I think I’ve been taking classes for about 3 years now and this year I started performing! It’s great! Bellydancing has changed my life and most importantly, the way I see myself and my body. I always struggled with low self-esteem but taking these classes has really helped me find my beauty and my confidence. I’m grateful to my teachers and the women in my classes. It’s really empowering to be in a room with women of all ages and sizes dancing and looking beautiful. Yesterday we were asked to dance in the park for a fundraiser…it was wonderful!
a few years ago I went to a Burlesque Yoga workshop. the wonderful teacher, Little Woo, had us bring two items from our wardrobe: something yummy and something yucky. I realised then that I didn’t really have many yummy pieces and although I wouldn’t say that my clothes were yucky, they certainly weren’t yummy. I didn’t think much of this until a year later when I took another course with her and I recalled this exercise. I saw that my wardrobe had changed dramatically and I was now dressing myself very differently. I had begun to see myself as a canvas and that I could wear whatever I liked. I even started going to costume parties and building a tickle trunk, because it’s fun! Now I can say that I love my wardrobe and I love adorning myself and I love dressing up! Yay for yummy clothes!
I’m still taking classes and loving every single one. Last fall, after a wild summer of going to music festivals I asked myself: “What do you want?” and a little voice said: “I want to perform!” Oh! OK! So I went about my business and continued taking classes and by December I got up on stage and performed and since then I have performed three more times! I now have a dance partner and a troupe name: Copper Moon and we’re putting together more music and moves for upcoming performances! Yay!
I started The Artist’s Way about 8 years ago and have worked through the book about 8 times! Every time something new comes up, releasing old blockages and making room for more a more creative approach to living.
this is such a great way to go through the day…although I often think of it too late. One thing I read yesterday (from Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Wherever You Go You Are There) really helps in approaching situations along similar lines:
“Experiment with being soft when your impulse is to be hard, generous when your impulse is to be withholding, open when your impulse is to close up or shut down emotionally.”
Too often I have found myself mirroring emotions in other people when that’s just adding fuel to the fire. I like the idea of bringing balance to the situation by going with what seems to be your opposite impulse. It makes you stand back and think about your reaction in the first place. I think I’ll make today opposite day and see what happens!
after being away from my sister for over a year, I am back and staying with her while I look for a placeof my own. we’ve been getting along pretty well and I think my willingness to listen has been a big part of that. I think that so often when we harbour anger towards life, the world, unfairness, whatever, we take it out on family because we think we can. Too bad. So rather than judging her I’ve been asking her questions and then quietly asking myself the same questions. We’re going to be living in two different towns, and that’s probabaly good. I’m looking forward to growing a new relationship with her. She is my teacher.
I used to think fasting was for …uhhh well, not for me. Why on earth would anyone not eat? I had a hard time missing one meal! But then over a period of a few months, a kept meeting people who fasted and explained to me why they did so. A Muslim friend explained fasting for Ramadan and that really clinched the idea, but still…I was weak…then I learned about detoxing and cleaning out the system and so I tried a fruit fast…only taking fruit and fruit juice during the day and felt great. Now I try to do a juice fast once a week. It’s good for my body but mostly I appreciate the effects it has on my mind. I feel calmer and more in control. I feel clear and colours even seem brighter. I learn everytime that i need less to live on, not more.
i wanted to learn to meditate for a long time but didn’t know anything about it. I tried a few times on my own and just got restless and uncomfortable and stopped. Then I ended up in India and did all kinds of yoga and pranayama and meditation and I loved it all but meditation is the one I will do everyday. I love to try new ways of meditating and meditating in different places: for about a month, I would walk out into the valley with a friend and sit under a tree and meditate on the elements: earth, water, fire, air and space. I had never felt so connected with all that was around me. I became so much more grateful for all that I had and understood that we are all one. This morning I meditated on love. Yesterday I meditated on abundance. Tomorrow? I’ll let the universe guide me.
it’s a LONG story how I got to India but I went and spent a whole year there. it was amazing and it changed my life, which is exactly what I needed. i found this little book on breathing and yoga, evolution and community in a cool bookstore in Ljubljiana on a trip around Europe, then everything began to happen and I ended up in India. The universe conspired. I don’t think I even had a choice. (in fact, i think getting started on 43 things had a lot to do with it!)
I tried a lot of different things and lived in different places and met lots of people and saw a lot of things: the good, the bad and the ugly. I did yoga and meditated, practiced breathing and got massaged, I detoxed and cleansed, felt better than I had in years and got VERY, VERY sick.
have I evolved? I reckon i have. the real test begins in two days when I get home after being away for 15 months…
go for it! a year in India is totally worth it. not always easy, but always worth it
this is one of my favourite things to do…strip down and jump in with the stars above twinkling along with the phosphorescence in the water! fun and romantic!
anyone up for a dip?
i have loved, but i think most of the love I have shared with people has been the kind of love that is fueled by the ego: the kind of love that satisfies my need to be loved. is this why all my relationships have ended? that ego of mine needs more and more and more?
now I want to love in a new way, I want to tap in and let it flow…be unattached and aware…compassion
after going through all that anti-institution stuff in my twenties and thinking that marriage was a way of controlling people and managing society, I’ve come to a new understanding not just of marriage but of family. I want to share my life with someone. I want to rely on someone and be the person a family can rely on. I want to grow with another person and face the challenges of life with that person. I want to grow old with someone. I want to commit to someone and take on all the challenges that brings with it. yeah…so now I just have to find that someone!
I never thought that I would have kids…I thought that I would just be one of those new career women. Well, I worked for few years and traveled and did all kinds of cool stuff and then one day a few months ago when I was doing a future visualization activity I wrote down that I wanted to be a mom and that grew into having a husband and a house and a garden and all this stuff. I was looking at my hand as it wrote wondering who had possessed me. Me? Have kids? Yeah, I think that is me and I think that all the personal work I’ve done in the past year has finally cleared away the gunk that was blocking me…I guess I’m ready. Now I just need that husband and house…
I’m excited, though, because I was looking around and seeing other people with kids and I understood that I could travel all I wanted but I could never understand the fullness of life one gets with having kids.
i wrote this a year ago, in fact, it was the search for meaningful work that brought me to this site! I haven’t quite got to the paid work yet but i retrained and hope to start work in a new field: helping people live better with yoga and ayurveda. it’s been a long and crazy search for meaning and purpose but this is it—I know it is because it fills me with enthusiasm and i also know that it helps to make the world a better place, one person at a time.
yeah…so now i just have to start…
i did a meditation retreat in india and the most important thing I got out of it was the idea of compassion. People do hurtful things because they are lacking love in their lives. If we react in a loveless manner to them then we add to the lack of love and misery in their lives. If we react with love, compassion and kindness then we might be able to soften their misery.
while i was in India, so many foreigners are always fighting with rickshaw drivers over a few rupees. my friend just started giving these men, who often sleep in their rickshaws, a few extra rupees and a smile at the end of each ride. after i started doing this and, most importantly smiling and joking around with the drivers, I no longer had to fight with them because I headed off the situation with generosity. it changed everything for me.
It’s not always easy to respond with compassion but if you step back and take a deep breath, you’ll realise that but it’s always worth it. This is the change I want to be. :)
love & compassion
once i decided to do a Vipassana meditation, I started to meet all kinds of people who had done it and all of them said it was one of the best things they had ever done and that everyone should do it. It’s tough but well worth it. I loved the silence: 10 days of silence. No writing, no reading, no talking. You’re not even supposed to look at other people. When I showed up and handed in my phone, my wallet, my passport and my journal I felt so free. The sitting part was the hardest, I thought my knees were going to blow off and that i would need a wheelchair to take me home but then you get past the pain and the bliss takes over. Even though I haven’t kept up with the practice, I definitely want to do another retreat, would recommend it to anyone and can say, without hesitation, that what i gained in those 10 days has improved my life. I’m much calmer and when shit hits the fan I can take in in stride rather than getting wrapped up in it. Living with awareness, equanimity and compassion is the way to go. Yeah!
This was a tough one! I realised that smoking wasn’t just a habit and an addiction but part of my identity and I think that was the toughest thing to give up. My friends smoke and I smoked with them. I was a smoker and I had to give up that identity to give up the habit. And, occaisionally I would regress and have a cigarette with a beer because that’s what i thought i wanted but when I lit up I realised that it’s not what i wanted—it was just my memory fooling me. I still think I want a ciggy some times but I get over it. Yeah!
for the past 3 weeks i’ve spent 15 minutes everyday sitting quietly and contemplating simplicity. it seems like barely even worth mentioning but this small act has changed me and the way i move in the world and hopefully the footprint i leave behind me. simplicity. taking what you need rather than all that you want (I’ve always been a spectacular indulger). I started fasting one day a week, both for health reasons and for spiritual growth—being that change. Fasting has taught me that I don’t need to eat as much as I thought I did; that I won’t ‘die of hunger’ by going without a meal for a day, that restraining my desires is possible and healthy, and that it’s better to give than to take (I gave the meal I was would have normally taken to my roommate). Then, when I went to the fruit market to buy breakfast for the next day, I walked and gave my rickshaw fare to a hungry kid; I smiled all the way home.
so this past christmas i found myself alone in a hammock looking up at the stars through the leaves of a palm tree. i thought about karma (since i’m in India) and how it was that I got to this place in my life. I went back through my history and forgave the people who i thought had wronged me, then I realised that it wasn’t so much that they had wronged me, but I had done something to bring that on, so I forgave myself for doing whatever it was that i had done in the past to result in some of the tougher moments of this life. that somehow took me to a crazy place between here and there, between the past and the now and i saw myself in this ball of light with streams of light going in all directions-it was like the moment you chose your present life from the past ones. That was the moment I felt at peace with myself. Then I started sending out love to all those ‘enemies’ of my past, then to everyone I had ever met and then to everyone in the world and the universe—including myself. It might sound a bit flaky and nuts but it was pretty intense and I had this immense feeling of peace. Christmas is about peace and joy, and, for the first time in my life, I had a truly peaceful and joyous Christmas. All on my own. And since then I’ve been feeling pretty much at peace with myself. Sure, stuff comes up, but I let it pass because I see it with a new perspective—one of learning and forgiveness and of letting go and spreading the love.
like a lot of things on this list, ‘happiness’ seems like a pretty open and vague thing. What exactly does it look like to be happy? Yeah, I’ve been thinking about this for a while and this morning I had a random thought: happiness is connected to feeling good. OK, this might not be rocket science, but I think it’s a key to my happiness. I’ve been doing a lot of things in my life to feel happy, like drink beer or eat chocolate or smoke a joint but now I’m thinking that being clean and healthy and connected is perhaps a better way to happiness. I’m heading off to a retreat in a few days and there won’t be any beer or joints there, just me detoxing and getting clean and healthy, so I’ll let you know if this is connected to happiness.