The Dances of Universal Peace are a practice I hold near and dear to my heart. I discovered them for myself when I was struggling to step one foot in front of another in order to survive a semester as an undergrad at Cornell University after my first love died.
I had so many emotions in my body and heart, many of which I didn't fully have names for, as their intensity and ever changing nature overwhelmed me. I remember it was hard for me at that time to look others in the eye, as I was afraid they would see right through me to how broken I felt inside. Even looking at myself in the mirror was hard as I often would burst into tears at the site of myself.
But when I showed up at the Ithaca Dances of Universal Peace I was welcomed into a space where I did not have to speak or answer questions, and yet I somehow, intrinsically, felt safe enough to be my whole self, with all my messy emotions. Like walking into a room of people praying, it seemed the intention in the room transcended any individual experience.
I held hands with strangers on either side of me while a woman I did not know kindly and patiently taught the whole group a simple song of prayer and simple movements to embody the prayer, from the center of our circle.
As the dance began I felt carried by a universal energy that allowed me to sing as I was able and wanted to, and move silently as I needed, tears streaming down my cheeks, met with loving and un-judging faces. It was the first time in a while that I felt able to look people in the eyes and feel ok, even as I cried.
Since that first experience I have returned again and again to the Dances of Universal Peace, in Ithaca, and other places around the world, diving deeper into the practice, learning to facilitate the practice, so that if ever I am in a place that does not have a circle I can start one. This global movement has become my core spiritual community and practice.
The Dances of Universal Peace were started by a man named Samuel L. Lewis is San Francisco in 1968. With roots in the Sufi tradition, but having grown to be their own thing beyond a Sufi practice, they help us tap into the universal truth that all paths share, of love, compassion, kindness, and one-ness. They use sacred phrases from many traditions, and have grown and spread around the world touching hearts and minds. If you are curious I encourage you to look up your local dance circle and give it a try. I guarantee you won't regret it.
When I moved to Charleston, SC a year ago before we even arrived I looked up the local dance circle and was overjoyed to find there was one, on the 2nd Saturday of each month at 7pm at the Unity Church, 2525 Leeds Avenue. I was welcomed with open arms into this circle, as I knew I would be, and now co lead them with another phenomenal woman, Mandy.
This Saturday, October 13th, 2018, our circle is honored to have some very special Guests, Amina and Arif, who will be leading a special Zikr event earlier in the afternoon as well as leading our usual 2nd Saturday evening Dances.
Amina and Arif are seasoned leaders who bring a spirit of open hearted generosity and pure love, freedom, and joy to the practice. They are truly a special duo not to be missed.
Come for some or all of the offerings, and make a love donation to support these two wonderful beings in doing the work that they do.
From 2pm-5pm we will be at Miwa and Parker’s home, a few minutes down the road from Unity. Then we will move to Unity of Charleston for the evening.
All are welcome. No experience necessary. Just come with an open heart and mind.
Schedule of the Day: Saturday October 13th, 2018
2pm - 5pm
Zikr at 4347 Great Oak Drive, Charleston, SC 29418
5pm - 7pm
Potluck and free time at Unity of Charleston, 2535 Leeds Avenue Charleston, SC 29405
7pm - 7:15pm
7:15pm – 9:30pm
Dances of Universal Peace
I hope to see you there! Peace, Blessings, Light