Embracing the Rhythms and Cycles

This past weekend I participated in my first 5 Rhythms Workshop with international teacher Adam Barley. You, Me, and Us was its focus - essentially how one is in relationship (what more is there, really!).  Key to this practice is discovering how one is in relationship through the vehicle of the body and emotions. 5 Rhythms practice asks to put aside thoughts and judgements about relating to oneself and others and step into a sensory exploration. This practice in one short year has revolutionized everything and continues to uncover little (and big) parts of my self yearning to be seen and welcomed home. Through breath, through listening and acceptance.

I discovered 5 Rhythms during a period when my own routine had recently been shaken up quite violently. I was still recovering from losing an ovary in a quite bizarre and dramatic way (read earlier post, Beauty and the Body to find out more on this) and through this I had begun to in ernest pay attention to how I moved through life.  What stories did I tell myself waking up and laying down to sleep? What motivated me? How did I relate to the world? My investigations led me to FEAR.  Fear was what mostly drove me.  Fear and loathing and guessing and hope.  Hope that one day it would be different. I would be different.  As sickness or the breakdown of our physicalness will often gift us with, I had plenty of extra time to look at this cycle I was caught in and wanted so much to step out of it and say farewell.  But as much as I tried, I could not. At best, I could shove these stories into the cob webbed corners of my mind, cover them with “positive” affirmations that felt pretty flimsy compared to the thick hairy Fear monster it covered.  

And then a friend told me about 5 Rhythms taught at Studio NIA dance studio by a teacher (Chloe Goodwin <3 <3 <3). I had seen Chloe around town and always thought “I want to know that person.” So I went with curiosity high, and by the end of class, was an immediate devotee.  Chloe asked us to trust our feet, to trust our hips, to trust our belly, shoulders, our arms.. and to release our head.  To allow the body to speak its forgotten language and TRUST its intelligence.  To let go of an agenda and to follow.  Practicing this very simple, yet quite difficult instruction, I feel liberated and connected and emptied of all the hairy sticky stories.

Taking this practice out into the world, recognizing the rhythms throughout the natural world, has given me a very different framework to view what transpires within me, within others, within the world.  It allows me to let go of the lens of Fear and loathing and guessing (if I am willing to!) and pick up the lens of sensing awareness.  I use this practice continuously with clients, encouraging them to momentarily drop their stories about what is happening to them, to their bodies, and step into following their senses. To become deeply curious about what they feel and experience how what they feel shifts, MOVES! when we drop our linear, scripted stories and step into what is actually transpiring. When this is coupled with the dreaming, imaginative self, I have experienced space is created for new ways of relating to ourselves and others. Paths that are more aligned with integrity and wholeness. Which is what this world so deeply needs.

So after practicing 13 hours of 5 Rhythms over the course of three days with 40+ amazing people from around the world, how do I feel? I feel humbled. I feel that I have just taken my first tentative steps into a vast, beautifully wild terrain. And there are parts within this terrain I recognize as Home. 

written on May 13th, 2015

“Humility is the foundation of all the other virtues:
Hence, in the soul in which this virtue does not exist,
There cannot be any other virtue except in mere appearance.”
-Augustine of Hippo

Kara Duval