The Moving Cycle’s genetic ancestry came from the Los Angeles area, where from 1970 to 1976 I took my BA in Anthropology and my MA in Dance Therapy (DT) at UCLA, while also training in the LA Gestalt Institute, and beginning to train in a movement education and bodywork form called Aston-Patterning. This cauldron of teachings, along with the zeitgeist of LA in the early 70’s, formed many of my basic values and therapeutic principles, from a deep appreciation of culture and ethnicity to the healing power of the creative movement process, and to the psychological effects of bodywork. From the age of 18 I received and learned physical, emotional, and psychological therapy techniques in an interwoven manner, techniques that I could see were bound up in sociocultural contexts.
In the late 1970's, however, after two years as a dance therapist in a state mental hospital in rural Maryland, I began to question my orientation as a clinician. When I began contemplating this feeling, I realized that I could be inspired by the nature of physical healing as it occurs ongoingly in the body, without any external help. It struck me that the healing process may be akin to watching a cut on my finger heal; an ordered process occurs even without my attending to it. Why not model therapy on the ways that the body naturally and automatically heals itself?
Thus began a four-year observation project that accelerated tremendously when in 1980 I moved to Boulder, Colorado and began teaching at Naropa University, a Buddhist-inspired college that invited me to begin a Dance/Movement Therapy Department for them. By serendipitously landing at an institution that valued and taught meditative and contemplative practices, I began to develop witnessing skills that tapped into wisdom traditions thousands of years old. I began to study with a Buddhist teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh, who is renown for his work for social justice. It was in this womb that the Moving Cycle gestated.
As I observed my students and clients, I came to see that the natural processes I was witnessing were not confined to healing, but were also the same sequences that supported growth, creativity, evolution, and transformation. Nature does not seem to separate healing from growth and creativity, but puts them on a continuum. I and my students developed the Moving Cycle work as a way to describe and then teach what I was learning from watching natural healing and organic movement in the individual.