My teachers    



Each our own path    

An extract from my contribution to the Soul Motion School festive newsletter. This is my part, if you’d like to read others’ contributions see here and you can sign up to receive the letter.
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I remember the night, two years ago driving down Highway 1, between leading class at Esalen and another in Marin. Arjuna’s voice on the phone,

‘One teacher, twice a week, for three years. That’s how you relax leading this practice Leela.’

I’ve taken him on his word. And it’s been no easy task relocating to the Devon, England, where Soul Motion was unheard of. If you imagine a small Esalen group forming quickly in your local studio, God will laugh at your plans. Instead I began alone – to know the practice as my own, to live the practice, and from there to offer the practice in weekly classes revealing my humble soul.

The exploration has made a new woman of me. Different terrains call us to walk in new ways and I explore the simplicity of Soul Motion in daily devotion, extending to children, elders, committed groups to classical music, and community evenings. And I hold in my heart my first weekend retreat calling dancers to Devon this April.

Am I relaxing yet? I’m enjoying what’s happening. I learn to say yes to space. Playlist perfection, and an illusory ability to calculate the future are exchanged for space as preparation. I’d rather trust singing with the ocean, or cycling the hills, and let stillness open through space.

These are intimate discoveries, but sharing with community teaches me what I could never know alone. So I thank you. I wish you blessings in the new year dancers.

Radio by the river    

I had no idea why, walking to the river at night. Cold air feels delicious in my lungs, winter will not hide me from nature. 
First there were benches; I climbed, I crawled, I span in crouched circles. Then growing tall into frosty air I sprang into dance, breath churning steam with vigour. Such freedom in dark night, disregarding of the office lights in view, the dog walkers passing on mobile phones. 
I bordered the river along its stone wall. The path blackened ahead of me and I imagined myself moving into the trees and their whispers ahead. But instead, as I passed the rowing club the surprise of radio pop took me and I burst into a wild dance beneath the high luminous window where machines huffed and puffed and rowers pulled and released. I danced like a child who knew only to be free and silly. As time passed the carefree tunes changed to the same, and above rose the steady sound of rowing machines. Like great industrial breath, or Darthvader. 
If you had caught glimpse of this scene, you would have seen tonight, the shadow of a curious figure traversing back and forth the underwall of the rowing club, casting huge circles of arms and spirals with each great huff and puff. (I saw it myself and fell in love with madness.) And with that you might have noticed the radio pop, and a little wider out the sacred trees in their darkness, while below the movement of the river beneath its surface so still. 
And there, we would have had to agree, it would be too serious a shame to not hear the call to play.

Morning eyes    

There is a remarkable difference in compassion for human existence if we take time to wake, to watch before we begin to assume our daily role. 
To notice ourselves before we have remembered what else we should be doing, to notice the world and the detail that lives in the assembled scene of any individual. By midday high sun conceals the freshness of each daily life remembering itself. By midday the revelation of waking has assumed itself normal. 
I love to sit in small street cafes at the early morning crossroads. I notice through the window the devoted mother as she trails two twins to school, the care to clothe them prettily; later I may see her alone behind the counter of the bookshop. I admire the young girl with a baby on her hip, whose loyal spaniel pauses, sits, turns its head and awaits cue to cross the road by her side. 
Colours, speeds, height, hats, my eyes glue to variety with admiration. I catch my own mind stray to assemble a list of tasks and I pull it back to center. Wait, look, listen. Empty moments of vast potential reveal what is already beautiful.

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