Spiritual Music to Soothe The Soul

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Having problems meditating?

Hi All and Happy Digestion Day,

In other words “Day after Thanksgiving Day!” Hope you are well and that a day of giving thanks was good for the soul.

I’m thinking that there is a high likelihood that many of us are still experiencing a lot of agitation. And Thanksgiving was a nice retreat into quiet or family. Lots of us had great meals… some of us didn’t really, but enjoyed the pictures. (Wayne and I are still in our trailer in Texas, so we were a bit meager in the food department.)

Meditation

If you are finding that you are having difficulties with meditation these days I would like to ask you to be kind to yourself. I hear many other spiritual leaders calling for love, and kindness, and happiness… and I question how useful those entreaties are to our actual health. I’m afraid that we too often take the “Opiate of the masses” approach to spirituality, and see that it is actually causing a lot of internal pain. In other words, if we always think we should be sweet, and kind, and loving, and then discover that we aren’t… how do we reconcile our own hypocrisy?

My meditation teacher taught that the ultimate goal of meditation is to reach a state where every moment is illuminated. It wasn’t so much that you changed yourself to reach some special state, but that you illuminated every second of your own experience, whether it was good or bad. With this approach you don’t have to wait for some miracle to happen. Instead you consciously embrace yourself the way you are. One of his favorite stories was of a Zen monk who lived in a cemetery. The guy was criticized constantly: Wouldn’t an enlightened person find a beautiful place to live? How could he maintain his meditation in such a ghastly place? And yet, here was the guy every day dancing and singing through the graves.

The point of that story is in how we relate to our own minds. If we wait for the beautiful, perfect moment to come we’ll be waiting forever (though you can come to dance camp and get a weekend of it). But if we can still call it meditation when we are raging and weeping on the outside, then we have illuminated our nature and taken a real stance for our being. It’s why enlightened people are always laughing! They see just exactly how nuts they are!

The thing that’s important to understand is that it doesn’t matter if the mind is raging, or if the mind is singing love lullabies. It’s still the mind – it’s still not you. The raging mind is easier to observe because we don’t like it. It’s loud, it’s mean, it’s full of fear, doubt and pain. It’s crystal clear, it’s sharp and in focus. You can literally let it go without cooperation. Just let it yammer on and watch it without interference. You are the watcher. You are the one watching. Be nice to the poor little thing. Hold still and let it have its say. As you simply hold true, in tune with yourself, including all that you like and don’t like, a focus may happen. The mind is much happier when it has a master who understands its needs, who creates a ripe field for it to thrive, who can withstand both the foulness and the beauty that comes from its yammering.

If you are kind of grasping what I’m saying here you’ll realize that I’m talking about changing the goal of meditation, and that changing the goal changes everything. If our meditation goal is to have a perfectly silent mind we are going to end up very frustrated and unsilent. If our goal is to have only a beautiful mind, then we are going to end up either loathing ourselves, or working ourselves into a fully deluded state. But if the goal is to just take a break from mind management and spend some time as the simple observer, then we’ll find ourselves more and more the master of our own experience. More than likely we’ll find ourselves more articulate, more creative and more centered… because it is the observer who can actually learn from the rantings of the mind.

This is the kind of meditative mind that can take on the burden of political activism and remain true. I believe this is what our times are calling for now and I’m here to encourage and support all the people in our community for their participation on any level.

A great article

Here is a great article by Barbara Kingsolver with some fabulous suggestions as to how we can move forward as a community in troubled times.

Trump changed everything. Now everything counts
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/nov/23/trump-changed-everything-now-everything-counts

Here’s the poignant starting paragraph, please read the rest.

If you’re among the majority of American voters who just voted against the party soon to control all three branches of our government, you’ve probably had a run of bad days. You felt this loss like a death in the family and coped with it as such: grieved with friends, comforted scared kids, got out the bottle of whisky, binge-watched Netflix. But we can’t hole up for four years waiting for something that’s gone. We just woke up in another country.

Barbara calls us to action at the end of that article with a very good list of the things we can do as individuals, and I would like to add to that list.

If we are dancers, and singers, and lovers of laughter then let’s move and sing with more urgency. There is no need to sedate ourselves from our own experience. Honor your truth in knowing right from wrong. Don’t hold back from the uncomfortable: embrace that and bring as much music to it as possible.

When I really look closely at my own experience I see that my mind is asking me to find a way to do more. To do the things I do better. To make more of an impact. That’s something we all do together. That’s something you can do for me. That’s something I can do for you. The raging mind, in the end, if born with dignity and watched with self-love will always bring up the next step.

Wayne and I start driving home from Texas next Saturday, December 3rd. Apparently I am fully cured, and have every intention of making as much mischief as I possibly can. As soon as I have the opportunity I’ll be calling together leaders in our community for training and putting together our next steps so that our dance community can thrive and grow without interruption. Hope to see you there!

Love and hugs

Zareen

Time to move!

No… I don’t mean to Canada (smile). It’s time for each of us to find a new level of action.

Dear Community,

May of us are experiencing a collective shock right now and I wanted to write some words of encouragement. While it would be wonderful to live in a world where everything is happy and good all the time, that is just not the case. Fortunately we, as human beings, have all the tools and intelligence needed to deal with things as they come at us.

Here are a few of my thoughts.

Don’t be afraid of yourself

We may wish it weren’t so, but fear and regret are two of our most important emotions. Sometimes we need those. If experienced by an awake individual these powerhouse emotions cause us to re-evaluate what we’ve been doing, and give us the courage to change course. It’s possible to have negative emotions while still standing in a field of love and hope.

It’s obvious that each of us needs to do more.

This was first brought home to me with the sudden death of Carol Hanson from our community. Carol was a beautiful mess in many ways (as are we all). She bungled, sang and smiled through unwavering commitments. She served on the board of the Dances of Universal Peace, and even as president. I remember that she drove some people crazy (I had my moments…), but she kept going and did everything that she was able to do… always with that crazy smile. At her life service the church was packed with people from so many organizations in Pocatello that she worked for. My thought was, “I can do more.” Just looking around the room I realized that I was only doing half of what I could do.

And now we are faced with a very odd situation of leadership in our country. We could have each done more these last few months. I certainly could have done more… even though I have been dealing with cancer. And while I can’t go back and undo anything that I did not do… I can certainly re-evaluate and let myself be inspired for what I can do in the future.

You can’t protest wrong

If you get out and protest you are going to do it wrong in some way. The reason for that is because there is no way to do it “right.” So protest, or don’t protest. But don’t worry if you are doing it right or wrong. Please don’t shame others who are looking messy in the way they are acting. Anything we do will have many elements of craziness and sanity. Moving and speaking and doing something will lead us all into new paths. So do something, even if it’s problematic. Just doing that will make it right. Keep your love and songs of life forefront in your consciousness and move with certainty.

We have several community members right now who have loaded up their cars with supplies and headed to Standing Rock. They are an example. Stand behind them in any way you can, and then ask others to stand behind you in your choices.

Together we are stronger

Please don’t get confused in thinking that everything is relative, and that things just work out without our participation. There is actually goodness and badness, and we need constant discrimination to discern between the two. Bigotry and misogyny are bad – it creates so much anger and hate. But standing up against a bigot in a way that looks angry is sometimes necessary. Please support each other in our attempts to deal with difficult things. It’s important to lean in and try to understand a bigot, but we also have to not be swayed in our stance.

Denying Climate Change is not right, and polluting the planet is not right. This is a collective problem and we need collective answers We have the opportunity to stand up now and do what we can do for the issues that are important to us, even in a political climate that has turned against what we know to be good and true.

Here is a quote from a recent email from Al Gore that I received as a Climate Reality Leader:

In every great struggle humanity has undertaken, the march towards progress has included both successes and setbacks. And the struggle to protect and save the Earth’s ecological system is no exception.

Today, I am as optimistic and resolved as ever that we will solve the climate crisis. Our collective efforts are dependent not on politics or ideology – or elections – but on our commitment to each other, to the health of our planet and to a sustainable future for all.

We must – and will – continue to find hope and joy in our work that will define humanity for generations.

He’s right. It’s up to us how this will all work out. It’s time to move.

Love you all and we’ll be dancing together soon.

Connie Zareen

Proving We are SO Necessary!

Chin up everyone! Things are getting better and better… if you just know where to look.

Love is the winner

We are blessed to be living in a huge social experiment of love versus hate. As we plow through each day this fall we’re getting a college level Political Science class that speaks to how we choose to live our lives day to day. It all boils down to our most basic understanding that:

  • If you speak and spread hate; hate, anger and belligerence will follow.
  • If you speak and spread love; a flowering of love will be the result.

There is only one difference. It’s easier to spread hate and anger; it works faster and is very loud. It’s so easy to see it, hear it, and be afraid of it. Love takes more effort and flowers slowly… the results aren’t immediately visible so it also takes more skill (and an open heart) to notice the results.

We are Love Leaders

Today is a good day to take a breath and give ourselves a nod for the love we spread. A personal thanks from me to every person on this email list! I know that each of you spread kindness and constantly move towards wisdom. I know that your families, friends and community are the recipients of your love.

Every breath we take, every move we make… is the step of a leader of love. If we have learned anything from our world, through the year of 2016, it’s that we have been proven to be absolutely necessary! The world needs each and every one of us. We need each other. Each smile we share, each hug we give, each word of praise or song we sing is creating a field of love that benefits everyone.

Keep up the good work!

Slow and Steady

If there is one thing I have learned with my illness this year, it’s that things take time. Every little step can be celebrated. The same is true in spreading love. I need to constantly remind myself of both.

(Just a quick FYI… Aesop was right: the tortoise can beat the hare. A new race was held in Thailand that you can see on this page.)

This is what we do when we dance together. This is what our community of healers is sharing. This is how we can live, move and breathe together.

Speaking of slow… we do have our next Live at Lava dance scheduled… many days from today. It will be next spring, on Earth Day — April 21, 22, 23, 2017. Put that on your calendar because I want everyone there for the biggest spring dance ever! (Yes, I’m going to be nice and healthy by then and need lots of hugs!)

Love you all

Connie Zareen

Bring Leaders to the OmFest in Ogden

Dear dancers and community dance lovers,

We are excited to announce that the Dances of Universal Peace have been accepted at the Ogden OmFest this year. OmFest is a oneness gathering held in Ogden, Utah’s beautiful 84-acre Fort Buenaventura.  We are excited to explore a venue like this, because it seems like a sustainable way to introduce people to the dances and to put another quality dance event on the map.

Melissa Zuckerman is spearheading the event. This is a great opportunity for dancers to join in with a thriving spiritual community in Ogden, and to create a new annual dance opportunity for us all!

To help make all this happen Melissa is bringing in Joy Morris and Nuriya Akers from Colorado. Carol Hanson is coming down from Pocatello and Wayne is hoping to make it from Salmon to help with the music.

We also need dancers to come join the circle. Just like our amazing experience at the Parliament of World Religions the more experienced dancers we have the in circle the better. It’s so wonderful to have a container of love when a new dancer steps into the circle. So let’s make that all happen.

Gas Money
To start with… let’s get some money to help with gas expenses for our dance leaders. Melissa has created a crowdfunding site so we can all donate. I know I won’t be able to be at this dance, but I’m going to click the donate button as soon as I send this email. I hope many of you join me in supporting Melissa in this exciting adventure.

Here are some details of the OmFest
Location: Ogden Utah’s beautiful 84-acre Fort Buenaventura.
Dates:
Friday August 19th – the dance team will meet, check out the venue and set up.
Saturday August 20th – We are the first event in the OmDome. 8:00 to 9:30 AM
Saturday afternoon – possible dances later in the children’s program.

Sign up: There is a cost for the event and dancers sign up directly with the OmFest: http://ogdenomfest.com/
Cost: It’s a very affordable event, from $15 to $25.
Fun: The OmFest is a great event in its own right. You’ll love it.

Donate for dancer leader costs: 
https://www.youcaring.com/joy-morris-and-nuriya-akers-to-help-cover-travel-610381

Contact: If you can make it to the event, or help in other ways, contact Melissa here: melissazuckerman@hotmail.com

Thanks everyone for stepping up and donating to this event. Let’s show our collective strength and make this happen!

Love you all
Connie Zareen

Beams of Positive Energy

Hi all dancers and lovers of community dancing

So it occurs to me (for no particular reason 🙂 that if a person is in a position of power, and they use that position to spread hate and fear, that it will work. People will soak it up and there will be lots more hate and fear everywhere.

It also occurs to me that we are each in positions of power all the time. Maybe small little bubbles where we have influence, but we all have networks of people, and family and friends who hear our words. It’s so easy to see today how important it is that we fill our small bubbles of influence with beams of positive energy.

There is a lot of talk about how positive energy can turn the universe in our favor and bring us the stuff we want. But I would like to propose a bigger picture: that we are all creators of our collective culture. With our words, actions and beliefs we help create a culture that is collectively shared. That culture is created every day by what we believe together, how we speak to each other, and the actions that we choose. We can whip that bubble up with fear, or we can always always be on the lookout for ways to beam that positive light.

Here are some positive things we can look for this very day.

  • In political candidates look for someone who smiles. That tells a lot.
  • As we notice the climate changing always seek out the voices of people who are doing something about it (for instance: check out Bhutan and Solar Freakin’ Roadways).
  • Remember to notice the people who are living peacefully, and be thankful.
  • Look for community gatherings where people come together in creativity and love – take up knitting if you have to!
  • Get your self to the next local dance and sign up for dance camps!
  • See how many smiles you can beam out of people as you walk down the street.

I remember once I was driving along. I think I was heading down to Salt Lake City and in two lane traffic. I have no idea today what the issue was, but something was really bothering me and I was sad and down. Suddenly a car passes me on the left, one of those slow highway passes. I glance over and here is this kid in the back seat with her face pressed up against the glass, with the biggest look of happiness and delight possible on her face. I mean, it was HUGE!

One look at her face and BAM! – I was hit by a beam of positive energy. It transformed me in one second into happy, hopeful and laughing. Who could resist that face! A girl I never saw before, I’ll never see again, and yet I’ll always remember. She beamed me up out of my funk and changed my whole day in that short timeframe of a car pass on the highway.

Every day we have the choice to send those positive beams of energy. I’m hoping you catch one here from my little email. Let’s send them out everywhere and see if we can’t bring a bit of balance to this day.

Love you all

Zareen

Chanting Workshop and Dances of Universal Peace

Saturday, April 30 to Sunday May 1st

With Lucinda in Jackson Hole

Chanting with Sa’ra Rain

WHO IS SA’RA RAIN?
Sa’ra Rain is an Inter-faith Spritirual Director, mentor for the Dances of Universal Peace, Sufi Minister, and devotional music enthusiast. Chanting with Sa’ra includes a variety of languages, faith traditions, multi-part harmonies and rounds.

REGISTER ON FACEBOOK by searching for

CHANTING JH

LOCATION:

160A West Broadway
Jackson, WY 83001

COST:

Saturday 10am – 4pm
Chanting Workshop
$45 per person

Saturday 7-9 pm
Dances of Universal Peace
A free event

Sunday 6-8 pm
Chanting Program
$15 suggested donation

Call Lucinda for more information
307-690=5727

Spring Lava Cancelled

Hi all,

We are sorry to announce that due to some unforeseen health issues we need to cancel the Spring Lava 2016. We hope this is not inconveniencing anyone too much, and will sure miss seeing you all!

Sorry to be a bit mysterious, but do not worry, all will be fine.

We have refunded the registrations that have been sent in.

Love and blessings to all,

Connie and Wayne

Worried about Love

Sometimes I worry about love. The world seems to be full of so much anger, and downright craziness. I worry that love won’t win.

It’s scary, right? If you have one person, angry, mean, maybe even has a gun, and you have another person standing there with nothing but love… who should run? I’ll admit that sometimes I forget my hope.

powrdanceAnd then something will happen that makes me see the bigger picture.

My last hope inspiration came at Montana family camp. My last two trips there have been exceptional. It’s a particular bunch of people who have been coming together in the dance for twenty years. The group has matured, children have grown up in the camp, person after person has stepped up and done the work to become a good dance leader, musicians have practiced and improved. Time, love and numbers have done the job of evolving a community with an energy field so palpable that a new person can step into the camp and swim.

It makes me realize that one person of love staring down a person of hate might do well to run away. But what about three to one? Or what about twenty to one? What about a hundred to one over and over again for ten years?

When I look at it that way my hope grows because I see it as a doable job. All we need is more and more people. All we need is better and better ways to nourish and grow love in communities. All we need is sheer numbers and the ability to hold each other up with encouragement, hope and love.

Yep. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

Hope you can join our next dance

We’ll be working on the plan here in a few short weeks in Lava Hot Springs. Come dance with us and share your being with us. We are setting up new opportunities for dance leader training, and for musicians to play along.

We want you and need you!

Registration is open at : http://liveatlava.com

Dates: April 22-24, 2016

Cost: $90 for the weekend

Hope to see you there,

Love and hugs

Connie Zareen, Wayne and the whole gang

Large Community and Small Heros

Hello happy dancer and lover of life!

dancechainWayne and I have been traveling around to a few dance camps this winter, and are constantly amazed at the beauty, grace, and solidarity of our worldwide community. I noticed this especially in the communities that have had years of dance leader training, where so many beautiful beings are sharing their grace in the circles.

Dance Leader Training

So good news! Our beloved Ginger Nuria is coming back to Lava camp this spring – and she, Carol Hanson and I are starting a 3-Year dance deepening group. This group will help our blooming leaders learn the many skills necessary to lead the dance. It is also an opportunity for people who may not want to become leaders, but wish to deepen in the dance and the spiritual traditions that inspire us. But mostly, it is an opportunity for the Lava Dance Community to grow and mature in our connection with each other, and with the entire Dances of Universal Peace world.

Yes, you can literally travel the world attending dance amps and meeting musical lovers everywhere.

Here are the first two dates:
Open Hands Open Hearts Training: Oct 7, 8, 9 2016
and March 10, 11, 12, 2017

Heroic Acts

It’s easy to feel that we live in a world where we do not make a difference. So I would like two point out two heroic acts from our dance community. Our own beloved Melissa and her husband have been working for years to participate in the Foster Care program. This week they started their first journey into taking youth into their home. This is not the easiest thing in the world – so everyone please point your heart energy towards Ogden, Utah and send a little love that way!

Those of you who were at Wilderness Dance Camp and the Parliament of World Religions will remember drummer Salim – who lives in the Bitterroot Valley of Montana. Yesterday I flipped on the news and there was Salim standing up in a large group of angry people who were trying to keep Syrian refugees out of the valley! Salim stood right up and gave a passionate speech for love and tolerance.

A huge salute to Salim – you can watch him by clicking on this news page link.

Time to Sign up for Lava Spring Camp

We have the order forms up for spring Lava and hope we see you there.

Fall dates: November 4 – 6, 2016

Sign up here: http://liveatlava.com

Or mail to: Live at Lava, PO Box M, Salmon, Idaho 83467

Price: $90 – Bring a spouse or friend for $80!

See you soon!

Love and hugs from Zareen and Wayne

Salt Lake Dances and More

Happy Winter… hope you are warm and dry.

Just a quick note about future dancing possibilities.

January in Salt Lake

Melissa, Zareen and Wayne will be leading a dance in Salt Lake City in a few weeks. Check this out if you can come!

When: Saturday, January 30 at 4 PM – 6 PM

Where: One Mind Studio 216 W Paxton Ave, Salt Lake City, Utah 84101

More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/919179708165556/

Spring & Fall Dates for Lava Hot Springs

Spring: April 22 – 24, 2016. Registration is open at http://liveatlava.com

Fall: November 4-6, 2016

We hope to see you there.

Mexico!

Zareen & Wayne will be dancing in Mexico this year, and there is still room at that camp with Sky and Bernie.

Feb 1-8, 2016: Annual Mexico winter Dance camp, Puerto Morelos MX (south of Cancun) with Bernie and Adrianna Heideman, Sky Majida and more. Info: Heidemans, heideman@paonia.com, 970-882-2172

Hope to see you soon.

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I am hoping to go to Lava and would like to see if anyone wants to car pool from SLC & share housing. I haven't registered yet. ...

2 years ago

The beginning of a magnificent evening. What a way to celebrate the gathering of the peace, love and life for the 2015 parliament of the world's religions. ...

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