Why are we dancing while the world burns?
Reviewed By: Open Floor Blog Editor
What is the purpose of Open Floor Movement Practice at times of such environmental urgency?
by Lucie Nerot, Open Floor teacher and Founding Member
Are we just dancing while the world burns? Should I be joining Greenpeace instead, or getting involved in politics?
We each find our own way to fight for the preservation of our precious environment, to contribute to a better future for humanity.
Whatever form your commitment, takes, here are my 4 reasons to carry on dancing…
Author: Lucie Nérot
Language availability: English, French
Maybe you’ve heard the expression fiddling while Rome burns, which refers to the – false – legend about how Nero stood at the top of a hill playing the fiddle as he watched Rome burn. Seeing images of the Amazonian forest burning on TV, on the internet, in the newspapers reminded me of this and I asked myself…
Are we just dancing and teaching dance while the world burns?
What is the purpose of Open Floor Movement Practice at times of such environmental urgency? Should I be joining Greenpeace instead, or maybe get involved in politics?
We each find our own way to fight for the preservation of our precious environment, to contribute to a better future for humanity. Whatever form your commitment, takes, here are my 4 Reasons to carry on dancing.
On the Open Floor we practice staying present and centered in a world where we are bombarded by threatening or heart-breaking news. When we dance, we are more embodied and can access those resources that our daily life tends to cut us off from. When we are under-resourced, our survival self takes over – we numb out, judge ourselves, become paralysed by guilt or push ourselves towards burn-out. We live in denial – becoming a part of the problem rather than a part of the solution.
The act of dancing, of moving to music in the company of others, is a source of physical wellbeing that translates into greater emotional stability and mental clarity. So sometimes, we just need to dance, dance, dance, until our survival self is held by something bigger and we can dive back into everyday life, resourced and ready.
Acknowledge that we are all connected
However separate we feel from the indigenous peoples losing their land in the Amazonian fires or from the homeless people on our very streets, we are, in reality, all interconnected.
We are first and foremost Earthlings, rather than English, French, German, Russian, Iranian, Palestinian, Israëli or American. As Earthlings, we depend on other living beings who depend on us for survival. We are all interconnected. On the the Open Floor we include these different dimensions of our relational world: solitude, connection, belonging and Source/Spirit. As we practice dancing and cultivate presence, we begin to feel our nature as connected beings, and the door opens to common good. Greater awareness can also flood us with perceptions, sensations, feelings, thoughts and images. As we dance, we practice holding and processing this incredibly complex flow of constantly changing information, so that our “right action” can emerge.
Welcome what is
When we are flooded, we tend to cut ourselves off from certain sensations, feelings, images and even become blind, numb or deaf to things like the news. We dissociate so we don’t have to feel or see what we can’t handle. This is a psychological survival strategy we establish from an early age in order to survive.
Adults who deny the reality of climate change are behaving like those children who dissociate. Last summer, as I hiked in the South of France, I could hear the astounding silence of the countryside: no insect chorus, so little bird song. I witnessed how dry the soil was, how thirsty the plants and trees.
I can imagine that each of you has had some kind of similar experience where the change is obvious. This is not a reality that is easy to hold: we can feel sad, angry, scared, hopeless. In Open Floor, we use our inner resources to hold and tolerate these difficult feelings. We explore how to embody them without collapsing into them, letting them move, express, transform, until they are back to their flowing nature and we settle once again. They can become a poem, a collage, and an energy that supports our action in the world.
Become an overflowing source of creativity and generosity
The changing climate, scarcity of resources across huge regions of the world, greater tension, greater instability, wars, refugees: all this threatens the cocoon of survival that we have built for ourselves.
We have a choice. We can go into survival mode and to try salvage our own little corner of the world – for ourselves, our loved ones, our nation, ethnic or social group. Or we can step on the path to becoming an overflowing source of creativity and generosity.
In Open Floor we learn how to move beyond our habits and living in survival mode towards creativity… and then how to move back into ourselves. So that we have the choice, a whole range of possibilities. We learn by experience that “Me” is not a thing or an entity but a constantly changing process, a conversation. With practice, we experience moments of grace when we are danced, moved, and at one with everything, all dimensions aligned and dissolved at the same time.
In those moments we can experience just pure being, pure love: at home, back to Source. In that moment, I don’t need a new dress, the latest tech gadget, another trip to the other end of the world – for my life to have purpose.
The purpose is in the movement itself, in the moment itself, in being.
As we experience the vastness that holds all aspects of “me”, we cultivate the muscle of awareness, the possibility of choice. We find new solutions, we step out of the box of our habits and culture and channel all our incredible human potential towards a future that includes all that is living.
Of course, developing resilience, welcoming what is and becoming a source of creativity and generosity is a life long journey and that doesn’t happen overnight… or even on a 5 day workshop! This is why Open Floor is a practice. We dance and dance…practice and practice…