Tag Archive: Dance Therapy

I have a Spotify playlist titled “Full Album LOVES”.  Today I wanted to listen to Guster’s “Keep It Together” and listened to a song or two before I asked my housemate if he’d like a breakfast sandwich with zucchini from our garden.  Sidebar – you should see this garden.  My housemate put his blood, sweat, tears, money, and LOVE into this beautiful garden creation.  We eat from our backyard almost every night and I’m learning the in’s and out’s of the gardening world day by day.  I feel so blessed to live here with one of bestest friends!

B Garden

When I came back down to my place from the Tree House (top floor), Jackson Browne’s “The Next Voice You Hear” had just started.  YES!!  I love me some Jackson Browne on a gorgeous summer day such as today. This artist makes my heart and soul soar.  His lyrics so profoundly describe many experiences I’ve had throughout my entire life.  For example, Late of the Sky (the song after the Fountain of Sorrow – which was the catalyst for this blog post) described my relationship an ex-boyfriend/first love I lived with.  So much, in fact, I played it for him a couple times.  Jackson Browne says it best sometimes.  The relationship may not have lasted, but I am still in the same home we moved into in March 2008.

The next song after Late for the Sky, The Pretender.  Oh, The Pretender.  This was the song that started it for me.  I heard it in the soundtrack of “Mister Holland’s Opus”.  It brought me to tears at 16 years old and still does today.  ““The Pretender” is the story of a man who betrays his ideals and principles in pursuit of the almighty dollar” (Jim Beviglia – AmericanSongwriter.com).  The activist, humanist, and lover in me, that my mother raised me to be, wants to scream this song from the top of my lungs just because “I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!”  Where does this struggle come from?  Pathology?  Poverty?  Race?  Gender?  All of these reasons and so many more.  I’m happy to discuss Jackson Browne’s songs with you at great length another time.

The song before Late for the Sky is called Fountain of Sorrow.  After the second verse was complete, I was immersed in my Fountain of Sorrow tears as they came streaming down my cheeks.  The story of this song is told through the perspective of someone who is looking through old photographs.  They come upon a photograph of a friend and describes in detail the moment this photograph was taken.

“You were turning ’round to see who was behind you
And I took your childish laughter by surprise
And at the moment that my camera happened to find you
There was just a trace of sorrow in your eyes”

Today, as Fountain of Sorrow played on my system, I glanced at a collection photographs placed purposely on my mother’s hutch.  My mother’s lens caught a 3 year old Marinda in a field surrounded by milk weed reaching out to touch the seeds.

Reaching out...

My mother died in February ’13.  That summer/early fall that year, when I would think about her or when I’d need some validation or a SIGN, a milkweed seed would float my way and dance around me in the wind.  From that point on they would represent my angels, universe signs, spirits… but it started long before my mother died, didn’t it?  That little girl in that picture, who wasn’t capable of understanding the depth of loss, was fascinated by a “weed” that 28 years later would remind her of loved ones past.

Milkweed Marinda 2

Never could I have guessed that on a beautiful Friday afternoon in July I would break down my walls and cry… HARD.  I cried for my 3 your old self.  She did not know why her father never came back after that accident.  She was there to witness but did not know… or did she?  The fact that I was triggered by the song and photo combination shows how far I have come and how much work still needs to be done.

               Milkweed Marinda 3      Milkweed Marinda 4

These moments of vulnerability, especially in public, are usually so fleeting.  Like the friend in Jackson Browne’s song who captured the look of sorrow in another, I see it in myself.  There are, however, many facets of loss/grief and can only truly be understood if you are the person experiencing this pain.  Sure, we can compare breakups, near-death-experiences, and death of our close family members and friends (all forms of loss/grief), but loss is complex and should be treated with LOVE and COMPASSION above all.  It does not come naturally for everyone.  There will be many who won’t see your sorrow and cannot understand your pain.  They may judge you.  They may even say hurtful things that are NOT yours to own.  Do not forget that your grief is unique to your spirit and is your job to be in it, understand it,  and move through it.  Not everyone has the same pace because we do not have the same mind and body.  Be gentle with yourself now and all of the parts of yourself that make up the beautiful you that you are.

Grief July '15



            I believe that everyone has an innate capacity for creativity.  We are born with it.  My creative inspirations have varied throughout my life, though dance has remained a constant.  There is nothing like the feeling of being in my creative element and experiencing its growth in time.  In order to get “there” there is a need for nurturing/watering these seeds of creation because without this cultivation of these creative thoughts and ideas they will wither.  These intuitive, fearless, emotional, imaginative, energetic waves of creation are meant to be expressed and explored, not stuck a stagnant swamp.  It’s easier said than done, but I have found that diving in deep and relocating my childlike enthusiasm helps moves the process along. 

            I was, like most children, a highly imaginable child.  As an only child I created a world outside my “real world” full of travel adventures and elaborate performances with my 3 imaginary siblings.  This pretend play was the first form of creativity I can remember and it came so naturally.  The boulder in the backyard was really a large ship, the back porch was an open stage equipped with lights, a brilliant backdrop, and a red velvet curtain, and the driveway was a deep ocean.  I used my physical surroundings to create another world that was safe and exciting.  I took my experiences from my waking life, my dreams, books, and films and created something new – new to me.

In hindsight, during my childhood imaginative years from 5 to 12 years of age, I had experienced more than many adults.  I had already suffered two significant losses in my life – my father passed when I was two and my closest grandmother at 10 years old.  My mother suffered from depression.  I don’t remember many days with her not crying during my childhood.  My creations helped me cope and brought me a sense of peace in my chaotic world.  It was my escape.  And music was my refuge.

I come from a musically gifted family.  My father could listen to a song once and learn it on the guitar minutes after hearing it.  My mother, though she did not play an instrument, had wonderful taste in music and used her body as her instrument.  She was a beautiful natural dancer.  It was inevitable that I was going to have a deep love for music (specifically from the 60’s and 70’s) and even more predictable that the music my parents listened to would play a large part in the person I would become (and am still becoming).  Their music was a gateway into my universal potential: dance.

I had taken formal dance classes and excelled in every practice but I never felt freer than when I was spinning records in our living room.  The songs I knew the lyrics to would be sung loud and clear and lovely literal dance would be played out.  I would hang on every note, every beat, and every word.  My body would give attention to them all as I communicated with the music letting it know I understood what it was saying and that I wholeheartedly agreed.  I loved playing the part and fully immersing myself in the melody. 

There came a time when I was more interested in choreographing my own dances than taking classes from the uptight and emotionless dance teachers that I had studied with.  There were not many dance schools in the rural city and neighboring towns I grew up in.  I recall an incident in ballet class when I was 8 years old that scared me a bit.   The school had chosen “My Favorite Things” as our dance number, which just so happened to be one of my all time favorite songs from my favorite musical The Sound of Music.  My creativity started pumping through me and I could no longer keep my enthusiasm to myself.  I started singing the words where they were missing in the classical version we were using as well as adding extra movements that went along with the lyrics.  Instead of asking me to stop the owner of the company grabbed me by the arm and threw me in the corner where I was forced to watch the rest of the class.  I was devastated.  My cute and creative nature was squashed in an instant and was told I could no longer dance.  I reluctantly returned the following week to find out that I had been given a solo with the only boy in our class.  I still wonder if I would have been given that solo had I not shown my true authentically spontaneous dance moves.  I didn’t return to dance school until 2 years later. 

            Not much has changed as far as where my creative inspiration comes from.  My creative foundation lays in the experiences I have, what I read, the music I listen to, what I see, and how I feel about it all.  The spark of my creative process is usually initiated by music – the language of my soul.  When I am moved by a specific piece of music a surge of energy rushes through my entire body and pulses between my solar plexus and heart.  This very sensation has brought me to study of the various chakras/energy fields.  The longer I harvest this creative energy within, the clearer the picture becomes.  Through breath I start to visualize bodies, formations, and colors.  This stimulating experience usually motivates me to write down the song/artist, the feelings that came up for me, what I associate the song with, and any other thoughts and ideas I may have.  I have many journals full of ideas; it’s the execution of these creative bursts that happen less frequently. 

            Such sayings as, “timing is everything” and “everything for a reason” ring true for me.  When I was a child I had nothing but time.  As I’ve gotten older, and many adults can attest to this, time is a little more precious and there seems to be less of it.  Perhaps by focusing on our breath and meditatively turning inward we’ll find that imaginative child whose fearlessness, spontaneous, and free-spirited nature still resides within and wants to come out.  Then maybe those creative blockages will collapse, thus freeing up more time.  I don’t have all the answers but I have caught glimpses of what is and what could be.   The key is to stay open to all creative possibilities and remember you’re always a work in progress.