At 23 I would find myself in a world of sober ecstacy. The only ecstasy I’d really known before that was the synthetic, narcotic kinda one.
As I returned to the UK after 9 months in Thailand, I found my self facing some traumatic personal events. Aswell, every time you leave the UK, you kinda begin to feel more alienated from the people, life and culture that once seemed so familiar. So in the depths of isolation and lonliness, during December 2019 I dragged myself to a 5rhythms class in Brighton. I’d been wanting to attend some kind of ecstatic dance class for a while-in Thailand and back home, but the time had never been right, or the courage never big enough.
Anyway, I’ll never forget that first dance on that cold December night. Fairy lights lit up the edge of the school hall. As I walked into the dark room, Devi prayer played in the background. Tentatively unlacing my Dr Martins, I felt my way out into the room, amongst the other dancers. A deep sense of famililiarity washed over me.
I didn’t really know anyone else who listened to mantra music in the UK at the time. I didn’t, and still don’t really, have many spiritual friends in the UK, or friends in general at this point!
But I could sense them there in that room. Dancing souls, travellers, truth seekers.
I laid down on the cold wooden floor and let the music penetrate my mind, body and soul.
I surrendered that night.
I didn’t know what I was walking into that cold evening in 2019…but just like that, a whole new way of being would open up for me.
The teachings of Gabrielle Roth would allow me to face myself for the first time. No drugs, no drink, no judgement. It was safe there.
And as I began to move with the medicine music, I realised a lifetime of self hatred, repressed expression, trauma lay between who I thought I was and the true essence of my being.
I’ve never felt estatcy like the dance that evening. A sense of alignment, and knowing this dance was made for me. I roared with joy and collapsed with tears during those few hours on the dance floor.
From that day forward, I would begin to understand what it means to connect with people soberly, to be my true self without corruption of others’ expectations and mindless consumption of draining substances that help facilitate false relationships. Perhaps for the first time in my life, I was in a place where it felt comfortable to be ME, just as I am.
And I know this is a very particular path I now walk. It is not one for everyone. But I truely wish the luxury of such expression, such knowing, such connection, such ecstacy on all beings. For I know the suffering in this world and in people is deep, really, really deep. But in my soul, I felt and saw a truth that night. A truth we are generally deprived of in the modern world.
I suppose that’s something that happens when you start to be surrounded by authentic people. The masks people acquire in day to day life become harder and harder to make sense of. The lack of knowing one’s self and one’s soul, coupled with the gentle destruction of our wellbeing, minds, and spirit through unconscious consumption of poisonous substances is just not something that seems appealing to me anymore. In fact, at some point, when connection to self and spirit becomes so strong, choosing that path towards darkness becomes impossible.
And just like that, in beauty the of returning to my heart and soul, I became lighter. Guided by song and spirit to a safer, more gentle and accepting reality. A reality where I was totally free to be me.
Just as I am.
I am reminded of Snatam Kaur’s Ong Namo song:
Oh, my beloved.
Kindness of the heart.
Breath of life.
I bow to you.
I bow to you.
Again and again.