Oh, I see…

For several weeks, I’ve been obsessed with DON’T LOSE YOUR HEAD from the musical SIX. It’s Anne Boleyn’s feature song from the musical, and ever since I heard it, I’ve played it over and over and OVER. I’d wake up in the morning and it would be the first thing that came to mind. Intruding into all moments of the day and night. I’ve never had an ear worm this bad before. Bloody weeks of it. I started wondering if I was kicking off a new phase of mental disorder – obsession. Dear gods no. I’d never get ANYTHING done in my life.

Anyway, early last week, I managed to replace DON’T LOSE YOUR HEAD with SHILO by Neil Diamond, for a day or so, and now I’m just suffering the normal amount of ear wormishness.

Sometimes my mind does this – gets on a jag about something. When I was a kid, I spent an entire six week Xmas holidays reading all the Sherlock Holmes books, plus any book about Holmes that Moorabbin library held. Why? I still don’t know. But I can confidently say that I’m familiar with a lot of the early Sherlockiana. And then, one day, I was done with it.

A short while later, I read interviews with a number of famous sf writers, and Robert Silverberg reported something similar. His mind would demand to be fed a certain book or topic, and then just as quickly, be done with it. Sometimes the information would show up in his writing, but often not. He reported that one night he was compelled to start reading Gibbons’ RISE AND FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. The next day, the compulsion was done. “What did my mind want with it? I still don’t know.”

This comforted me. I assumed it was a writer quirk, and never thought much more about it. Subjects have turned on and off for me over the years, but when the passion is done, it’s done. And sometimes I have to listen to a song until I’ve wrung it dry.

These past few weeks, then, have been DON’T LOSE YOUR HEAD. And now I think I see why. I needed to learn the song well enough to start idly creating a choreography. Which means I need to not only interpret the words, but the music as well, to be able to hit the beats. Even if, once I start belly dancing, all I ever remember are hip lifts, hip drops, snake arms, and figure eights. (I’ve seen dancers begin professional careers with less than that under their coin belts.) After I did some yoga this morning, it was time to dance. And I kicked off dancing to DON’T LOSE YOUR HEAD.

And there I am, interpreting the story of the song in gesture, dance, and facial expression, all for the edification of the dog.

It appears I’m creating this for…something. Me, first of all, but I do seem to be performing to an invisible audience, so maybe a one-off performance is in my future. That would be nice to work towards, but at this stage, I’m just dancing, feeling my way into the music. “Mate, what was I meant to do?”

Belly dance – second Datura online class

I’ll be the first one to admit that I’m not a dedicated belly dancer. Once upon a time, I was. I went to classes, I taught beginners, I accepted dance gigs for parties, and generally lived the belly dance – elite athlete life. All whilst single parenting, studying, working 2 other jobs, and attempting to keep afloat a drowning-not-waving relationship. Yeah, fun times. Thing is, at the time, I thought it was fun. I wanted to load more and more onto myself to prove I deserved to be alive.

A lot of years and therapy and self-reflection, and retirement from belly dance later, and I sometimes miss dance. Thirteen years later, thirteen kilos later, and post-menopause, I certainly long for enough collagen, energy, and true grit to reclaim dance.

I sign up for dance classes. I go a few times, and then it’s all too hard to keep enthusiasm up in the evenings, when most classes are held. So, I keep re-activating my datura-online membership and say: “This time for sure, I’ll do a class a week.”

Since the last time I joined and now, datura have added ‘dance daily’, a once-a-day half hour practice. Well, I gotta say, at this stage I can’t even do a whole half an hour. So I do 15 minutes, and then have a bop around my front room. I suspect that today, between my own warm up, 15 minutes of an Ashley Lopez drill session, a bop, and then a stretch, I managed about 35 minutes all up. Which is still better than me slothing on the couch all day, then sleeping poorly.

I look at the teachers on datura, and look at myself, and hang my head. Well, let’s face it, these are all teachers younger than me, dedicated to their craft, and at the top of their respective games, be it datura style, FCBD style, cabaret, fusion, Turkish, what have you. For all I know, someone is evolving Antarctic style as I write. I don’t see why not. Hazel Edwards has done several writer in residencies, and once took belly dance classes. I’ve visited Antarctica on a small ship. I can belly dance. If astronauts can quilt in space, I can evolve ABD format. First step: sew tiny toy penguins onto a hip scarf. There’s going to be a lot of shimmies/shivering, and absolutely no scanty clothing. Polar boots a must.

(Gods, if Rachel Brice sees this, she’s gonna bloody dare me to do it.)

Anyway, I flitted around my loungeroom for half an hour, astonished passersby, and have moved my body enough to call it a dance session. This afternoon, I’ll take a walk.

I know it’s a case of willpower. If I want this, I’ll make time for it. With witchcraft being a matter of willpower, writing being willpower, art being willpower, and everything else willpower to keep myself functional in the world, sometimes I run short. Or power down. I am guilty of ‘isn’t there a way to be productive while I’m resting?’

Maybe, if PizzaBoy and I happen upon a bookstore this afternoon, there will be music playing, and I can have a quiet little bop. I have no shame. I can dance in stores, shopping centres, malls, and libraries, and I do.

Fibro, thyroid, and mind things, oh my

I went to an extra tap dance class this morning. I’ve been tired most of the week – thyroid issues? The old fibromyalgia clearing its throat? TMS therapy backwash? The drive to and from Narre Warren (35 mins each way on freeways)? Change of season? Entering the darker part of the year? I started reading a book about Hecate’s poison path? Who knows.

Now, I have only just started tap class about 10 weeks ago. I’ve had 9 lessons in the beginners/seniors/low impact class. Today was the regular class, so faster, more complex, all round harder. Too fast for me.

I am very hard on myself. If I talked to others the way my brain talked to me (“Gods, look at you not keeping up. Why can’t you just…?”), I’d have no friends, and someone would have sat me down a long time ago and said: “Who made you a fucking dictator?”

But, it’s more than just ‘why can’t I do this?’ I remember when I picked up choreography in belly dance class like it was nothing. I never remembered it well, but I followed along like I was a hot knife cutting through butter. I didn’t have inflammatory issues. I didn’t have an underactive thyroid. I hadn’t gone through menopause.

I feel like a big, slow, fat lump. Even those damned hippos in FANTASIA could keep up with their own ballet. My mind doesn’t process as fast as it used it. My body just doesn’t move as fast as it used to. I have a shoulder injury. I am still moving through depressive and anxious fog.

I honestly feel like I’ve let myself lie on couches, reading, and let my body deteriorate. I don’t keep up in any but the Active Seniors class at my gym.

Why can’t I be kind to myself and let this slowing and softening happening?

Or, can I come back from where I am, or think I am, and do better, slowly?

YogiBore knows my body as well as anyone. She’s watched my body for 11 years as my yoga teacher. She says I need more yoga, but she also knows that my soul needs dance. I know SwiftGirl, the owner of my gym, would say I need more Active Seniors classes. UnicornGirl, my current belly dance teacher, is eager to have me back in class, but honestly, Fat Chance Belly Dance Style, and Global Caravan style aren’t doing it for me. I’m all about the costuming and make up, and jewellery, and playing with all that. I want to discover my ‘belly dance drag’ make up style. But, there’s a hell of a lot of arms, and not a whole lot of actual belly dance. Guess I’m a classical and modern Egyptian dancer at heart. It’s what I first learned, and what I’m happy doing. I don’t want to do arm waving and not much else, no matter how cool the costume.

Look, I know this is all very much white woman, first world, middle class, non-working problems.

I JUST WANT MY BODY TO DO WHAT I WANT IT TO DO, WHEN I WANT IT TO DO IT! Is that too much to ask at age 57? Is it?

Thought Experiment 4: E-squared

Having scanned the big catalogue called the world, and for the sake of this experiment, have decided that I will manifest a red Fat Chance Belly Dance style skirt.

It is April 5, 2021. 7.39pm.

I have 48 hours till April 7, 6.39pm.

It is 6.38pm, April 7. The skirt did not manifest, but my dear friend AquaMoon shared links for places from which to purchase said skirt. As I keep changing what it is I want, apart from red, no wonder the universe couldn’t provide. This one may take a while longer, so I’ll update when there’s progress.

Monthly Planning with Tarot – September 2020m

  1. What worked in the past month? The Fool. Unplanning worked. Lol. The intuitive leap, and the moments where I was daring, and went outside my rigid thinking. That selkie poem just flowed when I trusted enough to let it happen. I didn’t find the 15,000 words that much of a slog when I set my mind to it. When I gave up formal dance training to just flit around. When I cooked by instinct, not recipe. When I knew what the problem was with the my body and acted accordingly(more collagen, less sugar).
  2. What didn’t work? Judgement. Magic didn’t work last month. Not even a hint of it. I didn’t ask for Divine Goddess guidance, or angelic help(because I’m still in two minds about angels). I thanked my parking fairies, but really, there’s so much parking on the few occasions I’ve been out that parking hasn’t been a problem. Asking for guidance didn’t work because I didn’t do it. BIG REMINDER TO SELF!
  3. What did I learn? The Hermit dropped out as soon as I picked up the deck. I learned that being lonely is just another emotion, not a life sentence. That I can endure it. That some solitude is necessary. That my life was too full before COVID. I learned a little about my inner light, and how I shine in the world. I learned a little about how easy it is for me to blend in by reflecting others, and not letting my true self be seen.
  4. What is the theme of this month? 2 of Pentacles. That old bugbear of balance. Never have I gotten it right. It’s always been full on with one thing, or another, but never a bit of everything. This month, I’m being asked, especially in terms of my physical self, to find balance. More yoga and balance poses? Not running myself into the ground just so that I sleep at night. A balance between mind, body, spirit. Managing those emotional ups and downs that the mind wants to take me on.

Set 3 goals and pull a card for each, and see if they align with your intuition.

5. Goal 1: 15,000 words of memoir for September(with a dash of ‘is this the final push for this draft?’): 7 of Pentacles. If I tend it, it will grow. The roots(first draft) are already there. I just have to take enough time and care to have them grow and combine into second draft. I have the energy and power within me to do this. Coming to the writing practice with a gratitude practice will help. How to find gratitude for each episode I write about. MAKE A NOTE TO DO THIS, SATYA.

6. Goal 2: Take 3 water colour lessons wherever I find them. The Moon. Hmmm, maybe I’m kidding myself here, since the Moon can be about self-deception. It’s also about facing my fears, and yes, I do have a lot of hang ups about art and me. As this morning’s water colour experiment shows, I have no idea what I’m doing. So, I can learn. The wolf and the dog howl at the moon – the wild and the tame. What happens if I lose control and unleash? Yes, I feel like art is the unknown and I’m drowning. I can embrace that, and learn to float on and with the breath. “Stop struggling to see that which you cannot see.” Accept beginner’s mind, and that I don’t know anything yet. On the surface level, maybe 3 lessons are too much on top of 15,000 words of memoir. I’ll leave that one up in the moonlit air.

7. Goal 3: rediscover that old belly dance choreography. Page of Pentacles. Balance again. A smaller goal, and of less significance than everything else in this spread. It’s the only minor arcana card. Earth magic, making something a reality, the exploration stage. Have it be that there’s nothing at stake except rediscovering it. Find the old music, find the instructions I wrote down, see what I remember. This is meant to be fun. Filming it can come a lot later. A hell of a lot later. Exploration is key here, not achievement.


Tarot play: how do I really feel about….?

How do I really feel about writing? Keeper of the Sacred & 3 of Wands.

I am creating frameworks for understanding. Yes, very noble, but how do I feel? This card asks a lot of me – deepening my faith, new paradigms, a living portal. Am I listening to the wisdom of my heart? Can I let go of an old way of doing? 3 of wands: no wonder I’m exhausted – I’m still waiting to see results from my efforts. Waiting for my next big wave of energy. I am reminded that I don’t work steadily, but in waves. I’m tired from doing the work, so float in the slack tide.

How do I really feel about belly dance? 3 of Pentacles & 2 of Pentacles. Community is the 3. Teaching and learning, team work, let myself go back to student and beginner’s mind, in community. Collaborate. Really? I find it stressful to learn in groups now, especially online, and too much pressure 1-1. However, this card says I have ‘something enchanting to bring to the table’. 2 of Pentacles: balancing the aspects of self. Juggling obligations. Too much on my plate to really love anything? Changing lanes all the time is grating on my well-being. Am I really able to devote the time and energy to this urge I have to ‘come back’? The physical play out of my time expenditure is not good. Wanting to grow but doing the same things over and over.

How do I really feel about drawing? 3 of Pentacles & 8 of Swords. Again, teaching and learning – learning in this case, learning by doing. Community. 8 of Swords: feeling stuck, every time I try, I stumble. A reminder that I create my reality, and by avoiding trying, I’m making it a ‘never will happen’. Look to myself as the solution. Unite myself from comparison. “Choose to heal.”

How do I really feel about tarot? 5 of Swords & 5 of Wands. Well, I’ve discovered I can still do this but now I’ve made it into a task. I’m much happier doing it for myself than others. Look at the conflict, the mind pain. The lack of cooperation from the astrological personalities. But, I knew this before I read the cards. So, take down the ‘100 Readings Chart’ and throw it in the bin. Get my collection under control. Have it be just for me, and any readings that fall out of the trees. At least there’s one clear answer here.

How do I really feel about witchcraft practice? Queen of Swords, & 6 of Wands. I know much more than I think I do. I just need to mistress the practice of it. It’s all theory. 6 of Wands? Leadership. No I definitely do not want to step into that role. Success? So, I could make some of my practice public, if I’m that desperate for acknowledgement. Like I make these posts public. Taking time to see my own radiance.

Poem A Day – Day 12

Yes, I know I’m nearly a whole month late completing Poem A Day April. So what, as long as the poems come?

From Imaginary Garden With Real Toads

“-I want to go back to the stuff poetry is made of. It’s all well and fine to write about anything from fruit salad to politics, but the great majority of topics–in my view–lend themselves better to prose than to poetry. When it comes to poetry, the Big Three dwarf all other subjects and the Big Three are–drum roll please–nature, love and death. Nature is very busy this time of year, so we’ll leave her to her duties. Death, I salute you, you are, as a subject, a poetic behemoth. Our knowledge of mortality–our own and that of those around us–lends an urgency, a richness, and a great well of sorrow to life, and poets through the ages have embraced this, pondered it, tried to express its impact and meaning. But today, I am going to ask Death to have a seat, over there, and wait for another day.  Today we’re about Love.”

That instant thrill when I saw you,
shaping up like smoke and sweat.
Oh yes, come inhabit me.
Me, all brash, and thinking it a lark;
you twining into my heart without trying.
The rhythms of you, fast, then slow,
then a drumbeat under a drumbeat
that is your heart.
I learned the ways of you,
not knowing I only touched your skin.
I thought I was in deep,
but kept you away from my heart,
because it’s not normal to feel that way.
Now, we meet again after years apart,
and I’m ready for ocean depths, and mountains,
if you’ll have me back.
Be a snake again,
draw me in, and squeeze.

Memoir and belly dance

I’m in the middle of an online writing session with one of my writing buddies. I’ve just sent off the 8th 3000 word installment of my memoir to my mentor. I’m supposed to be settling down into new material now, finding where I left off in the manuscript proper. I think I’ve found it: the start of the hazy memories, when I was in and out of the Family Court and mediation with my ex husband, and when my focus was on my love life, rather than honing in on my kids.

I suppose it’s the way with life. There are a few intense years, and then they’re off to school, and have a life separate to you, and slowly, bits of your former life, or a new life come creeping around the edges.

I don’t want to drag my disastrous love life into my memoir, so I’m taking my time with this next section, trying to piece together what I can.

Meanwhile, upstairs, my offspring is playing belly dance music Rather Loudly. It’s music from the Belly Dance Superstars Album 1, from their first big dvd: The Belly Dance Superstars at the Moulin Rouge. The dvd and the music are both so familiar to me that I’m partly distracted by thinking: “That’s ‘Chicky chicky’ playing and Ansuya dances to that. I’m not a huge fan of her shimmies, but hey, live and let live.”

I’m like one of Pavlov’s Dogs – play belly dance music I’m familiar with, and I can recall where, when, and what I did with that piece.

Right now, in the midst of lockdown, and me getting rounder and more ball-like every day, I want the body I had age 42 back. That’s 14 years ago, pre-menopause, pre-second marriage, pre-Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, pre-fibromyalgia. I know the surest way to improve my body tone is belly dance.

Do you think I will actually practice? No. I should darn well just charge upstairs and fling myself around outside the offspring’s music room. I should, I should. That reminds me, I wanted to do a tarot reading for my way back into belly dance.

Nope, nope, writing now, tarot later. I just can’t bring myself to memoir today. I’ll do another blog post, containing some poetry.

A tarot reading from Amanda PB

Celestial Tarot. 10/5/20

What’s preventing me belly dancing?

You have built up your practise with time But if late you’ve been sitting back and watching where it’s taken you.
You know your love and feelings loss for dance must be acknowledged and resolved, but you feel the weight of your subconscious bearing doen on you, which makes it difficult to process anything.
The world’s choice is yours (sorry). You’ve come full circle, the end of a cycle but it’s not the end of the story for you. Don’t make brash decisions, the time isn’t right for them as yet. This king brings instinctual fire and creativity to be tapped, serpentine and strong push to move and do, but plan what you do.
I pulled one more card for you – where to turn for your energy and creativity.
Out of your brain, into your feminine side. Be present in body and soul. Take the symbols from around you and weave them into your work
Lol top water symbols, rounded, grounded and firey. They will guide you best, but don’t let the fire overwhelm.