The Journey Woman Exercise/Notes

*This is another exercise for the book club book “This is Woman’s Work.”  This exercise was fun for me, as I’ve dreamed of traveling the world, to some specific places, for my whole life.  In this exercise, we were asked to actually put ourselves somewhere:  a real, geographic location or a place in our imagination, and compose postcards from those places.  Here are mine:  

 

Caire

Greetings from Cairo! There is ancient magic here, I feel it penetrating my soul. The sun is hot, it beats down on me, making me sweat, but I don’t mind. Gazing around me, I see so many colors in the souk, and look there…pyramids in the distance. Sitting at a small table, I can smell spices and coffee. The taste of hummus, REAL hummus makes me smile…the perfect hummus, not too much garlic like back home. Smiling, I sit here, eating my snack, listening to Oum Kalsoum drifting over the air…her songs tug at my heart.
I’m excited to be here, finally. My lifelong dream of seeing the pyramids, my 15 year dream of learning real Egyptian Raqs Sharqi, real folkloric dance, from Egyptian dancers…to immerse myself in Arab culture, music, movement, food…I love it here. I feel like I don’t ever want to leave.

uk-london-night-multi

Cheerio from beautiful England! Wandering through the streets, I can smell the storm approaching…its going to rain again. Grey skies, red phone boxes, although you know I’m searching for a blue Police box! I swear I can hear the TARDIS around every turn. I’m exploring at my own pace today. Popped into a little chippy for the most delicious fish and chips I’ve ever eaten. London is beautiful, even on the grey and rainy days. Rain is falling lightly on my skin…it feels more magical than a rainstorm in the states.
I could live like this…grey skies, a hot, steamy cuppa with milk and sugar, maybe a good book…Traveling all over to see the amazing historical sites…there’s magic here too. Deep, magic. Faery mounds, too. I could explore forever.

argentina

Hola from Argentina!  I’ve dreamed of coming back to Buenos Aries for a good 10 years.  Returning to Zarate to visit all the old restaurants, to taste the delicious fish empanadas.  Its humid here, I’d forgotten.  The humidity feels heavy on my body, and my hair…what a mess!  Wandering the flea market, I look at all of the beautiful colors: the blues of the flag, the dusty rose of the Rhodochrosite jewelry.  I can smell the mate, brewed hot and fresh, its bitter and delicious.  I’m so glad that I finally came back and experienced the wonders of the city at my own pace…siestas, and late dinner by the water…

chicago-2

Ah, Chicago.  I’ve missed you SO much.  As the bumpy train pulls into the station, I can feel the anticipation already.  My home.  My favorite.  Can I do it all in one day today?  I step off the train, the fumes from exhaust assaulting my nose with a loud “welcome back.”   Walking down Michigan Avenue, I hear the street musicians playing their hearts out.  The skyline is just as majestic as I remember.  All my favorites:  The Field Museum, The Art Institute, they’re all welcoming me back with open arms.  Finally, dinner at Pizzeria Uno, the cheese burning my mouth, the amazing taste of home filling me.

ireland

Is this real?  Am I here at last?  Oh Ireland, I’ve dreamed of you my whole life.  As far as I can see, rolling hills, greener than anything in the States.  The scent of fresh air and the faintest scent of heather are all around me.  I lay in the green grass near the cottage, and feel the earth beneath me…my roots.  My ancestors.  My history.  All here.  I close my eyes and I can hear the birds singing to me.  My neighbor pops in…her beautiful accent bringing the biggest smile to my face if she asks if I’d like to join her for tea.  I’m delighted.  The tea is sweet and strong. My heart is content here.  This is my home.  This is where I’ve longed to live out the rest of my days. In my beautiful cottage full of books, tea, and a crackling fire.

Shadow Woman Exercise Notes

I am participating in an online book club with some friends.  The book we are working through is:  This is Woman’s Work: Calling forth your inner council of wise, brave, crazy, rebellious, loving, luminous selves by Dominique Christina.
The book walks you through exercises, and I felt compelled to blog the exercises, in the spirit of transparency.  These exercises are not easy for me to work through, let alone post.  But here we go.  For details about the exercises, please refer to the book.

Shadow Woman Exercise in Balance:

Do you know me?  The woman who moves as the moon moves?  You haven’t seen me yet, although you may have caught a glimpse of me here or there…

Me, who moves gracefully and sensually.
The one who embodies the music, so it appears that her body is the instrument.  The one with power in her hips, and her hair.  The one with knowledge like a tree: deeply rooted, and stretching vast into the sky.
My hips orbiting, my torso undulating, creating power, controlling tides, waves, emotion.
I am here, waiting, in the dark.  Dancing alone. Emitting joy.  My body is strong.  My spirit is soaring, making music.   I dance in shadow, dreaming of the light.  Dreaming of the day that my beauty will shine.

 

Shadow Woman Exercise Out of Balance:

I see my silencer.  He looms over me, a dark void, an endlessly black figure.  Darker than the darkest night, there is no light to him.  He screams at me, breath foul and reeking of decay.
You can never afford this.
You can’t take classes:  there’s no money.  Think of your medical debts.  Your car repairs.  Your debts to your friends and family.
You’ll never pay them down.
You’ll never participate in the classes and workshops that you need to succeed.  To be born.

Behind me, they slither.  As dark as the void, but they whisper in my ear, endlessly the whispers:
You’re not as beautiful as the successful women.
You’re fat, and you’ll never lose the weight.
They’re better than you.  They have more opportunites, because they are thin and beautiful.
You are fat and ugly.
You’ll never make it.
You’ll never realize your passion.

Random Musings for mid January

The first two and a half weeks of the year have passed.
So far, I have to admit, its been pretty awesome!

We spent New Year’s Eve drinking margaritas, eating delicious food, and playing games with some of our best friends.  Its the first NYE that Morgan hasn’t had a karaoke or DJ gig in 4 years, so it was really nice to be able to just relax.

I participated in a “Decadent Desires Challenge”  through Life Transitions for Women on their Facebook page, and not only did I win some cool prizes that I can’t wait to receive, but I have an actual plan of action to start achieving some of my deepest desires this year! It seems so simple when you sit back and make an action plan.

So, the next big thing on my agenda is surgery tomorrow.
I have an 18mm kidney stone in my right kidney.

I know.

After a year and a half of not having any kidney pain or problems, almost 2 months ago, after going running one day, I came home, and when I went to the bathroom, there was blood in my urine.
Now…I know this isn’t normal, and I probably should have had it checked a bit sooner, but, I don’t have a primary care doctor, and the urologist I had been seeing for my surgery no longer takes my insurance, so I didn’t have a urologist either.
Morgan suggested that it was my cycle.  And while I know my cycle, and knew that it wasn’t that, I convinced myself that it was.  It went away after a day.
A week later, my cycle came, the way it always does.  And then a week after that, after running again, there was more blood in my urine.

I ended up waiting longer than I should have, but after the 4th time seeing blood after a run, I decided that something wasn’t right, and that I needed to go to the ER.

After my CT, they told me I have an 18mm kidney stone.
That’s the size of a dime, in case you were wondering.   Most kidney stones are the size of a period or smaller.

So, I have to have another Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy (or ESWL) procedure done tomorrow.  Its non invasive.  My recovery time should be short, and then I can get back on my C25K training, and weight lifting.
This happens tomorrow, and I’m hoping that by January 31st, that I’m feeling up to exercise.  Its been a couple of weeks since I’ve actually worked out, and I’m dying over here.

Besides my health, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and research about dance.
As a student of Arab dance for the last almost 15 years, it blows my mind how much I still don’t know.  I don’t say that out of arrogance.  There is ALWAYS something new to learn.  I’m a big fan of remaining a student for the rest of my life.  The moment I think I know everything is the moment I need to quit.

However.

Sometimes I feel like I’m LOSING information I used to have because I’ve been out of classes for so long.  I have days when I listen to a song, and I simply cannot pick out the rhythm, and I should know what it is.  I find myself pondering what maqam a song is in, and even though I’ve only studied a handful of the maqam in 3 workshops….I still beat myself up when I can’t pick it out.

I think sometimes after watching my videos on Facebook that I’m a mediocre dancer.  All I can do is pick out the trouble spots.  My arms suck.  My turns suck.  My musicality has suffered by not dancing.  I feel that I’ll never be as good as I want to be.  That I’ll never travel and teach.  That I’m not as good as some of my peers.

But then I think about some of the compliments that I’ve received on my dancing, recently for one of them…how I’ve been told by 2 of the teachers that I HIGHLY respect and admire, who are in a class all their own…who are actually Arab…one has told me that I’m a classy dancer, and the other commented that I dance “very Arab” which is the highest compliment I believe I could ever receive.  These people aren’t the kind of people who will simply compliment you just for the heck of it, or to stroke your ego.

Not saying that my friends or husband would say that I’m a great dancer when I’m actually  not…but its different coming from people who are of the culture you are representing.  I want my friends to know that I love and appreciate their support and compliments too.  I always have and always will.  This is by no means a slight.

I’ve also been told by 2 strangers at different points in my dance life, just while social dancing (the “get up and dance” portion of a set at restaurants where my friends are dancing) that I must be Arab.  So I must be doing something right…

Its hard to not be in my own head sometimes though, to be honest.  Dancing is all I’ve ever wanted to do, since I was 22 years old, falling in love with the dance.  I’ve wanted to travel to Egypt to study.  I’ve wanted to travel all over the US, studying, performing and also teaching.
I’ve been fortunate enough to have taught 2 workshops at the beloved Las Vegas Bellydance Intensive before it died.  I taught a handful of extremely dedicated beginner students before I started having all of these horrible kidney troubles.
I want to get back there again, and surpass it.  I want to be able to dance full time, and actually make a living at it.

I know it can be done.  I have friends who are doing it now.
But here comes that insecurity again…they’re so much better than I am…even though I might have more years of Arab Dance under my belt, they’re able to put in the time and money to continue taking classes where I can’t right now, and haven’t been able to for several years (because of my health, mostly.)

But guess what.
I can still do it.

I just have to make getting into classes a priority this year, and I’m going to. Whether its a 5 or 6 week session, or 1 hour long private class a month, I WILL get back into class.  I WILL work my technique and improve.  I WILL perform more often, and more varied styles (Khalji anyone?  Coming up soon!).  I will make it.

Because I have the drive, and the DESIRE to do it.  To share my passion with people.

I just have to prioritize and commit…and I’m doing that right now. Insha’Allah, this year will be the year that some of these dreams come true.

Yalla!

 

Las Vegas Bellydance Intensive 2015

Me dancing at the LVBDI in 2015. This photo SO captures how dancing makes me feel. Photo by Lee Corkett

 

 

Inhale

Inhale.

Fresh, hot, summer air.
Puppy Breath.  Peanut butter and jelly.

Exhale.

Pain, surgery, fear.
Heat, discomfort, depression.

Inhale.

True love. Sex. Passion. Lust.
Love.  Acceptance.  Trust.

Exhale.

Hurts, past failures, “what ifs.”
Grudges, Dislikes, hate and anger.

Inhale.

Best friends.  Sunday dinners.  Movies.
Girls day.  Dancing. Karaoke. Love.

Exhale.
Inhale.

Breathe through life.  Inhale the good, the amazing, the powerful.
Exhale the negative. The Scary, the painful.

don’t exile it.  Experience it.  But don’t live there either.

Enjoy every second.
Pool games, and darts, and drinks.
Cigarettes and beer.
Love, and laughter.

Enjoy the hard things:
Pain. Sufferng.  Confusion.  Loss…there is a lesson in everything.

Learn to accept.
Leartn to let go.

Enjoy it.
Breathe.

Inhale.

Exhale.