Bruce Levine, Surviving America’s Depression Epidemic
“Western Medicine does not mock sacred spaces, but it doesn’t truly appreciate them. It doesn’t acknowledge how important it is to create an event and space outside of the ordinary. .. When a culture agrees on that which is sacred, that culture receives a power that can heal. Once a tribe defines a space as sacred — for example, a specific mountain — that place then has the strength gained from the belief of many. This is a powerful source of healing.” p108
“Depression is often associated with self-absorption and alienation, and that is why moving beyond one’s private sphere can help both prevent and transform despair. Most people would like to connect with others, but they often lack direction and energy. This chapter is about discovering that direction and energy, and thus I do not shy away from social issues that can serve as spring boards for forming community.
“The energy to form community can come from a hobby, a craft, a neighborhood need, a social cause, or any passion that other people share.” p147
“Historically, progressive religious locales have been at the center of major social movements in the United States, most notably the abolition of slavery, the fight for civil rights, and anti-war activism. Such religious organizations and the buildings that house them are … where even the nonreligious can meet for entertainment and recreation. “ p151
These passages show why Neskaya has been such a powerful space for healing. When we held our visioning weekend last August, many people said they felt comfortable, at home, and completely accepted in this atmosphere. A friend who is also a therapist called Neskaya a “healing sanctuary”. Part of my vision for Neskaya, and why I love the folk dances I teach there, is the idea of celebrating diversity. If we learned to celebrate our differences instead of fighting about them, we would all have richer and safer lives.
People gather together to dance because they love dancing, especially when the dances are consciously done as prayers or meditations. People find a kind of spirituality at Neskaya which is welcoming and accepting. There is no dogma or doctrine. All you have to do to belong is walk through the door.
On the Neskaya website are a number of writings about the healing power of dance.