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. 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 fulfillment 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. Hence, the importance of self-reliance, not merely the economic kind implied by a survival dance but also of the social, psychological, and spiritual kind. To find your sacred dance, after all, you will need to take significant risks. You might need to move against the grain of your family and friends. Swift Deer says that once you discover your sacred dance and learn effective ways of embodying it, the world will support you in doing just that.
Bill Plotkin, SoulCraft