Saturday, March 24, 2007

hips don't lie...

A few of the ladies and I went to a "Goddess Gathering" last night as part of our (almost) monthly Girl Friday ritual. The evening consisted of belly dancing and meditation with the idea of awakening the goddess within. We arrived in our comfy clothes, our yoga mats in tow. We added our names to the mailing list and paid our $20. There were about 15 women in total, 9 from our group. After a brief introduction where we traced our maternal ancestry and declared ourselves 'daughters of the Goddess", we launched into the part that drew us there, the belly dancing. We were given hip scarves to wear, some adorned with jingling coins. Tahira Badre skillfully guided us through the individual moves that together form the beautiful art of belly dancing. It didn't take long for my body to start asking me what the hell I thought I was doing. I discovered muscles that I didn't know I had. As my body cracked and popped I thought of how my everyday routine is made up of the same movements, over and over. I'm sure there are joints and muscles in body that haven't moved since grade 9 gym class.

I was reminded quite quickly of how uncoordinated and clumsy I am. In my late teens and early 20's, I had excellent balance and the ability to pick up dance moves relatively quickly. Now, not so much. For the most part, I could handle the individual moves on their own. But add the hip shimmies to the shoulder rolls to the arm movements and I was a spastic mess. (Not to mention the fact that I am now at least 50 lbs. heavier than in my amateur musical theatre days.) I was thankful that there were no mirrors in the room and the lights were turned down low! Luckily, most of us were in the same boat. And as bad as we were at it, it was so much fun! We laughed at ourselves but kept plugging away, even as our bodies ached from the repetitive movements.

After about an hour of this, we paused for meditation. I have attempted meditation only 2 or 3 times and I suck at it. I have zero attention span and am just so used to having a million things in my head at once that I just can't slow my mind down. Elizabeth & Erica, who practice yoga, told me that it took them a long time to get to the point where they could really do it. This made me feel a bit better.

We did another half hour or so of dancing, this time with veils. Here I was reminded of the incredible sensuality of this dance. And although my shoulders were burning in pain, I enjoyed the power and freedom I felt maneuvering the veil. We ended with Tahira guiding us through a complete dance, incorporating all of the moves we had learned. She is an excellent instructor and as we tried our best to follow her, I was surprised by how many moves I could actually do! To the onlooker, I'm sure it wasn't pretty, but hey, I was working it!

We ended the evening indulging in some delicious chocolate cake and reflecting on the evening. I was exhausted yet rejuvenated. And everyone seemed to have a good time, which always makes me happy when I organize these outings. I have a feeling, we will be connecting with our inner goddesses again!

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