Playlists, Poems, Photos & Praise

May you enjoy and be inspired by the music, prose, images and gratitude you find here from our Beach Dances. Visit often to discover new songs to love, words to stir your soul, photographs to appreciate beauty and overall goodness about the people who come to Beach Dance and what this experience is really all about.  


February 2019 Newsletter

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A Special 50th Birthday Dance Circle

“There’s no ‘scrolling past’ true humanity.” - Gail Overstreet

Aloha Dancing Friends,

Every Beach Dance begins and ends in a circle. We stand together, more often than not holding each others’ hands and from this perspective, we are able to see everyone who is a part of the dance. From this perspective, we open and close our dance experience by honoring all those who showed up for it through our eyes, ears and hearts.

These circles mean the world to me. I’ve often said to participants that the circle is just as important as the music part of the dance is. It’s a shape I ask people to take before and after our dance because it allows us to witness one another whether we speak or not. It gives everyone an opportunity to see and be seen, hear and be heard and to just be together in the anticipation and excitement at the beginning and in the afterglow and sharing at the ending .

“There’s no ‘scrolling past’ true humanity.”

My friend, Gail shared these words with me in December during a phone conversation after I told her about my decision to leave Facebook at the end of the year. They struck a chord with me back then and they continue to intrigue me as well as reaffirm my choice to let that particular social media go for now and possibly for good.

Gail’s words speak to something that is truly disturbing about our online world. Specifically speaking about Facebook, we scroll past true humanity ALL THE TIME. I know I certainly did. There were so many posts and news articles about personal dilemmas, social dramas and world crises that at times, I would become overwhelmed by it all and just scroll on by the things that shocked me or made me feel terribly sad or angry and I would just continue on down the feed until a funny cat video was found. I began to feel a tinge of guilt whenever I would read someone’s honest and heart-breaking/opening story of their lives and then not comment on it.

While it was easy to scroll on past ads and inane posts about what someone was having for dinner, I felt horrid pretty much every time I read something extremely personal and didn’t take the time to let the person know I had seen their post, that I had seen them through their words. I equally felt horrid when I would write something very personal and no one would comment or would just leave a thumbs-up. In my world, emoticons are not real communication and real communication is what I crave - the kind where you linger awhile, the kind where you cannot scroll on past.

Back to Gail’s words and our circles at Beach Dance…

True humanity cannot be scrolled past. True humanity, which I’ll name as our vulnerable, courageously messy and often messed-up, compassionate selves, wants and needs to be seen and heard, valued and loved, experienced and remembered. If you find yourself scrolling past stories and experiences of true humanity whether they’re happening online or right in front of you, consider how you feel when others scroll past you. Consider staying for awhile and offering up your felt presence.

True humanity happens in our circles every weekend. It’s a shape I’ve come to adore every Sunday morning for its beautiful simplicity and its profound ability to keep opening us up to the ways in which we see and experience others and ourselves.

Come and join us some Sunday. Come and stand in our circle of true humanity.


Enjoy some music from our January Beach Dances


The Best Gift Given and Received

During the month of December, every event was dedicated to a particular gift that dance brings us and that we bring to the dance. They were delicious (the gift of the sacred sensual), diverse (the gift of music from around the world), distinctly different (the gift of the unexpected), delightful (the gift of joy) and deliberate and deep (the gift of letting go and moving on). It was a beautiful month of five Sunday dances and one special sunset dance to celebrate Lila’s 50th birthday.

There were many more gifts that were danced and shared among all those who gathered, but the one I’ll remember most occurred on the last dance of the year. There were 47 working iPods and 60 people showed up. Several of the folks who came were there for the first time and would experience their first Beach Dance without music. It was not the first time I’d felt sad we’d run out of iPods and that some people would not have them. I had promised myself I would not have more than 50 iPods due to the work involved, but by the end of this dance I changed my mind because of what happened at the very beginning of it.

As our opening circle began, I pointed out the dilemma of not having enough iPods for everyone and that some of the new people who had come did not have one. And then a possibility showed up that I had to act on. I wondered what would happen if I just asked some of the folks who attend on a regular basis to consider for a moment if they would be willing to gift their iPod to a new participant. So I asked and the best gift slowly and then steadily unwrapped itself in front of all of us.

Someone with an iPod stepped into the middle of the circle and offered it up to someone who didn’t have one. And then another person stepped in and then another and the great iPod exchange continued until we were all left in either smiles or tears over the beauty and grace of it all.

I will never forget the generosity that was shown and shared on that day. I think everyone who was there to witness and participate in what took place experienced a deep sense of gratitude and awe. It truly was a dance of significant magnificence.

For those dancers who moved without an iPod that day (although I have no doubts that you were listening to a special kind of music), here is our playlist for you and for all those who have found/made their way to the website.

As this new year begins, may we continue to be in the dance of letting go and moving on each and every day.


December 2018 Newsletter

“There are years that ask questions and years that answer.” ~Zora Neale Hurston~

Aloha Dancing Friends…

Since returning home to Maui in August, nine Beach Dances have been had. Nine beautiful gatherings of people moving about on mother nature’s dance floor and fluid ocean. Nine Sunday mornings and one special Thursday morning of being with our dance and with each other and belonging to something greater than all the parts that make Beach Dance what it is.

What exactly is that something greater?

Well…that’s a question to ponder, isn’t it? And while I’m no expert, I’ll do my best to answer it given my experience as a dancer for a few decades and having facilitated Beach Dance for over ten years now.

That something greater is genuine presence, acceptance and love. It’s a palpable feeling that people sense and experience not just from me, the facilitator, but from everyone who attends. It’s what we create and share together that makes it greater than each one of us alone. We’re a gorgeous gang of eclectic movers and shakers. We’re a sweet community that trusts each other. We’re a family without bloodlines, but with embodied connections.

There are six dances left in 2018. How will you dance the last month of this year?

Might you want to dance ‘that something greater’ within you as you navigate through the upcoming holidays?

If it’s a yes, come and dance with us on a Sunday morning or every Sunday morning. If you don’t live on Maui (or if you do, however you can’t put one more event on your December schedule), you don’t have to go anywhere and can dance in the comfort of your own home by choosing one of the playlists here. Scroll down further on this page!

Last, but not least…I’m celebrating my 50th this month with a couple of on and off-this- island adventures and I’m having a special sunset Beach Dance on Wednesday, December 12, the eve of my birthday. I’d love to have you join in the fun. You can check out the invitation here and rsvp a spot.

However it is that you and your family and friends celebrate the holidays, may they be beautiful times of togetherness.


YOU + HEARTBEAT + BREATH

It was a day like no other

when spirit shifted

merged its presence with the tangible

grew within your mother’s body

transformed into the shape you now carry.


It was a sound like no other

when listening deepened

learned the distinction between silence and something else

became a rhythm of repetition

devoted itself to the dance known as your heartbeat.


It was a feeling like no other

when ‘being’ birthed

emerged from breathing water as one’s life

cried out as your own mortality began

changed forever by that first gulp of air.


-lila danielle © 2018


It was a small beach beside a lake in North Carolina…

In early November, I attended Patti Digh’s Life is a Verb Camp and offered dance every morning as part of the ‘Becoming Bendy’ program. Why would I trade a sunny warm beach dancing in a bikini on Maui for a weekend of dancing beside a lake in much cooler temperatures outside Asheville, North Carolina while all bundled-up in a sweater, jacket, hat and gloves? Well…because this is no ordinary camp.

For the past six years, the first week of November has been a beacon for hundreds of people scattered across the United States to gather for a few days to celebrate courage, creativity, community and compassion together. It’s no easy task to put on an event for 137 people (that’s the maximum amount of folks who can come each year and there’s a few reasons for that), but with the help and support of all those who attend, this camp has become an extraordinary collaborative tribe of eclectic souls who excel at having fun and honoring each other for who they really are.

I’ve attended four of the six camps. I’ll keep on attending it every year because I admire the woman who created this love-fest, I adore all the people who come to this event and I believe in the importance of belonging to something greater than oneself.

For a few days every Autumn, Beach Dance happens where the trees are various shades of red, orange and yellow and where the people wear a lot more clothes when they dance. This is a beautiful thing.

If you’re an LIAV camper who danced in the morning, may you enjoy the music again. If you slept in, went to yoga, enjoyed your first cup of coffee in silence and solitude before the day began, may you happily dance to our playlists for the first time and as your body moves, may fond memories of your time at camp remind you to keep being courageous, find joy in your daily life and remember you are wholly holy 24/7, 365.

If you’re a regular Beach Dancer on Maui or a visitor who happened to come across this website, well…what are you waiting for? Have a listen to our camp playlists by pushing the play button and start dancing!

Early morning lake dancing at Life is a Verb Camp 2018 located at Kanuga Conference and Retreat Center.


Being Grateful For An Extra-Special Dance

I am grateful to begin every Sunday morning with dance. To see people gather to celebrate movement, creative expression and community every weekend is a beautiful thing. To see the same thing happen on a national holiday this past Thursday (Thanksgiving) was truly touching. Indeed, it was a gathering of gratitude. Enjoy the poem that began our playlist. Enjoy this dance!

THE HOUSE OF BELONGING

I awoke
this morning
in the gold light
turning this way
and that

thinking for
a moment
it was one
day
like any other.

But
the veil had gone
from my
darkened heart
and
I thought

it must have been the quiet
candlelight
that filled my room,

it must have been
the first
easy rhythm
with which I breathed
myself to sleep,

it must have been
the prayer I said
speaking to the otherness
of the night.

And
I thought
this is the good day
you could
meet your love,

this is the black day
someone close
to you could die.

This is the day
you realize
how easily the thread
is broken
between this world
and the next

and I found myself
sitting up
in the quiet pathway
of light,

the tawny
close-grained cedar
burning round
me like fire
and all the angels of this housely
heaven ascending
through the first
roof of light
the sun has made.

This is the bright home
in which I live,
this is where
I ask
my friends
to come,
this is where I want
to love all the things
it has taken me so long
to learn to love.

This is the temple
of my adult aloneness
and I belong
to that aloneness
as I belong to my life.

There is no house
like the house of belonging.

- David Whyte
©1996




Ecstatic dance or conscious movement is created from and happens with intention. And this past Sunday’s dance was a full-on, hour of music that was intentionally-created for our own healing and collective empowerment. Every song was meant to evoke a feeling and/or an emotion. Every song was especially selected as a statement/sentiment to impact the body, touch the heart and stir the soul.

I’ll have much more to say in my next newsletter about how important our own individual dance and our dance together is right now at this time in our nation’s and world’s history. For now, I’ll say this- We MUST have something in our lives that we can turn to for inspiration, solace and belonging. For us as human beings to not just survive, but thrive within the absolute chaos that surrounds us politically, socially and environmentally, we not only need a personal practice to steady ourselves, but we need a supportive community we can immerse ourselves in.

Forty-seven people came together this past Sunday and danced their bodies, touched each other’s hearts and shared their souls. It was a much-needed release of energy for many of us. It was, and I don’t use this term often or lightly, EPIC! We danced being our own heroes. I invite you to listen to this playlist and dance your own.

The next Beach Dance will happen on Sunday, October 21. There is NO DANCE this Sunday, October 14 as I will be off island dancing and writing at Breitenbush Hot Springs. I look forward to immersing with you again next weekend. Steady on, friends.


That Sweet Something


The new day begins with birdsong.

I awaken from a strange dream

and yet…there's that sweet something

understanding nothing appears as it seems.

The familiar face stares back in the mirror.

I recognize it as my own

and yet…there's that sweet something

looking beyond what is seen and known

The hopeful heart is open.

I fall in love with another

and yet...there's that sweet something

knowing there really is no ‘other.’

The wise soul understands patience.

I forget again and again

and yet...there's that sweet something

realizing home has always been within.

The truth of life is love.

I practice it in many ways

and yet…there's that sweet something

remembering I AM that sweet something every day.


It was all about self love. And then it was about love of others. And then it was simply loving it all.


After being away for four months...It was a sweet homecoming. 

mahalo to all of you who came and danced. 

Let's do it again!

9.2.18


unsaid

what i meant to say
when the lines of my mouth
drew close together
and my hands rose up like birds
about to take flight
was this...
"i do not listen well
when the songs offered up
are sung in such dissonant tones." 

what i meant to say
when the tears of my eyes
fell like a rainstorm
and my throat tightened up
as if a noose were now worn
was this...
"i do not understand
how such hateful prose comes
under the guise of good will."

what i meant to say
when the trembling of my limbs
became subtly visible  
and my head shook in all directions
like the solar system gone mad
was this..
"i do not know why
people choose to inflict
such harm upon each other." 

what i meant to say
when the beat of my heart
suddenly sped up
and my breath was an inhale
or an exhale or both
like it often is
when something's dying
was this...
"i do not see clearly
when the truth is unspoken,
or hidden through lies." 
 
what i meant to say was this...
i want to listen well so
i'll do my best to sing together. 
i want to understand so
i will speak words that foster empathy.
i want to be kind and loving so
i will forgive over and over again.
i want to see clearly so
i will keep living until i let go
of everything i'm attached to. 

what i meant to say was this...
look at what my body is saying
and you will see my soul.


something more than imagination

Might it be possible

when hate appears stronger than love,

devotion arrives like a long-lost lover and says,

"I'm so sorry I forgot how much you mean to me"?

And then tears of forgiveness

unite the two of you together again

and the promises you make now

are better ones and are kept.

···0···

Could it be true

when we see each other as separate,

compassion arrives like our bathroom mirror and says,

"I'm so sorry I forgot how lovely you are"?

And then smiles of recognition

remind the two of you again,

we are all made to look different

so we could see the beauty

of the entire world in a face.

···0···

Is it conceivable

when assumptions and judgments are made,

kindness arrives like an abandoned puppy and says,

"I'm so sorry I forgot you just want to be loved

as much as I do"?

And then hugs of kinship help you both remember

that when we're willing to listen,

we realize we want the same things.

···0···

Can you imagine

when people are detached and indifferent,

belonging arrives like the feeling of home and says,

"I'm so sorry I forgot who you really are. Please come in"? 

And then words of affection pour forth between you

and love becomes the shared language

you've always spoken.