A Party for the Mind, Body and Soul

A great party needs a mix of ingredients for it to click, for it to enter the vortex of connection, effortless enjoyment and the possibility of transformation. That mix is dependent on the variety of people attending, the range of activities and points of engagement on offer, and how the energy of the event is being directed and flowing.

This blog is about my personal insights into an ambitious gathering for the celebration of Ed Cooke’s 40th birthday, a man who describes himself as a Party Philosopher, in a magical place San Pancho, Mexico. A theme was set for each of the 3 days, ‘The Day of the Mind’, ‘The Day of the Body’, and ‘The Day of the Soul’, which created an underlying intention of focus to be explored.

The Day of the Mind

(@quote_coat on insta, amazing account, promise)

Present at the party were poets, philosophers, business leaders… intellectuals galore. I observed a lot of these brainy people from different backgrounds talking about big topics throughout the party. They have a way with words, playing with concepts, weaving the sounds made by their mouths into meaning, creatively putting together sentences in the moment using words as their colour palette, plucking ideas from their experiences or books they have read and merging them, connecting them and bringing them into a new existence. A conversation being a dance between two people as their mouths open and exchange words, twirling each other’s perspectives on the subject, then gliding into new related subjects seamlessly, an endless adventure to explore the collective’s thoughts, following and leading, contrasting, agreeing, moving forward where the thought process takes you.

I perceive this as a dance of the mind.

The Day of the Body

What I gravitate towards more is not words but the dance of the actual body. It is in some ways similar to conversation, but the body does the talking through movements. Someone may be dominating on the dance floor, leading the way with each gyration and pulse of limbs to the beat, setting the tone for the movement conversation. We may break out into pairs for more one on one intimate conversation, where our moves are matched and we feel attuned to that person, just like how a particular topic in conversation may light us up and we want to go deeper to explore that subject matter further. We may naturally manoeuvre round the party talking or dancing with different people, enjoying different vibes, with different connections of the mind or body emerging with each person we attune to; small groups, big groups, pairs. The conversation of the mind could be about cryptocurrencies, psychedelics, politics; the conversation of the body could be playful, sensual, intense, jerky or hypnotic.

The mind explores thoughts manifested into words, the body explores emotions which come through as expression.

With the mind we can pluck ideas from other thought leaders, authors, scientists, whom we can make references to. With dance, we can adopt moves from established recognised dances as reference points, or we can express an emotion that we have tapped into and see if it resonates and is recognised by another. The merging of ideas or being inspired by new concepts via words, or seeing and feeling the movements of someone expressing an emotion is all part of enjoying what is created at a party.

The Day of the Soul

This day we went beyond the mind and the body. We hiked through a lush jungle to the heart of a sacred site to visit Alta Vista ancient petroglyphs. The Tecoxquines (2300–2000BC), are thought to have carved the symbols to communicate directly with their gods. It was beyond doubt a very special site where I could feel the magical energy. Some shamans held space for a beautiful ceremony where we drank water and became the water, and we washed each other’s feet to honour each other. We swam nude in the natural pools, we scrambled on the rocks and we watched the sun go down. I became very aware of the elements: the coolness of the natural water, the flickering and colours of the fire, the lushness of the jungle, and the twinkling stars in the sky framed by the palm trees. We were all perched on rocks which made for a natural amphitheatre, so a ‘variety show’ was suggested by the birthday boy, and in his usual cheeky way, he invited me up to start an impromptu show.

I walked and jokingly did a sort of ‘Carry On’ film cutesy type wiggle, a playful energy I am comfortable to portray. (What can I say, I am channelling a modern Marilyn Monroe…) But that wasn’t relevant to the setting. I spotted the eyes of all the people around me and I could feel the energy of attention focused to a point on me. This is what happens at parties, there are periods of transition in between key experiences, and we wait for those unified moments where there is a FOCUS — we move between seeking the next moment, reshuffling to find it, and then bingo, we experience another key moment. This could be where we all lie down a watch a light show (thanks Shelby!), we see a performance, we listen to a speech, or we all dance to the same beat. The synchronisation where the collective consciousness is together, we are all one for that moment.

But right then and there, here was my moment to create union. I pushed my weight into the ground to pull up the energy from the land and sprinkled magic on the people around me with my fingers, and as I was doing that I was feeling a tingling in my body. I intuitively wanted to communicate how strongly I was feeling about the moment through an embodied performance. I looked around me at the seriously epic surroundings, that of the most spectacular movie set, it really was so grand and buzzing with aliveness. I was connecting with nature around me, aware of the creatures of the jungle, and I could sense the ancestors were with us, and all the spirits had gathered here on this special day. I looked up and announced astonishingly to everyone how this place and this moment was simply EPIC. I felt at one with the Earth and I was completely overwhelmed with awe for the beauty I was seeing. I was overcome about how lucky I was to experience this, for Ed’s celebration for his 40 laps round the sun, a person I admire who managed to have pulled off such a gathering. This was my top of Mount Everest / wedding day celebration / discovery of a new planet / reaching no.1 in the album charts moment, of unbelievable magnificent wonder and joy. (No I hadn’t ‘achieved’ anything, but I have reached the feelings you get when one achieves greatly.)

The vibration came through my body strongly! I was embodying all that I was seeing and feeling and it felt incredible. And I offered my body to the land, to the amazing people gathered, and to the party, and in my offering I was no longer in control of my body. I allowed source to come through me, and it was a powerful force, I saw white light and felt a huge rush of energy pour out of me in a flash. I instinctively fell backwards to the floor, and surrendered to the enormity of the moment. I had landed into the juicy arms of the jungle and my whole being became a vibration of orgasmic cosmic energy. I remembered my power, and how I have tapped into letting God come through me, channelling it as an offering for the ‘Day of the Soul’.

In retrospect, I realise now that is the role of a performance artist — embodying the feelings you want to describe and portraying it to others. Although I have no idea how it looked to others, as I was no longer really aware of a show. It wasn’t cutesy, sexy, funny, it was a pure expression of my soul’s interaction with the greatness of what I felt. An offering of my soul to the moment, an embodiment of surrender to the universe. And my word, what a glorious and powerful thing to have experienced!

My offering was the first one and it was short, but I hope it in some way gave permission to others to express their connections to soul / source / spirit in the ‘variety show’ set in the sacred jungle.

My soul experienced something transcendent, my body was revealing it to others and here is my mind’s reflection on it, putting it into words. And I believe the interplay between mind, body and soul is the most interesting thing of all…and best explored through the freedom and exploration of a party, full of amazing open people, in an epic location, and with time to go deep on a journey.

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Iona McNeil

Curious explorer of life. Lover of dance, festivals, quirky stuff, spirituality, and seeking out all the joy. Diaries are for introverts.