May your letters dance. And may you
know love in the dance of your life.
The Dance of the Letters: A Story
December 1990. An hour north of Bombay in a meditation ashram at the magical cusp of dawn, when night still has not yet pulled away her skirts and day has not yet opened its eyes wide.
My eyes closed, I sit cross-legged on the folded, white wool blanket between me and the cold marble floor of the open-air pavilion. Dozens of women and men from all over the world sit in the rich, pulsating silence following hours of chanting sacred syllables. The unseen energy of the mantras that have been chanted move through my body, settling me more deeply into the embrace of this irresistible, alive stillness.
There is nowhere to go, nothing to do, no one to be. There is just being in this infinite moment.
When something above me catches my attention, I look up, keeping my eyes closed, sensing this is something to be seen with my “inner eye” not my physical eyes. Above me, in what feels at once like the physical sky and the firmament of my mind, I see what appear to be stars twinkling. But when I look more closely, I see that each twinkling point of light is a letter. I spot the letter “a,” and then I see others that I recognize. Hebrew letters come into focus: there’s א and י, now ה.
Among the letters are those from languages I do not know; letters from all the languages of the world are here among the luminous throng. And the letters are frolicking! Not only are they twinkling brilliantly, they are doing head-over-heel somersaults, jumping, twirling…
I watch in awe, face up like a child gazing in total wonder.
Surprising me, the letters begin to rain down slowly. They fill my lap and my turned up open palms. I catch them on my outstretched tongue, where they dissolve like the snowflakes I would catch on my tongue as a girl. Soon tears are streaming down my cheeks, mixing with the letters. I am overcome by this continuous flow of letters from the universe to me.
Then, suddenly I know: I am to make something beautiful out of these letters and offer them back. This is what writing is, or can be—the ever-new blessing of creating beauty and reflecting love with the letters that we have been given.
When I return home from India, I name my work leading writing groups for children and teens the Dance of the Letters. A few years later I will begin to work with women over 55. In over three decades of working with writers—as young as seven and as old as 87—I continue to be perennially refreshed by the sublime dance of the letters. It has been my deep honor and delight to facilitate and partake in this dance.
My wishes: May your letters dance! And may you find the essence and expression of love in the dance of your life.