Dancing With September

Happy September!

September is, without a doubt, my favourite month of the year. Part of this is because it’s GORGEOUS. The weather here in NS tends to be over-the-top awesome —summery, but with cool breezes, and chilly at night (perfect sleeping weather). There are asters and goldenrod everywhere, and the trees seem to be squeezing every last possible drop of joy out of life before winding down for the winter. Fresh apples appear at the farmers’ market, and I start dreaming of pie.

But it’s more than just the weather and the vegetation. I find that September is the month when Things Happen. September 2004 was the month I fell in love with Matthew. September 2005 was the month we got married.

In September 2008, Matthew’s birth mother came from Alberta to meet her son and grandson for the first time. In September 2010, we suddenly made the decision to move back into an apartment from our money-and-energy-sucking rented house. Even in the years when nothing spectacularly memorable happened, I remember feeling the shift in the energy.

I know this time of year is all about the harvest up here in the Northern Hemisphere, but the energy I feel once the calendar hits September tends to be more spring-like: sprouting, blossoming, blooming. There’s a vibrant feeling of aliveness and potential in the air. “Jump in and come for the ride of your life,” September whispers in my ear. And even though sometimes it’s scary, more often than not I jump.

It’s something I’d like to pay more attention to: the natural energy of the months. How does each one feel, how does it flow? How can I dance with it?

How can I dance with September?

September comes in with the promise of clear insight, big dreams, sudden epiphanies, and a vision of wide-open possibilities. It only asks that I surrender to the flow. September grabs me by the hand and whirls me onto the dance floor, and all I have to do is hold on and keep a good thought and an open mind.

I step forward and I grab September’s goldenrod-yellow hand. I close my eyes and take a deep breath as I am carried off into the magical unknown.


Looking beyond “success” and “failure”

This is the post I dreaded writing…and that ended up practically writing itself in the end.

I held two Dancing Mamas events this month. One last weekend, and one the weekend before. This was my second try…you can read about my first try and the lessons I learned here.

So…how did these ones go?

Just like last time, that depends on how you look at it.

Were they jam-packed money-making name-establishing phenomenons?


Did I get to dance with people I love, reconnect with someone I haven’t seen in years, and learn at least a dozen lessons to apply the next time I try?

Oh, yes. Absolutely.

Notebook full of notes. So many lessons!

On July 17 I set up in an absolutely beautiful studio just outside of Halifax. And no mamas came. But (and this is a Big Deal) one old student did come. This month I finally emailed all of my old DansKinetics students from back in 2007, and one of them was so excited to dance with me that she came out to Dancing Mamas. We had an amazing chat and a really great dance together. I played a completely different playlist just for her and me, and it was awesome.

The whole afternoon reminded me how much I loved the classes I offered when I was pregnant and how amazing the people were. It made me want to revisit the classes I offered that time around. It reminded me that you don’t always have to reinvent the wheel, even when you’re revamping your business. Thank you, Martina, for coming out and dancing with me.

On July 23 I set up in a crowded library in a residential area of suburban Halifax. And I ended up dancing with my old ballet studio-mate Omni and my friend Kerry and her small son Jonah. We had a fantastic time boogieing and chasing Jonah around.

I learned so much that afternoon: about how I was experiencing severe (and I do mean severe) resistance to really embracing the possibility of success, how I’m not sure if I have the details of Dancing Mamas quite right, about how the next time I try a library class I think I want to make it either free or as close to free as I can because it feels wrong to do otherwise.

And I also learned about the things I’ll bring next time: dry erase markers and extra business cards and cups for the water fountain. And about how awesome, supportive, and truly loving my friends are.

You can’t put a price on what I learned.

A handful of precious (and unexpected) gifts.

So, was the second round of Dancing Mamas Tribes a success?

I think that might be the wrong question.

It was exactly what I needed at this time and under these circumstances.

And that’s all that matters.

A Letter To My Body

Dear Body,

I’ve given you a lot of shit over the years. I’ve abused you, overworked you, underfed you, berated you, loathed you, stuffed you full of foods that make you feel crappy, and mourned your changes.

I haven’t looked after you particularly well, or expressed much any gratitude or appreciation for you. I’ve drugged you with food and caffeine and alcohol. I certainly haven’t moisturized you enough or pampered you very much.

I’ve spent a great many years almost entirely separated from you, keeping my awareness up in my head or in the future or the past -anywhere but in you.

Body, I don’t want things to be like this any more. I’ve been thinking about this a LOT lately. I’ve come to some realizations. And there are things I want to tell you:

I appreciate you.

You have carried me to magical places.
You have expressed my heart through dance (even when I didn’t know exactly what my heart was feeling).

You have weathered all of my abuse, and still you’ve carried on.
You keep hanging on to your strength, even when I do nothing to support you.
You grew and birthed a beautiful little boy, and nourished him all on your own for months.

You instinctively know when to reach out with a hug.
You are full of quiet wisdom…when I take the time to listen.
You stand tall and radiate warm, glowing energy.

You are beautiful.
We are beautiful.
I am beautiful. (At this age. At this weight. Right now. Always.)

You are a miracle, body of mine.

And you know what else?

I miss you.

I want to be present to your sensations. I want to feel my ribs expand and relax as I breathe. I want to feel the pressure of each foot as it treads the ground. When I reach out with my hands, I want to really notice what it feels like to run fingers through my hair, stroke my son’s cheek, or give my husband a hug. I want to taste the food that I eat.

When I move, I want to feel something other than distrust and fear that I’m going to hurt myself. I imagine you’d like that too.

So, I make a promise to you:

From this day on, when I look in the mirror I will shower you with love. Every time. I will cherish you.

Because, really, you’re just amazing.
And everything about you tells a story about me and my life:

My feet are wide and large. They ground and support me.
My legs and hips are strong and wide. They carry me through the world and dance to the music around me.
My belly is round and soft. It stretched to hold my growing son. Every stretch mark is a testament to that miracle.

My arms are big. They’re strong enough to lift the cares of the world from someone’s shoulders and wide enough to hold my family in a warm embrace.
My hands are strong and nimble and quick to learn.
My eyes are bright and observant.
My smile is wide and dimpled.
My breasts are large and soft. They fed my little one and helped him grow into the boy he’s becoming.

My grey hairs are a testament to the challenge of parenthood. Every one is a badge of honour.

How can I criticize something so powerful, so resilient? It’s madness. How can I look at you and wish you were anything other than your amazing self? You’re incredible.

What do you say, body?

Can we give this thing called life another shot? Together?

Because I really can’t do it without you.

What do you think?