This past weekend, among the beautiful green rolling hills of the Drakensberg, with some of the most incredible people from around South Africa and abroad, I had the privilege of receiving training to be a Secret Sunrise facilitator.
If you have not heard of Secret Sunrise yet, you most probably will be hearing about it sometime in the near future, as this exciting movement, born under African skies, spreads across the world in places such as Amsterdam, Bali, Ibiza and Barcelona.
Simply Put, Secret Sunrise is an interactive and progressive dance movement which is typically held before the ‘work day’ begins at a secret location, and secret theme, often which is only revealed just before the event takes place. It facilitates fun, energetic movement, combining world dance forms, eastern practices, make-believe and self expression. The session takes you on a journey of self-discovery, of connecting you to your inner child, losing all inhibitions in the process and having as much collective fun as possible before embarking on the rest of your day.
Secret Sunrise invites people of all ages, culture, colour and personalities to put aside any differences they might have and join each other in a dance of connection, fun, joy, and meaning. It hopes to spread the message of love, peace, positivity and community throughout the world. Expect to hear music from all genres and decades on the playlist, and prepare to ‘shake what your mama gave ya’, and connect with your inner child again.
Throughout my alcohol-free journey I have become incredibly fascinated by what it is that we are searching for when it comes to addictions. Whether it be alcohol, drugs, sex, or even more commonly with things such as technology and social media, what is it that we are missing, or looking for? Time and time again, the answer emerges, which Johann Hari puts so succinctly in his TEDx talk, that ‘the opposite of addiction, is connection’.
This notion has been at the cornerstone of what I have been working to bring about with my blogging, meet-up groups, the My Dry Space Facebook support group and coaching. The powerful message that we are all needing, and seeking connection and community. That somewhere out there, there are many others wanting to forge a new and beautiful path for ourselves, and we are not alone.
As a big believer of following energies and synchronicity in my life, I decided to follow my nose a few days ago, as it took me into the breathtaking Drakensberg Mountain Retreat, for the Secret Sunrise training to begin. I arrived with no expectations, and no idea as to what lay ahead. However, looking back, I do not think anything could have prepared me for the depth of connection I was about to experience in the 2 days that lay ahead of me.
It started from the moment I arrived, in the form of many huge smiles, and big, long, deep and beautiful hugs from the other trainees and Secret Sunrise founders. This moment took my breathe away, as it was a sudden realization, that I had in fact not received proper physical touch, or been ‘held’ for many months. I never knew how thirsty I was for touch until that moment, and I could not get enough. This moment set the tone for the remainder of the weekend, and was the first of probably the most meaningful hugs I had received in a long time.
What took place in those two days was a beautiful, spiritual and profound experience of deep sharing between us all, and one that I will not try attempt with words.
What I can say, however, was the experience was one filled with moments of incredible vulnerability and strength, as well as so much playfulness and fun as we cooked, danced, sang and played together. We learnt to be human again, to come back home to ourselves, and the importance of spreading this beautiful message of joy and love through dance, and play into the world.
I walked away from this weekend with a profound sense of connection, and with such reaffirmation of the fact that there is so much work needed in this space. Not only in the field of ‘recovery’, but also in the corporate world, with children, with the elderly, with those who struggle with mental or physical disabilities.
What I love about what the Secret Sunrise team have been pioneering, is that this process of connection, and healing can be done so profoundly in such a beautiful, playful and ridiculously fun way, without the need for substances. It offers a sense of connectivity we desperately miss in our lives – whether in our relationships, our families, our workplace, or even with ourselves. And even though the session is only an hour, the effects are long lasting, carrying us through the day, the week and month ahead.
I have a new, and massive sense of appreciation for the thought-process, intention and time that goes into creating a Secret Sunrise session, and one that I am so excited to be a part of. I also have such admiration for the No Danger Dairies team, who birthed this movement 2 years ago, and feel so grateful to have gotten to know several of these incredible individuals this last week.
I invite you to experience a Secret Sunrise session if you can. And if you can’t then I encourage you to look for events around you that facilitate mindful connection, dance and connection. More and more, mindful festivals, retreats, and meet ups are on the rise, and are becoming more accessible. The support is out there, when you start to look for it.
If Secret Sunrise isn’t in your city yet, it could be soon. If your company, organization or community want to be a part of this movement, then please reach out at email@example.com.
Upcoming Secret Sunrise Events
Thursday 7th December: Secret Sunset Wanderers, 6:30pm – 7:30pm, Johannesburg – Event Page
Saturday 9th December: Secret Sunrise, Menlyn Maine, 8:15am-9:15am, Pretoria – Event Page
Sunday 10th December: Secret Sunrise, Pirates Club, Silent Disco Yoga, Johannesburg – Event Page
Thursday 14th December – Secret Sunrise Nightmare Before Christmas. 6am-7am, Noon Gun – Event Page