The 5 Rhythms have appeared in my life in many guises. I learned about 5 humors in Western Medicine and 5 elements in Chinese medicine and then embodied them when practicing martial arts such as Pancha Tanmantra, yet they have never been so potent as when I am dancing a ‘wave’ during a 5 Rhythms dance practice. I am deeply grateful to Gabrielle Roth for developing this practice and to Meredith Davies and David Juriansz for their skill and dedication in bringing this practice to Melbourne and for being such superb teachers, mentors and role models.

The following poem “Prayer to Space” is expressed as a ‘wave’ that embodies the 5 rhythms. Between the opening and closing verses are three verses devoted to each rhythm and its associated body part, emotion and essence.

Prayer to Space

Overwhelmed
By beauty and grace
I dance the rhythms
A prayer to space

Craving connection
The feel of contact
To be totally met
Authentically act

I follow my feet
My body in tow
Relentlessly moving
Trusting in flow

Till fear of life’s fury
Rejection and pain
Compels me to seek
Relief from the strain

So I Stop. Contract.
Build walls to protect
A semblance of self
Control an effect

My arrogant wisdom
Then thinks to define
The limits of being
Profane and sublime

Backwards and forwards
Repetitive notions
Create enduring drama
Bound with emotions

I try to escape
But can only surrender
I commit everything
Turn on life’s blender

Yet it’s sad to let go
Should I try to hold on?
Confusion reigns freely
Then all thought is gone

I dissolve into chaos
Releasing the mind
And in losing myself
I am able to find

Infinite bliss
Within and without
I feel my heart singing
I want to cry out

My life is a gift
Filled with joy and delight
Floating through space
Basking in light

The power of creation
Of substance and form
Is all in my hands
A new world is born

Waves of emotion
Flood over the floor
Then settle in stillness
Drenching in awe

Till numbness surrounds me
A fatigue of the will
Where’s the next move?
Impossibly still

Feeling compassion
I tune into my breath
Connect to the source
Exist beyond death

My prayers are then answered
With what I knew at first glance
Rhythms transform
My whole life into dance