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When Did You Stop Dancing?

When Did You Stop Dancing?

Tammy March 30, 2013 5 comments
Original art, Dancing with my Shadow by Tammy Vitale

Dancing with My Shadow by Tammy Vitale

“In many shamanic societies, if you came to a shaman or medicine person complaining of being disheartened, dispirited, or depressed, they would ask one of four questions:

When did you stop Dancing?

When did you stop Singing?

When did you stop being enchanted by Stories?

When did you stop finding comfort in the sweet territory of Silence?

Dancing, singing, storytelling, and silence are the four universal healing salves and where we have stopped them is where we have experienced the loss of soul.”

~ Gabrielle Roth

I’m a bit the forest right now – not seeing trees or forest – and longest friend Linda (Blood Sister and she who sent me Women Who Run With the Wolves and both changed and saved my mid-life transition in my mid-40s) asked a few weeks back what I would like for this momentous 65th birthday (well, it feels momentous.  It feels like I can truly claim the title Crone now).  I told her I would love books by Gabrielle Roth, of the above quote.  And of course I got them – Linda is, in addition to Blood Sister, also my Soul Sister.  She attends to the needs of my soul – and knows what they are, whether or not I tell her.

I have not been disappointed in reading this books and have  been off checking out her music too (most would term it trance – but it sounds just like she writes, so it is totally workable).

More from Gabrielle:

Working out should be like having a conversation with your body and spirit; it should be personal, intimate, and holy, not boring and painfully repetitive.  (I underlined that as I am having a hard time shoe-horning myself back into the daily gymn routine having missed a month from vertigo, terrible cold with lots of coughing and general ennui).


A spiritual practice requires consciousness, both awareness of the whole and attention to the deatils.  As with everything else, the teaching you receive from it will be the result of the consciousness you bring to it.  A spiritual practice requires discipline, the willingness and commitment to show up not just physically, but mentally and emotionally.

A rather good guideline for when one is sort of drifting through trees or a forest or, who know given I am so unfocused right now, floating down the river in a pea green boat.

So I leave you with the wisdom of Gabrielle, and hope you find something helpful here today too.

What are some of your favorite books/authors for when you find yourself ungrounded and unfocused?  And tell us why, too!

P.S.  And while I’m getting good advice, I thought I’d throw in the Fortune Cookie Quote I drew today:

Like a tree that takes 3 years to really root and grow,
I must learn to put my roots down carefully
so they hold during storms.
 — Tammy Vitale

perhaps a bit of a reminder that I do have my moments of clarity!

P.P.S.    I stopped dancing somewhere in my 30s with a brief revisit in my 40s.  I miss it.  So I bought some of Gabrielle’s music and shall have a turn or two in the Dining Room with the IPod later on today.  When was the last time you danced?

In Category : Art and Life


  • Joined:
    2009-10-19 15:07:50
    March 31, 2013

    Oh … did I ever dance?
    I don’t remember dancing except the forbidden dancing when I was losing myself in search of myself.

    Then I became a mother, barely an adult, but already a mother. Then a wife … and then other than silly little dances with the children in the kitchen, no dancing.

    Somehow, it has been coming back to me. My children love to have dance parties. I dance with them. I began hooping and am learning to be free, to dance again, for the first time.

  • Joined:
    2009-10-19 15:07:50
    March 31, 2013

    Love her music, and find it interesting that I’m hearing her mentioned a lot again recently. Maybe it’s a reminder to me to dance as well, or simply a reminder of how much I love her music. I think my favorite is Ritual, it’s haunting and is a perfect backdrop for writing, meditation, creating my gemstone jewelry or anything else that asks me to go deep.

    I got to do an evening dance event with Gabrielle about 20 years ago in Chicago…fabulous.

    It’s also a great reminder to take a break from those activities and get up and move my body. Thanks, Tammy.

  • Joined:
    2009-10-19 15:07:50
    March 31, 2013

    Cynthia: All in good time! And if you have kids around to start with it makes it all so much easier!
    Good for you! Hang in there!

  • Joined:
    2009-10-19 15:07:50
    March 31, 2013

    Anna Mariah – wow! you did a dance vent with her?! How amazing! Yes, her music is very evocative – Loving her book “Sweat Your Prayers” where she talks about the difference types of dance movements that have come to her.

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