Clearing Space

Clearing Space

Clearing Space

Dunya Dianne McPherson

The first New Year’s Eve on Earth without parents, I decided that I needed above all else to do a Sufi Dancemeditation session to set my course. I knew I wanted to offer it in the house I had inherited. What would that require? It needed to fit me. It needed to become my Home Studio.


The house was bloated with the usual mix of lovely things and nonsense which we all collect. Letters from friends of my parents I never knew. Photos of strangers, photos of me and my brother as children. Photos of my parents as young, fresh adults, smiling for the camera. I bagged and carted off old stained clothes for recycling. What to do with perfectly good, well-made winter coats that don’t quite fit but I can’t bear to let go of? I labored through stuff and stuff and stuff—sorting, cleaning, keeping, removing.

Furniture filled every room. Pathways snaked across Persian carpets between charmingly arranged spots to sit and talk. A dark red brocade loveseat and elegant low coffee table faced the fireplace dominating the center of the room. Two wing chairs flanked sunny south windows with a table between just the right side for two cups of tea or coffee and a folded newspaper. I sat there to do my high school homework. A piano, untuned and unplayed. A dusty violin case cradling a broken violin. So much history. But I am a dancer. I need space. The familiar lineaments of rooms where I cherished and was cherished by my parents had to shift. Time to retire my childhood. I bowed in gratitude.

I took a deep breath. I stored or donated all but a few movable pieces for daily living, and sent the rugs for a cleaning. While they were out, I washed the floors and slithered on my belly swabbing decades of dust caught under radiators. Ric painted woodwork. Once the rugs were back, the house felt lighter, freer, clearer.

The Well

We have a wonderful 3-hour New Year’s Eve session concluding with a sitting circle. I ask everyone to close their eyes, look inside or feel deep inside themselves, and draw up from their true self a guiding nugget for the upcoming year. Then, one by one, we will go around the circle and speak. In this circle we are speaking to ourself, from ourself. Those sitting in the circle are witnesses. A circle of trees or rocks. Or the curve of a quiet shoreline.”

Sufi mystic Jallaludin Rumi writes that phenomena come to the deep well inside of us, draw out our water, and walk away. We fritter ourselves away on what we don’t want, on what doesn’t matter, on what harms us. We imagine that if we spill our life blood for others (or the world), that others (or the world) will love and reward us. We often matter not as we really are but as something others need from us. We are figures in a bargaining. Rumi asks that we not let our marrow be frivolously sucked away. This is difficult to do. So rarely are we invited to be our true selves, especially in witness. Witnessing authenticity is not a common experience. It takes practice. The circle is a small bit of practice.

The circle begins. I close my eyes and see a spring bubbling in a grassy clearing in the forest, sun laid across in glittering diamonds. The water is sweet and fresh, the flavor of earth and ancient rock. The wellspring inspiration…Inspiration. Inspiring. Inspiration. Inspired. Inspire. Deep within is a quietude.

Quiet Word

When her turn comes around, one woman says, “Wait.” She says she is often impatient, wanting to fix things, but what calls from inside is to wait, to pause, to be patient. She reaches in and finds inspiration in waiting.
Inspiration can be quiet, tiny, a jewel.
Inspiration can be a whisper or a symphonic boom, but it is without doubt.
Inspiration can be a seed or a full blown flower, but it resonates.
Inspiration can be of fragment or a surrounding panorama, but it is unmistakably right.
Inspiration is truthful.
Inspiration rings deep in our heart.

As I listen to her word rising from the deep well in her body, I feel settled. I sit on a wood floor on a soft sheepskin. The late afternoon of the year’s last day runs its fingers through my hair.

I am delighted that you are with me and appreciate your sharing these writings friends. Thank you!
My work and writing are sponsored by Dervish Society of America, a nonprofit organization helping people realize their human and spiritual potential by honoring their body and its movement ways using evolutionary Sufi Dancemeditation practices. Thank you for your gift. It’s tax-deductible!