La Danse (The Dance) by Henri Matisse
Oh, those crazy messages of lack, and shame, sin and fear that’ve been whispered in our ears for millennia.
When we hear such messages over and over, we don’t just hear them, we begin to feel them in the cells of our bodies. Listening to them, you feel what they say. If they stick in our head and move down to our heart, we begin to feel what they say. Then, we begin to believe they are our own messages. Then, we begin to believe they are true.
I’ll let you in on something I’ve discovered. They aren’t ours. They aren’t true. They can be tossed back to those who first began to say them, so long ago.
Don’t listen to them. Or, if they are persistent, pretend your head is a one-room cabin with two side doors where your ears are, and let those messages of lack and shame and fear come in one door and go out the other. They won’t even know, or care, that they passed right through. They’ll just keep on going, whispering, or shouting if that is the case. Let them keep moving the way they are moving. They are looking for a home to land in, but that home doesn’t have to be yours. For them to land, the receiver must be receptive to their guest request.
Put up your ‘no vacancy’ sign.
Then, open the door of your heart to the love that is our universe, to the love that is here just waiting to fill every cell of your body, every fiber of your soul. It’s love. It’s creativity. It’s vibrantly alive. It’s wholly erotic.
Wholly erotic. That’s just it. Eros is a wholeness. It’s been sliced and diced into a sliver of what it really is.
I went to see the Matisse exhibit at the Legion of Honor, here in San Francisco. It was a beautiful, sunny Sunday afternoon. I’d just finished dancing – something I adore, as most of you know. I always feel clear and grounded, and a kind of ‘spent feeling’ after dance – like I’ve thoroughly sweated everything out that might be keeping me from being fully present in my body. It’s a feeling of deep peace and simple joy.
So, I arrived at the museum already feeling good. I love Matisse’s paintings. I always have. Something magical happens for me every time I stand in the exhibit room and look at his bright colors, thick powerful lines of paint, and the surreal way he uses white to capture light. When I am in this experience, I feel so damn alive. So alive. I feel the colors’ pulse and the vibrancy of these thick lines of paint. It’s as if the movements of his body to create the paintings come through the painting itself, as if I can feel the dance he did to create the work.
I spent about 30 minutes in the one-room exhibit and then I found the cafe. I’d brought my paper and pen to write. The cafe has a beautiful patio in the sunshine. The museum is right by the entrance to the Golden Gate Bridge, so the air is really crisp and clean, especially when the sun is bright. The light was amazing. So, I sat down to write, pen to paper, filled with so much of what I love.
And the words flowed. They flowed like honey because I felt like honey.
I’d had this image in my mind’s eye of writing right after doing these things that I love, and while being in an environment that I love.
You see, I no longer see that it is selfish or privileged to experience this love and beauty so fully. That does not mean I don’t recognize that I am privileged, that simply because of my race and class I have access to these kinds of experiences that others do not. I know it. And, I also know that to not live the joy, and the eros that is present in this joy, isn’t being in integrity.
“Service can have no meaning unless one takes pleasure in it.
Service which is rendered without joy helps neither the servant, nor the served.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi
If you don’t do what you love, ultimately, what purpose are you serving?
To silence joy, to banish beauty, to not seek out that which awakens my soul and brings her forth into this soul-starved world would make no sense whatsoever. And, it would be buying into these messages of lack, and shame, sin and fear.
If I were simply to keep them to myself, I wouldn’t be living them. But, when I infuse everything I do with this erotic, creative awareness that I am, I am then a vessel that offers this love back out into the world.
What a powerful expression it is to live our full-on, wholly erotic, creative joy. Life itself is a creative act. It is born out of the erotic. When I live what I love, fully, I bring forth love – not lack, nor fear, nor shame.
I sense that is what we are here to do. To remember this love, to remember this joy, to know, deep in our cells, we are life wanting to live not for itself, but for life.
I’m getting ready to open the door to a new offer – a 6-week writing circle.
This writing circle will incorporate so much of what I have learned, experienced, and come to see. It will incorporate the erotic. We will see what we uncover. If you want to be the first to know, sign-up here to receive the news. I’d love to have you join me.