We moved to Hawai’i in May 2013 and with deep gratitude I report that Hawai’i has enveloped us in infinite love ever since. The familial embrace is beyond compare, the friendships we have created are among the deepest of our lives and the land, ocean and air have grounded, cleansed and exalted our spirits. We have been humbly soaked in the Mana (Spiritual Energy) of Hawai’i. The most pointed focus of my life in Hawai’i so far has been internal healing. Nothing could truly move forward in my life unless that remained one of the first priorities. Divine organization brought a talented and mindful Hawai’i therapist into my life within the first few months, that specializes in many of the same techniques which electrified my healing process in LA, such as E. M. D. R. and Somatic Experiencing. I have had the privilege of seeing her weekly ever since. Vedic Meditation has also remained a powerful and life changing daily practice for Amanda (my wife) and I. Other forms of healing have come via voracious reading, time in nature, parenting, husbandry, working with child abuse prevention organizations, running a support group for adult survivors of child abuse, and friendships.
Periodically over the last four years, Dance has knocked on my door to let me know it was still there, if I wanted it. For the first couple of years, I would immediately shun it: “not a chance, no thank you.” My association with dance was still completely intertwined with Michael Jackson and therefore his sexually abusing me for seven years. I could not fathom ever dancing again. Then, slowly, a timid curiosity began to arise. A few times, when Dance came knocking, I would try something such as dance in my living room, at a party, or take a dance class. But these experiments would mostly end with me running in the other direction again, fast: still too much pain.
Until, in about March of 2017, that knocking from Dance came again, but something was different in me this time: there was a level of magnetic charm and a childlike curiosity. I was finally able to acknowledge that once upon a time, Dance and I had a pure, simple, playful and joyful relationship and I was now curious if there might be a way to find and/or rebuild that relationship. So one morning, I woke up, and booked a date, about two weeks out, for me to teach a dance class in Hawai’i: one of my first in over five years. I suddenly felt it was time to try and thought that if it was a disaster, at least my conviction that I was not supposed to dance anymore, would be concretized.
That first class was quite an experience: muscle memory kicked in and I slipped right back into the role of dance teacher as if no time had passed. All of the students seemed to have an amazing experience in the class, but maybe as some sort of nervous system protection mechanism, I remained slightly numb and a layer removed. I think I was confused by how well it seemed to be going. Itʻs as though it would have been easier to understand if the class and I were a complete disaster. By the end of that night, the only thing I was clear about, was that this was incredibly fertile ground for my evolution and I needed to keep diving in. I made the class a weekly occurrence.
Over the course of the next few classes I began to have an experience that was akin to my five-year-old relationship with dance: playful, experimental, joyful, invigorating and meaningful. This brings tears to my eyes as I write because for the last five years, I swore that dance was dead for me forever. Suddenly, enough healing had seemingly occurred that Dance and I could BEGIN AGAIN. Now each time I dance, I feel Michael Jackson and the sexual abuse expel from my body a little bit more. I now feel and understand that I am not the author of the dance, I am a vessel for creative intelligence to flow though me into the world, just as is every single one of us. I now comprehend for the first time in my life why I was given the gift of dance. It has become a vehicle for me to connect with people deeply, share my story, what I have learned so far, and listen intently to their stories, lessons and questions. My gratitude for this rebirth knows no boundaries.
Upon surrendering whole-heartedly to the dance, and leaping into the unknown, it has been amazing to watch opportunities to expand this quest, effortlessly unfold. To watch areas of my life that were still plagued by friction, begin to heal. It all reminds me of these beautiful words from Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist, “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”
I am by no means finished healing, I believe I will be amidst that process for a long time, but my gosh have I experienced some profound healing so far. I am infinitely grateful.
To all of the child abuse survivors out there who are living in silence: healing is possible, it is real, you will be believed and supported by many and you are not alone. Pay attention to when it is time to speak your truth. And once you begin, do not stop because every time you speak it, a drop of the pain leaves your heart, body and mind.
To all of the survivors out there of any trauma, at any level: healing awaits you, ask for it, and take action towards it. You are worthy of love, light and belonging.
“Without jumping off itʻs perch, the bird would never fly." -Mark Nepo
December 8, 2017.