Community


Community is Golden Bridge’s greatest teacher in our dance together through life’s many cycles. Our work happens in community, serves community, and is supported by a diverse and gifted community of people of all ages and from all walks and ways.

We not only move together on the dance floor and have for over 30 years, but we tend to the day to day together. Throughout life’s cycles, we are there to witness each other, challenge and celebrate each other, and uplift each other when the times are rough.

Other than the one on one work that happens through mentorship or private sessions with Melissa and specific SomaSource leaders, all of our work happens in group settings.

Where two or more are gathered!

Golden Bridge Community Offerings

Along with many other annual or bi-annual events around the world.

Life Cycles


Our work serves individuals and families moving from the birth cycle of life through adolescence to elderhood and into the final passage of death. We guide groups for people in specific cycles of life, honoring the unique developmental needs of people at different ages and stages.

Golden Bridge Life Cycle Offerings

Birth Cycle
Childhood Cycle
Adolescent Cycle

Along with diverse groups led by the SomaSource leaders around the world.

Adult Development

Along with many other popup events around the world.

Eldering
Life Cycle Initiatory Ceremonies
  • Mother’s Blessings
  • Coming of Age Ceremonies
  • Weddings
  • Ceremonies of Endings and Completions

These personal events are guided by Melissa and/or the SomaSource leaders.

Additionally, we create community learning experiences that catalyze deep developmental repair from earlier cycles of life. These Life Cycle events also inspire the conscious consideration of the cycles of life yet to come. This work happens in an intergenerational context, inviting the teachings to be offered in mirror of community.

Rites of Passage


Golden Bridge is dedicated to tending to the initiatory experiences of individuals and groups facing major life changes. Our work provides a time-tested template for guiding people through the complex terrain of change, be it from one life cycle to another, one season to another, or through life crisis.

We respect that this is a time on the planet where all of life is experiencing rigorous rites of passage initiations, many of which are not guided or guarded. We aim to create safe spaces where people can come together to embrace the changes, release the angst from the journey, complete and integrate the process of change they are facing, and as a result of that, access their true resilience.

Surfing The Creative

Although initially devoted to the healing, educating, initiating, and mentoring of youth making the journey from childhood through adolescence into adulthood, this body of work is now dedicated to all people wanting to make a conscious and complete passage from one cycle of life to another.

Life Cycle Ceremonies

Golden Bridge is devoted to honoring and educating for the sacred and essential teachings that each cycle of life offers to developing humans. Be it the loss of the first tooth, the beginning of menstruation, the birthing of the soul, or the final passage, we imbed our understanding of the subtlety of each cycle into our work in community.

Life Crisis Ceremonies

Melissa and the team create movement and art-centered community rituals that allow healing and integration from sudden and potentially shocking initiatory experiences that face individuals and communities. Natural Disasters. Unexpected thresholds of many kinds including divorce, diagnosis, and deaths. Deep breath. We are committed to helping with the completions and integration of life’s crises.

Seasonal Cycle Celebrations

This movement-based community honors the season’s natural cycles. Through the subtle changes of Winter, Spring, Summer, and Autumn, respecting the many ways the season’s natural rhythms are shifting, we gather to dance. Our moving prayers allow us to listen to the teachings of nature. We come together to consciously navigate through the delicacy of these times, the beauty and the challenges.

Social Justice


We respect that the contemporary rite of passage initiatory experience is unfolding in the spaces between us. Learning how to bring the spirit of transformation, healing, reconciliation, and reparations into our meetings with one another are critical to the sustainability of all life. This collective waking up is initiatory and mandatory. Learning about one another’s socio-cultural locations is essential. Considering our impacts on one another must become a way of life. Cultivating pathways for healthy expression of truth and the courage to do so is imperative. Recognizing how our privileges impact the oppressive realities of our beloved community members is an ongoing responsibility. Providing access to opportunities for learning and leading to the multitude of under-resourced people, people who need to be honored in just and equitable ways is a mandate.

“The plea is simple – look at it.”
James Baldwin

In our Golden Bridge community work, we aim to “look at it” and to be humbled by our blind spots as they reveal themselves. In our highly diverse community, we courageously embrace the rugged terrain of learning to love one another through the day to day struggles, on and off the dance floor. We respect that we are on a dancing path together that reaches far beyond the dance floor. How we use our language, our money, our time, all of our resources are reflections of how we embody this strong intention to be a just and inclusive community. We are always learning.

Within Golden Bridge, we have been consciously considering our work through a social justice lens for decades. This includes deep inquiry into vast and complex issues related to race, class, gender, ability, religion, culture, language, and age, to list a few. We are learning how to share what we know and discover what we do not know. We have been initiated again and again through community breakdown and breakthrough.

We have made hurtful mistakes along the way, always aiming to learn and evolve from our digressions. We have cultivated inspired programs and protocols for bridging across divides within our organization and beyond. We have grounded a social justice team to consistently help our community navigate the many levels of growth that must continue to refine on the frontier of social justice, interpersonally and institutionally. We continue to evolve our learning into our processes and protocols as an organization. We have developed some sound and sane somatic practices that help to dismantle oppression and liberate minds, hearts, and bodies.

We notice that the more we are able to unwind the traumas activated through our own personal stories, through inclusive arts of body, heart, and soul, the more we are also able to work together to unwind our communal traumas. With respect for the delicacy of the work at hand and a shared commitment to do our own work, we are more able to attend to the shared fields of trauma. We also recognize that until the systems of oppression that create the traumas are dismantled, the work we do is limited. Outside the safe spaces we co-create, the attacks on the human rights of so many of our community members continue on. Sensitive to both the opportunity to build healing bridges and the limits of doing so, we carry on.

On a practical note, we continue to evolve our processes and protocol in some of the following specific areas (in no particular order) that have had, at times, the impact of oppression on one or many.

  • The nature of the food being served
  • The ways that language is used
  • Where our music comes from and how artists are honored
  • How feedback is given and received
  • What pathways for healing are incorporated into our practices
  • Who is included in leadership
  • How decisions get made at the meta and the micro levels
  • Who gets paid and how much
  • How we conduct our rituals

Above all, ongoing social and environmental justice education for everyone has become an obvious bottom line. This includes not only deep learning about the “other,” but about oneself. Golden Bridge remains committed to understanding the ways systemic oppression is woven into our daily lives and our psyches. Specifically, through ongoing online courses, we are engaged in the rigorous inquiry into our own ancestral stories and current social realities, our locations of privilege and of oppression. We as a community are devoted to understanding the realities of the people we dance with, work with, and love. This is a lifelong path of inquiry, together we are always striving towards greater integrity and true alliance.

Please join us in the study of two processes cultivated within our community, STOP and the ritual we call Collective Liberation.

Somatic Transforming Oppression Process (STOP) is the body of work that we mapped to guide people along a healing path of rewiring the impacts of oppression. Through STOP, we acknowledge and begin to address the continuum from ideological oppression, institutional oppression, interpersonal oppression, and internal oppression all the way to the beliefs, feelings, and somatic dysregulation that unfold in the reality of oppression. STOP offers a step-by-step path for repatterning beliefs and behaviors from our societal systems to our nervous systems and back, ranging from the outer reaches of oppression to the most internalized ones. It does not necessarily change outer world oppressive conditions, but it has the capacity to shift thinking, feeling and, inevitably, action. (If you are interested in an upcoming course in this work, please let us know. You can write “STOP course” on the email subject line. office@GoldenBridge.org)

The Collective Liberation process is a community-centered ritual where people of diverse marginalized identities are able to go into the center to share their stories in a safe and sacred way. Being witnessed by people who are truly interested and open-hearted is healing. Deep listening allows everyone to expand the current of compassion that ultimately allows us to honor our differences and respect the impacts of our struggles on how we show up in the circle.

For detailed information about STOP as developed by Melissa Michaels and the Collective Liberation process as developed by the Golden Bridge community, please see Youth On Fire: Birthing A Generation Of Embodied Global Leaders.

We respect that “The work is never done.” May we all daily deepen our ongoing social justice awakenings, through study, listening, and in how we show up every-moment as devoted students of equity, justice, and peace.

The photo featured in this initiative is part of a performance choreographed by Christina Shore. The Golden Bridge Creative Liberation artists are offering the message All Together in American Sign Language.

Our private online courses for SomaSource students will be released to the public in 2020. Please email if you are interested in being in the conversation with us: office@goldenbridge.org. For an abundance of resources to deepen our collective waking up, please dive into these resources.

Gender Work


Over the past 30+ years, the Golden Bridge community has been devoted to creating safe spaces for people of diverse and fluid genders. The work began with a focus on the feminine due to Melissa’s personal journey and that of her daughters as they grew up.

Our work with girls and women has thus been a strong current from the beginning. What began as Women’s Blossom Project guiding high school girls through their psycho-spiritual coming of age has now grown into world-wide work with women and girls as seen in the Shakti Sisterhood Life Cycle workshops, Circling Up, and Golden Girls Global.

In the early years, we also aligned with excellent work happening for boys in high school. Eventually, men’s groups emerged in our rites of passage programs. This has now grown into the Benevolent Brotherhood Dances, a gathering of diverse men who journey through and embody ever more fully positive archetypes of the masculine.

We honor that in the mirror of the masculine and feminine, some people do not feel seen nor honored. With great respect, our third gender initiative organically came into focus during our youth rites of passage programs. What initially began as a one night a week gathering has now grown into a workshop and movement that we call Divine Siblinghood, gatherings for queer and trans folk.

Please join us in celebrating people’s diverse gender identities along with supporting their need for safe and inclusive language and spaces around the world.

Leadership Training


SomaSource is a rigorous leadership path for long term dedicated students of Melissa and the Golden Bridge community. The second cohort is in the process of completing their leadership training. This path is one of turning the inside-out as a portal for understanding how uniquely the inner life of the self informs the outer expression of the soul.

Online Courses


Inside the first free e-book, readers will be introduced to the 7-Cycles of the SomaSource Process as developed by Dr. Melissa Michaels with hundreds of emerging leaders from around the world. Each cycle developmentally builds upon the previous ones, guiding you through a movement-based journey that will invite you into deep connection with your body, heart, and soul. Initiatory by nature, wildly creative, and inspired by the Spirit moving all of life, this e-book introduces Melissa’s upcoming full course of study that will get you moving from the inside out. It is an invitation to awaken to your greatest gifts and to mobilize into action from your center into the next level of your service.

Following the release of the e-book, Melissa will be launching her next online foundation course deepening the SomaSource work. This online course will include talks, readings, and assignments relevant to people in all ages and stages. The course will allow you to study with Melissa from anywhere in the world into the ground of your being, the depth of your soul, and the vast landscape of your creativity.

Additional online courses grounded in embodiment will be released in the seasons to come, with topics ranging from social justice to personal practices, professional ethics, social and emotional literacy, and community-based movement rituals, to name a few.

Mentoring


Mentoring has been an integral part of our work with emerging leaders, young and old, since the beginning of our work in the ’80s. Initially, we served diverse youth including those who are considered to be gifted, special needs, at-risk, or basically healthy young people. They all came questing for purpose and meaning in their lives. The young people who came to our rites of passage programs longed to be a part of an inspired community that aimed to create new social, educational, environmental, and cultural norms.

Over time, the youth and the adults serving them together wanted to engage in these body-centered ways of healing and moving into ever more innovative leadership. Thus, our mentoring grew to include both the intensive movement-based programming and the one-on-one focused alliances. Together this provides people with specific social, psychological, creative, and leadership skills that allow them to transform addictions, rebuild self-esteem, and discover life-affirming creative pathways for expressing themselves in the world. As emerging leaders develop inner strength, critical transformational tools, along with fundamental outer competencies needed to become active members of their communities, we provide year-round mentoring.

Our Golden Bridge team offers one-on-one mentorship to assist our students as they find the inner and outer resources necessary to create inspired and productive lives.

When working one on one, we orient through the MM Mentoring Model, developed by Melissa and the Golden Bridge community. The MM Mentoring Model is a five-phased developmental process describing the natural stages that mentors and mentees often go through in the evolution and maturation of their work together over time. These stages include Full Embrace, Focus Forward, Emancipatory Movement, Emergent Leadership, and Entrained Colleagueship. Within each stage, there are universal patterns of relating and significant stepping-stones to be navigated.

For a fuller description of this model, please see Youth On Fire: Birthing A Generation of Embodied Global Leaders.

Performance


Weaving together numerous art forms, from traditional dance and music to contemporary, to hip hop, capoeira, modern, salsa, martial arts, to song, story, poetics, and film, we collaboratively create theatrical performances provocatively reflecting the stories of our times. Some of the themes include the nature of colonization around the world, the struggles of peoples who occupy diverse genders, race, mental health, border crossings, body image, the destruction of the Earth, and genocide for a few. Additionally, these performances model the power of a diverse community consciously working together to heal and lead in these body-centered ways. The love, the beauty, the magic is unique and inspiring for artists from diverse backgrounds who have not necessarily received previous professional training.

The process for the creation of these shows requires delicate and devoted cross border collaboration. Together, we create provocative and informative performances that shed light on our individual and collective realities.

Going public with our stories also supports the grounding of the global consciousness and mutual respect that births through our rite of passage journey. Clearly these young people have been initiated. The fierce truth-telling, coupled with deep respect for the hearts of the diverse people in our global community, stokes the peace and reconciliation that usually happens publicly right there on our stage. Because a body-centered approach helped them ignite this global intelligence, they dance onto the world stage with their wills engaged, their hearts open, their visions clear, their souls in leadership, and their capacity for attuned collaborative action ablaze.

Cancer & Healing


Our work is dedicated to supporting people navigating through life’s major thresholds. Sometimes, the disease of cancer is one of those mighty initiatory experiences where a kind ally, a simple dance, or a guide through the undercurrent is helpful. Due to Melissa’s personal journey through late stage ovarian cancer to no evidence of disease (NED), she is committed to being an ally for our beloved community members who are required to navigate through this rugged terrain. Occasionally, a dance class or workshop is offered for people specifically on the cancer journey. For now, please reach out if you need, and please partake of this award winning film short, TWISTED GIFT, documenting Melissa’s dance through cancer into health.

Free Gift!

One wave from our double CD IGNITE: Music to accompany the journey through the SomaSource rite of passage process and your dances.

Embodying Life’s Rhythms is music to move get your body moving! This is a 13 minute full wave through all 5Rhythms® orchestrated by the Golden Bridge Rhythm Keepers. Sacred instruments woven into a layered tapestry of inspired sound. A daily warm up. A ceremonial doorway. A chance to simply dance!

Thank you for joining the dance!