Summer Practice 2021

Summer Practice 2021

Summer Practice 2021

by Dunya Dianne McPherson

I wait.

To see what will happen next,

to sense what I should do.

I’m waiting for it to end, for it to begin. 

I’m disoriented. Doing what I am doing in the present is the clearest, simplest way to be.

I love my practice. I love it. I am oriented 


Alone, in a remote place, in the big empty Barn, in juniper woods devoid of practitioners’ campsites. Alone with wind.

The summer practice is the great reassurance. It’s odd how music I know well sounds new to me, as if I am hearing the music between the notes that was hidden. I wonder if becoming bored with music, which so often happens for me, is an aspect of getting ahead of the moment and anticipating which notes will sound next rather than hearing the richness within the chords and melodic progressions, the many harmonies and tensions which provide a profusion of auditory experience, once I slow down enough to hear. 

Because I am slower and far more attentive to my movement and to my body’s sensory journey than I have ever been—it is hard to believe one can continue to become more aware over time—I take in more of my experience. I have been determined to move methodically and not injure myself. This has suited my summer temperament of continual giving up, continual dissolving of ambition, continual melting of the sort of accomplishment that strains toward bigger, better, faster, and more, other than more of less. 

What I take in has less affect and contextual content. I take in the room, the air, the temperature, sound, surface pressure, exact sensation. Meaning sloughs off. I am generally calm without anxieties or joys to distract me from moment-by-moment experience.

When I do nothing, things happen.


Affect is likely the result of stimulation and elevated cortisol levels. Affect in general seems a distracting component of self as well as mostly redundant pattern. Here at Ravenrock life is extraordinarily quiet.

(Ravenrock. Blessing in my life. Balm to my being. Nourisher of my soul. Restorer of my health. The place of peace where clarity can come.) There is very little stimulation. It is possible for one’s adrenals to heal. I would not have thought about my adrenals and what is happening this summer if someone hadn’t mentioned it. Then I remembered that I’ve had a few serious boughts of adrenal exhaustion in my life. One time for weeks I danced too many hours a day, ate too little, and lived on coffee to be thin and finally nearly killed myself. There have been a couple of other episodes of pushing too hard for too long without proper self-care. It has always taken a long time to recover; weeks of sleeping and eating for nutrition rather than speed.

This time my adrenals are drained from the several years of continual political alarm bells and a pandemic falling on the heels of eight years of loss and grief of both people and body parts. Meanwhile I finished writing a book. The shape of exhaustion is different from other times in my life but once I saw it, I knew it, that leaden sequence of a flickering impulse to do a thing followed by absolutely no reserve with which to do it. Though over a lifetime I have cultivated self-care, the way the world leans on us changes and we don’t often see that, once again, we need such care. Sometimes the care is doing nothing.

Do Nothing

For many years, near the end of Sufi Summer Camp, my teacher, Adnan, would send us out into the woods on our own to Do Nothing. I wasn’t good at it. However, it was important to have someone who knew about the seasons of the self affirm that Doing Nothing was something. I squirreled it away, one of those potent seeds to eat later when needed. This summer, after his death, the time came.

I’ve been away for a long time, writing a book on Dancemeditation–Sojourn the Inner Heaven: Movement Meditations for Awakening. Its finished! It’ll be out by the end of this year. Stay tuned! 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! Contribute Now

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tara s
tara s
2 years ago

your writing brings calm and clarity – thank you – some season the saturday times with work for your movement practice (i continue to emerge and emerse through authentic movement practice as i have since the early 1970s)

2 years ago

These words help me to imagine a deeper journey into Silence and Nothing than I have yet to travel myself. I imagine the various voices of resistance, and yet also the compelling fall towards a core truth of nature. Thank you!

Last edited 2 years ago by Gloria