Unwinding the Heart on MLK’s Birthday



Dear Dancers at heart,

Today is the day that the United States celebrates Martin Luther King’s birthday. Dr. King was not just a “leader” – he was connected to a radical and profound movement that lives on. He was one articulate leader among many, many beloved and connected activists.

When I think about what my life, my body, and my heart would be like without the life of Dr. King…..ach. I don’t want to think about that. I take time on this day to celebrate his radical vision for a life of abundance and dignity for all people, for the abolition of the caste and class inequality in the United States, for global justice and an end to colonial wars. For me, the joy of doing the work that I personally feel needs to be done outweighs my own perfectionistic tendencies. So what if things are really bad out there? So what if it’s an endless task that will never be done. What else is there to do? At the same time, I struggle with a tendency to overwork myself that can undermine every vision, every project that I give birth to.

Because of this tendency, born in the traumas of my childhood, I think I can safely say that the Alexander Technique saved my life. Yes, its founder was a white man raised in a colonial culture, a working class man who strived to succeed in high Victorian society and was willing to associate his work at different times with some disturbing ideas like eugenics  (like many other “human potential” movements.) Still, F.M. Alexander came up with a very special perspective on our embodied intelligence that saved my ass. I can’t disavow him, I’d rather see him for who and what he was. If there is one thing the recognition of the power of habit has taught me, it’s that my own thinking can be extremely distorted. My flaws may be on display next!

Even Dr. King had work to do around his own limited thinking. You can learn here about the attempted censorship of gay folk like Bayard Rustin as an example. Even Mr. Rodgers had work to do – he also suffered from homophobia, which you can read about in this excellent episode of The Moth, in which Officer Clemmons tells his truth. I’m still glad that Dr. King and Mr. Rodgers did their work.

So, maybe don’t worry so much about doing things perfectly. Do them with heart, be vulnerable, and the mess will work itself out. I’m going to bare my heart today and tell you that it’s taken me a lifetime to build a business that is more aligned with my core values, and I could only have done it in community. Here is a list I’m working on – I dream this kind of world:

– One that is more people centered and less materialistic and status oriented (The Experimenters Union is a non-hierarchical teaching & learning platform that supports the discovery of a teachers unique voice, and soon it will be opening up to all certified bodyworkers and embodiment educators!)

– One in which I do not contribute to violence against other living beings

– One in which wounded hearts and bodies have places that they can heal (I’m now offering both private and community based options for my work because both of those are important for healing)

– One in which profit and the accumulation of wealth is not placed above human life

– One in which everyone has a home, an education, and enough food to eat

So what if there is more work to do. Today, I need the joy of directing myself towards a higher plane, standing with my feet in the mud and mess, unwinding and rewinding my heart, spinning my blood,  I wish you a very happy Birthday Dr. King!

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