If someone asked me what I love about dance the most, I could list off quite a few ideas. But one in particular, I never knew quite how to describe: those moments of pauses, breaths, and silences in our bodies, and the music, when we are moved even if not actually physically, but from the inside out.
That space when our feet press into the floor ever so slowly and we can feel the floor pressing back up, connecting us to something bigger. That space. That slowing down…
What could I call it? Matrix style?
I tried capturing the concept of it in poetry, but the words would escape me. It seemed like something only someone who actually had experienced it would really grasp. And words didn’t seem sufficient enough to explain that space.
But then I would laugh, realising it’s not just in dance. It’s also IN the words, within poetry, lyrics, novels. I realised there too was that magical gap, a breath, a sigh, a whisper amongst the letters and phrases. They are not just to be seen, or thought through in the mind, but felt and heard, with the heart, and spirit.
It’s like a space that spirit grants us for a few seconds sometimes. A space that shows us and takes us into a realm of all possibilities. We come out changed, deeper, without even knowing exactly what happened. We just want to feel it and experience it, and be a part of it again.
And I remember thinking I wish there was a word for this. But how can there be for such a sparkly, stardusty concept that we can’t even hold in our hands? Could we ever find letters to capture it on paper?
But then just like that, I heard a woman recently say the word out loud. She was speaking about healing and spaces and pauses in music and life, and she said there’s a Japanese word for this. It’s Ma..And as soon as she said it, I thought, yes! That’s it! That in itself just felt like another Ma moment. Like it was always there. It fit perfectly. its simplicity, but specific pronunciation, with the emphasis on the ‘a’ sounded so right. Thank you Masami Covey for teaching me the word.
I believe that Ma moments are those that are carved out to get us present, to make us feel the moment, to use our senses rather than our minds. I think Ma moments are all around us, and we have the opportunity to make sure to make the space for them. But when we are running around so much, carrying around our never ending to-do lists of what we think ‘needs’ to get done, we miss out on the Ma moments. We don’t acknowledge them, or breathe them in.
We think we don’t have time for them. Some of us might even think we have never felt them, or that they don’t exist. But once you feel them- in a painting, in a song, in a kiss, in a heart beat, in an ocean wave, or a breeze across your skin- and acknowledge them, you find them more and more. They feel more welcome.
And one of the best ways to get into Ma moment flow is through dance. I’m sure it is what gets us addicted to dancing.
You might not know if others feel them exactly like you do, but you feeling them can become contagious for you, and others around you. The Ma moments have the power to change your mood, your day, and your life if you let them.
Today, I made sure to make extra room for them at lunch with my family. From my youngest niece greeting me with an enthusiastic welcome, showing me the rainbow charm on her bracelet, and the sparkles on her stickers, to my oldest niece embracing the energy of her new necklace resting on her skin. I let the healing green stone wash over me from across the table. And I soaked in the silence during the moment we shared an umbrella
Ma moments. Space of possibilities. Where anything can happen.
The breaths and pauses between all of the songs, dances, and experiences in life.
How fitting that Ma sounds like the short form of the word we would use for mother. My mom was the epitome of enjoying Ma moments. I think she was always trying to get me to do the same. Thanks, Mom. I’m sorry it took me so long to figure it out. I get it now though.
It’s the stuff, or the non-stuff that, life and spirit are made of. Moments that make us connect. Breathe them in. Thank them for reminding you to slow down and love life. Thanks, Ma.