February News from DUPNA!
View this email in your browser
Winter scene from Colville, WA
Winter can be a time for quietude…a reminder of the cyclical nature of life, and that there is a “season for everything under heaven"...a time for reflection, slowing down, breathing deeply, considering the months to come...looking forward to the exquisite burst of spring!

We may be preparing inwardly for some way to embody our Truth, to live out the true meaning of Love, Harmony, and Beauty in the world around us. We need this time and space for reflection, this time to recharge and revivify for the road ahead. But, for now, for this moment, winter offers the sweetness of the reverie of tranquility and peace… 
Dancers enjoying winter on the beach at the
Puerto Morelos, Mexico Dance camp
Photo by Sky Majida Roshay, February 2017
The Peace of Wild Things
by Wendell Berry
 When despair for the world grows in me 
 and I wake in the night at the least sound 
 in fear of what my life and
my children's lives may be, 
 I go and lie down where the wood drake 
 rests in his beauty on the water,
and the great heron feeds. 
 I come into the peace of wild things 
 who do not tax their lives with forethought 
 of grief. I come into the presence of still water. 
 And I feel above me the day-blind stars 
 waiting with their light. For a time 
 I rest in the grace of the world, and am free. 

       Taking Action:  Walking Meditation          
Through our connection to the works of Samuel L. Lewis, we, in the Dances of Universal Peace community have access to a powerful tool for direct action and healing.  S.A.M. used Walks as a means of working on all the elements of the inner school of Sufism wherein practices are done to attain realization.  Concentration, visualization, use of breath, use of heart and the ability to attune to different forces in the universe are developed.              

The times we are living in are calling many of us to direct action on the political/communal front.   Our spiritual practices are a balance for the intense energies roving everywhere around us and within us and Walking Meditation can be done anywhere at anytime.  It is something we can do alone or in groups and it is calming, centering and healing,  If we have opportunity to study these practices in depth, we also can teach them to others and in this way bring more light and strength into our world.            

In a letter Murshid Sam states “One began teaching spirituality through the Walk...developed in two directions: extentionally and intentionally; in the extentional walk, disciples learned to climb hills and mountains and walk long distances...without fatigue..  the sacred phrases needed for these are comparatively few. But then the question arose.. couldn't these Wazifas be used to help humanity in its greater education, purification and development?”            

In the beginning these were the Sifat-i-Allah Walks, a Walking Meditation using the Divine Attributes.  Many of us have learned some of these, especially Ya Rahim, Ya Rahman, Ya Fattah, Alhumdulillah, Ya Hayy, Ya Haqq.  If done in a circle with others, the group walks counter-clockwise without holding hands.  This enables each person to experience the Divine Attribute deeply, combining feeling, movement and recitation of the sacred phrase.  The position of the hands should be carefully regarded, and also care taken to pronounce the Divine phrases fully enunciating all the vowels and consonants, developing the benefits that come to the devotees who contemplate the deep meaning of each phrase. Like the Dances, it's always best to learn these Walks from a teacher.              

In further essays we will discuss many other Walks taught by Murshid.  The one he gave most to his disciples was the Toward the One Walk.  He said it is for self protection and accomplishment.  A basic method of silent, personal, Walking Meditation is to take two or three steps for each in-breath and each out-breath repeating the sacred phrase internally, once for the inhalation and again for the exhalation.  Bring your attention also to the soles of your feet and connect to the present moment; each step brings us to the present moment.  Thus we approach the state of mindfulness where we become fully alive, fully present.  Walking Meditation helps us to do that easily.  The Toward the One Walk is grounding and empowering.  This practice of visualization and concentration is an effective tool for ourselves and in our world.

Take me to the Top
Re-Visioning English as a Language of
Peace and Prayer
​by Sky Majida Roshay

People arrived at the annual Mexico Dance Camp with a greater than usual degree of anxiety and despair, not surprisingly. Both Bernie and I had, ahead of time, chosen more English Dances than we would usually lead, which we incorporated into the sessions along with mantric Dances. Over the course of the week, as we sang our prayers and our practices in English, I noticed people’s anxiety levels drop, and their ability to move into a space of joy and connection increase. 

Mantric Dances offer us the opportunity to sink deep within our Selves, to return to our center and raise our vibration. This helps heal individual trauma, as we know. This year, people at the [annual] Mexico Dance Camp arrived with a fairly high level of cultural trauma, which I would define as involving how one interacts with the culture and people around them - interpersonal. During the week, we Danced both mantric and English Dances, and I saw how the prayers, practices and hopes expressed through the English Dances were helping people heal and allowed them to regain their vernacular (English) as a language of prayer, peace and power. The shift in the energy of participants over the course of the week was amazing.
Northern Colorado dancer Lynda Jai Bidlake
in Washington for the Women's March
 Peace Dancers Reflect
on the Women's March

by Lynda Jai Bidlake, Sukaynah Holly Levinson, and Jen Friedman


A Peace Dancer goes to D.C.
~*~ By Lynda Jai Bidlake ~*~
(Loveland, CO)

We take our worldview, our values and our beliefs about what is important with us wherever we go. Sometimes we see these reflected in the eyes and words of strangers around us and sometimes we don’t. 

In the Dances of Universal Peace I am immersed in a warm pool of like-minded folks.  Sure, we are individuals with many differences – and that is the point, that we are inclusive.  I doubt if anyone who Dances on a regular basis has a serious issue with the phrase “Toward the One.”  And we assume goodwill and kindness amongst each other.  If someone stumbles or fumbles, they are met with good grace and a helping hand.  We look into each others’ eyes, and we smile.

            I felt some of the same at the Women’s March on Washington D.C., even though there were hundreds of thousands of us, mostly strangers.  For one thing, people were kind to each other.  I have been to protests, rallies and marches since 1970 – and this may have been the kindest group I have ever encountered.  Even when suddenly (after over four hours of standing) we were told that it was time to march, and first to all walk north in a swarm over the National Mall – even then, I didn’t see any pushing and shoving.  I heard “You go first,” and “Are you okay?” and “Don’t go that way, it’s really muddy.”  There were small children and elderly women, and people in wheelchairs – and those around them naturally accommodated them and assisted them when needed.

   Inclusiveness was evident in the rally, too. One of the organizers was a Muslim woman wearing a hijab.  There were women of color.  The speeches referenced and supported LGBTQ people, immigrants and different nationalities.The inclusiveness – the big pool – showed in our beliefs, in the signs we carried.  Here there were definite differences.  The organizers had stressed that this event was not to be against anyone or any political group, but for the women and human rights that are under threat.  However, it proved impossible not to spill over from one into the other, because it was the election that put the rights under threat (or increased existing threats), or so it was perceived.  This was reflected in many of the speeches and signs, some of which were passionately “anti-”.  But this ended up feeling like two sides of the same coin; or, as one of our songs says, we are like drops of rain flowing to the same ocean.  The different messages did not conflict.

           Click here to continue reading Lynda Jai's reflection

Take me to the top

Unity in Community March in St. Augustine, FL, January 2017
photos by the St. Augustine Record
Unity in Community
~*~ by Sukaynah Holly Levinson ~*~
(St. Augustine, FL)

I grew up in New York City, a child of the 60’s generation. I marched in New York City and on Washington. In the early 70’s I lived at the Twin Oaks community, a 50 year old intentional community in Virginia. I still believe that the vision and the activism of the 60’s generation was effective, is being carried forth in the current generation of young people, and I’m proud to have been a part of it. I continue to hold and work for the dream of a truly egalitarian society and world.

I moved to the small, but lively historic arts town of St. Augustine, FL (population 13,000) in 2000. When I moved here I didn’t realize how little cultural diversity there would be nor did I realize how little diversity there would be in political viewpoints. Due to county and regional demographics and Florida’s election rules, I often feel as if I have no voice with my vote. I do however actively participate in the economic-social-political process through membership in several community groups and the spiritual communities including our Dances of Universal Peace circles throughout Northern Florida.

During my time in this area, I have rarely seen large crowds gather in support of ideals. Over the last five to ten years, a small committed group of community members sought to change that and began holding meetings exploring the topic of compassion. The original group consisted of several religious leaders, mothers, political and environmental activists, artists and musicians. We have made such progress over the years in bringing diverse people together to explore compassion and learn about one another that St. Augustine is now a Charter of Compassion city, has an active Interfaith Council, and a thriving Compassion in Action group.

That group had two recent successes in confronting intolerance and xenophobia in our community. Last year, the Islamic Center in St. Augustine was the site of daily protests by people who believed that Muslims had no place in our country. In another incident, a billboard advertisement was taken out by a local white nationalist group saying that Sharia Law was taking over our country. The Compassion in Action group decided to bake cookies and bring them to the protesters at the Islamic Center. After this friendly, compassionate and non-threatening gesture, the protesters ceased their protest. Bolstered by this achievement, a coalition of related groups staged a sit-in and demonstration in front of the billboard and succeeded in having the billboard removed. Two encouraging, victorious instances of engaged activism demonstrating the power of love and compassion. Alhamdulillah!

It was against this backdrop that the residents of our sweet seaside town and the greater St. John's County (population 190,000) came together to march on January 21st as a sister event to the Women’s March in Washington called “Unity in Community.”  The evening before the march, our local Dance circle came together and dedicated songs and prayers to the events happening throughout the world and in our community. On the day of the march, over 2,000 people peacefully gathered together. We marched and sang songs of love and peace (including “Imagine”, “We Shall Overcome” and “The Times They are a’ Changin'“).

Click here to continue reading Sukaynah's reflection.

Take me to the Top
View of Civic Center Park at the Denver Women's March,
January 2017, photo by The Denver Post
Singing & Dancing for Peace in Denver and D.C.
~*~ by Jen Friedman ~*~
(Longmont, CO)

Following the 2016 election, I immediately felt called to go to Washington D.C. to sing and pray for healing, peace, and wisdom at our democracy’s revered sites.  When the Women’s March on Washington was announced, I felt that strong internal “yes!”  I knew that I would be involved, but I didn’t think I would be going to D.C. for it.  A few days later, I saw an announcement for a conference called Sister Giant, on the intersection of spirituality and politics hosted by Marianne Williamson and Derrick Harkins (Vice-Pres. of Union Theological Seminary) to be held in D.C.  “A-ha!”  This was it, I'm going to Washington after all, I thought and I made the internal commitment to go to the conference.  A few days later, I was asked to co-lead a group of singers during the Denver March and a few days after that I was asked by a fellow interfaith minister and Iliff School of Theology alum to lead Dances of Universal Peace at an Interfaith Celebration Circle that was to be held in conjunction with the Denver March. Everything was falling perfectly into place!

Our song circle met three times prior to the Denver March and we began each circle with a personal check-in and then sang some of the songs that we would be singing on the day of the March. I led one dance at each song circle which helped us bond even deeper with each other and feel in our bodies that sense of commitment and connection to what we were doing and why we were doing it.

I could feel the love and support from the greater community of dancers as I made plans for the Denver March and the Sister Giant conference. I invited donations from our local and Mountain West regional Dance community to support myself and another dancer to go to Sister Giant and also another dancer to go to the Washington D.C. March. We received generous donations, emails and letters of support and gratitude. We also received sacred icons from dancers to be left in Washington to imbue that place with hope, love, peace, and healing. Idaho Dance leader Zareen Connie Delaney knitted pink hats for all three of us and more for me to distribute at the Denver March.

The day of the March was so awesome. The energy and excitement in the air was palpable. They thought there would be between 20-40,000 people and they got between 150,000-200,000! We weren’t sure that we’d be able to march because there were so many of us. Social media began to circulate photos of the other Marches happening all over the country and the world. I felt so much hope and joy that we were all out standing together for our Truth as a people. I believe that each and every person has inherent worth and dignity. We should be moving toward more equality for all people and not less. Love is love. Our democracy is worth standing up for. Our earth is sacred. And, Kindness is everything! If there was any question about it up until that point, that day affirmed just how many people hold those same values.

Click here to continue reading Jen's reflection.
Northern Colorado dancers join a song circle at the Interfaith Celebration at the Denver Women's March,
January 2017, photo by Frank Albert
Click here to support DUPNA with a donation
It all begins with the heart...
Puerto Morelos, MX Dance camp February 2017
If you know of dancers or Dance leaders who are involved in any projects that are putting Peace into Action in their communities, please let us know so we can share their stories and inspirations with our regional Dance family. If you have any other contributions that you think would be of benefit to our community, including any haiku, articles, videos or photos please email them to

The Board and Staff
Dances of Universal Peace North America

In This Issue:

  1. Taking Action: Walking Meditation
  2. Peace Dancers Reflect on the Women's Marches
  3. Song of the Month: Singing a New World into Existence
  4. Video of the Month: How Beautiful this Moment
  5. Re-Visioning English as a Language of Peace & Prayer
  6. Dances at the Lincoln Memorial
  7. Gratitude for Donations
  8. Dances with an Attunement to Wazifas and Walking
  9. Dance Recording Project Help Needed
  10. Upcoming Events
Song of the Month:

Singing a New World into Existence

 a new Dance originated by
Bernie Heideman and led at the Dance camp in Puerto Morelos, Mexico, February 2017

Take me to the Top
A Few Dances with Wazifas and Walking Attunement:

Alhamdulillah Round Dance

Bismallah Dance with Partners

Three Wazifas Dance

Ya Jamil Dance

Ya Hayy Ya Haqq Dance

Ya Hayyo Ya Qayyum

Take me to the Top
How Beautiful This Moment
Video of the Month:

How Beautiful this Moment

originated by Bernie Heideman and led at the Puerto Morelos, Mexico Dance camp in

Take me to the Top
Dance Recording Project Help Needed

We are seeking one, or more, people who enjoy recording music at events to contribute to our Song of the Month feature.  Rahmana has been the pipeline for music the past several years, and she has completed her service on the board.  We would like to keep the flow of music coming, as this is one of our most enjoyed highlights of the newsletter. 

Please contact Rahmana at if you can help.

Take me to the Top
Dances for Universal Peace Washington DC
Jen Friedman teaching the "Healing Time" Dance originated by Bernie Heideman at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. with participants of the Sister Giant conference following a sunrise meditation at the monument in February 2017.
Click here to support DUPNA with a donation
Gratitude for Donations

DUPNA would like to thank the following circles and events for their dana from their events and gatherings to help further the work of DUPNA and outreach of the Dances. May you be blessed in return! Ya Shakur!

Asheville, NC Dance circle

Sedona, AZ Dance circle

Willits, CA Dance circle

Maui, HI Dance circle

Tucson, AZ Dance circle

Salem, OR Dance circle

Ottawa, ON Canada Dance circle

Santa Cruz, CA Dance circle

Although the Holiday Card project is our main fundraiser, we appreciate donations from other sources.

Tithing from donations gathered at your dance circles or from one-time dance events has become an important donation stream for us since our organizational restructuring. 

Take me to the Top
Click here to watch a short video on the Dances at the National Cathedral in Washington D.C. in January 2015
Silver Spring, MD dancer Julie Klopp giving "Free Hugs"
Click here to read an article about Silver Spring, Maryland dancer Julie Klopp's experience with the "Free Hugs" movement in Washington D.C.
Veterans hugging with the "Free Hugs" project
Upcoming Events in Our Region

Joyful Journey Dance Weekend
with Bernie and Sky
March 10-12
Moffat, CO

Sky Roshay


Nurturing the Heart/Caring for the World
Jamiat Aam
with Pir Shabda Kahn, Darvesha MacDonald, Allaudin Ottinger
March 23-26
Madison, WI



Spring Renewal: The Call of the Great Mother Wisdom
with Abraham and Halima Sussman
March 24-26
Durham, NC

NurRahmana Julie Purcell


Making Friends with Ourselves: A Journey into Wholeness
with Matin Mize
March 25-26
Tucson, AZ

Ishwara Thomas


Active Hope:
Healing Our Planet and Ourselves, Dancing the Spiral

with Amina and Arif
March 31-April 2
Deerfield, MA

Arif Leininger


Dance Retreat with Grace Marie
March 31-April 1
Nelson, British Columbia

Kabir McKinnon


Return to the Heart of the Dances
with Saadi and Tasnim
April 21-23
Tacoma, WA

Farishta Karen Lindsay


Live at Lava, Spring Camp
April 21-23
Lava Hot Springs, ID

Zareen Connie Delaney


Musicianship Training plus Public Retreat
with Anahata Iradah
April 27-30
Newton, IA

Morgan Rivers


Wind Spirit Dance Camp
with Shivadam, Darvesha, and Bernie Skydrummer
April 27-30
Winkelman, AZ



Heaven on Earth: Planting Divine Qualities, Harvesting the Blessings
with Anahata Iradah
April 29-30
Newton, IA
Morgan Rivers


Spring Canyonlands Dance Camp
with Sky Majida and Bernie Heideman
May 3-8
Moab, UT

Sky Roshay


Dancing on the Garden Path: Embodied Awakening
with Murshida Darvesha MacDonald
May 12-14
Asheville, NC

Tarana Wesley


Inland Northwest Sufi Camp
May 26-29
Coeur d'Alene, ID

Barbara Bent


Ozark Sufi Camp
with Grace Marie and Shivadam and friends
May 26-31
Osage Beach, MO

Gayan Angela Galik


Southwest Sufi Camp with guest teacher Murshida Mariam Baker
July 26-30
near Silver City, NM


The Crestone Experience
with Wonder Bob, Jen Friedman, and Bernie Skydrummer
July 27-30
Crestone, CO

Wonder Bob


Dances of Universal Peace Summer Retreat
with Maitreya Jon Stevens
August 4-6
Fort Wayne, IN

Liz Monnier


Save the Date:
Singing a New World into Existence/
Living From the Heart
Wilderness Dance Camp
with Grace Marie, Aslan Scott Sattler,
Bernie, Narayan, and Zareen
Aug. 20-26
Flathead Lake, MT


Click Here to view and bookmark a complete listing of events at our One-Time Events calendar at the DUPNA website

Take me to the Top 
In the Midst of a World
Rev. Dr. Rebecca Parker

In the midst of a world
marked by tragedy
and beauty
there must be those
who bear witness
against unnecessary destruction
and who, with faith,
rise and lead
in freedom,
with grace and power.

There must be those
who speak honestly
and do not avoid
seeing what must be
seen of sorrow and
outrage, or tenderness,
and wonder.

There must be those
whose grief ­troubles
the water while their
voices sing and speak
refreshed worlds.
There must be those
whose exuberance
rises with lovely energy
that articulates
earth’s joys.

There must be those
who are restless for
respectful and loving
companionship among human beings,
whose presence invites ­
people to be themselves without fear.

There must be those
who gather with the congregation
of remembrance and
compassion, draw water from
old wells, and walk the ­simple path
of love for neighbor.

There must be communities of ­people
who seek to do justice,
love kindness and walk humbly with God,
who call on the strength of
to heal,
and bless life.
 New DUP logo banner for sale
New Logo Banners!

Many thanks to Lucinda Abbe for designing our new color scheme. These banners are hand batiked in Bali. If you would like to purchase one, please send a check for $40.00 to our office, DUPNA, PO Box 6372, Longmont, CO 80501

Please write "logo banner" in the Notes section on your check.
Copyright © 2017 Dances of Universal Peace North America, All rights reserved.

unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences 

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp