“When good is near you, when you have life in yourself, it is not by any known or accustomed way; you shall not discern the foot-prints of any other; you shall not see the face of man; you shall not hear any name; the way, the thought, the good, shall be wholly strange and new. - Ralph Waldo Emerson
The world buzzes about goals and visions. Focus. Create a vivid picture of exactly where you want to go. Dream big, then don’t let anything or anyone stop you. The problem, as Daniel Gilbert wrote in Stumbling Upon Happiness, is that we’re horrible at forecasting how we’ll really feel 10 or 20 years from now – once we’ve gotten what we dreamed of. Often, we get there only to say, “That’s not what I thought it would be,” and ask, “What now?” Ambition is good. Blind ambition is not. It blocks out not only distraction, but the many opportunities that might take you off course but that may also lead you in a new direction. Consistent daily action is only a virtue when bundled with a willingness to remain open to the unknown. In this exercise, look at your current quest and ask, “What alternative opportunities, interpretations and paths am I not seeing?” They’re always there, but you’ve got to choose to see them.”
Numerous paths and opportunities
At the moment I see many, often too many, alternatives. Last week, I wanted to share five messages with 1 million; four still need expanding into full posts. A draft of 22 Love Lessons in honor of my 22nd wedding anniversary waits for revision. After celebrating with my husband on Friday, I couldn’t relax until I’d captured on paper the ideas swirling in my head like butterflies. I fell asleep once I’d written action steps for several bucket list items and pages that wish to be added to this website: Favorite Books, Research, Resources. Reading Saturday’s #Trust30 prompt inspired an idea for my in-progress memoir; I still need to make time to write it up. These are just a sampling of the opportunities I’m playing with.
More to say about S Factor and sensual dance
On Friday, I had lunch with a friend I haven’t (yet!) convinced to try an intro class with me. (I’ll never give up and I see signs she might be willing one day – she’s been taking a meditation class and is about to start yoga.) The first half of an S Factor class is a moving meditation done in a darkened room, eyes closed. Some of the moves feel similar to yoga, Pilates, ballet, hula and other dance. One day…
If S feels too scary, or just unappealing, why not find another path to deepened self-knowledge, freer sexuality and glowing radiance? While I believe there is magic in the transformational power of S, I understand it’s not the right path for everyone. I suspect there is something special about dance, particularly sensual dance. S isn’t the only choice. Many options exist: Other styles of pole dancing. Hula. Tahitian. Burlesque. Belly dance & belly dance inspired cardio (e.g. Shimmy pop). Sensual yoga. Nia. Ecstatic dance. Tantric dance of feminine power. Qoya. Latin dance including rumba, samba and tango.
I haven’t tried them all, but want to. Besides S, I can recommend hula, Tahitian, burlesque, Shimmy Pop and a touch of rumba from personal experience.
What types of sensual dance are missing from my list? What have you tried? What’s on on your bucket list or someday-maybe list? You keep both of those, right? Please send me your suggestions or add a comment below.
For women, I believe unlocking our hips and pelvis is one of the secrets. Any dance that moves them in a circular, figure eight or snake-like way will touch that sacred place, releasing power and confidence. Even hip circles in my kitchen never fail to bring me a moment of joy and burst of energy.
I also believe there is something extraordinary about dance. Every culture celebrates with dance and includes dance in important rituals. Our bodies need to move rhythmically to music and express emotions. It bonds, soothes, heals and energizes us.
If dance isn’t your thing, it’s not the only way.
I trust that S and sensual dance is my main path, primarily because of how it makes me feel—joyful, vibrant, and radiant. But I see and pursue other opportunities and detours.
In fact, S and sensual dance was a detour for me. The main path I’d been on since a childhood was improving health, wellness and well-being. My mission in life, for as long as I can remember, has been to learn how to help people, including myself, live healthy lives. And for me that means long, joyful, vibrant lives.
At first I wanted to be a teacher, then a nurse, then a doctor. Then I became a health care management consultant. Then a health economics and outcomes researcher. Then a professor of public administration and public health. I’m still a teacher and professor. I still believe that determinants of health are biological, behavioral and social. Now I’m adding a dash (okay maybe a huge wave) of feminism.
I believe the most effective and powerful path to population health is through educating women and empowering them to free their sensual and sexual selves. Level of education is strongly predictive of health and longevity. Different theories exist exploring the reason(s). I subscribe to the idea that it increases self-esteem, self-efficacy, self-confidence and self-trust. And it fosters curiosity and wisdom.
Sensual dance, in my view, fosters body trust and love, a passionate heart, and a peaceful, loving soul. And ultimately, authenticity, integration, wholeness and radiance.
At least, this is how my life has been transformed and enriched from sensual dance.
While I heartily recommend trying sensual dance because I’ve witnesses countess transformations, it could be that these wondrous outcomes will come to you from following your own path towards your bliss.
How do you choose?
How do you know when to take the detour or pursue a new opportunity? When should you stay on the path towards your vision? What is the secret to choosing among the different paths, opportunities and interpretations?
Through how you feel. What good will it be if you achieve your vision if it doesn’t bring you joy? Or whatever your personal definition of heaven, bliss & success is. Follow the feelings while pursuing the dream.
Feelings. Balanced feelings will guide you like a compass down paths and detours. The key towards opportunities that lead you toward your goals, mission and vision is Intention.
Feelings are my compass along the path. They let me know when I’m on course. They also let me know when I’m off-course and need to try something else, even for just a short time.
I made a vision board in January that included feelings and intentions to guide my journey this year.
Feelings: Joy, connected, peace, soulful sexy, health, vibrancy, playful
Intentions: Abundance, soar, soul sisters, TGIM, ask, dream big, life unbound!
I make choices that increase these feelings and intentions. Most of the time.
Yesterday, I didn’t listen to my feelings. After drafting this post first thing in the morning, I realized the summer solstice was next week. And I wanted to know when the next new moon was. The hunt for an app led me down a detour of Internet research that lasted all day. I became obsessed.
By evening, I was angry with myself and snapping at my husband. What happened? I let the detours distract, and then derail me. Though at first the exploration was fun, I stumbled into other apps and potential productivity improvements that sucked me into solving my Safari bookmarks problem. (If it works in the long run, I may be grateful, but I wish I’d have saved the links for later exploration.)
During my mad-woman searching, I ignored the guilt and the growing anxiety that I’d abandoned my plan of memoir writing, editing task, revising/posting #trust30, and an outdoor walk to restore during my afternoon lull.
This is what I mean by trusting feelings. Guilt and anxiety pull me away from peace and joy. Had I heeded them, I could have avoided my later crankiness.
Celebrate summer solstice & new moon
The summer solstice has been celebrated in a variety of ways through history. I’m inspired to celebrate the sensuality of the earth and the feminine. Also abundance, desire, fire, love & magic.
As long as it doesn’t rain here, I’m going to get my S on in the sand! Please join me in spirit or in person if you live in the SF Bay Area!
The new moon is June 30-July 1. Traditionally new moons are times of beginnings. Since we’re in the middle of the year, it’s great time to make a mid-year vision board. My burlesque character vision board was much more three dimensional and sensual than the one I created as part of my New Year’s intention setting ritual. I think I’ll make my mid-year one much more tactile. I’ll add feelings I’d to increase and intentions I want to guide me. And sensory images and items that reflect the words. I’d be honored if you joined me.
How will you celebrate the summer solstice and the new moon? I’d love to hear what you do, hear stories, and/or see photos!
#Trust30 is an online initiative and 30-day writing challenge that encourages you to look within and trust yourself. Use this as an opportunity to reflect on your now, and to create direction for your future. 30 prompts from inspiring thought-leaders will guide you on your writing journey.