Tag Archives: magic

Magical Movement & the Mystery of Creativity


Have you noticed how art and dance have an alchemic power to shift us, to transform us?

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Stepping into a dance space I may feel tired and disconnected, yet an hour later I’ll feel life pulsating in every cell of my body.

Sitting down with an empty canvas I may feel restless, yet the brushes direct my focus into colour, form and expression.

Pondering the first line of a journal entry I may feel confused, yet by the time I put the last word on paper my thoughts will be structured and my mind at peace.

Having just returned from the second part of my dance therapist training, the alchemy of creative dance and movement is most alive in me.

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Through an intense experiential group process I relived the experience of the 3 month old baby me who had to wear hip braces so that her thigh bones grow into her hip sockets.

I had a symbolic dream guiding me further on the path of love.

I gained new insight into how to bring more embodiment into coaching.

I connected beyond words with the tribe of my course mates.

And I’m feeling so light and present at the end of it all.

In fact we can scientifically trace that alchemic power of dance that shifts us profoundly.

Through movement we stimulate ‘feel good’ neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin which are key to our emotional and physical well being. They boost our energy and motivation levels, and stabilise our mood, sleeping patterns and appetite.

Yet the alchemy also has to do with finding intuitive, authentic movements that have the power to express something deeper than words. Through dance I feel I can express nuances and complexities of emotions and states of being that I could not have begun to express verbally.

It is as if unconscious memories are floating up into consciousness.

And we dance these memories from chaos into order, processing and integrating the emotions that come up along the way. Like Shiva Nataraj dancing consciousness into the demon of ignorance, we dance clarity into the confusion of the little understood mysteries of our unconscious mind.

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Allowing the body to shake out first its tenseness, a state of relaxation occurs in which original movement expands easily and the body finds constantly new and original ways of moving. The greater the sense of relaxation, the greater the experience of pure life force.

Sometimes this experience even feels like a trance, a state of grace, ecstasy and union with the divine or all living things in the universe.

There is a strong connection with my own soul within as well as with the soul of all outside me, present in the same space or beyond. In fact, through that connection the distinction between in and outside disappears.

At the end of a dance, there is a feeling of full presence and integration of all ‘bodies’, the mental, physical, emotion and subtle.

Isn’t that magical?

We’ll be diving into creativity on the next Maitree Community – the Sangha of Joy call. Contact me on julie@maitreecoaching.com if you want to know more and share your creative alchemic experiences!

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Heart Space: the magic of synchronicity


“Is it always like this or are we special?” asked one of the participants of the my latest retreat in Crete. I replied: “Both. It is always like this and it is always magical.” In the months leading up to the retreat I was observing the group coming together – some signed up months in advance, others cancelled last minute. Coincidence? Or is it a complex cosmic law that our limited understanding is (yet) unable to grasp?

11050285_10153456708621474_5756494883385179597_nIt has been two weeks since the end of the Joyful Living retreat in the remote village of Sfakia in the South of Crete. I’m still in awe of the perfect synchronicity – perhaps the best term for that complex cosmic law – that brought this group together. So are the participants who are already booking their flights for the reunion in October. One of them, a theatre producer from Zurich, writes: “I’m astonished at how open and warm we were in the group and this very quickly.” “It was a real joy to see how the group evolved into a small family in just the space of a few days!” shares Mouna, an interpreter from Paris.

The swift intimacy created after sometimes only a couple of hours is a marvel to most people attending my workshops and retreats. In my experience, connection and transformation happen when synchronicity enters the scene. Then meaningful coincidences start occurring, such as people find themselves working on a similar life purpose, or bringing an identical inspiring object to the workshop. Or I will intuitively share an experience which is deeply meaningful to one or more participants.

10960096_338628133003942_6718140125432231663_oTo trust in synchronicity is one of the cornerstones of being a transformational facilitator and coach. My coaching school CTI calls this skill ‘dancing in the moment.’ To surrender control initially feels counterintuitive because as a facilitator you are ‘doing nothing’ but following the flow of a session. Slowly you build trust that whatever is unfolding, is exactly what participants need in that very moment. When I feel I am working hard, I know now something is wrong!

In fact the only thing to ‘do’ as a facilitator is to role model how to interact with an open heart, a sensitive spirit, a curious mind and a flexible body. Thus you give the group permission to enter into a safe space. They respond by sharing the full spectrum of their humanity. It is as if in this ‘heart space’ we can uncover the strength of our vulnerability. We recognise each other’s stories of feeling intensely alive or of sabotaging our wildest dreams. By “taking the lid off ourselves” (‘The Heart of the Buddha‘ by Chogyam Trungpa, p6) we give each other permission to relax, be present, connect with our inner self and leave our unique footprint.

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Occassionally I come across a group where the heart space is unstable. This usually indicates that one or more participants has become sceptical and closed their hearts. The crucial thing to do as a facilitator is to stay curious and avoid closing our heart in retaliation. Fear can easily make us defensive or judgemental. Yet when we stay open hearted we invite a participant to express their doubt and neutralise the impact. Mostly this is enough for the air to clear and for synchronicty to work its magic once again. I remain in awe.

Watch this space for my next piece on how flow and synchronicity are related to gut feeling.