Summer into fall – travel, joy and lessons

September 13, 2010 1 comment

When summer turns into fall I often start thinking about what I’ll do for my birthday ritual. For the last 5 or so years on (or around) November 6, I create a ritual that lays out goals, dreams and aspirations for the next year.

The last BIG (gulp) BIRTHDAY I hit was 30.  This morning I turned back in my journals to that year and reviewed my goals for that year.  To my amazement, almost all of them I had fulfilled.  However, there was one goal that still deserves my attention: slowing down.  Synchronicity has reared its guiding head and that theme has been coming up a lot in the past few weeks.

The biggest struggle for me has been that I feel like I am having these amazing, wonderful experiences…but, the next gig, seminar, or class comes so soon that I haven’t had the time to proccess the event, or more importantly express my gratitude that it happens.

So, as a step to resolve that…today I want to share a couple of amazing events/happenings from my summer and I am grateful for….so, what did you do this summer??

Texas! Teaching with Ava Fleming

June – Austin Bellydance Convention – Austin, TX

In June I was lucky enough to travel deep into the heart of Texas for an amazing (and amazingly organized) bellydance convention hosted by Stacey Lizette.

What I was grateful for:

Reconnection – One of my favorite things about my bellydance community is the beauty of having friends all over the country!  I had originally met Stacey, and the rest of her troupe, Sabaya, at a weeklong with the amazing Aziza two years ago.  The entire weekend was full of reconnection with amazing, powerful women (an oft and apt description for most bellydancers I know.)  My favorite part of the weekend was the first night I was there.  I spent the evening practicing, hanging out and talking with Yasmin – a kindred spirit in dance and life.

July – My New Home

In July, I didn’t travel much but I made a BIG change… I moved out of my home for the last several years (the back of my dance studio), and moved into a beautiful home with my boyfriend, Ian, and our housemate Jeremy.  My gratitude here is for stability. I have so much change in my life, so often, having a beautiful home which offers a respite from my often chaotic life is amazing.  And, being able to make the next step (so to speak) with Ian has been wonderful.  Living with him has offered me a lot of laughter, comfort, love and a lot more time to put down what I am doing and ride my bike.  I am so thankful for this.

August – Bellypalooza, Baltimore MD

Being silly at Bellypalooza!

Every summer for the past 4 years, I have taught and performed at this fantastic bellydance festival in Baltimore, put on my teacher, Piper, and her bellydancing family, the Daughters of Rhea. This year was really extra fun as my friends from Portland, Claudia and Sedona of Bellydance Soulfire were there to teach as well.  Every year I am there I am reminded that I am grateful for lineage and history.  Piper’s mom, Rhea, is a legend of bellydance and one of the original members of Jamila Salimpour’s Bala Anat.  To be at an event where she is, and to feel and recognize the movements, theory and dance that was passed to directly from her to Piper to me is extraordinary.  Then, to be able to teach there…to pass along knowledge to new students – what a gift.

August – Mira Betz Intensive, Raleigh NC

I am always grateful to be a student. After a gig canceled and a spot opened up in this workshop, I made a last minute decision to drive to Raleigh and spend the weekend learning from the venerable Mira Betz.  There is a saying that “the medicine finds the sickness”…and this weekend was the medicine for what I had been feeling I needed in my dance life.  Mira is an amazing  teacher, dancer and person …. and I am grateful for a  weekend to study.  This is a good reminder for me to seek out learning opportunities as often as I can….

Ahhhh! Better already…. this chance to re-live my summer has me sitting here smiling in my seat.  Maybe it’s not about slowing down, I can’t imagine not doing all the things that life is offering to me right now.  It seems to be about taking time though, even a minute, to say thank you….so thank you universe for this summer…here’s to an amazing fall!

Categories: Uncategorized

Publicly Declaring a Truce

August 16, 2010 9 comments

This seems awfully personal, but today I am going to use this brand new-spankin’ blog to declare a truce.  A truce with my body.

While I can say, definitively, that I do love my body for what it can do – most of all for allowing me to dance, I can not definitively say that I always love the way my body looks or treat it with love.

So what’s a truce? According to good ol’ it is:


/trus/ [troos] –noun

1. a suspension of hostilities for a specified period of time by mutual agreement of the warring parties; cease-fire; armistice.
2. an agreement or treaty establishing this.
3. a temporary respite, as from trouble or pain.
Alrighty. So I’m going with definition #1.  First off, I see that it is a “specified period of time.”  I’m going to go with 30 days.  Often when trying new things I give myself a “30 day free trial.”  Essentially a time to  try something on  – but not feel pressured that it is going to last forever.
So, what am I going to do for 30 days?  Well apparently I will suspend hostilities, hold a cease fire, and declare an armistice.
Therefore, for the next 30 days I will:
-Not say anything negative about my body. Period.  So no comments about what I’d like to get smaller, what I’d want to be bigger – who else I’d rather look like, etc. (this list can go on and on and on)
Instead, I will declare my love for my body often and loudly (well maybe not publicly and loudly)In fact, I’ll start right now….these are a few of the things I love about how my body looks: I’ve gotta start with the booty since we’ve had a very personal love/hate relationship.  But I love it, I love how it generates conversation, comments and looks.  I also love my eyes. But most of all, I love my heart, for pumping blood through me, for allowing me to live…and allowing me to love.
-NO getting mad at my body for not being able to do something.  I preach this all the time to my students and need to heed my own advice.  No frustration at not being able to lift a certain weight, do a certain move etc.
Instead, I will celebrate my accomplishments. Right here on this blog.  I’ll tell people about it.  I will feel proud of myself and encourage myself to go farther.  So again, let’s not hesitate – here is something I am proud of – this morning I rode my bike to downtown Asheville and back from my house.  I climbed Chicken Hill.  yay me!
-NO restriction of food.  I have lived a long life of dieting.  Yesterday I realized I went on my first diet at 13.  This means I am coming up on 20 years of restricting food to myself in some way or another.  And then rebelling by eating crap.  So no, this does not mean 30 days of cheetos and coke (ummm, gross).
Instead, I will fuel myself.  In our new truce my body and I are going to develop a strong love for one another.  I will treat it like all the other things I love.  I will give it fresh amazing food that will allow it to prosper, to allow us to prosper together.  And if my new roommate, who is a pastry chef brings home a homemade pear, peach chocolate tarte, yes I will eat a piece.
Finally, I will make a daily declaration of peace and love.  I will put my daisy in the barrel of my self hatred gun.
I love you body.
Categories: body image

So why am I doing this?

August 9, 2010 2 comments

Last night I woke up, sat straight up in bed and began to worry.  It was 3:59 am.  The thoughts began – what am I doing? I’ve just abandoned my last vestiges of corporate work to dive fully into a career as a dance teacher, performer, and studio owner.  My thoughts began to spiral – money, future, expectation, and money again, and more money…. Sleep finally found me again after 5.

I woke up, had some coffee (well, a lot of coffee) and felt peaceful.  I know I am on the right path.  I know it deeply and strongly – I have conviction.  However, I sat down today to address those voices, and to be clear as to why I am devoting my life to dance – not just doing it, but also choosing to depend on it for my well-being and my income.

So what did I come up with?

Joy: Joy, happiness, pleasure, bliss.  Whatever you want to call it, I believe it can change the world.  Do whatever makes you happiest and see how not only you change, but how the world around you changes.  For me, to provide classes where we can be happy – to jump around, to be goofy and laugh is a calling.  I don’t think any of my students would be shy in telling you that I am a little goofy – and I think smiling never hurt anyone – just the opposite, in fact.

Self Fulfillment: I’ve always said that if I could dance, I don’t need to talk.  And I sure can talk. Dance feeds me. I use it to feel better, to work things out and as a form a release.  I believe that by allowing myself to dance, every day, I am a better person.  I also love to perform – it fulfills something in me.  At times, when people pay me to do it, I feel like the luckiest person in the world.

To Be Fair: Because whatever other jobs I have done in my life, no matter how lucrative, my heart wasn’t in it.  And I don’t think that’s fair.  Of course, at times, we have to work because we need money, or benefits, or security.  But I had an option, and doing this is the thing my heart is in.  It is the thing that I am willing to put it all on the line for, the things that no matter how many times I wake up late at night, I’ll keep doing.

And finally, I am doing this because my heart tells me to do it.

So why do you dance?

Categories: Uncategorized