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About Soul

Part III

“To me” soul is in the breathing and sharing, it’s rhythm and timing. It’s in the way; we pause and exhale. In the way, we speed up our pace because we are scared or the power, we exert because the music drives us and even in the disappointment of surrendering to the one song that you can’t stand. What we sense as soulful is indeed subjective to our deeply rooted culture, and experiences and often doesn’t fit with the views of others who haven’t lived it and now observe it in retrospect and from the outside. Because for us it’s a feeling and for many, it’s thinking.

We can always teach you style, concepts, views, ideas, but we can’t teach you essence. You either are born knowing how to breathe or not, you cannot teach someone who is not breathing how to breathe. It’s that simple. But, if one desires to start breathing on his own, he now has a chance to transcend what was once a limitation. Of course, we can nudge someone here and there, by establishing a dialogue. You can even give them mouth to mouth resuscitation to help them jumpstart their life force (sometimes we try to save them), but once you have shared your gifts with someone, you have to let them go. You can’t forever keep blowing air into their lungs.

To people who are descendants of families who lived the “Blues” era, what is labeled “soul” is always an innate potential. But if by strange circumstances, those few were never exposed to its music and dance, these people possibly would have never been able to get in touch with the part of themselves that can be nurtured into a potential. They may never hear the stories of the old traditions of their elders and may never feel what it is to be free and surrender to the music. It’s an emotion before it was a step. A hidden potential with so many possible paths. When feeling, music, and dance are connecting through a story, the steps mean something more. The dance is learned freely through giving and sharing. How to explain this to someone who doesn’t speak my language?

The Westerner seeking the way of the Yogi while traveling India will get lost in translation many a time. He will wear the prayer beads without truly understanding their meaning. Because we seek outside of ourselves for someone or some “thing” to show us the way to feel, to see, to sense. No one can do that for you unless you already know you have that potential present.  

We can learn all the soul dances and steps in the world and still not understand how to be soulful. And again remember “soul” is a label. “For me” if I say someone has “soul,” I am saying this person’s talent be it writing, drawing, singing, playing an instrument or dancing touches me deeply. I feel their energy, I feel their passion. I stand in awe and in love with that person’s gift. He or she is giving and sharing an authentic part of himself/herself with her world.

Soul dancing is about sharing your joy with another person. The magic happens inside and outside of yourself the moment your soul connects with another soul. That energy is invisible, yet we feel it. We can also see it if the body surrenders to the feelings. It always grabs us and creates more joy and love. Go dance with someone you enjoy, naturally and gradually you will feel transformed.

If you choose to compete with your art, show us the real and authentic you, show us that you are tired, determined, sad, happy, nervous but also show us that you can share and transcend that feeling positively and authentically. Don’t be someone you’re not, especially if you are struggling against your natural state. When you look at your “opponent” as someone to beat, you sever yourself from the other. You divide the energy, and we see it. The soul and the feeling are lost at that moment.

That soul that everyone is talking about outstretches outward. That soul resides outside not just inside your body. Therefore, your dance should reflect that. Don’t do it because everyone is telling you to do it this way or that way. If you do not care or actually want to immerse yourself in this elusive essence while knowing all along that you may never fully understand it, you will never be able to surrender to it completely. 

In the end, this article is guilty of creating the same confusion that soul stirs up. Sometimes all we can do is keep stirring the ingredients and hope we come up with the perfect mixture.

Keep stirring friends. 

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