5Rhythms Friday: …I could get used to this…

Wow. I can’t believe it’s Friday again.

So, today I did a free Birth Chart reading thingy at Cafe Astrology. I mention this because of one thing: Mars in Sagittarius. Here’s what it says:

When Mars is in Sagittarius people get angry, they feel like running. They have to do something–not about it, but something else altogether.

The rest of the write-up on this particular astrological aspect was…whooooo….WAY off (I do NOT like debates. I hate them with a passion. I will go a million miles to AVOID a debate.  Etc.), but this one line rang true with a vengeance.

I mention it because it puts into clear, understandable English a pattern that I have been noticing this week: namely, that when I’m angry (or sad or lonely or self-critical or depressed) I am automatically driven to do something else.

Now, for the past I-don’t-know-how-many years that go-to activity has been eating. I’ll admit it: I’m a food druggie. I have downed more than my fair share of anger-induced chocolate cake. And, for someone who -as I discovered last week- has issues with residual anger from decades gone by…that means a LOT of cake. Or chips. Or candy. Or cookies. Or bread. You get the idea.

After my experience last Friday, it seemed like there was an alternative. I was in a rotten mood on Saturday night, and Matthew suggested I go and dance it out. So I did (well, I bit his head off for suggesting it…and then I realized he was totally right…and THEN I danced it out. Sorry, honey). Not only did it help, but afterward I realized that I didn’t want to eat the Mars Bar I had saved for dessert. I just didn’t need it any more.

And here’s the thing: the dancing actually helps me. Eating, I will be the first to admit- has never really helped me. It makes me feel momentarily better, but it’s not just food I’m stuffing down my throat and into my body, it’s whatever negative emotion I happen to be avoiding. That stays inside me. Dancing actually enables me to release the emotion…and if it doesn’t completely release it, it at least helps me to back off and understand what’s going on in my brain. Like meditating…only with music and cardio.

This week, every time I felt down or cranky or indefinably out of sorts, I put down the cookies and turned up the music. I danced alone, I danced with Xander, I danced and cleaned at the same time. Sometimes I danced for a few minutes, other times I danced for longer, and one time I started moving and realized “No, I already danced today and what I really really want is to sit in stillness and read a book.” In every case, the process of dancing (or even just beginning to dance) allowed me to get in touch with my body, my emotions, and my true essence. In every case it helped me to move on.

This feels…Big. This feels life-changing. This feels like the beginning of something absolutely massive. I love it!

And I know I haven’t started moving through the 5Rhythms exercises the way I originally intended…but, to be honest, I never imagined that the mere practice of moving my body every day (or almost every day) would create such changes. I’m not ready to move on from that yet. When I am, I’ll let you know, but until then I’ll keep giving you glimpses into the process.

Have a great weekend!



Inspiration Tuesday!

Over the past week I’ve been exploring Vimeo. I’d seen the name on a lot of videos by Goddess Leonie, but I didn’t know what the deal was…I assumed it was just like Youtube.

Well it is…except that it’s not.
Vimeo, apparently, is the place that the creative people go to share their work. People are nicer there. There are fewer videos of giraffe sex (not that I looked for them…but you get the idea).

They also have channels you can go to if you’re looking for a specific art form.  Say, dance, for example. You can go and there are hundreds of dance videos to explore. I could seriously spend all day on Vimeo.

A day after I posted Vimeo’s dance page on my Facebook wall, a friend sent me the following video. I adore it. If I had kept choreographing for the past 10 years, this is exactly how I would choreograph. And it’s exactly how I want to dance. And, as Krista told me when she sent me the link, it’s like my husband and I got together and made a collaborative film…only it’s not by us, it’s by Ryan J. Woodward (GENIUS. THE MAN IS A GENIUS). I am so inspired every time I see it…it makes me want to choreograph and dance and dance and choreograph and never stop ever ever again!


5Rhythms Friday: Where were you 13 years ago?!?!

Oh. My.

Oh. My. Goodness.

Somewhere, in an alternate dimension, 17-year-old me went to Barnard College, but instead of being terrified to leave campus and explore the city (and dropping out after 2 months), she hopped on a subway downtown and ended up at a 5Rhythms class. And everything changed. Seriously.

But, as it is, 30-year-old me began a dance practice, toned it down for a week after an old injury cropped up (in case you wondered where I went)…and then suddenly realized that she needed to DANCE.

Here’s the story.

Have you seen this article?
I’m not going to get into the whole parenting debate thing, because even though I am pretty militantly as-far-from-this-mom-as-you-can-be, that’s not what bothered me. A friend of mine posted the article on Facebook, and I read it. And then I read it again. And then I realized that I wasn’t breathing. I was having a massive flashback to dance class when I was a teenager. Because that was my life.

I’m not going to go into how much it sucked. It did suck. A lot. My teacher was a surrogate mother-figure, and my real mom didn’t know enough about what was going on to step in. I’ve talked before about how this is the one thing I want to release this year. And here I was, reading this article, and just drowning in this horrible, heavy, icky feeling.

Oh, how I wanted to get rid of it. I wanted to jump headfirst into a giant bowl of ice cream, to eat my weight in brownies,  to swim in a vat of potato chips until the pain went away…because that’s what I’ve been doing, I realize, for 13 years. This time I didn’t (not much). I sat with it for hours, as much as the mom of a toddler can “sit,” which basically means that I went about my normal business with a black cloud over my head. Matthew asked me what was wrong and I couldn’t really say. I tried out various reasons, but they didn’t feel true. (Side note: this has happened SO MANY TIMES during our relationship, and this is the first time I figured out what was going on). I couldn’t tell him what was wrong because nothing was wrong now -I was remembering things that were wrong then, and they were echoing back in my present mood.

I didn’t figure this out for hours. We were in the food court of the mall having supper when I finally understood. And when we got home I knew what I had to do: I took my laptop into the guest room, closed the blinds, dimmed the lights, and danced.

I’m writing it as a 5Rhythms Friday post because I did technically do the rhythms: I flowed through a warm-up, I got staccato when I started swearing under my breath and beating the sh*t out of the air, I shook myself out and stomped out a chaotic dance of freedom…OK, I admit that during my “lyrical” song I paused and wrote something before I danced for joy (I’ll share that at the end…an edited version, anyway), and then…well, at the end I was ready to stretch. And I left that room about 50 pounds lighter, metaphorically speaking.

Seriously, Universe? Was dancing the answer to my problems all along? Did I have to come full circle in order to heal the past? You prankster, you. Like I said, in an alternate universe 17 year old me found that class and skipped 13 years of agony (and overeating).

And, to finish this very lengthy first-official Friday post…here’s what I wrote. I especially enjoy the way the voice moves from 16-year-old me to 30 year old me. Enjoy!

NO I will not be quiet.  I will not suck it up or swallow my feelings or “buck up.”  I will not meekly take my place in line, bending my will to yours.  I will not submit to hours of torture just so you can feel like you’re doing a good job.  You are not doing a good f*cking job.

I will be as loud as I want.  I will go to school dances.  I will take time to study.  I like studying.  I will take a day off every week.  I will take time off when I’m sick.  I will rest when I need to.  It is not up to you.  It was never up to you.

I will dance.  I will dance MY steps in MY time and to MY music. I will wear what I want. I will sing if I want to sing. I will smile without reference to your moods. If I’m sad, I will cry. If I’m angry, I will yell. And I will dance my own steps in my own way, speak with my own voice, and occupy my own space in this world.

You cannot beat me.  Twelve years later, and I am dancing my own way.  You didn’t beat it out of me. It was always here, deep down. You didn’t change me.

And you know what else? My hip bones are not supposed to stick out. And my natural figure has boobs. And curves. When I “got fat” what I really did was “get healthy”

No more will I allow your words to echo through my head.  No more will I allow your poison to leach into my life. No more will I shove these feelings down. I will exorcise the demon of you, and I will dance away, free at last.

I will fall in love with myself alone. I will seek out people and things that inspire and support me. I will let my voice be heard. I will shout my message from the rooftops. I will dance in crowded rooms and empty spaces and everywhere in between. I will fling my arms wide and breathe the sweet, free air. I will do all of this. And I will look back and forgive your ignorance and your well-meaning abuse from a place of strength and wholeness.

I do forgive you…now. I haven’t yet forgiven you…then.