I realize I have a relationship with one of my veils. I have three of them: a cool blue for my remote moods and a cream with smears of color that I don’t know yet; but it’s my orange pink one that always talks to me when we dance together. I first got to know her during a veil session when Dunya demanded that we dance and move in micro-second slowness with our veils. Beautiful and fluid in my hands, I was startled to hear her suggest, hello, why don’t you do this….and we’ve been vibrant dancing partners ever since. She’s been Spirit that caresses and enfolds me and that I throw back to the sky in joy. She’s been Butterfly that waves and pirouettes before me. She’s been Cover that I stand beneath to slowly show my own shy soul. She’s been the wings to my angel, the play to my child. At the Fall Intensive, she shivered at my feet like a fairy sprite. She invited me to leap in and out of the hole of floor her silky fabric had left uncovered. How many times can you do it? she asked, and I was a girl again in my response, jumping in and out with glee. Then she suggested we shift between and among the other dancers, sneaking in through the tight holes of spaces they left in their own dancing. She is naughtily playful. She is reverent and floating. She’s glorious. I love to dance with her. Not for the first time, I had to kiss her on her cheek when Dunya summoned us off the floor. She’s my sweet orange spirit, folded away now in my suitcase and later into a drawer where she’ll lie fluid and plotting both mischief and dear devotion for the next time I unfurl her and send her shimmering into the void of Me.
Written on the plane home from Dance Meditation’s Fall Intensive
Where were you when Barack Obama became the next president of the United States? The emotion of the election Tuesday night will remain in my memory, just as I remember where I was when John Kennedy, Martin Luther King, and Bobby Kennedy were killed. The wound around the assassinations of my girlhood and young womanhood has been somehow opened for cleansing with this man from Illinois’s election. I’ve been crying on and off since Tuesday, when I see a photo of his shining smile, or read again one of his potent quotes, or see photos or videos of people’s happiness and amazement. Idealism again? Possibility again? Devotion to the higher ground again? John McCain’s concession speech was eloquent, truly gracious and even better, truly patriotic. In that moment I loved him, and when he called Obama “my president,” I started crying all over again and thought, you are indeed, at your best, a grand old man, all that is best in the word: warrior. Historical novels are built off the emotion and memories of moments like this past week.
I want to mention two lovely and deep memoirs out there, one by my agent Jean Naggar, called Sipping From the Nile. Jean writes of her life in a closely knit banking family in Egypt, their exile because of politics, and the remaking of a life in Europe and New York. The other memoir is by a spiritual mentor, Dunya Dianne MePherson. Called Skin of Glass, it is the story of her interior and exterior journey from gifted performer to Sufi mystic and gifted performer.
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