Our wonderful Amira (Sue-Lin) Simons passed away on October 12th at 11am from breast cancer. Amira was an amazing leader, mother, counselor, singer, artist, creator, mystic, poet and support for me and many in my community.  Her reach into the world was huge – she walked in many worlds – NW Festival culture (Beloved, SSHR at Breitenbush, Oregon Country Faire (Spirit Booth in Community Village), Sacred Circle Dance, the WOW Hall in Eugene and her extensive connections in her work and family life.


Amira was other-worldly.  She had/has information about light bridges to other worlds and other beings that she would talk about often. She also spent time with everyone she met and often impacted peoples’ lives with one meeting.  She was amazing at seeing the good in someone and encouraging them to come out more and show themselves – whether through art, music, or in relationship.  Amira was real with all of us and I personally got to be real with her – sharing personal challenges back and forth, and trying to figure out how to help members of the community that needed our love and support.

I love Amira as do so many and it’s very hard to see her go.  And, most of us agree that she is out there, up there, smiling and having some laughs and making new friends and dancing and singing and soaking in the warm waters of her journey.

Amira’s daughters are planning a celebration for Amira in Eugene during the week of October 24-29 and I’ll update this page when I know the exact details.

In addition, a group of us are putting on an art exhibit to show off and give away Amira’s art creations called: In Celebration of Amira’s Creative Spirit on Saturday November 12th from 4-7 at the Englewood Christian Church : 3515 NE Killingsworth Ave., Portland, Oregon.  The event will feature live music from some of Amira’s favorite musicians, an art exhibit and giveaway of Amira’s art work (see slideshow above), finger food, and a chance to join together as Amira’s friends and share our love for her.

Facebook link to event.

If you’d like to be a part of the celebration, please contact Albert @ – we are also looking for volunteers who might be available for a trip to Brownsville to clean and pack up Amira’s art work to bring it to Portland on November 5th or, possibly, November 11th.

If you knew/know Amira, I hope you’ll come and join us on 11.12.11!  I’ll update this page as more information about the event is clarified.  On 11.12.11 there will also be an after party at the CedarSanctum, right down the street on the corner of 35th and Simpson NE once we’re done cleaning up at the church.

For more information about Amira, please visit her Facebook page, or come to one of the upcoming events.  Thanks, Albert

Music: Gate, Gate by Deva Premal

Gate, gate means gone, gone; paragate means gone over; parasamgate means gone beyond (the other shore of suffering or the bondage of samsara); bodhi
means the Awakened Mind; svaha is the Sanskrit word for homage or proclamation. So, the mantra means “Homage to the Awakened Mind which has crossed over to the other shore, freed from suffering.”

2.17.12 Update: Hi Amira Sue Simons fans. Maren Souders** made a video on happiness recently which featured Amira. Here’s the uncut interview of Amira. It’s 50 minutes long. It is unedited. But it is a wonderful view of our sister, mother and friend. Enjoy!


**Filmed by Maren Souder as part of her project: How We Found Our Happiness: Four Journeys from Darkness to Light

Film located at:

Facebook through the fan page lens

I wrote a long email which I sent out to my email list this week.  I discussed what I think about facebook fan pages, and included a list of all of the pages that I administer.  The article is here – feedback welcome.

Spreading ecstatic dance far and wide

Ecstatic Dance – It’s good for what ails you!ecstatic dance

Help Spread ecstatic dance spread all over the world, easy steps right here!

The Cartoon version: Spreading ecstatic dance far and wide

If you’re reading this there’s a good chance that you’ve danced at one point or another in the PDX Ecstatic Dance world. Perhaps more than once. Most people I speak to remember their dance (even if it was just once many moons ago). And many of us return to the well as often as possible, can’t get enough. And so our community has grown – 30 people becomes 50 people becomes 100 people. The question that keeps coming to my mind is: how do we spread this even further?” So that 100 becomes 1,000, becomes 1 million, and on and on.

We all know this dance is good for us. Keeps us healthy, challenges us, brings up emotions, can be scary, can be illuminating, can be fun, can be a drag – all of the above and more. I think one thing that’s in the way of dance spreading is our own quietness about it. Shyness? Fear that others’ that we invite, might not get it? Fear that friends we invite might see a side of us that we’re afraid to show? There are probably a few fears in the way of our inviting everyone we know to dance.

Then, there is our hesitancy to recommend something so big to someone else. It might come across as a cult. It might come across as showing support for a certain group of people, and their take on this dance – I can imagine there are a few sets of emotions and blocks in this area that keep people from sharing with others.

All of that said, I think it’s time for us all to jump over our own shadows (a phrase I once learned in Germany) and help to get the word out about this beautiful thing. And here’s why.

It’s good for the people – the potential for personal growth found through dance is humongous. The health benefits are great – stamina, balance, coordination, stretching sore or hurt bones and muscles: therapeutic… I’m sure you’ve experienced some of this, and I suspect you know that it would be true for everyone you know – if they could just move like this once in a while they’d face some of those demons, get off the couch, get out of their stuff and move, both physically and emotionally.

It’s good for the community – I probably don’t have to go into this too much – it’s somewhat obvious to anyone who has danced and then shared a meal with fellow dancers – new friends, old, the mix of people who are dancing are living inspiring lives and after-dance conversation is often scintillating. We also learn new things at dance – how to hold space, how to listen, how to observe, how to make mistakes and clean them up, and new skills, and dance moves.

It’s good for the planet. Groups of people coming together to celebrate life, practice being around each other, touching each other, and moving together to raise the vibration – if you’ve ever felt this you know what I mean, and if you haven’t, keep an eye out for it, it happens quite a lot on ballroom floors in our town frequently.

So, here’s what I recommend. If you agree that ecstatic dance is good in the ways I’ve outlined above, stop being quiet about it. Start being loud about it. Put it on your resume. Invite your 10 best friends to dance with you at your favorite dance spot. Once in a while volunteer to help set up, break down, or lead the intention – get to know the folks that put on the dances and ask how you can support their efforts and share the work.

Then there’s the other 500 ways to support something: word of mouth, passing on some flyers, posting flyers, posting your intention on your FB profile, blog, website…

Being shy about this thing we love serves noone. Let’s be out and proud and see what happens.

My vision is to encourage this fire to grow big everywhere. Right now I’m trying to help the folks at OmCulture in Seattle get their dance on. My sense is that Seattle has the people, it is just waiting for the spark and the infrastructure to show up. And just like any good and worthy movement, if we play our cards right, encourage the growth of the dance in many places, we will help the world to dance ecstatically.

If you’d like to continue this discussion, please feel free to write me with your ideas. And, I’d love to hear back from anyone who takes any of the suggestions above and runs with them.

Remember the last time someone came to dance and said “this is my first time here and I feel like I’ve found my home”? Yeah, let’s spread that – like a big slathering off goodness all over this planet earth.

Till we dance again,


I welcome your feedback in the comments section below or email me at ! Please share with me how this treatise can be improved. Thank you!


Dance Guideline suggestions
Sarah Kreisman – A healthy Community Model



Back from the playa!

Well, yes, my 11th year, how could I not go? A free gifted ticket helped! Thanks, Nurse Flo! (for a longer write-up of my trip this year, click here for the September issue of The Eleven)

Yes, it was marvelous. Yes, there was dust. Yes, I had the time of my life! I’m going to do a longer write up of my experience, with a slide show and all that, but right now it’s time to decompress. Vitamin C, deplayafying stuff, and showering often 🙂

I spent much of this year plying the playa with my trusty bike, making new friends, and enjoying the incredible large-scale artworks.  The weather really cooperated, and it was the best weather year we’ve had in a long time.  The rainstorm on Monday night led to clear lungs for the next 3 days, and the temperatures were very mild compared to previous years.  I found some new theme camps to enjoy this year – the big pink heart, Tuna Guys, and the BRCPO 2.0 was filled with a really stellar bunch this year.  I’ll be posting a lot more, but here’s some playa to walk on to start with.  

Here was slide show of some photos that Tantelope took.  I could write for days about this experience, of course, and there’s emails to answer, and my e-letter, The Eleven to write, so that will have to wait a little while 🙂  Dontcha worry, I’ll say more, cause it was a big big year.  Best ever, as they all are.  Next year was always better, though 🙂

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