welcome roots of she readers

This is an extreme crop of a larger multiple exposure. To see the whole photo, see my Roots of She guest post!

If you've surfed over from Roots of She, I hope you will make your self comfortable. Take a look around. Sign up for the rss feed if you'd like (no pressure).  Check out my offerings: the 52 weeks Poeming Project is [no longer] open and you can still pay-what-you-want for my ebooks - my etsy is currently on hiatus, but you can sign up to find out when my shop reopens at etsy.

If you're reading this because you're subscribed already (or you clicked one of my links), then go head over to my Roots of She guest post this morning! I shared another part of my body-love journey.

(A general tip: if the background of my website looks black and grey, blogger is having a weird spasm. Refresh until the background is colorful - blues with coral accents. Then you can navigate with the hyper links up at the top. I have no idea why it does that or if it happens to anyone other than me. Since I'm using dynamic views, you can also change how to the blog looks. Click "timeslide" and a bunch of other formats will pop up. Dynamic views is fun, play around a little with it and you'll see.)

If you're new here, let me explain what's going on in August: I'm in Thailand with my family!

I'm sharing photos via instagram/ personal facebook page and possibly sharing snippets of my vacation on tumblr (if it works correctly on my new phone and our wifi is strong enough). I'm also sharing posts from my archives every Monday-Wednesday-Friday while I'm gone. I'll also try to update my blog's Facebook page occasionally with Thai goodness, but no promises. Vacation: I need it.

Thanks for stopping by!


June 2015 update:

Since Roots of She has since gone silent, here is the guest post I wrote, in it's entirety:

This is what I need to tell you today: just dance.

The world frowns at your dancing. The world doesn’t understand your need, your burning need to burst into movement, singing with your whole body. Thumping, thumping. Whirling into love.

And I know, I know: you feel like you aren’t good enough to dance in front of us. You think you need years of classes. (And even then, you’d be afraid.)

You’d look at the videos or the photos of you dancing and think, how did that feeling of overwhelming joy translate into that line, that shadow, that lump?

Dance is motion. Dance can’t be captured adequately. Dance just is.

Rumi said it best:

“Dance, when you're broken open. Dance, if you've torn the bandage off. Dance in the middle of the fighting. Dance in your blood. Dance when you're perfectly free.”

And don’t you know you are always free? Can’t you feel the blood pulsing through you, ruthless and inevitable? Can’t you feel your heart, shattered into a million pieces, begin to beat with rhythm of your breath, with the rhythm of the universe?

All you can do is dance.

What I need to tell you, I need to tell myself.

I took my first dance class over thirty years ago, when I was eight.

It wasn’t the type of class you’d expect the daughter of a formally trained Modern dancer to take. It was a belly dance class. It isn’t all that strange, given the area I grew up in (Northern California, the birthplace of the incomparable troupe Bal Anat), but the truth of being a dancer’s daughter and semi-accidentally being introduced to a completely different form is a tad bit unusual. (Later, my mother took belly dance classes and I took Modern dance classes and we came full circle.)

For over thirty years, I have danced.

I have taken classes. I have gone through long stretches of not taking classes. I have taught classes. I have stopped teaching classes.

And through it all, I have danced.

I believe in dance. In movement. In joyful (and mournful) expression through my body. I believe in the dance in my blood. I have stretched myself thin and poured myself whole, dancing.

And every time (every. time.) I perform, I feel sick to my stomach with shame after. This has not gotten better, it has gotten worse. I have been dancing for thirty years and the mean voice within me tells me I should have gotten so much better at it by now. But I can only dance the dance that I can dance. I can’t dance a perfect dance: I am not perfect. I do not have hours and hours to devote to dancing. I dance when I can!

I am a person who has done a lot of body-acceptance, body-love work (especially so in the last few years), but it is hard to quiet the voice that tells me how much better I should look when I dance.

I find it hard to look at photos. At videos. Of myself doing one of the things I love doing most in this world, dancing.

The last time I performed was over a year ago. (Belly dancers have big festivals and I danced at one such awesome festival, with a live musician.)

It took me over a year to be brave enough to watch the video of my performance. (And I’ve missed three or four dance performance opportunities since that last performance and the real reason why is that I was scared. Scared I would feel just as badly about my performance next time.)

All the work I have done on loving my body, unconditionally, and there was a big gaping hole that I didn’t want to look at, let alone let anyone else look at.

That’s life. There’s no perfect. There’s ongoing practice, ongoing work, ongoing joy, ongoing kindness.

And so today, this is what I need to tell you, tell myself. Just dance. One step at a time, one movement, one breath.

Dance your joy, dance your fear, dance your shame. Dance your guilt. Dance your love.

Dance no matter where you are in the process of letting go of the shame our world has heaped on you. Dance.

And realize this: life is dancing with you when you recognize that you’re already dancing.