Amid the full-blown pandemic spreading its tendrils through our local community, I decided to dance. Medicine, or therapy, one might say. It's been weeks, if not months, that I've taken the time to play YouTube videos and let the dance flow. It's my joy and my pleasure.
And yet these days, in my living room— not so inspiring. It's not the same as dancing with tribe—perhaps new beginnings are not too far around the corner.
Tonight, as I began to dance, I thought of a particular member of Ashland's dance tribe. When seeing this spirit at Dance, I remember often thinking to myself, "I want to dance like Ashley!" My goodness was her light ever bright, righteous, sultry, and sweet— that girl could move!!!
Meanwhile, back in my living room— with hubris angst, I started with the song "Under Pressure" by Queen and David Bowie. 'Twas potent to stretch within the confines of the song's tensions (and of the world's). Then, Rachel Platten's "Fight Song." To punch into the air while strutting? Sublime! This song got me thinking about Ashley again. Jazzy effervescence, with attitude! A master was she!
It was April of 2021 I saw on our community dance page that our friend Ashley had passed. How could it be?!!! She was so full of life. And yet, I sensed a sweet tenderness beneath her surface. This mermaid knew the intimacy of navigating deep waters. I don't know the circumstances of her death, and yet she'll forever remain an inspiration in my eyes— her smile, her laughter, her radiance, and generous heart.
Nearing the end of "Fight Song," it struck me like a banshee— another reason why Ashley's death felt so impactful to me. Ashley not only embodied a wondrous soul— she represented what "Dance" (dancing with community) meant to me. The loss of something sweet and beautiful— Ashley. And the loss of something sweet and beautiful—Dance.
Though Dance will restructure and rebuild, I miss the very innocence, light, healing, wonder, playfulness, and awe (traits I saw in Ashley).
The next song was Rachel Platten's "Stand by You." (Her official music video is particularly gorgeous, btw). Over the last year, I've dedicated this song to two souls— one, my best friend who's now arising from the intensity of breast cancer (I love you dear!). And, it's a song I've dedicated to myself when I can use the following reminder— WE ARE OUR MOST SIGNIFICANT SOULMATE. We'll even be there for ourselves when we die!
Upon choosing a second round of this song, I welcomed the memory of Ashley to join me— to accompany in a dance of deep waters. Letting emotions run through rather than remain trapped and stuck. I felt losses stream through my body in waves of release— job, meaningful and intimate deaths, friendship evolutions, community loss, relationship shifts, compromised finances. And uncertainties like so many others— keeping our homes, getting food on the table. And further cellular depths around history in the making— pandemic, world news, elections, and the ongoing ripples since fire ripping through our very own neighborhoods. Ashley's home being one of the many swept.
In the depths, I could feel encouragement from Ashley's kind spirit while dancing tonight. In astounding synchronicity— the lead singer in the next song that popped up looked so much like Ashley!!! And, in profound snippets, danced like her too!!! It felt like Ashley had chosen this song with a sweet message. It was called "Brave" by Sara Bareilles. I'd not heard this particular song before, and at the end of the video, an endearing picture of the artist appears in the corner of the screen (shown in the picture above)— do you see the resemblance?
I still feel the essence of Ashley as I write this, and I know her memory and dance beauty will arise in my thoughts again. The whispering message I hear is that our souls live far beyond the vessels of our body. And in the raised vibration of our passions— we "dance!"
Astoundingly, when creating the image above, as a co-creative gesture, I mentally invited, "Come on Ashley, help me with the font you want for the word Brave." At that very moment— the fonts in my meme platform scrambled in rapid succession (electronic phenomenon) to the font you see pictured above. There it was— the font is called Lifelogo. These days, how apropos to think of the word "Brave" in the context of a "life logo."
Afternote: These days are intense for many. "Brave souls are we" to be here now, this time, this place. May we afford the opportunities to grieve, to heal, and to transform. And— may we explore our passions and modes of "play" that bring us the most optimal healing. Live well, love life. And dance your dance!
(photo credits to the appropriate sources)