Using Belly Dance to Heal Deepest Emotional Wounds – Part 1

Using Belly Dance to Heal Our Deepest “Emotional Core” Wounds – Part 1

This post is not for everyone.


This is for “mature audiences only” – reader discretion advised.

(The following post shares personal experiences, and is not medical advice. If you are at all in doubt before you begin – should you choose to do something similar to what I’ve done – consider asking for guidance from a licensed medical or therapeutic professional. And perhaps have a trained counselor with you as you do this particular form of “inner journey.”)

What Is a “Core Wound”?

A core wound is the psychological impact from an experience (or set of experiences) that we have when we are young, or are otherwise exceptionally vulnerable. This (these) experience(s) occur when we are still shaping our basic worldview; our concept of whether or not the world is a “friendly place.”

Core wounds most commonly come from experiences with our immediate family. In particular, they come about with those whom we identify as essential to our survival.

To the best of my knowledge, all of us carry with us some sorts of core wound. We often have them no matter how much we do psychotherapy, seek “spiritual enlightenment,” or just plain “work on our stuff.”

How Can We Determine What – In Ourselves – Is Our Own Core Wound?

Mother Henna writes about her experience of seeing her "pain body" as separate from her "light body."
Mother Henna writes about her experience of seeing her “pain body” as separate from her “light body.”

Core wounds feel like psychological “hurt.” In fact, they “hurt” a lot. So as a result, we try to bundle them up and isolate them away from our conscious awareness.

Core wounds never really go away on their own. They stay inside us, with tremendous power – mostly because we try to contain and control them.

How Do We Detect Our Core Wounds, and Know What They Are?

Often, our core wound show up as “blurts.” These can be phrases that we say to ourselves. Sometimes, they even slip into our conversations! Or, we show ourselves (and others around us) a core wound by voicing strong opinions about how a person (or certain group of persons) always does something that is “bad.”

Core wounds feel intensely private. We rarely – if ever – discuss them with others. Often, if we do psychotherapy or have a life coach or a spiritual counselor, we may work for months before we tentatively allow our core wound area to be broached. This is because, of all the parts of our inner world, our core wound feels most sensitive, most vulnerable, most “ouchie”!

And yet, if we do allow a core wound area to “come into the open,” we may be surprised to learn that our coach, counselor, or therapist really knew about it all along. (And so, for that matter, did our relationship partners, and possibly our boss, co-workers, family, and friends.) This is because our core wounds affect us so much that we “give them away” all the time!

Who Else Talks About Core Wounds?

Eckhart Tolle writes about core wounds in The Power of Now. He calls them our pain-body.



Core wounds never really go away on their own. They stay inside us, with tremendous power – mostly because we try to contain and control them.

Often, our core wound show up as “blurts.” These can be phrases that we say to ourselves. Sometimes, they even slip into our conversations! Or, we show ourselves (and others around us) our core wound by voicing strong opinions about how a person (or certain group of persons) always does something that is “bad.”

Using Oriental Dance (Belly Dance) to Heal

We can have breakthroughs, and often do. But still, these are the “core.” They go right down to how we believe that the world works – in our favor, or not. Dangerous, or safe and friendly.

When we dance, we sidestep the cognitive side of who we are. When we let our bodies simply move, and express how we feel, we can access – and begin to heal – our core wounds.

I’m not talking here about technique practice, or learning a tight little choreography. There is nothing wrong with either technique or choreography. But at some point, we need to go beyond – to what dance really is, and what it can do for us – if we start releasing ourselves to the flow of energy and feeling that we can experience as we dance.

Z Helene Christopher – in her excellent paper on Middle Eastern Dance: The Emergence of the New Sacred Temple Priestess – provides four key points that will help all of us (including myself) use Oriental dance (belly dance) to heal our core wounds. According to Z Helene:

There are four main points in which we, as new temple priestesses, reclaim and reconnect with the ancient Goddess.

  1. We must understand our dance as embodying nature, especially its fertility aspects… Our dance exudes fertility. We move our pelvises and roll our bellies, honoring the sexual act and the resulting procreation…
  2. We reclaim and reconnect with the ancients by understanding our dance as manifesting ecstasy… Our movement invokes the ecstatic kundalini…
  3. We reclaim and reconnect with the ancients by understanding our dance as an experience of Divine Union…
  4. We reclaim and reconnect with the Goddess by understanding ourselves as dispensers of karuna; early motherly love … transformed … to embrace all forms of love: touching, tenderness, compassion, mercy, sensual enjoyment and eroticism.

Alay'nya - author of "Unveiling: The Inner Journey"
Alay’nya – author of Unveiling: The Inner Journey

Very best wishes as you tap into who you really are using dance!

Yours in dance –

Author of Unveiling: The Inner Journey
You are the Jewel in the Heart of the Lotus. Become the Jewel!

Founder and Artistic Director, The Alay’nya Studio
Bellydance a courtesan would envy!

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From Z Helene’s Amazon review of “Unveiling: The Inner Journey”: “Unveiling is about becoming more intimate with ourselves. It is about peeling away the outer layers that keep us from knowing, naming, and attaining our deep wants and desires. By embarking upon a transforming inner spiritual journey, we are encouraged to get connected to ourselves in a way that allows us to genuinely feel our bodies and emotions– all of them, even the undesirable ones. By integrating and loving our “shadow” sides, and by doing daily practices such as stillness, softening, releasing, shifting state, and breathing, we increase our vital energy (prana, ch’i) which makes us more attractive and, yes, more erotic as well. For true attractiveness, according to Alay’nya, is the ability of women to lessen their adopted masculine roles of control and being in charge (Amazon archetype), and instead to surrender to pure energy, motion, and love. This is what makes us beautiful!”

Z Helene Christopher
Z Helene Christopher – Dancer and Herstorian, High Priestess and Teacher. Photo courtesy Rick Fink.

P.S. – Have you read Z Helene’s article on Middle Eastern Dance: The Emergence of the New Sacred Temple Priestess? I recommend it to all my dancers!

Z Helene also has a 4-volume basic Middle Eastern dance (belly dance) instructional DVD set, and another DVD on zills, available through her website. Check them out!

Copyright (c) 2013, Alay’nya. All rights reserved.

Related Posts: Energy Healing and Emotional Healing through Dance

"A Course in Miracles" – The First Quarterly Report

The “Miracles” Happening During “A Course in Miracles” – First Quarter

For the past several years, my strongest desire has been to “router-root” out my life. An entire “life transformation.” Not just a cosmetics or wardrobe makeover. Not a new job or new relationship. My core desire has been an entire, from-the-inside out transformation.

Everything that I’ve done over the past several years has been part of the same transformational process.

This has been nonlinear. Highly nonlinear. I can’t write out some sort of “strategic plan.” This transformation-from-within has been coming about very organically, and mostly – what I’m doing is “listening in.” I try to clear the superficial “crud” from the surface of my mind, and let whatever is burbling up come through.

Some might call this meditation.

I call it “cleaning house” – which occurs on more levels than one.

The biggest overt step that I’ve taken has been to start A Course in Miracles . I began several months ago, and yes – the “miracles” have been happening.

There are “daily exercises” associated with A Course in Miracles. (Many people simply refer to this as ACIM.) Right now, I’m on “Workbook Lesson” Number 105 (“God’s Peace and Joy are Mine.”) This means that I’ve been at this – officially – for a little over a quarter of a year.

What “miracles,” you might ask?

It’s different for every person.

My friend Artie has dealt with three major challenges in terms of people who’ve been very special in his life. Although he already had a great deal of spiritual maturity and insight before he began the Course, he and I both agree that there is no way that he could have handled this past year had he not been doing ACIM.

Artie reports that someone in his ACIM group has had a very challenging high-level executive job, with a major company. This man’s bosses recently gave him an additional task – a very complex and difficult one. He credits ACIM with being able to get these very difficult work-related challenges back on track. He still doesn’t leave the office “on time,” but even with all that’s going on, he leaves the office earlier than before.

Over the past three months, I’ve observed the following:

  • Month 1: I had a few days in which my energy level was sufficient to let me “surge” a couple of times. For example, I usually get up very early. (4:30 AM is my norm.) This means that if I’m to have any functionality in the evening at all, I need a nap in the late afternoon. But a few times, I had to “push.” I’d start at 4:30, and work straight through, and then have a meeting or some commitment in the evening. I managed to do the meetings – and be awake, alert, and functional. (That’s the real miracle.) This happened only a couple of times – but enough for me to notice.
  • Month 2: Somehow, I seemed to be able to “get things done” with less mental “churn” getting in the way. You know how our minds kick up “stuff” when we have to do a task that we don’t particularly like? Well, I found that I was able to simply “get to things” a bit more directly. This included the things that I did’t like. (This was in January, and I got a whole lot of drudgery background work done for marketing. And as a result, sales, bloghits, and a number of other measures went up significantly.)
  • Month 3: The real transformation started. I had an overwhelming desire to “clean house.” And yes, I’d been working on getting “the house” back to rights for almost a year. (Since a few months before publishing Unveiling.) Also, for many of us, the “spring cleaning” surge starts around February. But this year, mine was accompanied by an “inner storm.” My body needed to move; to do gross motor tasks that involved bending, lifting, moving heavy things, etc. And I did a whole lot of that. As a result, the house is now “officially” clean. (There are still isolated pockets of resistance, but will get to them over time.) This includes a great deal of paperwork clean-up as well, and that’s the real “paper tiger.”

Now I’m in Month 4. The “miracle” that’s underway? All my life what I’ve really wanted to do has been to create art. And instead, I’ve pushed myself into various intellectual and corporate roles. Right now, though, I’m cleaning and reorganizing my art room. I’m desiging a clothing collection on the theme of “orchids.” I’ve actually DONE some sketches (in the last month) – more than I’ve done in years.

More “reports from the front lines” to come. Especially – any word of progress on my “Orchids: Tame and Wild” collection!