives in integrity with spirit, soul and all of life. We lead when we be, do, and create our lives as true expressions of our heart-knowing. You lead by being you. How do you embody and exercise the attribute of leadership in your home? Your workplace? Your relationships? Your communities?
Embodied Leadership means showing up in integrity with your core values, purpose and soul essence. It means actually integrating who you say you want to be into your body, your personality, your habits of thought, word, and action and your ways of relating in the world.

Leading is not always about “being the lead.” It is also about following and supporting– being a strong follower, letting others shine, flowing with “the energy”, letting the collective heart lead, following divine directives, letting life lead. Much leadership is invisible. True leaders are not “out there for themselves”, they are great listeners, great followers. They place their lives and their actions at service to something larger than themselves.

Embodied leadership means having a certain level of integration – maturity. It is never “achieved.”  It requires ongoing practice – living consciously in dynamic balance with life itself – with the changes, challenges and opportunities life offers. It means putting Embodied principles into practice daily as we structure our lives, our work, our relationships, our communication patterns and our social, economic and political systems. It is an ecological approach – a whole-being, inter-relational, life-centric approach to the harmony and interdependence of life.


…more soon as I dig through old treasures on my way to More, Life Please.

ps.  If you liked this, you may want to join me for Initiation|Soul Quest, September 22-27 in my home bioregion, the magical Siskiyou Mountains, or for the Dancing Freedom Facilitator Training, November 8-29, 2015 in uber-gorgeous and spiritually potent Byron Bay, Australia.

I Believe In Your Power to Choose Your Life

20-animal-black-and-white-photography-by-wolf-ademeit.previewHi.  I just wanted to take a moment to say something to you.

Yes… you.  That person reading this who, just like me, navigates some pretty outrageous and subtle challenges pretty much every day to move forward with the life you’ve been given.  That person who knows in her heart that your life is yours, but struggles sometimes to feel that it’s possible.

Yes.  It is possible.

I’m in the midst of final enrollments and logistics for one of my Dancing Freedom trainings.  It’s a huge container – three jam packed weeks of embodied transformation, earth ceremony, soul alchemy, nature immersion, permaculture and dancing.  Every time I do this, I get to be the gatekeeper for tens of people navigating the huge life choice of whether to spend the time, money and energy to do the training.  (I help people with doubt, uncertainty, and the sure power of their dreams.  I don’t sell.  I hold a doorway open and help people make an authentic decision that is empowered and that feels good.)  And, every time I do another one of these trainings, I go through layer upon layer of my own soul initiations to really WALK MY TALK.

So… this time, I’m navigating a big relationship transition (which will have me moving off the farm after the training), a car accident (75pmh impact with a deer) that totaled my car last Friday, healing my body of the trauma of that accident, searching for a new car… all the while managing all the logistics of a three week training, launching another training in Australia, helping on the farm, writing my book, and continuing to play a co-parenting roll with my ex-partner’s kids.       …dang…

So, my initiation (again) over the last 24 hours has been – do I believe in myself???  Can I keep responding gracefully to all the things on my plate?  Can I take responsibility for my sometimes difficult feelings in this breakup?  Can I look out at my Big Life and choose it?

I’ll be honest, last night, trying to talk through moving out and logistics with my ex, I kind of broke down.  We were in our “patterns” and not doing such a good job of listening to each other.  Some time after midnight, I realized I just needed to end the conversation and go to bed.

Thankfully, today is a new day.  Every day is a new day.

And, what I’m present to in this moment is that I HAVE THE POWER TO CHOOSE MY LIFE.

It took a little umph to get to that mindset.  It took a little will force.  (You have this same will force in you.)

I woke up this morning, and refocused myself on my own center and what’s actually real – everything is ok, I am supported in SO many ways to just take the next step, and I have immense power within me to support myself – through my own attitude and actions.  Whatever my ex doesn’t understand about how I live my life, what drives me, how spirit and the world speak to me, how I see the world… DOESN’T MATTER.  It’s not personal.  All that really matters is that I do what is mine to do.

This is the essence of CHOOSING YOUR LIFE:

  • Center in your self.
  • Do what’s yours to do.
  • Take the next step.

That next step is right there.  (Today, it looks like writing this, then going to find a new car, then getting myself to the retreat where I’m teaching this weekend.)  But, whatever it looks like for you – it’s your next step.

Take it.


The art of choosing your life is right in front of you.  Focus your energy on FORWARD.  That’s the only direction life flows.

The only direction that life flows is forward.  And, it does it one step at a time.

Do it from your heart.  Do it from the strength of your life force and will force.  It’s a STRONG force.  It is SOFT, too.

It’s all going to be ok.  And, no.  Ok doesn’t mean permanent or always stable or guaranteed safe.  It means it’s gonna be the way your life is given to you.  By spirit.  By your own soul.  Through your prayer.  Because you choose it.  Because you live it.

I believe in my power to choose my life.  I know this power through using it.  That’s knowing.  It’s deeper than belief.

It’s a very present tense experience of personal power accessed the moment you turn towards your capacity to respond – to walk forward – in the direction of life – in a way that’s authentic to you.

And, it’s the gentle confidence that comes from observing yourself over the arc of time.

(As I bring witness to my life as it is and as it’s been, I am getting to know that I – my way of doing my life – am a fairly trustworthy vehicle for my own soul.)

This is called seeing evidence in your own actions.  (All of nature and the universe will readily reflect whether you’re on track, too!)

And, it’s also just owning the incredible power that is a human being – that power specifically in you – specifically in me.  Own it.

No one can take it away from you.  No one can take your power.  Nothing is personal.  Only you can choose your life.

But, sometimes we’ve gotta recenter, shake off, take some time to feel our difficult feelings, and review.  (That’s when it’s time to lean into belief.)

I believe in your power to choose your life.

I know you have the power to choose your life.

Do it.



How to Get More Life

10268567_10153508091628298_3719500381205598298_nThis morning, while driving down the Bayshore freeway in heavy traffic, I was overcome with tears of love and joy. My life is so powerfully overflowing with the endless answers to all my prayers – including YOU reading this now.  (Yes, I pray for my writing to be useful to real people.)

In our church, there’s a prayer we like to say: Thank you for answering every prayer I’ve ever prayed.

This prayer REALLY works. It focuses your attention on how your whole life, even if you haven’t been aware of it, has been the outcome of your thoughts, intentions, actions and relations. From the very beginning.  Always.  All the time.  Without exception.

We like to place responsibility elsewhere, to play the victim, to think we are inadequate or stupid, or to be shy about just how powerful we really are.  And, sometimes life indeed feels accidental, like, “WTF, how did I get here (this marriage, this job, this age, this bankrupt, this grief striken, etc.).”  But, it’s not.  It’s a co-creation with spirit in every minute of every day, every breath.

When take responsibility for your thoughts, intentions, words and actions and acknowledge that your life is a co-creation with a Power Larger Than Yourself (Your Creator) it’s one, very empowering, two, very relieving, and three, very attractive the the Power Larger Than Yourself to offer you more help.

Here are the keys.  They are simple.  Anyone can do them.

ONE:  make a prayer.  The way to make a prayer is to get quiet and open your connection to the stillness inside of you, to everything around you that wishes you well, and to God (or, Your Creator).  Then, you do three things.  Give thanks for what you are thankful for.  Ask for help.  Ask for what you want.

It’s good to do it out loud.  It’s good to do it with a piece of burning sage, which will help send your prayer up to Spirit.

Once you’ve made the prayer, give it up.  Let go of your will and open to the prayer being answered in a way that isn’t a reflection of control or ego, but is the way the creative force of the universe responds to you.

There are many, many ways to pray, but this simple pattern really works.  It’s a guaranteed way to open yourself up to the real frequency of an open hearted, vulnerable, honest prayer.  Do NOT skip the asking for help step.  Contemporary people are notorious for thinking they can think through and solve of do everything.  This is NOT the way of more life.  It’s the way of control.  Let go of a little control – get the help.  Don’t let go of control – don’t get the help.  Asking for help is one of the most sacred and profound things a human being can do.

TWO:  walk in your prayer.  In other words, you gotta do your part.  LIVE what you ask for, what you need, what you want, what your gratitude reveals about who you are and what moves you.  Live the open heart and receptivity it takes to genuinely receive and give love and assistance.  Walk towards it, do your deal.  Assert your clear boundaries.  Take responsibility what you really do and don’t want in your life.  And, give what you love.  This is called being a human with a prayer.  It will get you a life – a Big Life, the one you want, like you like it.

Don’t get stuck in the paradox of letting of your prayer and walking IN it.  It’s only a paradox if you try think it’s you causing your life, or that you are in charge of timings and outcomes.  it doesn’t work that way.  If you are paying any attention at all to the sacred energy steering your ship, it becomes obvious that your part is to show up with courage and softness, and be the person you pray to be.

Here’s a great story from my life.

Last night, after many years of prayer and life, countless prayer for healing and grace, countless phone calls, family dinners and times of just simply showing up – for whatever – my parents came to Pipe Ceremony. They came with me to meet my other family. They did the whole deal- prayer ties, prayers, smoking the pipe, hugging everybody, everything. And, they even liked it (which was far beyond anything I might have imagined or expected). I feel more connected and coherent than I think I’ve ever felt…. My blood family actually came to meet my soul family, and we all felt happy and connected… yippeeee!  This was an outcome of the prayers and the walking of the prayers – a prayer answered.  What’s next?  More love.  More life.  I get more love and more connection and a deeper sense of meaning and intimacy with my family.  That is more life.

In case you don’t know, Pipe Ceremony is when people come together with the master medicine of the Sacred Pipe, or chanupah, to sit in a circle and pray. It’s not about telling stories. It’s about simple, direct prayer. In my church, the love field is palpable, the sense of welcome so sweet it could melt almost anyone’s armor. Praying with a chanupa is just about the most direct way you can possibly talk to God.  I love it.  You probably will, too.

I’ll share more about how to pray in my next blog.

I love you.



Image credit:  Ashes and Snow

Image credit: Ashes and Snow


We are two. More than one. A community in the minor sense. A communion. We are explorers. Researchers. The body, our territory. Cellular laboratory. Each element a technology. Minutia of intelligences constantly communicating. Layer upon layer of complexity in dialogue. Complexity wed to simplicity. Absolutely nothing extra. Perfect complexity. A bowl of water. Two sacks of water.

Body in relation. He to me. Me to he. Us to gravity, to light, to wood. Us to emotion, in motion. All elements: Earth, Air, Water, Fire. Ether. Mystery and uncreated whisper before the next step, next breath. Ether: the dance of the imagination. Ether, the fractal rose of now unfolding through the heart.

We call on our capacity to relate, to be in the place between heaven and earth so particularly reserved for the human being, a cross upon our hearts. We are bound to express. We caress that expression. We choose to move from the center of being: Crystallized waves yield up the appearance of a dance, of bodies in time, of bodies in space, of bodies/human, of bodies/divine. Giving up choice, we are suddenly whole.

Human/nature is a practice. A collection of practices. An art of showing up, witnessing and translating. Relaxing the knowing. Living feeling. Being stillness and action – BRAIDED.

To dance human/nature is to walk and roll and pause upon this earth as lover, magician and friend. To dance human/nature is to amplify the flavors of relation for the benefit of ourselves and others. Call it performance. Call it practice. Call it what you will, it is our call, our stars, our embodiment we have been given to expand. We are born to be embodied. We are born in bodies because the body, in its moment to moment existence in time and space, is a prayer dance of the infinite loving its-self in finite, fractal form. Loving fully. Loving in solidity. Loving in BODY. We are born to experience THIS! If not, then why have we been given such marvelous tools? Hands, feet, arms, legs…spine? And, the sense organs to perceive the myriad wonder? We are sweet, gawky, wondrous creatures: humans and beings, in nature and form. We are human/nature. That is all. So much: a continuing dance.


ps.  I am a dancer, a lover, a nature mother, a warrior, a teacher, a friend – an experiential eco-cosmologist walking the path of one who’s sole purpose is to go deeper into life and wider into love – and to share that with others as a pathway to living grace.  Today is my 43rd birthday.  This passage was written in my mid twenties when I was totally immersed in research and practice (of consciousness) through the dance.  It has forever framed the way I live and love.  If you’d like to know more about me and dance, or train with me as a Dancing Freedom Facilitator, please head over to the Dancing Freedom website.  ~Much Love~