The Rowdy Goddess

An Ecstatic Vision of the Goddess, dancing in harmony with the Universe.

Archive for the tag “belly dance”

I MEANT to Do it That Way!

polar bear prat fall

My friends call some of my consistent and repeated sayings, “Gailisms.”  My family does too!  One of my favorites is:  I meant to do it that way, or I meant to do it that way, or [louder] I MEANT to do it that way!

I picked up this expression when I took belly dancing for awhile from the marvelous June Seavey.  She is a wonderful dancer and teacher, putting me at ease at once by saying that oriental dance is for every body and every body type.  She’s the leader of a troupe or two and performs exentensively.  And she’s a very kind teacher telling me once that “your hips just want to have fun.”

I am not a graceful person.  While I like to think I’m not clumsy, the fact of the matter is that I trip, walk slow, and generally look dorky in motion.  I don’t care, I love to dance.  My hips do want to have fun!

One session, June did a dance performance for us in full, beautiful costume.  It was wonderful.  Then she started demonstrating some of the pitfalls of live performance and how she recovered from it.  “Oh I dropped my veil,”  and she gracefully danced and picked it up, “And I meant to do it that way!”  And so on through several mistakes!

I have found this very useful in public speaking and in facilitating pagan ritual.  I have stumbled over words, knocked over a chalice spilling water, lost my place in a wedding ceremony,  forgotten essential ritual items, the candles won’t light and so forth.   In order to keep the flow of energy going as well as the flow of attention and intention, it’s important not to dwell on these as mistakes but as a bump that you go over and continue on.  Above all else, it’s important not to stop the ‘action’ and dwell on the error or waste time fixing what can’t be mended.  Thus, the coping mechanism [and comfort] is:  I meant to do it that way!

It is, of course, important to learn from your mistakes and do better the next time. It is not useful to dwell on the errors and castigate yourself. There’s no point in self flagellation and self-loathing, other than to make yourself feel bad. You pick yourself up, clean up and either start over or move on. If you need to apologize, you say so. Otherwise, just act like you meant to do it that way.

May your day be full of self blessing and whatever happens, you meant to do it that way!

It Could Lead to Dancing

It Could Lead to Dancing!
Q: Why don’t Baptists make love standing up?
A: It could lead to dancing.

I love this joke. Not only because I used to be Baptist but also because it illustrates in a very funny way how our inhibitions and self-defined restrictions can keep us from experiencing the ecstatic life, the world of the Rowdy Goddess.
I have had my struggles with dancing. I used to not like to dance; and I think I picked up on some non-verbal messages from my family in childhood. My mother once told me that one of the few regrets she has is that she never learned to dance. I think I picked up on that along with the messages that I was clumsy, had two left feet. When I was in junior high, I shot up from five foot nothing to five foot seven and something. Growing into that body took a long time. My gawky stage lasted for decades. That, coupled with the fact I’ve always been chubby-pleasingly-plump-you-have-such-a-pretty-face-fattie-round bodied woman made the thought of dancing an embarrasing prospect. “Fat chicks don’t dance,” is one of the message one of my friends told me she got.
At the same time, I could feel the rhythms in my body and my feet itched to dance. I love to watch dancing of all kinds. Movie musicals like Singin’ In the Rain and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers always made me want to dance and sing for joy. “What a glorious feeling, I’m happy again!”
I couldn’t bring myself to dance because I was very aware that those around me made comments and jokes about others.
Then things changed. I got dogs and we used to dance together when no one was looking. I saw a belly dancing troup in Ithaca and was enchanted. Beautiful women of all sizes, shapes, and ethnicity danced in this troupe. They had glittering costumes and flowing veils. It was beautiful. I signed up for a class. And didn’t go.
A year later I signed up for a class and went. The teacher is wonderful; The first thing she said was that every woman’s body is made for this kind of dance–the better term for it is Middle Eastern Dance–and every woman’s body looks beautiful. As soon as we started to move, I started to smile and couldn’t stop. It was like I had done this before or in many other lifetimes.
I don’t think I’m really good at it and I don’t care! I just feel the music and move with it. Not only that, the people in my life who were voicing criticisms are no longer in my life and I realized that released some chains, so now I move unfettered. And of course Mouse likes to dance and is good at it. He encouraged me to dance around the fire at gatherings and to dance at weddings. We have fun.
Moving our bodies in ritual or after an intense meditation allows us to shake out the things we no longer and need and provide an active place for the new. So be careful if you begin this, it could lead to dancing.
Embedded in that joke is a fear of letting go and a fear of the ecstatic dance. When we are in Union with our Gods and in the flow of the Universal energy we are ecstatic. It will lead to dancing.

May you dance your beauty and your truth!

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