May 27, 2018

Living Well: Birthday Blessings



Living Well: Birthday Blessings

I am standing in the middle of the Top O’ Topanga Clubhouse. It is Friday evening, closing in on 9 p.m., almost the end of the night. Roberto and I are about a month into facilitating a beginners’ dance class.

Beginners in the sense of people who like to begin, and then begin again.

When people ask me what kind of dance we do, I don’t always know what to say. We are creating a movement sanctuary, a conscious dance practice, an exploration where we allow the body to lead. I often call it “going below the neck,” dropping the awareness down, out of the mind and into the feet as a way to rediscover, through movement, the qualities of play, innocence, and authenticity. These are natural qualities of childhood, of animals, and of those who gather with us on Friday evenings.

The practice involves no speaking. Even as the leader, I speak very little, preferring that all words sit in the belly and transform into primal vocalization if they desire to find expression through sound. Because I engage in a bare minimum of verbal facilitating, I am as free as the others to be taken by the dance, which happens often. Each time I am transformed.

On this one night, in this one moment, I am listening with eyes closed. David, one of our dancers, has put together a powerful playlist.

The shamanic drumming, Native American flute, and other magical ingredients remind my body of its untamed power and organic intelligence. The music begins to swell.

I stay in one place as the notes and the rhythm inform me from my cells to my soul, my feet planted like roots through the rug.

I’ve been dancing for almost two hours, and now I feel loose, alive, and surrendered.

Allowing my spine to fold forward and my head to hang, I slowly open my eyes and see my feet and calves as though we are meeting for the first time. As I look down, I hear an inner voice say, “These are your feet; these are your legs. They’re small, but they’re strong.” I feel an overwhelming sense of love for my little feet. I like them. They’re pretty. I notice the clear nail polish on my toes and gently touch the hair on my calves.

I then begin moving up my limbs, placing my hands all around my hips, then on my low back. “This is your skin. It’s not perfect, but it’s soft.” As I place my hands on my abdomen, I think of my ninety-eight-pound mother, almost seventy and still complaining about her stretch-marked flesh.

I hear, “This is your belly. It will carry two beautiful children. It will never go back to its original shape. Don’t judge it. We’ll send you a man who loves you and won’t care about that.” I move up to my chest. “These are your breasts. They will feed your children and bring you pleasure.”

I am enjoying the silent conversation, soaking in the acceptance of this anatomical inventory. I run my hands down my arms. “You will never have pretty hands, but you will make beautiful things with them, and you have healing power in your touch.

“In addition,­ your hugs will be so loving, you could melt the heart of death itself.” By this time my eyes are beginning to tear up.

I place my hands on my neck. “This is your throat, your voice. It is powerful, so use it wisely. Be kind. Tell the truth. Pray, and sing.” I nod, then softly cup my hands over my eyes. “You will need glasses. However, you will be able to see invisible things; you will see the good in people, and no matter how dark the world looks to others, you will hold a pure vision for a beautiful planet.”

I take a deep breath of gratitude. “These are your ears. Listening is a gift and a responsibility, so listen well.”

I imagine I am hearing my angels speaking to me before I incarnated, before I was born. They continue, “Sage, this is what you get. This is all yours. It’s not everything, but it’s a lot. Can it be enough for you?” Tears flow freely down my cheeks. I think of people with no feet, or no legs, people who are blind, deaf, or simply so caught in an illusion of media, the past, or fear, that the precious gifts of the moment are lost to them.

I think of my own thoughts earlier in the day, my demands on someone I love, my expectations and other petty distractions from wonder. Quietly I whisper, “Yes, this is enough for me. Thank you, this will do.”

The music ends. I stand still as the dancers come toward me for our closing. We go around the circle and state what we’ll take home with us, and I know what I will say: “I am taking myself, a new sense of appreciation for all I have and all I am, and a deep inner stillness in the center of a mind that had become a little cluttered with comparison and longing.” How sweet it is to come home to Sage, my lovely, adorable, imperfect, goofy Sage. This is my birthday, and I have what I came here for. I am so abundant. Happy birthday to me.

Sage Knight is a local ghostwriter, editor, and writers’ coach. She welcomes your ­­comments at