I Have Always Wanted To…

“Move your hips and the rest will follow.” Unknown

As far back as I can remember, I have always wanted to try belly dancing- the colorful costumes, silky soft veils, and coin-covered hip scarves looked sensual and oh-so-feminine; the music captivated me; and the dark-haired women with kohl-lined dark eyes were women I could relate to. But I stopped myself from dreaming with “I could never do that!”- a self-defeating and self-fulfilling prophecy.

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t- you’re right.” Henry Ford

By believing my own negative self-talk, I manifested “I could never do that!” into my reality.

But now, I know the difference between fear-based decisions that keep me small and stuck and heart-based decisions that fill me with joy, playfulness, enthusiasm, and love.

When the most recent opportunity to learn belly dancing appeared, I heard my Inner Critic come up with a dozen reasons why I shouldn’t give it a try. Immediately, I heard my Intuition (the Inner Cheerleader) say what I used to say to the children in my classroom. Whenever I introduced a new topic from subtracting fractions to double-dutch jumproping, there was always at least one child who would say, “I can’t do this! I’m not good at it.” I recognized the fear of failure and responded encouragingly each and every time, “Of course you aren’t good at it… YET. You’ve never done it before. With practice, you WILL get better, I promise.”

Hello, Suz… are you listening? I laughed and signed up for the beginner’s Veil Dancing Class (a type of belly dancing that uses 2 1/2 yards to 3 yards of silk or chiffon as a prop). I’m only stuck if I choose to be stuck, watching from a distance but afraid to take the first step, dreaming but not doing. In other words, the only thing standing in my way was ME.

“Only I can change my life, no one else can do it for me.” Carol Burnett

Was I a great belly dancer? Let me put it this way, Martha Graham is quoted as saying, “Great dancers aren’t great because of their technique, they are great because of their passion.” According to Martha’s definition, yeah, I was totally great!  I channeled my Inner Goddess and made the coins on my hip-scarf jingle as I shimmied and made figure-eights with my hips. But, I also got tangled in my 3 yards of silk more than once. And there was the time that I meant to toss it from the front of me to the back but it only made it halfway and covered my head. Will I do it again? Absolutely!

I leave you with these words from Nelson Mandela, “May your choices reflect your hopes not your fears.” See you on the dance floor!

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