Gapingvoid Sacred Dance and Survival Dance


  • “Harley Swift Deer, a Native American teacher, says that each of us has a survival dance and a sacred dance, but the survival dance must come first. Our survival dance, a foundational component of self-reliance, is what we do for a living our way of supporting ourselves physically and economically. For most people, this means a paid job. For members of a religious community like a monastery, it means social or spiritual labors that contribute to the community’s well-being. For others, it means creating a home and raising children, finding a patron for one’s art, or living as a hunter or gatherer. Everybody has to have a survival dance. Finding and creating one is our first task upon leaving our parents’ or guardians’ home. Once you have your survival dance established, you can wan­der, inwardly and outwardly, searching for clues to your sacred dance, the work you were born to do. This work may have no relation to your job. Your sac­red dance sparks your greatest fulfilment and extends your truest service to others. You know you’ve found it when there’s little else you’d rather be doing. Getting paid for it is superfluous. You would gladly pay others, if necessary, for the opportunity.” – Hugh MacLeod

One of the things we are most proud of as parents is that our two children, Isley and Chase, have embraced both the Sacred Dance (poetry/playwriting and sound composition) as well as the Survival Dance (financial self-sufficiency through day jobs as a life model and barista). What is also curious and coincidental, is that the dialogue in Hugh’s cartoon (see above) echoes one of the most heated debate our two children have on the subject of commercializing art. In the end, who cares? If you have your Survival Dance, you can choose to get paid or not for the Sacred one.

Leaders dance the sacred dance; Managers dance the survival dance.