So every once in a while you’re talking about Shiva Nata and how ridiculously impossible it is. And someone asks something like seriously, why would I even want to do this?!?!
And I have to admit: perfectly legitimate question.
Why would you want to do something that is a. not easy, b. impossible to finish, and c. supposed to be challenging you to the point that you’re constantly doing it wrong?
So usually when someone asks me this, I have to give them a hug. It’s harder to do that on a blog. So assume that we’ve done that part already.
After the hug, I have three things to say about this. They’re important. Very, very important.
Thing 1: You might surprise yourself by having fun.
Sure, I have been known to say that it’s not fun.
But that’s my experience. And my particularly twisted sense of humor.
Don’t let me dictate or define your experience for you. It’s your experience.
Some people have fun with it. Some people have lots of fun with it. Weird as that is, it happens. :)
That’s fantastic. And you might be one of them.
Of course you might also be more like me — someone who has to use Dance of Shiva to disentangle from some of her perfectionist stuff before she can loosen up and let herself “intentionally get things wrong”.
But either way? It’s your dance. It’s your practice. It’s your experience.
Take whatever you need from it.
And keep in mind that lots and lots of my students enjoy the hell out of it. People in my classes are constantly cracking themselves and each other up in the hysterical fabulousness of being ridiculously, horribly bad at something.
Thing 2: It’s the eye of the storm.
Dance of Shiva is about chaos and it’s about order.
And about the relationship between them.
You find the hidden structures that live in the chaos.
You access the freedom that hides inside of patterns.
You tear down worlds and build new ones.
So yes — all of that can be pretty scary. And intimidating. And I get why people would say, why would I ever want to do something that’s so completely difficult?
That’s why the remembering the “eye of the storm” is important.
When you do Dance of Shiva*, it does create a hurricane effect.
Your job is to ground yourself and stay in the eye of that storm.
Right in the center of it. Chaos and deconstruction all around you, but where you are is calm, steady and centered.
You’re observing the patterns move and change. You’re feeling the movement even when you’re in stillness. Maybe you’re also noticing your stuff come up about wanting to get it right.
And at the same time, you are marvelously insulated from the hurricane.
You’re in the eye of the storm.
When you let yourself experience the dance, it’s not about the chaos anymore. It’s about you finding the peace inside the chaos.
*Whenever I say stuff like “when you do Dance of Shiva”, I am implying (and assuming) that you are doing it fabulously, gloriously *wrong* and intentionally challenging yourself.
Occasionally people say “I was doing Dance of Shiva and I wasn’t getting effects like that” — what that means is that they were practicing the movements without actually challenging their patterns.
Thing 3: It’s worth it.
Even if you do end up kind of hating it? The results are so totally worth it.
For me — someone who really, really likes doing things well — it’s not always the most enjoyable thing to undo that pattern and really screw up.
But because I know from experience that the best results come when you’re screwing up in the worst way possible, I keep at it.
Everything that is great about my life right now is related to my Shiva Nata practice. Every realization. Every piece of stuck that I’ve taken apart. All the things I know that make people say ohmygod you’re so … wise. And even my duck.
It comes from Shiva Nata and my relationship with Shiva Nata.
I know that’s a really intense (and maybe even kind of crazy) thing to say. But I stand by it.
And I know from watching my students and reading about what they’re doing now, that people who keep challenging themselves — out of love, not out of self-abuse — go through an extraordinary learning process and really grow into themselves.
So yes. You might learn some stuff about yourself that isn’t fun.
But you also learn about your patterns of judging yourself for not being someone else. And you learn about kindness. And you learn about what it means to have a relationship with yourself that is based on love.
For me, definitely worth it.
Food for thought. Stuff to think about.
And let’s keep coming up with ways to access more of the joy and love in this practice … so that the part about how it has to be hard can be a little less intimidating.
Because yeah, it is sometimes.
Internet hugs all around!