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Updated: Dec 19, 2018

The emergence of Dancing Bear Medicine.

Dancing Bear by Jeff Hackney, Chapel Hill, NC

I created this website in the days leading up to the arrival of Hurricane Florence on the North Carolina coast. I apparently found myself inspired, and with little effort, this website and new "brand" emerged. I realized that I wanted to step into a "brand" that could grow with me, or that had room for me to grow within it. It could not speak to exactly what I do right now, because that will inevitably change in coming years, and would then require another re-branding. Rather, I wanted to create something that is a reflection of who I am, what I have inside of me, the gifts I have to share - my medicine. This is it - Dancing Bear Medicine. It feels like something to grow into, like I'm not quite there, I'm not quite big enough to "own" it, but it's where I'm going, it's the wind that will lift me to the heights I want to reach. It's only natural that it feels a bit too big at this moment, I take that as a good sign. And it's exciting, it feels like an exciting place to go.

The name and tagline came to me as a seed of inspiration when I was going to bed, after I had designed most of the website. I was still pondering the business name, playing off of my original name for my massage practice - Conscious Living Massage. I was stuck in the wheel of thinking I had to sum up what I do in my business name, so everyone would know what services I offer simply by hearing the name of my business. That's asking a lot of a business name! As I laid down to go to bed, I realized, maybe I'm going about this the wrong way. Because if I do the same thing as I did with Conscious Living Massage, then I'm going to confront the same issue five years from now, I'm going to feel like I've outgrown the name and need to rebrand. So I changed mental tactics and I connected in with Dancing Bear, the sculpture that has become my soul's mascot in this time of emerging anew (the story of Dancing Bear is a whole other post!). Then I thought about a word that would speak to who I am, not what I do, and immediately, "medicine" came to mind. It is a word used in the Native American tradition, and also the shamanic tradition, which speaks to the essence of a person, their unique gifts and way of seeing and being in the world. Everyone has medicine, it is that part of us that makes us unique, powerful beings, it's what people connect to when they resonate with you, or when they are drawn to you for whatever reason. It is a beautiful concept that does the word "medicine" far more justice than the pharmaceutical compounds we call "medicine" in our culture. The medicine I refer to is innate, organic and does its work wherever it is needed, in service of health and happiness. Dancing Bear is my medicine, and once the name came to me, the tagline spilled out immediately - "Reawakening to the joy of living". That, is important medicine.

It took a week, and some transformations of my internal landscape, for it to really hit me that "reawakening to the joy of living" is the exact medicine that I need right now. I thought of it as what I have to share with clients, and what I want to inspire in clients, but that process is exactly what I am stepping into in my life. In the week since creating the website, other unfoldings brought me back in touch with a blog I created back in 2010 ( At that time, I had come to a place in life where I was deeply reflecting on the years I had spent traveling abroad and I needed a place to share all of the inspiration that was brewing inside of me. I created the blog and allowed my inner world to be expressed. I only wrote for a few months before life swept me up in its arms and carried me to North Carolina with a baby in my belly, massage school in my weekly schedule, a man to build a relationship with. All of a sudden I found myself stationary and committed to multiple things and the writing went to the wayside, especially once my daughter was born. But, the little that I had written was powerful!

In revisiting that blog, I was astounded by what was inside me and how I expressed it. I blew myself away! And it was very bittersweet because I started to wonder what happened to that part of me. Where did that magic go? It was so easily accessible in those days and now it feels like I have to choose to turn on the magic switch if I want to have a little taste of it. And forget being in the flow for days on end, that's certainly not going to happen! I realized that it has been lying dormant in me while motherhood and being head-of-household took over. Not that there hasn't been magic, but I definitely shut part of that down because I didn't know how to do both, and I think it was too painful to long for that world when I was "stuck" in this world. This world is amazing, and now I see that it is time to reawaken that magical being and blend the two worlds. I feel ready to bring that piece back and still be able to have what I have here. It's not a matter of figuring out how to go back to what was, how to pick up and travel the world, unencumbered, but rather, how to bring the essence of that time - the magic, the inspiration - into the life I have created for myself here, in North Carolina. A life which I love, and which I am so proud of because I have created it with intention, in service of me, my daughter, my relationship, my family and my unique medicine. I have slowly added the pieces that have needed to be added, I have slowly matured and learned how to take responsibility for life and also have fun. And now it's time to crank up the fun to the next level!

It's time to step into Dancing Bear, to become the dancing bear and reawaken to the joy of living. Because what is the point of living, if we're not going to celebrate the pleasures of being in these human bodies? I know other people may be on this planet with a different purpose that pulls at their hearts strings, and that's beautiful, we need our differences, but this is MY medicine, this is the purpose that pulls at MY hearts strings - to be present here, in this body, responsible for who I am and what I do, taking care of my family and enjoying the pleasures of life. I want to figure out how to do it all together, with grace and ease and laughter and love and joy, and then I want to share it with all of you, to help you tap into it as well. Because it's not a matter of avoiding the hard stuff, not feeling the uncomfortable feelings, pretending that only happiness and love exist in the world and refusing to look at what we don't like. It's about learning how to do it all, how to cope with the tough times and feel the uncomfortable feelings, how to reach out to our community when we need help, how to speak up for ourselves to our loved ones and still be able to love them, how to seek to understand each other and find a solution that works for everyone, because we are creative beings, capable of solving any problem we encounter, if we'll simply work together. It's about showing up for life and letting life shower us with love and abundance!

One of the coolest things I noticed when I went back and read my blog from 2010 is that all of the deepest beliefs I had then are still a huge part of my message's about the beauty, it's about paying attention to life and the world, honoring all of the world and knowing that we are only a speck in the big picture, but we are a valuable speck in the big picture, a speck which the Creator chose to create, which inherently gives us importance. We are no more or less important than any other being on this planet, but that's not to say we're not important. It's to say we are all SO VITALLY IMPORTANT and we all deserve to be seen, heard, loved and celebrated. I'm here to do my part in spreading that intention in the world.

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