Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Gabrielle Roth

American Dancer, Musician, Author, Music Director, Philosopher and Recording Artist in the World Music and Trance Dance Genres, with a special interest in Shamanism

"Bound only by birth and death, life is both the ultimate mystery and the process of solving it. Life is a dance, a leap into the unknown. After you jump and before you land, is God. God is ecstasy: that state of being when everything comes together, nothing is missing, and it’s all vibrating and electric. Life is an excuse for ecstasy."

"Dance is the fastest, most direct route to the truth."

"Imagination is powerful. Imagination is healing. All you need is the courage to visualize what should be, and then give yourself to its creation. The result may not be what you expected, but it will be right."

"If you just set people in motion they'll heal themselves."

"What we need to do is let go of many of our attachments that we carry whether they be physical, emotional or mental so that we can celebrate our existence here."

"Dance has been my medium, my metaphor, my message and my meditation."

"The rhythm of flowing connects us to the flow of our individual energy, our base current. In flowing there are no separations or distinctions between things."

"Art is not just ornamental, an enhancement of life. It is a path in itself, a way out of the predictable and conventional... a map to self discovery."

"Dancing, singing, storytelling and silence are the four universal healing salves."

"Your voice takes you to your heart."

"We all share the wound of fragmentation. And we can all share in the cure of unification. Healing is the unification of all our forces -- the powers of being, feeling, knowing and seeing."

"Each of us is a moving center, a space of divine mystery. And though we spend most of our time on the surface in the daily details of ordinary existence, most us hunger to connect to this space within, to break through to bliss, to be swept away into something bigger than us… The question I ask myself and everyone else is, “Do you have the discipline to be a free spirit?” Can we be free of all that binds and bends us into a shape of consciousness that has nothing to do with who we are from moment to moment, from breath to breath? Dance is the fastest, most direct route to the truth — not some big truth that belongs to everybody, but the get down and personal kind, the what’s-happening-in-me-right-now kind of truth. We dance to reclaim our brilliant ability to disappear in something bigger, something safe, a space without a critic or a judge or an analyst… The beat is a lover that never disappoints and, like all lovers, it demands 100% surrender. It has the power to seduce moves we couldn’t dream. It grabs us by the belly, turns us inside out and leaves us abruptly begging for more. We love beats that move faster than we can think, beats that drive us ever deeper inside, that rock our worlds, break down walls and make us sweat our prayers. Prayer is moving. Prayer is offering our bones back to the dance. Prayer is letting go of everything that impedes our inner silence. God is the dance and the dance is the way to freedom and freedom is our holy work. We dance to survive, and the beat offers a yellow brick road to make it through the chaos that is the tempo of our times. We dance to shed skins, tear off masks, crack molds, and experience the breakdown — the shattering of borders between body, heart and mind, between genders and generations, between nations and nomads. We are the transitional generation. This is our dance."

"Each soul is unique, and we are called upon to break out of the minimum security prison of conformity and mediocrity to experience our soul's true magic and power. Like a plant it needs to be nurtured to grow and blossom, and to be freed from the entangling, obscuring weeds that tend to take over. The soul is an artist. Its nature is to create, and its natural expression is in the sacred archetypical roles of the dancer, the singer, the actor and the healer. Life is a cabaret, and our challenge is to act out our essential self on the stage for the world."

"Flowing is the state of being fluid, of hanging loose and being flexible. The rhythm of flowing connects us to the flow of our individual energy, our base current. In flowing there are no separations or distinctions between things, there’s only continuous change. The teachings of flowing unfold organically in the dancing body. In this rhythm we sense our connection to the birth cycle, and return to a pre-logical intuitive state, as if we were infants again eagerly and un-self-consciously absorbing the world around us. In flowing we learn how to inhale, how to take things in: compliments, put-downs, gifts, intuitive hunches, moods, music, space-whoever or whatever is going on around us."

"Freeing the soul, freeing ourselves to be soulful, means empowering ourselves to really see what's going on in ourselves, in others, in our lives. This seeing is not the ordinary sort of looking we're habituated to. Looking operates on the surface; seeing probes beneath to discern the essence, the motion, the energy. Looking is just a matter of regarding things things according to our preconceived, static ideas. But as the new physics and biology have clearly shown, our surface impression of the nature of reality as static naively misses the truth of the constant motion and infinite space that truly constitute reality."

"If you awaken your soul, you will change. Engage your characters. Watch yourself act them out. Master them, and you're free to be, feel, think, and act as your distinct self."

"Disease is inertia. Healing is movement. If you put the body in motion, you will change. You are meant to move: from flowing to staccato, through chaos into lyrical and back into the stillness from which all movement comes."

"Each of us has the power and responsibility to heal ourselves, to be our own medicine man or woman. Awakening our innate powers of being, loving, knowing, seeing, and healing involves ongoing work at all levels and in all dimensions of our self. Exploring the range of rhythms and emotions, achieving insights into our conditioning and ego, moving through the energy levels of spirit—these are all activities to be integrated into our daily lives."

"Compassion is a chameleon: it can wear the face of fear, anger, sadness, joy or even dispassion, depending on what's needed at the time. The compassionate Buddha has a smile in one eye and a tear in the other, and our Buddha mission is to lead people to true freedom, not to hold their hand and tell them that everything is going to be all right. In teaching, compassion means doing whatever needs to be done to get to the next phase."

"Carlos Castenada in A Separate Reality, gives an arresting example of the difference between seeing and looking. Don Juan describes the death of his son who was crushed by rocks on a highway. The workers stood around looking at his mangled body. I stood there too, but I did not look. I shifted my eyes so I would see his personal life disintegrating, expanding uncontrollably beyond its limits, like a fog of crystals, because that's the way life and death mix and expand. Had I looked at him I would have watched him becoming immobile and I would have felt a cry inside of me, because never again would I look at his fine figure pacing the earth. I saw his death instead, and there was no sadness, no feeling. His death was equal to everything else. Later he tells Carlos that seeing is hard work."

"If you let your heart be moved, be open to the risk and the adventure of feelings, letting them work through to completion, you will change. Tears turn into smiles, anger into embraces."

"In dancing and singing, you are discovering and releasing the energy of emotion, allowing it to flow through you and out of you. The result, for instance, of dancing through the rythyms of anger is to reach a calm, grounded position from which to effectively and appropriately deal with the source of your anger, rather than just chaotically erupting or simmering until you explode, or jabbing away with slights and insults like an overmatched boxer. At the same time, you become familiar with the emotion and begin to feel natural with its phases and expressions. When emotions come, as they inevitably will, dance them, move them, and confront people, situations, and challenges from a point of centered stillness. Blocked emotions end up exploding or festering and having much more impact than they should."

"In many shamanic societies, if you came to a shaman or medicine person complaining of being disheartened, dispirited, or depressed, they would ask one of four questions. When did you stop dancing? When did you stop singing? When did you stop being enchanted by stories? When did you stop finding comfort in the sweet territory of silence? Where we have stopped dancing, singing, being enchanted by stories, or finding comfort in silence is where we have experience the loss of soul. Dancing, singing, storytelling, and silence are the four universal healing salves."

"I've also used my imagination to help others heal themselves. I once went to visit a Hopi rattke maker in Arizona. It took all of my intuitive powers to find her house up high in the mountains, having to make choices of which way to go every hundred feet or so. When I arrived, her granddaughter was crying in pain, holding her ears. She had had a terrible earache for twenty-four hours. Instinctively, I approached the five-year-old and told her, I'm going to put my hand on your ear and take away the pain. I want you to see the pain. What does it look like? What shape is it? What color? What does it sound like? Does it smell? How would you feel if you touched it? Now I want you to imagine it leaving your ear and entering my hand. She looked up at me with huge brown eyes full of trust. I put my hand on her ear, held it there a few minutes, and then ran to the door and blew the pain out of my hand and closed the door. Within seconds the pain was gone. Her grandmother, the rattle maker, stood there grinning from ear to ear. That's what my grandfather would have done, she said, He was a shaman."

"Life is sacred. Life is art. Life is sacred art. The art of sacred living means being a holy actor, acting from the soul rather than the ego. The soul is out of space and time and hence always available, an ever-present potential of our being. It is up to each of us to celebrate and actualize our being, and to turn each meal, conversation, outfit, letter, and so on, into art. Every mundane activity is an opportunity for full, authentic self-exploration. The soul is our artistic self, our capacity for transforming every dimension of our lives into art and theater."

"Many shamanic cultures when someone sought a medicine person because he or she was disheartened or depressed, it was common for the sufferer to be asked one of the following four questions: When did you stop dancing? When did you stop singing? When did you stop being enchanted by stories? When did you stop finding comfort in the sweet territory of silence?"

"Movement is my medium and my metaphor. I know that if a wave of energy is allowed to complete itself, it yields a whole new wave, and in fact that is all I really know. Riding these waves means joining the cosmic dance that, as Dante says, 'moves the sun and the other stars.’"

"Movement is the movement of change. In my experience, if you put your psyche in motion it will heal itself. Movement is the medicine. Each of us has the power and responsibility to heal ourselves, to be our own medicine man or woman. Awakening our innate powers of being, loving, knowing, seeing and healing involves ongoing work at all levels and in all dimensions of our self. In your deepest center, you are the still-point. You are the rhythm beyond stillness, the feeling beyond compassion, the sexual energy beyond celibacy, the life force beyond death, the vibration beyond inspiration. The moving center is within you."

"If you free your mind to experience and complete each of your life cycles, integrating their teachings and tasks, you will change. It's when you stop moving through life that you get caught out of place, that you react to adult situations with childhood emotions. Moving completely through your life makes you whole."

"Our soul, our true self, is the most mysterious, essential, and magical dimension of our being. In fact, it is not a separate reality, as traditional Western thought views it, but the cohesive force that unites our body, heart, and mind. It is not a ghost trapped somehow in the physical machinery of our body but the very essence of our being."

"Ride the energy of your own unique spirit."

"Seeing implies detachment. Looking implies attachment. Looking is with the eyes. Seeing is with the whole being. Looking at myself in the mirror, I think that my nose is crooked and too big, my eyes too small, my hair too fine, my hips too wide. I judge. I assess myself by some external criteria that have by now become part and parcel of how I look at people. But if I stare into my left eye in the mirror I see only a still, perfect little doll-like figure of myself in the midst of a deep pool of subtly changing reflections, probably an image much closer to the truth. It is when I can see myself with interpretation that the magic of being, the pure wonder of existing is revealed."

"The spirit in motion heals, expands, circles in and out of the body, moving through the layers of consciousness from inertia to ecstasy. Open to the spirit, and you will be transformed."

"The wounded healer in me knows that healing our driven selves comes from our ability to empower our bodies, hearts, minds, souls, and spirits once more, bringing them into vital unity. Spiritual healing means taking responsibility for being a whole person. We have to take responsibility for being a body, for having a heart, for possessing a mind, for awakening our soul, for opening to our spirit. We need to do right by our body, purify our relationships, use our mind for creative freedom and not enslavement, free the soul from the ego, and undertake the spiritual journey. A whole person is an inspired person, one who embodies the spirit."

"Though the soul is not a thing, it is our being-ness, that which gives us being. So its presence and absence are visible. Its presence manifests in being awake, attentive, energetic, alive. It is the spark of life. It is absent or dampened when we lack vitality, elan, energy. It is the true self we are seeking in all our explorations, and yet it is not somewhere out there but right here now, underneath the false roles we're always casting ourselves in."

"To sweat is to pray, to make an offering of your innermost self. Sweat is holy water, prayer beads, pearls of liquid that release your past. Sweat is an ancient and universal form of self healing, whether done in the gym, the sauna, or the sweat lodge. I do it on the dance floor. The more you dance, the more you sweat. The more you sweat, the more you pray. The more you pray, the closer you come to ecstasy."

"We all share the wound of fragmentation. And we can all share in the cure of unification. Healing is the unification of all our forces -- the powers of being, feeling, knowing, and seeing. I look in the mirror and I look out the window and I see myself and others struggling to be in our bodies. Struggling to know who we are and what we need. To like ourselves, rather than wanting to be somebody else, or somewhere else. I see our inability to relate, to communicate from the heart, to overcome our distance and alienation from one another. I see us avoiding each other's eyes, at a loss to know what others need. I see people searching for direction, trying to summon up their personal power, longing for the strength to be independent."

"We are born into bodies that are fluid and free, this state of grace is sadly shortlived, judgment, emotional wounds, fears lost stored deep inside our muscles and bones, leaving us with shoulders that sag, hips locked and arms that can’t reach out, hearts that beat behind a stone brick whole. When we move our bodies we shake up firmly rooted behaviours and thoughts, old patterns of behaviour, emotional responses that just don’t work any more. Rhythm, breath, music and movement become tools of seeing and then freeing the habits that hold us back. When we move our bodies then our hearts begin to open, when the body and the heart taste freedom the mind wont be far behind. And when we put the psyche into motion the heart will begin to heal itself."

"My own healing path has become a self-healing path for many other people and that is why I am referred to as a shaman."

"We dance because it’s the fastest, most direct route to the truth—not some big truth that belongs to everybody, but the get down and personal kind, the what’s-happening-in-me- right-now kind of truth. This is not always easy for us to access—we have to navigate some very deep past, as well as the probable futures we drum up to feed the fear that drives us round the same circles, day in and day out."

"We dance to hook up to the true genius lurking behind all that bullshit—to seek refuge in our originality and our power to reinvent ourselves; to shed the past, forget the future and fall into the moment feet first."

"We dance to reclaim our brilliant ability to disappear in something bigger, something safe, a space without a critic or a judge or an analyst. The beat is a lover that never disappoints and, like all lovers, it demands 100 percent surrender. It has the power to seduce moves we couldn’t dream. It grabs us by the belly, turns us inside out and leaves us abruptly begging for more… We dance to fall in love with the spirit in all things"

"We have lost awe and wonder. In reference to the mystery of life itself, we've lost respect for movement in our planet."

"Your soul is a seeker, lover, and artist, shape shifting through archetypal fields of energy, between your darkness and light, your body and spirit, your heaven and hell, until you land in the sweet moment of surrender when you, as dancer, disappear in the dance."