I’ve been going hard on chasing my internal inhibitors and challenging myself to try harder, and get over whatever it is that makes me feel like I shouldn’t let myself shine.
Much to my surprise, as I started to go deep with that work, I found myself with an opportunity to teach. I’ve been belly dancing for nearly 20 years, and I’ve never felt compelled to teach. In fact, I’ve specifically avoided teaching, for a variety of reasons, but most importantly – I didn’t feel I had anything special to offer.
But I took this opportunity to teach, because it was exactly the kind of challenge that I needed, to compliment the internal work I was doing: Do the thing you don’t think you can. And, to my surprise – within three classes, I knew what I had to offer, and I felt compelled to offer it. I put a lot of thought into each week’s class, thoroughly enjoyed the rest of the term, and have continued to teach with enthusiasm.
And something interesting began to happen. I found that I was becoming more and more interested in helping people be in their bodies, rather than just teaching them to execute dance moves. For me, dancing is a joy, and an expression, and I wanted to help my students feel that freedom, and not worry so much about whether they were “doing it right”.
Slowly an idea formed: I could do that. I could help people get into their breath, feel their bodies, let go, and hopefully, hurdle over their movement anxieties, and enjoy their dance freely. So, I asked a few friends if they would help with my theory.
I set up to teach two small groups of friends at my home, weekly for five weeks, and gather feedback. I invited a good cross section of participants, with wide range of physical ability and comfort. It’s more like a somatic practice, than a class – we spend an hour, and I guide them through simple awareness exercises. Breathing and balance, feeling their feet on the floor, expressing gratitude to their hard-working bodies, and then moving to a variety of music, as mindfully as possible.
So far, I’m really enjoying it, and am gathering great feedback. It’s my intention to develop my findings into a stand-alone workshop, and as well, set up a regular weekly practice for anyone who feels they need to come into their bodies and move on a regular basis.
I’m looking forward to finding out where this path takes me. It’s been inspiring me to seek more study, so I can be a more valuable resource and a better teacher.