By Hannah Blake
The “Me Too” movement was courageous and loud, and now it’s time to ride that momentum and continue stepping into empowerment. Moving from shame and guilt in order to share stories of sexual harassment and trauma is undoubtably an enormous step, but the healing has only just begun. Expressing embodied pain in order to move stagnant energy in the body is one of the most impactful things we can do today, to not only release ourselves from that pain, but to also empower the collective.
“I Will Stand” is a poetic and dance expression of my own journey, and a call to action for women around the world to share the steps they are taking in order to heal, and inspire and uplift others to do the same. The mission is to also extend my hand to those who might need support in expressing and transcending their own pain. It’s time to dissolve systems that abuse power and misdirect sexuality – one dance and one woman at a time.
As a former professional dancer and now somatic healer, I have learned dance as the healthiest way for me to process and expel emotional poison. I transitioned from dancing as a performer to guiding other people into expressing their own truths through their vessels. The body cannot lie, so the best way to understand who we are, and how we are feeling day to day is to feel into and move our bodies. After the Harvey Weinstein case and the #MeToo movement, I felt it was imperative for me to share my scientifically supported belief – that the most effective way to heal trauma to the body is through the body.
Memory does not only accumulate in the brain, but also in the body’s cells on a neuropeptide level. Thus when we experience trauma, especially trauma to the body, we must not only work through psychological release but we must also dive into and express negative repressed emotions that are energetically stagnant in the body. Renowned neuroscientist Dr. Candace Pert explains, “Your body is your subconscious mind… A feeling sparked in our mind or body will translate as a peptide being released somewhere…
This means the emotional memory is stored in many places in the body, not just or even primarily, in the brain… unexpressed emotions are literally lodged in the body. The real true emotions that need to be expressed are in the body, trying to move up and be expressed and thereby integrated, made whole, and healed”. This is precisely why dance serves as a safe place to honor, move through and transmute negative memory in the cells of our bodies. This is why dance serves as a safe place for women to take back our power – by fully releasing the burden of emotions placed onto us through sexual harassment and assault, burdens that were never truly ours to carry.
By expressing our emotions and pain, we create space in the body and the mind again. Here, we can turn our pain into empowerment. Through embodiment, we are actually given the opportunity to reclaim our bodies again. We begin to honestly investigate the pain they have harbored. And we catalyze that energy to move through us, and higher. It’s time we start feeling safe and sacred in our temples. It’s time we start feeling radiant and sensual and powerful. It’s time we start feeling at home in our skin. This is what “I Will Stand” is all about.
It is not about speaking out against anyone. It’s about expressing truth. It is not about hurting the people who hurt us. It’s about moving to transmute the hurt we’ve assumed in order to step more fully into love. Think of our greatest exemplifiers of love through action – Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa. Let us continue in light of their legacies. Let us not feed fire with more ravenous flame. Instead of lash out at those who hurt us, let us turn inward and to each other with compassion.
As more and more people do this, we inherently dissolve systems that aren’t created in love’s mirror. I ask that you join me in moving through and expressing hurt. I ask that you join me in dancing, singing, swimming, running, painting, writing, and diving into deeper love and radical self empowerment. Although “I Will Stand” focuses on dance and was partly created to extend my hand to others who could benefit from movement healing, this mission isn’t just about dancing.
This mission is also about calling others to express through modalities that work for them too. It’s about sharing these modalities with the world and inspiring others to embark on their own unique empowerment journeys. It’s about saying “Hey, this works for me and I’m here to support you if you want to try it”, or “Hey, that works for her and it inspires me to share how I’m working on healing myself too.”
There are systems in place that encourage the abuse of power, and there are systems in place that misdirect sexual energy into perversion and violence. But we do not have to wait for those external systems to break. We can stand now. We can dance now. And our bodies, hearts, minds and souls can finally exclaim: “While the system is broken, you still can’t break me. Your abuse of power and misdirected sexuality can’t destroy me. I am whole. I am powerful. I am healed. And because of that, I’ve already won.”
Hannah Blake is a professional dancer, somatic healer and Founder of the Kaia Method (thekaiamethod.com). It is her life’s mission to empower women through authentic dance, and to pioneer the movement of art expression becoming a conventional healing modality across the world.