This guest blog is written by Ande, a dance therapist in Florida. Her willingness to be open and transparent is part of her healing and by extension what she offers to those she works with.
A bittersweetness bubbles up from my bones as I dive deeply into my own journey of hiddenness. I watch myself travel through this repeated loop of hiding, reaching out, uncovering, and arriving into the fullness of being seen. Many sweet moments are wrapped in the gentle comfort of being safely hidden. A tenderness blankets my soul, inviting my quick tumbling internal rhythms to settle.
In invisibility, I am able to find myself. These same sweet moments also sting with sharp aching bites of silent loneliness. Invisibility holds such deep inner quiet, a touch of fear, a lack of connection and support . . . in hiding I lose the chance to know myself in relationship to others. In hiding, I miss opportunities to soften into loving and being loved.
Even when hiding, I am unhidable. My physical presence fills up space, my soundlessness rides the waves of my breath, my heart beat connects to other hearts beating. Even when hiding, I am unhidable in movement. Movement of my breath, blood, fast firing thoughts – the downward spiral of my voice, burrowing deeper into my bones as it climbs into my heart and hides until it feels safe enough to re-emerge. Yes, in movement, both subtle and extrinsically full, I am always visible.
It is then, no surprise, I have been pulled towards a life full of movement and dance.
No surprise that I stumbled into the field of dance/movement therapy – a healing profession relying on movement and nonverbal language to psychotherapeutically address the wholeness of each person. What does surprise me? This fast paced mind of mine, as it races to convince me of potential threats lurking in the vulnerability of visibility. In spite of my often overwhelming desire to descend into hiddenness, my intuitive body continues to lead me into avenues filled with stark, simplistic, unhidable motion.
My mom loves to tell me of my life beginnings. While snuggled up and growing inside her, she spent hours watching and feeling me stretch her belly side to side, up and down, jiggling and swirling fluidly into one luxurious expansion after another.
From the beginning, my body has been filled with a spirit aching to be seen and a determination to make my presence visible even when invisible. Literally. Pushing into the edges of my mother while finding my own edges.
This movement pattern, ingrained from the start, remains an ever present foundation of my repertoire. As I move through my life, on a stage or inside a process, I often find myself growing out and beyond my physical edges, only to retract back to my center and spiral into a swirl that scoops and stretches into another gratifying extension.
Life has, at times, pulled me deeper into hiding; I retreat quickly and easily from the world and all the imagined scariness it holds.
It is during these constricted moments, I ache to move. From my bones. It is when I move, when I dance, from inside the edges of my body that I feel the fullness of my unhidableness. In movement, my true nature (the one I find so clearly when I retreat into solitude and aloneness) is brightened, a pure reflection of my truth. My confusion emerges as indirect, indecisive hiccuping gestures.
When I find myself giving up my power and second guessing my intuition, my movement is disconnected, my ankles wobble, I struggle to find my embodied balance. My sadness manifests in heavy curling inward motion as I satisfy my longing to be held by holding myself or allowing the weight of my body to be supported by the floor. Joy bursts, seriously bursts, through my body, rumbling around my heart and lifting me off the ground! And sometimes, when I forget all of those things that make me special and worthy of being seen and heard, I remember them by spilling onto a rich wooden floor. Moving inside out, sending sparks into and beyond my fingertips, my head, tail bone and toes, contracting and curling into a flurry of spirals and motion. I remember by suspending my whole self in time and air and fully alive visible spaciousness.
Through this inherent, unhidable movement, present in my bones since my beginning, I reconnect my pieces. In following my soul’s dance and intrinsic movement, I step into my courage and find the energy to coax my voice out from my heart and into this world. I imagine I will continue bumping up against this bittersweet ebb and flow of curling inward and climbing outward. By intentionally allowing my inner movement to unfold, I will practice moving towards more and more moments of fully alive, sparkling visibility.