Notes from New Life
by Ann Marie Molnar

If there’s anything that isn’t in Damanhur, it’s a dull moment. There is no end to the interesting events and people coming through here. Right now we have Julia Butterfly Hill staying with us as a guest in Tiglio. Friendly and accessible, she shares stories about her life over lunch on the patio. Over a decade after her claim to fame from living in a redwood tree for two years, she’s still traveling around doing presentations on environmental advocacy. “Damanhur is my Italian family,” she tells us.

This international exposure is one of the things I really love about Damanhur. There are folks like Julia who come to speak or do workshops. Citizens from other countries live here, plus us New Lifers, and then there are the guests that come though, visiting from all over the world.

One evening I partake in Contact with the Cosmos, an overnight ritual in the Hall of Mirrors. The event begins with a dinner where I have the opportunity to talk with a group of Israelis who are visiting and joining in the ritual. After a night of meditating in the Hall of Mirrors and the Hall of Spheres, the other participants and I emerge into the bright sunshine of Summer Solstice where the Open Temple of Damjl is vibrant with celebrations and festivities.

Shortly after Solstice, I celebrate the spirit of internationality though Ecstatic Dance. Hosted by Quaglia, this evening event combines spontaneous movement with Ecstatic Dance Damanhurmusical flavors from all around the world. Tonight, there are over a dozen of us dancing freely in the small dim-lit studio space painted with blue sky and clouds. We have Italians, Spaniards, and Argentinians. (Synchronistically, Quaglia has lined up several Latino songs ahead of time!). We also have a German, and Estonian, and a couple of other Americans thrown in. I love sailing around the room, catching an eye twinkle, and moving into momentary rhythmic entrainments with other dancers. I certainly don’t have to bother with any language barriers here.

During an opening circle before the dance, Quaglia suggested that we focus on our heartbeats. I’ve been thinking a lot about heartbeats lately, not just in physical terms but in the expanding-contracting heart-field that entrains, or not, with the heart-fields of other people, communities, and nature. So much of what I sense here is a connection of rhythms. And the dance is really a microcosm of that.

The New Life project has been transformed,
click and see the new
Lab of Life program!