The air in the room has changed quality. She is following her breath, and there is certainly a change. It’s hard to describe even to herself … something like a granular effervescence. The room is alive with presence. A quality of mindful relaxation opens.
It is the late afternoon of a long summer day. She and the others have worked hard, weeding and tending to the garden mostly. There was also some building going on and a smaller group was working there. These people who were strangers only days ago have rubbed some the grime off of each other’s mirrors. Now there is something being reflected in each of them.
Everyone is gathered in the movements hall before dinner. The man who will play the piano is ready, his head cocked, tending upward. The movements class is about to begin, and although the force of this intention is palpable, there is no hurry.
In the room the patient quiet of inner work moves with the silent dexterity of someone knitting. The impressions of the day are rich, simple and grow delicious in the chewing. The group is now something different than the collection of the versions of themselves that they may have otherwise presented in the everyday world of bodies and surfaces.
Right now in the movements hall there is no inner chatter on the being-channel, no background hiss of psychic drag and electromagnetic interference. The change in the quality of the air, a feeling deeply present in her chest. It is her own; it is everyone’s. It is as if someone new has come in. The urge to turn and look is powerful.
The sun comes full through the western windows. The place is spare in furnishing. Benches, a piano, a few colourful hangings. The dancers are in rows. The lead dancer moves to get up from sitting cross-legged in one swift motion. The entire class responds together. The dancers are standing, relaxed and alert.
“The Finger-Tip Dervish,” the lead dancer says clearly.
He turns his head to the left to nod for the piano player to begin. The movement begins, and immediately it is in you and around you. There is determination without mania.
The right arm raised directly above the head, palm in. Eyes gazing forward. The left arm is at the side. The right leg is forward. She is not describing it to herself. Her body meets the movement in the place of its physical moving. The music beats in minor chords. The words are simple and direct: I am. I wish. I can work.
There was a time when these words sounded strange, trite even. Now, under the layers of reaction, there is the act. An affirmation, a feeling, a movement essentially resounding and striving to blend. Creation, yearning, and doing cannot be got into words, but neither can they be kept out. I am not word, nor feeling nor moving, but neither am I separate from them.
The piece shifts suddenly into the dervish portion. It is strident and driving. There is the foot pattern and the body turning. There is the leaning from side to side. The head bobs in its rhythm; the fingers strum in theirs. No words here. The dancers are a complex pattern of energy.
Next is Number 17. She is so amazed at this movement. The music alternates from heavy purpose to quirky lightness. The head beats in two. The arms and legs in eight. The bending from side to side is every beat. The trembling of the hands is continuous. In the multiplication section all of the dancers move across and forward and back in an interleaving pattern.
Everything that can be put into her moving center has been put there. No fear. No worry. No excuses. Her mind is now freed up to see the next gesture coming. When it comes, she is there with it. Her feeling is the feeling of everyone in the room. In the upper reaches of the moment there is purpose beyond the limitations of self. Out in soul country, we are a small tribe journeying upon the great western plain. There is a dense groove of sensitive energy upon which consciousness floats like fine mountain air. The current of the next multiplication moves us into place. We are not dreaming. We are as much here as we can be.
After the class she sits on the wooden floor to the beat of her heart. A thousand senseless knots in the fibers of her muscles untie themselves and slake their thirst. A conversation she had earlier in the day comes to her. It’s almost painful to recall. She sees in it something of herself that has played itself out again and again in her life, a sort of brooding suspicion that has pushed others away, kept them at a distance and has kept her at a distance from herself. She realizes in this moment sitting in the movements hall that her facial expression has now taken on the mask of this long-standing emotional lament. Inwardly she takes a picture of it. Such a valuable picture. She stores it away.
Inwardly, she thanks everyone for their efforts today in the movements hall. The dancers get up and leave when they are ready, one by one, two by two.
Dinner is soon. She gets up. At the back of the hall there are a few people who have come in. She has not seen any of them before. A man of about 40 with dark hair and high cheek bones. An elderly couple. A young couple perhaps in their twenties moving through the door on the way to dinner.
She approaches the couple. “Hi. My name is Daria,” she says.
The elderly woman replies, “Hello Daria”, with an impish knowingness. “I hadn’t imagined that there were such women dervishes about.” She laughs as she says it.
“I’m glad that you were both here for the class,” Daria replies.
“Such a charming girl”, she says with something like a drawl. “My name is Alycia, and this is my dear husband Eben.” Eben smiles warmly, but he does not speak.
Daria is instantly pleased to have met this couple. Alycia is full of stories, really wonderful stories, her life stories. They walk to dinner with Alycia pushing Eben in a wheelchair. Outside, the late afternoon has become evening. The sound of the cicadas is rich upon the air. As they move along the garden path, the scent of vegetables clings to the earth like a gentle musk. The hum of conversation comes from the building toward which they are moving. Dinner is about to be served.