Blog: My Sabbatical So Far

Blog: My Sabbatical So Far

For those who weren’t with me in the February Zoom, I announced that I would be taking a break—a sabbatical. I had been feeling it coming on for quite a while but honestly didn’t think it prompted action until suddenly I knew I couldn’t find the truer next stage without actually stopping. Concerning life decisions, my Sufi teacher Adnan Sarhan used to say, “Go where there is no doubt.’ I discovered, once he pointed it out, that ‘no doubt’ is not hard to experience. In the heart, ‘no doubt’ is clear.

I took stock. During the recent couple of years, I had gotten us through Covid on zoom. I had published a book, a lifework about this Path. Both were fantastic and also a push. When I looked at a larger frame, I had offered teaching and retreat ceaselessly for over 30 years, and I had designed and overseen the building of a retreat sanctuary (while recovering from major surgery.) Huge undertakings. 

It was time to pause. To soak, to float, to be carried.
I needed to stop deadlines.
I needed a period where my days could organically unfold.
I needed to focus on my health. (I’m basically okay but I had been pushing beyond what is good for me.)
I needed to let my well fill.

A Few Months Along

Things that have finally come to the fore:

Learning to Eat
I am learning to eat. Mindfully. Of course I have studied this in the past but  mostly done it a little at retreat—a very little. And almost not at all in my daily life. It is surprisingly difficult. It is a practice. It happens on and off several times a day. Honestly, I am surprised I have not taken eating seriously, but in my Sufi training I engaged in the food elements as purification of diet and a consideration of fasting, not simply an awareness of what happens when I open my mouth—or especially before I open my mouth—and put food on my tongue. 

Now, much has been said and written about all this. I have nothing new to add on the topic itself. However for me now, there is no question that learning to eat mindfully has brought me back to the beginning of my embodiment. It tangles with how extraordinarily unconscious my day-to-day actions are. How patterned. How invisible. 

I have no self criticism here, nor am I vaulting toward a lofty goal. I am simply trying to unwind, to rest, to come home to myself and this little thing—eating—pops up everywhere. A seed. A weed. 

My Body
I am prioritizing my body. Those of you who know me may think I have been doing this all my life. But now I turn…Here I am right now…
My body is so very very me. So personal. Not an instrument of art, spirituality, performance. For me, not for others. My body is my sleeping and waking, laughing and tasting. 

My personal body is at the top of my list. What do I do? I strength train very regularly because as I age I get weak quickly—weights, machines, elliptical machine, walks. I do a little Dancemeditation. I have lost 30 pounds and my joints thank me. 

My Path
I allow myself to wonder about it again. To live my day organically and with more awareness. To savor happiness. To unravel fear rather than feed it. To enjoy the shortening years. To be an artist. 

So far this is what I have come to.

How Long?

I don’t know.

I may send out an email with a link inviting anyone who can to join me for a zoom Dancemeditation. Spur of the moment, coming from what feels right to me. Or possibly I will do something more formal. I enjoy doing an occasional in-person event.

A great happiness for me is the emergence of a new generation of Dancemeditation teachers who have studied with me a long time, who teach this practice as it has been given to them and who are of this lineage. Each of them is their own being coming from experiences and knowledge of their own choosing, but when they offer a Dancemeditation class, it follows the way I have been offering, which came to me through my teacher and his teachers, and which you as a community have been practicing. It has roots. I have invited Teresa Smith, Kryss Statho, and Anastasia Blaisdell who are currently teaching in-person (zoom stuff will get sorted soon as well)  to share their offerings on the Dervish Constellation FB group. You will also see them on the Dancemeditation FB Page.

I want to thank you all for journeying with me whether over many years or having just found me. I truly truly treasure you. I trust we will gather again before long.

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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Lynda Klau
1 year ago

dear dunya,

I love what you’ve come to now. Love what your sufi teacher said. Recently I began working out in a way that I’ve never done. So good to feel the strength that is coming.I have started some new projects that have “no doubt.” I’m doing a podcast from my company name Life Unlimited focusing on stories of transformation. I’m interviewing ordinary-extraordinary people discussing their stories and more. I am integrating play and time off with work that I love.

Thank you for sharing,
from love, lynda

Ruth Gould-Goodman
Ruth Gould-Goodman
1 year ago

I thank you for your total commitment to stand in your truth and discover who you are as you are born to yourself moment to moment. It takes so long to finally get so simple and quiet inside. I still do not know why I do not live from my silence all the time but when I do drop in it always feel so substantial, real and effortless. I honor that you choose to hover right over the omphalos of your being as your practice. Thank you for sharing your process with me and others. It helps me commit to… Read more »

Wren Donovan Goode
1 year ago

Body and Path… all that you say resonates so clearly for me right now! Thank you for sharing this.

Monica Raymond
Monica Raymond
1 year ago

Dunya–this sounds wonderful. I’m glad you’re giving yourself the time and space to build (even more) strength and awareness. It’s inspiring. Blessings–Monica Raymond

1 year ago

Thank you, Dunya, for revealing your authentic self/feelings/musings,depth of your soul.. Yes to rest and rejuvenation,to follow your heart and rhythm of your body. I have always loved your classes, retreats back in NM. I would love to visit you at Cape Cod sometime? with love, Shawnee West

Phoebe Neville
Phoebe Neville
1 year ago

BRAVA!!!!!!! Your total honesty with yourself is a teaching– It’s too easy in our lives to ignore the recuperation part of exertion/recuperation!

What I feel is GRATITUDE for your zoom sessions– a gift for me who live so far away–
and for your book—a feast in itself!– and seeing you painting evolve–
ENJOY your process!!

Much Much Love,


Love, Betsy
Love, Betsy
1 year ago

Dear Dunya – It’s midnight and your words are exactly what I need .I’m inwardly pushing too hard, all the while quite sure that I haven’t really done anything. I scrabble my singing practice together only when everything else is done, when it should come First. I grab a meal and do a crossword at the same time. Nevermind that I’ll be 87 this summer. Nevermind that I moved in November from a house to an apartment. Sometimes….. I have a day when I never look at the clock and just float around. Ahh! And tonight i look at your… Read more »

Ann Miller
Ann Miller
1 year ago

So good to receive this! Thank you Dunya for surfacing from your quiet to share the experience with us! As I’ve been going through my own rest and rejuvenation phase for the past months, I love hearing the deep words of a fellow traveler. And my (near) daily dancemeditation has been a significant component in my healing journey. Thank you for that gift!

Love, Ann