Forestdance – New England 2017
By Hollis Taylor
The Forestdance community has began to soothe my personal doubts that a community can work together in an ideal way. You know when we all hold each other while we are crying, hear each other when we express a concern without taking it PERSONALLY, try to understand other perspectives and make all attempts at being as inclusive as possible. I am not saying Forestdance is perfect but its refreshing to be part of a community that holds these as their values. Forestdance tries to truly be community, an experiment to be a really amazing community. This community is what allows Forestdance as a healing retreat, its very healing to be held by a community. Being held in your deepest of wounds from people you learn to trust, at your own pace.
I personally struggle with the belief that a group of people can agree and maintain a fully supportive community, but Forestdance has proven me wrong in that regard. I have years of some of the best empowerment training in the country. I have seen amazing things come from that community, but to have us be able to be so vulnerable and held – loved – adored, even in our own shadows, seems impossible. I didn’t even dare fantasize about this community. Today, I laugh at my own disbelief as I watch people dance around the fire with babies that are not theirs. A truly deep trust experience from the parents. As Forestdance grows with families I am very hopeful to see what more potential could possibly emerge.
I sat beside the fire watching as a father and son worked out some boundaries around the fire to be followed by a very empowered 4yo around the fire the following night. Yes a 4yo walking the fire with as much intensity as a 24yo, bells in hand and movement to the rhythms – this little person was learning lessons I didn’t learn till I was in puberty! A 2yo, was held by a soon to be father who was willing to give up his personal nap to be sure the 2yo’s parents got a good nap in. As I watched him finally get the 2yo to eat something fairly healthy on his lap I was confident he was not only capable to be with this 2yo but also going to be an amazing father!! Inspiring! So many good fathers in this community. My heart melted as I watched a man follow behind his hormonal breast feeding new mother to be sure she had everything she needed. Then he even stepped back and let others help her, and she even accepted that help. A family, going through the ordeal together, baby only 3 months old – the benefit they could experience was profound. Mother knows best in the first year, that is truth, and that is something every mother needs to learn. This mother though, she owned her truth, she held her baby through and held to her mother instincts no matter the challenges. Many new mothers must learn to accept their instinct as truth as the mother is deeply connected to every child. As for me, I feel like the grandparent sitting on the edge watching so many children come to the fire again, and grateful for their presence, its priceless.
I personally even experienced big work around my relationship with the feminine both that is part of me as well as my mother and even the great mother ocean. I feel like I have shape shifted into a healthier me, stepped into the light. I feel like I am solid on my path and serving our world in the best way possible. Here I am writing more and making time for ME time, restarting my good habits, healing old relationships, walking through my world with empowerment and strength. I feel transformed after this event!
Wait, AND Forestdance totally gets that I am Androgyne and respects my gender pronouns! Wait, one more, there are different colors of skin in a group of just 60ppl! Can you believe it? I was so relieved to see all the different shades of skin. I think the experiment of Forestdance, of community, is holding deep wisdom for all of us. Super excited to do it all again in Asheville, NC.