I first heard the term “grassdancing” from a Native American man from Montana. He was the keynote speaker at a workshop about resilience, the characteristics and conditions that help children and adults deal with challenges and come out stronger and happier.
The speaker told us about a custom of his ancestors. When a nomadic Plains Indian band packed up and moved to a new location, the people did not immediately set up camp. First, they began to walk very gently around to get a feel for the new terrain. As they walked gently, they would notice the ups and downs, the sheltered places and open places, the water, grass and animals, the spirit of the place. Only when they had walked around enough to have a feel for the terrain did they decide what to put where. Then they would begin to set up camp.
That gentle exploration was called “grassdancing.”
The speaker suggested that the practice of grassdancing was helpful when we begin anything new. This gentle exploratory activity helps us get a sense of the new “terrain” and that in turn helps us to decide wise next steps.