Three teapots and more !

Today I shall be going to the funeral of a lovely dance friend. Sue came to my class almost from the beginning of me teaching, in the days when everyone wanted to be Shakira! A lovely woman whose warmth and love shone through in class I shall remember her smiling and laughing as we endeavoured to conquer the latest tricky move or dance. In fact this is what I shall remember about Sue – whatever tricky move or challenge life chucked at Sue she always seemed to smile and dance her way through it. I am not daft I am sure she had dark days, but for me she grabbed the moment and lived her life with all the love, enthusiasm she could muster. I shall remember her surrounded by love, glass of wine in hand, dancing and enjoying life.    

So this week I have been pondering how to let go of the inconsequential crap that is wittering around in my mind and focus on the important stuff. I am coughing like a drain and am trying to rest. I am no good at resting as my head has constant thoughts and ideas for activities I want to engage in. My view in life is so much to do and so little time and  lovely Sue is a reminder of this fact.  I reckon this is making me cough even more! Easier said than done living in my world as it is the inconsequential crap that props the bigger stuff up.  I have some real big stuff heading my way too that can only happen with nonsense propping it up!

My lovely man has been patiently waiting for me to move in with him. In my youth this would have been accomplished with a van, bin bags and a Saturday afternoon.  As a grown up with responsibilities it has to be scheduled in post A levels, some serious binning out, and major pondering about the effects of the upheaval on smallest boy whilst fretting about the hole in the kitchen ceiling.

 This week I have been really fretting about that I am probably going to be the worst mother imaginable for making my kids up sticks and move to a new town.  In this I am fretting about finding a new school for smallest boy. I am not over excited about the choices either. An unhelpful woman seemed to imply the “academic over achieving academy” is full but heh would this really be the best choice for statmented quirky boy? , the not overly impressive school at end of road full too, and the best they can offer is the hot bed of bullying, no rules no discipline school the other side of town. So this week my agnostic self is considering a faith school and praying for an academic miracle.

 I am really into the idea of moving in with my lovely man. I just wish there was a magic wand to get there. Actually I am finding the waiting stressful as I am thinking way too much about things to do. It feels a little frustrating that my life is being timetabled to exam time table and I suspect Maths comes right at the end of the list! So it is time for a big spring clean. I am trying to move by stealth, a box of books here, and a small box of nick knacks there. My lovely man has waited so long that I need to give him practical examples that we are indeed coming, and also nudge his books over a bit to make room for mine on the shelf!

And then there is what is  to be left behind to sort, an empty house that needs jobs doing to it, and random furniture to be got rid of. So you see the stressful inconsequential list is big but it’s got to be done for the bigger more important stuff has it not?  I am clearing out ten years’ worth of stuff. It is fascinating. Last time I moved eleven years ago I had cancer and the implication was I was dying. I can remember the sharp reality of friends and family having to clear out absolute junk I had collected over the years made me seriously unclutter!  Eleven years on and I have silted up again. Just so much stuff. Some of this stuff has emotional attachment; some monetary but most is just stuff. Okay so I am going to get a bit heady here. But in this sea of stuff and notion of moving I think alongside this I am spring cleaning my head and heart too.

Last week I tackled the under stairs cupboard. Cupboard was full of dressing up clothes and fabric other folk insist on giving me, old art work, boxes and files with no home and the hoover and various bit of usefulness.  The old art works are like lovely beautiful friends, ready to fill your heart with love and beauty. The hoover and useful stuff is all the great bits of lovely friends who are there to help in times of needs. But a cupboard stuffed full of empty broken boxes and files? Stuff than has been chucked in there as it needs lots of my time to be fixing   and sticking back together? Fancy dress that has neither emotional value nor creative attachment? I am not moving with empty boxes nor stuff that constantly need fixing either be it friends, or other folks weird and wonderful stuff. I neither have the time, energy or inclination to move with this stuff. So it has gone; a large car boot load to the tip. I did however keep the boxes that with a bit of tape I fixed and filled with books, objects of love and fun stuff.

Anyway all I am saying is I suppose in moving the practical stuff it seems to be clearing out the emotional hence why it probably feels so overwhelming. So today whilst coughing and attempting to rest I might start on shelf above the computer. A  load of stuff fell off it the other day revealing an old letter and dance DVD from 2008! Last week I did the useful stuff kitchen cupboard and am wondering whether to move with three teapots?! Cough cough…what does that tell you about me?    


A simple dance class can lift spirits

I think I have fallen in love with dancing all over again.

Last year I really got the belly dance blues. Partly surrounded by other folks negativity, my own doubts and challenges seemed too high to jump over and I sort of thought why bother? Taking a deep breath I undertook a bit of navel gazing and here I am in 2014 in my tenth year teaching belly dancing and still performing with some exciting projects this year.

Yes definitely got my mojo back. I moved my head away from the “shoulds” and now have heart and head placed in “coulds”. So here is the thing I am now dancing for joy, for fun, to have a good time. I truly believe I have enough understanding to participate in debate and discussion regarding different styles, appropriation, cultural respect, and the whole damn diversity of belly dance and am excited to be learning more. But I am not wasting any more time getting het up about this that and the other, and have shifted away from hoo haa to embrace more fun and frolics.

Last night I got three new women at class. As usual they expressed their keenness to do belly dance but who knows whether I will see them again. As they came early we had usual discussion of what had brought them there, etc. They told me they found pictures on my website of me scary! They were concerned that we would all be stripped off I think! However when asked it transpires that they were astonished at my confidence these images of my dancing reveal (shout out to The Hooded Lens and Dark Soul Photography here methinks x) and how comfortable I am in my own skin. One of my students then tried to explain that indeed belly dancing is addictive and this in part is due to the confidence building it gives women.

We start to dance. I teach an open level class so new dancers are enveloped in a friendly way with my established group. It presents challenges to me in teaching technique and getting to grips with basics whilst challenging experienced dancers. However it offers so much more in terms of friendship, motivation, energy and fun.  We start off with uncomfortable shifting about, embarrassed giggles, and hiding at the back of the room not wanting to look in the mirror. Teaching a simple combination I start to get the room moving with some hip hits, drops and simple arms and the magic of everyone dancing suddenly is there. A moment in time but suddenly there is that synchronisation of hearts, minds arms and feet and we all start to groove to the beat!!! The astonishment of the new women that for a short while they have given up their outside world and just well simply danced. Over the years many women have come and gone in my dance class and I have come to understand that if they go away with just this fabulous feeling for a brief moment in time this is more than enough. Here is hoping they return for more.

I tell my established group of dancers in the break some sad news, which will get worse over time. Hugs all around and the boys start to drum. A small group of friends as well as dancers and students we start to dance. This week we use the combinations for a while but then we are drawn into the lovely feel and quality of the masmoudi our drummers express and we dance with feeling. Real bare emotion wants something less I am seeking something. I request a really slow saiidi and it’s played beautifully. Simply but gorgeous sounds and resonance from the drums and I ask that we all move real slowly with meaning commitment and expression. Perfect expression of emotion. Less is more.

Dance and drum together with our heartbeats and soul bringing us back to what is real, why we dance and the celebration of life.  Here is hoping we all get the opportunity to return for more.