Solitary Impulse

by Julie on February 9, 2011 · 8 comments

Creative Impulse.

This phrase kept running through my awareness as I danced on Sunday morning. Many of you know, since I write about it fairly frequently, that I dance every week, and have for over eight years. My practice is 5Rhythms, and on Sunday mornings 150 of us faithful practitioners come together to ‘Sweat Our Prayers’.

5Rhythms is a moving meditation where you dance the 5 rhythms that Gabrielle Roth discovered are at the heart of being human. In the practice, the mind is invited to let go as the body is invited to move on its own, without the normal constrictions the mind and thoughts place on it.

This past Sunday, I moved. I sweated. I let go. And in the space of these two hours of dance, this phrase kept repeating itself.

Creative Impulse.

Creative Impulse.

Impulse.

Impulse.

As I danced,

I was consciously aware of the impulse that came from somewhere deep within my body.

The impulse came up from the dark space within. When followed, the impulse guided me in a fluid movement, where there was no mover, just movement, just expression.

Deeply dropped in the body, I was aware of the impulse as a free and alive movement of energy, a never-ending stream of pulsation coming into being, then flowing out into expression and falling away into nothingness.

I was aware of the impulse…until I was more aware of my mind. Thinking. Judging. Comparing. Deciding it didn’t like the way I was moving. Deciding I looked clumsy. Deciding it didn’t like the music, or how others danced. Judging, comparing, deciding. Stopping the flow. Stumble. Stepping on my own toe. Ouch.

And what did I do then? I began to move again. Dropped back into the beat. Felt the impulse. Moved.

I’ve danced long enough to know this. But what was important this time, was a really bright awareness of this process of stopping, stumbling, being clumsy.

I came home and

considered what had happened and how it translates to life, because right now I’m stopping myself from allowing this impulse to move through me as it wishes. On the dance floor, I feel safe and comfortable to express, except for those moments when the thoughts come in.

In my life, I don’t feel that safety, even though, in reality, I am just as safe. I mean, who knows what people are thinking of me as I dance. Who knows what judgments are flying, what stories they make up about me? Who knows? I certainly don’t. But I feel free there, free to move, to listen, to express.

I know this creative impulse is always here. It’s always moving up and out of the deep darkness of the inner place. When I write I can feel it. And, when I write I can feel the sudden move of the mind behind the impulse that stops it.

As I am known to do,

I looked at the word impulse, because for me an impulse feels like it sounds. It is a pulse that moves out of me, one after another, but so closely together it is fluid.

As I looked up the word in the thesaurus, these other words showed up as synonyms:

Desire.

Drive.

Pulse.

Pulsation.

Thrust.

Beat.

Signal.

Stimulus.

Urge.

Force.

Pressure.

Impetus.

Whim.

Wish.

Itch.

Inclination.

Yen.

Bent.

Spur.

In simply reading them, I feel the impulse. Try it. Read them again, and feel how they feel in your body. Feel the words move through you. What do you discover?

For me, there is a resonance with the feeling of spring, of emergence, of a pushing up through soil, of a seed emerging into the light. There is also a sense of body function, inspiration, breath, pulse, desire…all pointing to a wide open sense of eroticism, of creation at its core giving birth in each moment to a new moment.

The practical side of this,

is seeing of how many ways I stop the flow with minuscule thoughts, tiny aberrations in the fluid movement of time and creation, where I attempt to stop what is happening, where I clog up the pipes, sit back and think rather than stay in the fluid motion of action that comes from within.

The flow stops when I don’t feel safe, for whatever reason. Sometimes, I’m still amazed at how important safety is for the ego, how it looks for that at all costs.

Not that we must be in motion all of the time.

In the dance, there are many moments where the impulse moves in tiny, tiny ways, even to a point of pure stillness, where what is moving is simply respiration, sweat dripping, maybe even a muscle trembling ever so slightly, a finger with a tender pulse, a ever-so-slight movement of the eye.

These moments happen all the time in life, where there is a pause, a breath, maybe even a languishing time of being still, silent, inward-turning.

This impulse is intelligent and wise.

It is the same impulse that moves through us all, yet how it expresses through each of us is different. And, how it expresses through women is different than men, for the female body is different than a man’s body.

This impulse knows something our minds can’t know. And right now, this impulse is guiding us to truthful action if we are willing to trust it to move through us.

I know this is happening in my life. I’m making choices that aren’t comfortable, aren’t cozy, aren’t safe. And in doing so, I find myself stumbling, hesitating, maybe even stepping on my own toes, missing the beat of the music, bumping into others I love and care about.

What is it I trust in

as I move out in directions I don’t know? There is a footing inside, a place that never changes, something I know is there. I don’t have a word for it, really, but Rilke does:

“But your solitude will be a support
and a home for you,
even in the midst of very
unfamiliar circumstances,
and from it you will find all your paths.”
My solitude. That place of aloneness. Only I can feel the impulse, can know its movement, can taste its insistence, can bow to its fortitude. Only I can give breath to it, can trust the pulse inherent in it, can allow it to inspire me forward.
As it is for you. Only you can know this in yourself. It is a place of great aloneness, yet we dance together all the same.

That’s okay. All that matters is that we keep dancing, keep breathing, keep moving our feet, letting the impulse move us, trusting that our own solitude is exactly the footing we are standing on, even when there is nothing underneath our feet.

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Hannah Marcotti February 9, 2011 at 11:33 am

Whim.
Wish.
Itch.
so much from just those three words and yet a whole chapter to devour.
“As it is for you. Only you can know this in yourself. It is a place of great aloneness, yet we dance together all the same.” I’m just sort of in love with that right now, thank you for these magical words.

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Julie February 9, 2011 at 2:30 pm

Hannah,
aren’t they powerful words? what they do to the body…
I love knowing you’re in love with that right now… me, too.
Thank you for sharing.
xo

Reply

sandilee February 9, 2011 at 1:19 pm

Your writing is a resplendent dance. I could not be more moved in the resonance of what you express here. I marvel at how you speak from your authentic personal experience and it forms a solid bridge of connection to me/others. We dance alone; we dance on that bridge together, surrounded by that creative flow, earth body on either side. We dance all the parts– you help me feel and acknowledge them– the stumbling and the sublime– and I am so moved to ultimately feel it as one dance.
“This impulse knows something our minds can’t know. And right now, this impulse is guiding us to truthful action if we are willing to trust it to move through us.”
Thank you Julie, my heart is beating to the creative impulse you describe. It has a special holographic dance with my deep breath and says, — listen, be still, and move.
love with you. xx

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Julie February 9, 2011 at 2:31 pm

Ahh, Sandilee,
you do feel the beat, don’t you! dancing all the way with you…
love,
julie

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Amy Miyamoto February 10, 2011 at 8:36 pm

Hi Julie,
Thanks again for connecting over on FB. From this post it is that much clearer how aligned we are. Plus I love that you dig the thesaurus too. ;)

Reply

Alexander February 11, 2011 at 5:19 pm

Serendipity – I was looking for words to describe a latin dance in a Mexican Club last night and encountered this beatifully prosaic piece. This is powerful and inspiring, and I loved reading every line! Thanks for the inspiration!

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wholly jeanne February 13, 2011 at 4:59 pm

“This impulse is intelligent and wise.” i love this. how you give impulse credibility, how you trust it, how you look to it as not only worthwhile but wise. for far too long, impulse has gotten a bad rap. it’s been dismissed as less than because it’s not thought out. bah. impulse creates. impulse knows. impulse is. period.

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