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  • Writer's pictureLeann Shamash

The Dance of Prayer (part one)

Dear G-d,

if only my heart would be

straight with You all the time,

I would be filled with joy.

And that joy would spread all the way

down to my feet,

and uplift them in dance.

Please, never let my feet falter,

release them from their heavy bonds,

and give me the strength

to dance, dance, dance..

(Likutei Tefillot I:10)

Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav -taken from the website

I have been leading dance classes on-line during this time of Covid-19. These classes give participants (and the facilitator of the class) the opportunity to move to various rhythms and most basically said, to dance. Plain and simple, not unlike the words of Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav. The simple poem above describes the stirring within which creates movement. There is nothing complicated or complex about this. One needs little. The ingredients include various types of music and people in their living rooms, in their kitchens, in their basements. Participants leave their worries at the virtual door. When the music begins the fear in their heads fade and their hearts lead the way. One never knows where the journey might lead, but perhaps, just perhaps, it will move the participant to a place of deep feeling and joyous release.

Once upon a time and to this very day there is a highway that goes directly from one's heart to one's feet or hands or hips or shoulders. Perhaps this highway is more simply paved than the many roads that lead to thoughts and worries. Bodies in motion, in response to the most basic of stimuli. The beat of a drum, the sweetness of a flute or a cry of a horn.

The Paintbrush of your Soul

Close your eyes

Hear the sounds of the music

Let your feet be your paintbrush,

the music your paint

and the floor your canvas.

Hear the prayer deep within the music

Feel it inside and let its message inspire you

To move, to create

To cry, to laugh

To let go of fear, to ignite a spark

of the Divine.

Let the beat of the drums

Pound together with the rhythm of your heart

Your pulse, your own breath's sweet sound

The music's power begins deep within you

and begins to swell like crashing waves

like the bellows of thunder

like a river flowing to the sea

Your feet are your paintbrush

The colors your choice

The canvas fills with swirls and dips

Staccato, legato, pianissimo, forte

Let the power of the percussion guide you forward

Your compass

A map that guides you

Through the maze which is your heart

Through the mountains which are your soul

Through the wind which is your might

Together, alone we form a prayer

Our feet, our hands, our shoulders, our hips


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1 Comment

Apr 15, 2020

Leann, this one blew me away. What beautiful writing and what a beautiful message! I’m blessed that you are my oldest childhood friend and sister.

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