What’s Strictly got to do with Waking Up?!

Why watch Strictly when I love silence & stillness at the end of a day?

It may surprise you – Strictly has much in common with Secret Garden’s awakening work (and Secret Garden of course invites and gives you many vitalising things that Strictly does not!)

It’s very interesting what others can assume about freedom and how it expresses embodied in a human being. For example, lots of people think I never watch tv. That’s not true, though I watch tv perhaps a very few hours each week, and only choose ‘the best’ things to watch. Usually drama with a high quality script (I graduated in English Literature and Psychology) and David Attenborough (have spent a lot of time in wilderness), though something that is essential weekly viewing in the run up to Christmas is…….Strictly! Now you may love this or hate it, (it is the ONLY ‘reality tv’ I watch) And I highly recommend bringing discernment to whether and how often the tv is switched on. So, why watch Strictly when I love silence and stillness at the end of a day?

I have always loved to dance though the time and inclination to prioritise it enough to get any better than being able to dance socially isn’t there – and it’s a delight to watch superb professional dancers. But I doubt I would be drawn to watch other dance programmes.

Several key elements make Strictly uniquely appealing.

The ‘journey’

Strictly is so much about the relating between teacher and student. The ‘journey’ of learning, then embodying what is learned.

Expertise in any area is always hard-won. Just as in the awakening journey, freedom can be preceded by awakenings then the painful return of separation, (though, ultimately, it is seen that there is no cause and effect and never was), in expert dance too, the essentials are passion and commitment over many, many years (for most men and women anyway). It is common in the new age marketplace for human beings to seek endless new experiences. Often this is actually an avoidance of the truth of pain, the pain of facing into apparently real limitation, being truly seen by those who actually matter, the why should I’s? and blinkered seeing.

Pride, fear and wanting to escape can get in the way of continuing a committed transformational journey and intimate relating with one who has intimate understanding of the journey.

The Man Who Preferred Something Other than God

There is a story of a man who, after a long time seeking and enquiring, finds that he is outside the entrance to God’s house. He learns that he must remove his shoes before he can meet God. He hesitates. Instead of going through the gateway, he keeps his shoes on and quietly tiptoes away from God, from realisation of the Freedom That Is. The story reminds us that paying a price is not easy for the prideful, conditioned self and so sadly someone can prefer to sneak away than go through the cost of losing the defences. Indulging the addiction to seeking here, there and everywhere is so much less growthful than finding and the mind can cleverly justify staying separate. The defences can so easily be mistaken for the prize. Guidance and expertise is needed to lessen the odds of that happening.

Secret Garden is rare. It is the end of the road in transformational work. Yet fully supports your engagement in ordinary Western life, while encouraging you to keep letting go of defences and known territory you no longer need.


Strictly and Secret Garden alike create a strong community, that which comes from shared passion and shared learnings. Community that supports everyone-at all stages of transformation- to learn and shine.

And then helps each man and woman to dig deeper and find the extra commitment to move beyond selfish considerations and demands, and find the generosity beyond judgement, competitiveness and games.

Community that holds each man and woman in their breakthroughs and in the vulnerability, maybe the tears of tough struggle or loss, or hopelessness, as they move towards more light and soft empty receptivity.

Community that allows safe space to make mistakes and practice the skills that support consciousness – full ownership of projections and pains, transparency, vulnerable communication.

Community that sustains the tender work of opening the ignited heart, to receive all of human nature in self and others and all of life in its challenge and magnificence.

Community that grows the capacity to give and love anyway. It’s the same human strength that the Strictly community give to each other, as they aim for the glitter ball yet discover so much on their way.

Commitment and surrender anyway

Strictly and Secret Garden are so much about commitment anyway. So much about surrender and love. These qualities are essential to sustain men and women along the journey they undertake in order to excel in their unique dance.

Sometimes dancing – and being alive – hurts. Sometimes there is a sense of not understanding, or being out of one’s depth, or ‘I just can’t’. The celebrity Strictly student and the Secret Garden participant must surrender to greater wisdom, experience and unconditional love while they learn and reveal more of who they are. Not easy in this age of ‘me-ism’ and ‘selfies’!

This surrender is not a loss. It is great gain. It is the prize of learning to trust what and who is beyond you, so that your life can expand to levels the mind cannot guess at.  Our Western culture generally doesn’t support truth. It doesn’t in its woundedness like perceived authority and expertise much either!

Craig gets booed when he tries to share his expert wisdom. Craig is (underneath his play of, and sometimes real, grumpiness) always looking for truth, authenticity, immaculate awakeness and passion – qualities so important in truly creative living. Darcy elegantly delivers incisive feedback and inspires a new level of grace and kindness. Bruno inflames and encourages, always looking for depth and the capacity to listen to life’s music. Exprtise is a shortcut to your excellence.

The relationship between a dance student and experienced professional dance teacher and/or expert judge has so much in common with that between us in circles. ‘Students’ is the wrong word because this is the most intimate, there is no separation. Free being is drawn to ‘share’ with – only apparent – others.

Just as a dance student must learn how on earth to move their body in the seemingly impossible ways the dance demands, so in circle there are so many layers of deeper and deeper receptivity, listening to life and being life, that at the beginning can feel unusual and sometimes as the journey continues, demanding of your very best, of more depth and resilience ,as you surrender mind to the heart’s silence,  than you thought you ever had. And that’s ok! In fact it is perfectly beautiful. Humanity is all colours of being, and all colours are welcome. Just as Strictly celebrates Russell Grant and Abbey Clancy (past winner), equally.

The alive explorations of both dance and human transformation are rich, they can be gruelling, they take time, in the story of being human. The teacher and expert must stay with the journeyer with patience, heart and humility. Every man and woman I’ve met in a circle has a place in my heart forever. This is about love.

The professional dance experts feel true joy and delight when their student gets through the hard stuff and finds a way to live sheer beauty in dance. It is exactly the same as the joy and delight I feel when the resistances fall away and beauty, clarity and love is lived in the circle to a depth a man or woman – or both – haven’t found before. Life is never quite the same for that man or woman after that. It is more beautiful. More innocent. More true. And the potential reward of Life As It Is is always there.

Amazement, wonder and surprise

In Secret Garden, the structures, whether alone, in pairs, small circle or large circle, are intended always as an individual enquiry, even if ‘other’ is apparently involved. When there is surrender to the structures, they surprise the separate self into seeing through new eyes, hearing with new ears, feeling with new sensitivities. Amazement, wonder and surprise are potentially gateways beyond self. So is depth. So is humour. Dance and circles can have all of these, at times.

Some of the Strictly pairings can touch near perfection technically, yet can leave the judges or viewer unmoved. There must be the essence of pure life in the dance, to truly open the door to magic, for the audience and the dancer.

Meditation and being is not about a technical mastery though the basics of meditation and conscious living have to be grasped, clumsily at first, like dance steps. Striving and intention and willingness to own and embrace pain are necessary as the journey begins and unfolds.  Meditation is being, ultimately – life itself, empty of self. It’s all love. Life is the most extraordinary gift, the dance of being is worth its costs. Striving, challenge, pain, revelation of wonder. When they too fall away, there is simply what was, always, all ways. What Is.

I am invariably deeply moved by the endeavour, and the love, both – in Strictly and in circles. And in Secret Garden the readiness for waking up to the miracle wondrousness of What Is

Man and Woman

Man and woman (or in same gender relating, male-female) are irresistibly drawn to each other. Life itself is essence-ially source expressed as  male and female infinitely dancing as all there is.

When man and woman are individuated and all the ‘stuff’, fear and striving is seen simply for what it is and falls away, they can serve beingness to each other; the relating is purely energetic, a dance free of self. Just a few times, in Strictly, something happens between the dancers where time and the world stands still. Electric aliveness is all there is. Man – woman electric magic.


It occurs to me that the Strictly Glitter Ball looks like higher self as described in some of the obscure Hawaiian enlightenment chants. The ultimate prize is total freedom and embodied integration. Only in the realisation of this do we dance aliveness. For no reason.

One of the dance teachers on Strictly was asked recently why he felt his student should win the competition. He said ‘’Because I look into her eyes and see her love of dance’’. This is something that is absolutely the truth of how it is for Joy in Secret Garden – the greatest riches are in seeing and feeling the love of truth beyond self. The fire in someone’s eyes and the silence in their heart. That is why I continue to do what I do!

And this cannot be taught. It can only be ignited and transmitted. It takes great humility, courage and commitment in a dance student and a circle participant both, to receive the tough, sometimes hurtful and unarguable lessons of life and then take action in new ways. It takes passion and committment to come to open large enough to receive the frightening possibility that you might just be, and always were, ‘trailing clouds of glory’*.

You. Utterly magnificent.

 *Look up the source poem – Wordsworth Ode on Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood. This is sheer genius evocation of the pain (when the glimpses go away for a while) and joy (when celestial light is apparent) of the awakening journey.

Endless love,


P.S Who do I want to win Strictly this year? Beauty, realness, love, joy embodied – Stacey and Kevin!! 🙂 or any of these warriors of beauty and love.

P.P.S. Come dance your aliveness at the New Year Retreat – just 2 places left so book yours now! I hope to be with you, in the next circle. We have only two places remaining.

Purchase Home exploration trainings at our Store, here

Please share this post if you enjoyed it. Your comments and Questions are welcome below.



Beautiful beautiful beautiful. I Woke up this morning and this was The first thing I read. Thank you Mel for forward img joy’ blog to me x


Thank you – so glad you enjoyed this Philip! (I see you didn’t get the mailout – if you aren’t signed up to receive them, you can go to Newsletter Sign Up at https://secretgarden.co.uk/backup/signup (and you get a free, life transforming Essence Awakening E-book & 3 training videos as well! :))

A joy to hear from you! Here’s to the dance! xx

Bruce Aitken

Hi Joy ❤ I’ve just read this, so after the final. So glad Stacey and Kevin won! Really appreciate your comparison of Stricktly and Secret Garden. Good stuff as always xxx


Hi Bruce! so good to hear from you! Yes wasn’t it fabulous! Not perfect scores but the human heart expressed with great beauty and power. Thank you for your appreciation of the blog, Bruce. It inspires. Much aloha, Joy xxx

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