June 2013


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Dances of Universal Peace

Saturday, November 23, 2013

November 2013 at Dancing Peacock Paradise
Click on any image to see slide show of our November gathering. November 2013 at Dancing Peacock Paradise

November 2013 at Dancing Peacock Paradise

November 2013 at Dancing Peacock Paradise

Saturday, November 23 - Dancing Peacock Paradise 

Join us amidst the beauties of Nature to offer Gratitude for our many blessings through song, dance, prayer, and community.  Please RSVP to receive directions.
        2:00 - 2:45   Arrive to check in, meet people, walk & relax.
        3:00 - 5:00   Dances of Universal Peace
        5:00 - 5:30   Free Time to commune with nature
        5:30 - 6:00   Potluck Setup
        6:00 - 7:00   Dinner on the Cottage Porch
        7:00 - 8:30   Zikr
        8:30 - 9:15   Desserts & Socializing
Suggested Donation:  $10 + potluck dish. Bring a flashlight.
Reserve in advance to spend the night.  $25 per person
Reminiscing about the Retreat with Allaudin & Lila

Barclay Braden
My friends continue to ask me, “What is Sufi dancing, anyway?” My closer college classmates were disappointed when I announced I’d be missing our long-awaited golden anniversary reunion. They seem perplexed that I could allow something called Sufi dancing to interfere with the significance of coming together again after fifty years.
How do I even begin to explain or convey the power of my choice? How do I describe feeling stirred simultaneously in mind, in body, in heart, in spirit? Where else can I experience such a multi-sensory immersion in people, color, costume, music, song, dance...and prayerful, reverent movement? Pearls of wisdom and gems of learning must be added to the list. Where else in my life can I stand in a circle, holding hands, gazing with tender appreciation upon the beauty of each face? Why doesn’t regular life offer us opportunity for such soulful exchange?
Sunday Morning Spiritual Gathering
For those who are available Sunday Morning after the Dance (November 24), & interested
in Sufism or Mysticism, we will gather after breakfast for an hour or so to absorb Sufi teachings, & share breath,
prayer, meditative moments, chanting Names of God, & zikr.
Click here to RSVP to spend Saturday night.
Comments for Lila & Allaudin

Lila:  Gentle teacher of Music, Dance, & Heart:  Openings.  I am so grateful to be able to be a part of the atmosphere that you create; each time you bring us to a deep level of Spirit Attunement & Growth.
          Your personal sharings touch my soul and allow confidence to visualize a higher, deeper commitment to the Path.  Thank God you are able to create such a haven for our hungry hearts.

Allaudin:  As always your gracious manner of Acceptance with Humor & Love won the hearts of newcomers & old hands.  Amazing! 
          Your ability to make the percussion live a life of its own responding to the mood & mode of the Dances.  You are an instrument: Spirit Guides are felt in hearts of the community.  We become One & sensitive to the Flow of Grace that you guide us through.

Continuation of Barclay's Retreat Article
A dance retreat...a dance camp...some of both, yet so much more! Last spring, when DiAnahita sent out the first announcement of this year’s offering, which coincided with the exact dates of my college reunion, I knew in a heartbeat, I’d rather be dancing.

On a shining October afternoon, months later, we arrive from all over. Our two leaders, Allaudin Ottinger and Lila Flood, have traveled distances from Kansas City and Hawaii to be with us, brought together by DiAnahita’s intuition and invitation. Her original sense, that together these two extraordinary leaders could form an inspired teaching team, has yielded such delicious fruit for all of us. This is their seventh occasion co-leading one of our retreats. I realize it could be my last chance to enjoy their mastery and generosity...we never do know, I remind myself...and I feel an inner pang to recall the chosen theme of our retreat: This is the Breath that Counts,
Entering the large dance hall area in advance, before the evening program begins, I’m hoping to find the same magical ambience I’ve remembered. Oh, yes..! Big banners, rich in hue, decorate the walls in an array of prayer words from many languages, including Hebrew, Arabic, Hindi, English, and Latin. In a welcoming position, near the entry door, a large stretch of fabric proclaims Dances of Universal Peace. Across the rafters brightly dyed batik prayer flags are strung, each vibrant square symbolizing one of the world’s major religions or belief traditions. At the far end of the room, under grand windows, narrow cloth-covered tables are accented with flickering votive candles. 

At the near end, an altar arrangement commands attention. Draped in a deeply toned cloth, flanked by elegantly gleaming sculptures that evoke Africa and ancient Egypt, the table is decorated with delicate orchids, the gentle light of candles, and photos of key Sufi leaders, including Samuel Lewis.

SAM was the one who invented the first Dances of Universal Peace in the 1960s, as an alternative, drug-free method for reaching states of ecstatic being. It feels like a convergence of good fortune that we are going to be celebrating, the very next day, Lewis’ 117th birthday, on the auspicious occasion of a full moon. There are tantalizing rumors that we will feast on ice cream with homemade hot fudge sauce.
Promptly at 7:30, the musicians begin to play softly, while we begin to walk around the outer perimeter of the room in silence, each one of us finding the particular path and stride that resonates. In the middle, on a large rug, the musicians and leaders have come together with their instruments. After several minutes of meditative walking, going inward as we go around, we are invited to form a circle and join hands.

My spirit lifts with a surge of gratitude as my glance embraces all those who share this moment...fifty precious souls coming together, all adorned in colorful, festive dance garb...each seeking to connect with the divine within...the divine between. Three times we repeat the familiar Sufi Invocation, each time stepping inward, toward the center, echoing the sacred words “Toward the One...the Only Being....”

 The alchemy has begun.
 * * *
Now, nearly one month later, I continue to feel the reverberation of the retreat. I catch myself humming, over and over, the lilting songs from Lila’s dances. By the hour, I can practice singing out my particular favorite: Soli Deo Gloria. Johann Sebastian Bach, she had explained, wrote the initials S.D.G. on each piece of music he composed ... to God alone the glory. As I have metabolized the melodies and chants we learned from her and Allaudin, another favorite lyric from Lila has permeated my daily repertoire. It brings an equally vivid evocation of the retreat’s essential message: Each breath I take is through Thy Grace.

A final reminder of the retreat’s potent teaching was the first line given to us by Katya during her inspiring Haiku Hour...At this moment now. In the renga tradition, we each began with the same line of five syllables, then individually added twelve more. Repeating my own brief words, I realize, each line can stand alone, each can serve as a mantra for me. It is one more way I can practice remembering to remember.

At this moment now
This breath is the one that counts!

~ Baraka

The Habibis
A group of the young adult Sufis, mostly from Sarasota, joined our retreat, adding joyful energy.  On Sunday morning Akbar & Jessica announced their engagement!
* Snow! * at the Jamiat Khas
Sufi Ruhaniat Teachers Meeting
The Abode of the Message
A Sufi Center in New York
DiAnahita returned inspired by the teachings & captivated by new Dances!
N e w   D a n c e
Ya Shakur Allah, Ya Hamid
by Maboud Swierkosz
Ya Shakur Allah, Ya Hamid    4x
La illaha il Allahu, La illaha il Allah    2x
        To the Source of all, we are grateful for blessings: specific benefits & divine qualities.  This partner dance brings us together with a feeling of gratitude & a reason for celebration.
Dancers together
creating peace that ripples
beyond all borders

Looking Ahead - Upcoming Dances

Christmas Day - Peacock Paraadise
New Year's Eve Global Peace Dance

Gainesville UCG with DiAnahita
January 25 -  Peacock Paradise
February 1 - Potluck & Dance
      Fernandina Beach with combined
             Unity, Unitarian & New Vision Churches.
Thanks to Our Wonderful Retreat Donors
Who gave generously to make it possible for young adults to attend
Hugs from Jessica from all the Habibis
* to *
Barclay Braden            Manny Gross 
Isabel Barten                Nuran Elia   
Jeannie McCauley        Paula Conrad
Joy Dolci                       Steve Hawkins
Konnie Ort                    Subhana Graf

.                                                           .
For the Record... by DiAnahita
Someone asked me how many times Allaudin & Lila had led together in Florida.  Looking it up, the numbers surprised even me!  In the last 17 years, I have facilitated  32 Retreats, with 16 different leaders from 4 countries, at 6 different sites, & led 5 of the retreats myself! 
Whew!  Time for others to step in!

At this moment Now
Enlightenment lives within
My Soul is Open

Kathy Staines
Copyright 2013 DUP, All rights reserved.

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February 2013 at Dancing Peacock Paradise