Dancing with Melissa Michaels & Friends

Adults

Adults ~

Our work serves not only youth, but also the communities of adults around them. We offer programs for educators, parents, therapists, councilors, social workers, clergy, artists, and leaders of all kinds.

We call this work Edgewalking, recognizing that adulthood is an opportunity for all of us to continue along the path of life long learning … an invitation to ever more consciously dance along the edges of our own becoming.

life-cycles-webHonoring that throughout this ideally long adulthood Life Cycle there are many significant opportunities for new phases of emergence, we offer an adapted version of Surfing The Creative® Life Cycle Rites of passage programs for adults. In addition, we create moving journeys that focus on Shadow Dancing, Gender Dialogues, along with Seasonal Cycle Celebrations through the course of a year. As in any community, there are times that we face Life Crisis, sudden deaths, natural disasters, rapid shifts in the lives of our community members. We support one another through these crisis, allowing the dance to be yet again a doorway for collective connection, prayer, and repair.

Shadow Dancing ~ 

SHADOW-DANCING-WOMANThrough creative process and community mirroring, we illuminate the game of hide and seek that we all play with our ourselves, befriending both our brilliant and gnarly unintegrated parts. In the spirit of kindness, curiosity, and honor, we allow our shadow dances to come out of the closet and move across the dance floor.

Demanding, shy, seductive, sly, awkward, bright, mischievous, exotic, and boring … All parts are welcomed.

Beyond shame and blame, together we crack open the door to our inner haunted house and embrace that which we prefer to deny or ignore.

The conscious engagement of our bodies, hearts, and minds assist us as we learn to … Transform our shadow dances into fuel for our souls!

 

Gender Dialogues ~

gender-melissa-mark

An aspect of growing healthy human beings together in community is growing strong and sustained relationships between the genders. Over the years, we have learned to respect the power of Woman and the power of Man, similar and different. Through delicate and carefully orchestrated healing ceremonies and conversations, we have learned to listen to one another and learn about each other’s truest needs and unique gifts. We have also grown to respect the rich landscape of people not identifying as man or woman, but rather as Ze or They.

As a result of these courageous and transparent dialogues that have unfolded in our maturing community, our interpersonal relationships are deep and sustained. In fact, in 2011 – 2012, we have 18 marriages in our community.

Gender-dialoguesAn elder asked us … “What do you all have in your water?”

We have Respect. Love. Devotion. Honesty. Vulnerability. Humility.

We need each other, and we know it.

Please enjoy the following gender dialogue that unfolded between a group of young men and young women who were awakening to their hearts, sexuality, and truths as they turned the corner towards adulthood.

The men and boys spend time together exploring gender-specific issues. The women and girls do the same. In this one process, each gender goes through a parallel and private process of freely naming everything that scares them, excites them, angers them, makes them sad, brings them joy, and fills them with compassion in relationship to the other gender. We then gather to listen in the sacred container of Council to the truths pouring forth from our hearts. Everyone is generally deeply moved by the differences and the similarities communicated about needs and experiences in the realm of intimacy. The following is a partial list of one group of young and seasoned men and women who gathered to share their heart’s truths with one another.

Women Speaking About Men

________ Excites Me

Presence
Humor
Body odor/scent
Hard cocks
Decisiveness
A man who is over his mama
Someone willing to say I want you and I want you now
A man who cares what “I want”
A man who knows his way around sexually
A man who respects boundaries and doesn’t give up
Patience
No fear of being vulnerable
Deep connection to spirit and purpose
Not intimidated by my power

__________ Scares Me

Un-owned anger
Leaky sperm/not having control of ejaculation
Not willing to take an STD test
Doesn’t honor emotions
Being dominating
Saying one thing and doing another
Dishonesty
Saying that … “all women are…”
Being too needy
An addict
Low self-esteem and making me smaller
Jealousy
Can’t keep track of his shit
No financial support


____________ Makes Me Angry

Whining
Someone who tries to fix me
Blaming me
A lack of integrity
Someone who tells me I’m masculine when I’m taking care of things
Jealousy
Infidelity
Screwing too many women
Dishonesty
Violence
Thinking they have rights because they put their sperm in me
Someone who won’t say “I’m wrong”
Someone who thinks he knows best for me

 

____________ Makes Me Sad

Abandonment/giving up
Afraid to love
Abandons his family
Chooses addiction over life
Rape
Grasping
Can’t communicate or express emotions
Not caring for earth’s resources
Withholding
Expressing his masculinity materially
Over willingness to please

 


___________ Brings Me Joy

Spooning
Dancing
Conscious touch
Cooking together
Waking up together
Seeing men love each other
Loving what I’m all about, really
Feeling understood
Reading in bed together
A man who is in his body
Spiritually connected
Humor
Willing to take on a challenge
Likes children/animals/earth
Someone who completely accepts and loves my body


 

Men Speaking About Women

_________ Excites Me

Sexual arousal
Barely concealed breasts/body
Confident gaze
Grounded personal female power
Ability to drop in to feminine receptivity
Reckless abandon
Feeling a woman’s desire for me
Interest in my passions
Openness/radiance
Intelligence
Willingness to travel
Courage
Slight physical imperfections

__________ Scares Me

The vastness of female sexuality
Moods
Abandonment
Desire to control
Withdrawnness
Inability to satisfy/insatiable
Willful hurting
Projection
Miscommunication
Anger
Hating men
A woman’s not accepting the fullness of a man’s masculinity
To think when a woman gets older she will look like her mother


_________ Makes Me Angry

When a woman can’t take care of herself
Nagging
Being blown off or ignored
Feng shui fundamentalism
Breaking commitments
Fickleness
Hypervigilance/bull-headedness
Mothering/being looked after when it is not appropriate
Lack of respect
Double standards
Lack of appreciation for fulfilling the male role
Irrational emotion
Blame
Generalization
Man-hating feminists
Squeaky little girl voices

__________ Makes Me Sad

Being rejected/dumped
A woman’s inability to remove herself from difficult situations
Collective burden and suffering of women
Socially enforced/entrenched body image
Unreachableness/isolation
Woman’s belief that men can’t understand them
Exclusion from childrearing or experience of infants
Self-objectification
Women giving themselves to men who don’t care about them or are abusive
Women who sacrifice their deepest joy for family or others
Feeling a woman who is closed down


___________ Brings Me Joy

Feeling a woman who is open
Playfulness
Serenity
Great love-making
Prolonged orgasm
Laughing eyes
Moaning
Mother-child relating
Experiences of the Divine, universal feminine through connecting with a woman
Wholeness, balance, and oneness through union with a woman
Vibrance of woman
Capacity a woman has for pleasure
Experiencing a clean boundary from the feminine
Surfing The Creative®


 

Life Cycle Ceremonies ~

lifecycles-ceremoniesFrom Pre-conception through Death, our community is engaged in discovering and honoring the profound and subtle mysteries of what is alive in each of life’s passages and phases.

Over the years, we have engaged in Blessingways, a process for supporting the pregnant woman in her transition into Motherhood. We have also conducted groups for the women and families in the Birth Cycle of Life through our Dance of Birth work.

Welcoming new life and supporting families: mother, father, and child, during this key cycle is a normal and natural part of life. Isolation is not. We make it our business to welcome in the new members of our ever-expanding community and to support families in the most practical of ways during this major life transition.

Through the first two decades of life, there are all kinds of opportunities for the children to gather and be honored in their developmental milestones, from the loss of the first tooth to the onset of menarche.

Our children are again welcomed in community at the onset of puberty. Budding breasts and deepening voices herald the coming of age process, the time of leaving the ideally safe shores of childhood and beginning the journey across the great waters of adolescence into the ideally productive cycle of adulthood. We offer key teachings around the changes happening in the hearts and bodies of our early adolescents. Giggles are abound. Hard topics are addressed. Art continues to be the vehicle for conversing about life.

How do babies get made? What is menstruation? Why do I feel different than I used to? What do I do when my sheets are wet? How can I feel this way about my friend? How can I make positive choices during the changes happening in my life?

coming-of-ageComing of Age Classes and Ceremonies are offered for young people and their parents. Everyone is well benefited when mom and dad also engage in their own internal discovery process as their children move into their teens. Parents who address their own biographies are able to see their own changing children through clearer lenses than those who are laden with their own unresolved adolescent issues. Parent groups. Positive Choices Groups. Some of the topics we address with our early teens include:

  • How to care for oneself when so many changes are happening all at once.
  • How to know what is true for you and then how to stay true to that.
  • The impacts of drug use, the line between use and abuse.
  • The legal system and what happens if you get yourself in it.
  • The power of natural highs.
  • How healthy relationships are cultivated and sustained.
  • How to pace all the talk and action around sexuality.
  • How to be safe when so many young people are not.
  • The role that the media and corporate America have on their lives.
  • How to stay centered through creativity, community, and service.

Middle school is a delicate moment where many young people are first exposed to new, exciting, and even destructive aspects of life. Our young people need clear information and practical tools that will help them inwardly and outwardly navigate through this uncharted terrain during the years ahead.

Through the modeling and mentoring of youth leaders, creative older youth who have successfully found their way through adolescence and are passionately engaged in serving life, our community classes and workshops,  offer young people a picture of what is possible, both the pitfalls and the potential of adolescence.

Surfing The Creative® is our full rites of passage process serving youth as they journey through adolescence into adulthood. There are many pieces to this process, including healing, education, initiation, and mentoring.

For those who seek to become Life Cycle leaders, we offer training, apprenticeship, and mentoring in the arts of body, heart, and soul. This spiritual training prepares emerging leaders to be SomaSource® practitioners.

In addition, we offer ceremonies to support the many important passages in the lives of adults, including marriage, menopause, divorce, eldering, end of life. We are non-denominational, weaving together the needs of the individuals involved, co-creating vibrant contemporary and inclusive life cycle passages.

 

Seasonal Cycle Celebrations ~

seasonal-celebration-melissa-michaelsFor three decades, our community has been journeying through the cycles of the year, marking both the subtle and overt seasonal shifts. We come together to dance into the holiday, season, or cycle of nature that is all around us. We discover how those energies are also alive within us. Through a moving inquiry into the nature of Winter, Spring, Summer, and Autumn, we learn about the ever changing qualities of the natural cycles of life. We tune into how Spirit seeds ideas and projects within us and how they can come to full fruition through the seasons of listening, tilling, seeding, growing, pruning, harvesting, and seeding again. We discover the power of the elements and how they constitute the inner workings of our bodies, hearts, organs, and actions. We see ourselves reflected in all of life around us. As moving alchemists, we learn about what elements needs to be cultivated and balanced within. Movement Mass is the primary place where we track these natural cycles throughout the year in community. We also mark these points around the wheel through long dances and Council of All Being conversations.

 

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