Letter from Publisher – September 2013

By September 8, 2013Local

“If you stumble, make it part of the dance.” ~ Unknown

I have been doing a lot of dancing this past month. When my mother unexpectedly passed at a young 68, I found myself stumbling over all the things I wish I could have and should have done or said. The spiritual truth is… it is done. No one benefits by rehearsing the past. Each of us only has now, this present moment in which to embrace all the good in life, including family and friends that have gone on before us. I know parents only want the best for us. So, I am tenderly embracing what I have learned from this sorrowful experience to move forward and… start dancing.

Austin has an amazing way of shaking things up and my latest discovery is a movement called Ecstatic Dance, billed as “a personal journey through dance inspired by global music.” When I first heard that I was supposed to dance by myself in broad daylight in a room of at least 100 gyrating individuals, my psyche cried “No way.” Frankly, I feared making a fool of myself. The truth is that no one cares what I look like because everyone’s dancing like nobody’s watching. It has turned out to be tremendously freeing.

Ever since my ecstatic debut, I notice that I want to dance all the time now—in line at the coffee shop, down grocery store aisles, while I’m sitting in my car at a stoplight and all around my apartment with my cat, Sammy (talk about a nonjudgmental dance partner). Dancing has a way of opening my heart, freeing my spirit and helping me appreciate the potential of the present moment.

We get more insight into such phenomena with this month’s feature article, “Whole-Being Workouts” by Lisa Marshall. Here, neuroscientist Dr. Andrew Newberg explains how he has used brain imaging technologies to study the impact that religious or spiritual practices such as deep meditation, intense prayer and speaking in tongues have on the brain. “Exercise,” he concludes, “provides many of the same effects.”

In Austin we are blessed to have abundant choices in ways to exercise, indoors and out, on the ground and in the air, from low impact to high impact (on the body and the wallet). Among my favorites are walking the hiking and biking trail around Lady Bird Lake, kayaking, swimming in Barton Springs, yoga and, of course, Ecstatic Dance. I have many more on my bucket list, from aerial silks to rock climbing…

I’d love to hear and even better, see your favorite choice of an exercise “high” suitable for sharing. Please email a captioned picture to Publisher@ AustinAwakenings.com.

To your special happy dance,


Shelly Searle, Publisher