Good day folks, I have been searching back in my archives of newsletters, looking for the ones that I have had the most responses too, and ones that I want to reshare! Whoa…here’s a whopper! On this blog lately, we talk a lot about change, authenticity, not settling, going after what you desire…
I wrote this on a very long road trip/tour in Australia two years back… So now… grab your pen and paper/ journal and write your responses, gut reactions, feelings, whatever comes out of you as you read this, Don’t censor or edit yourself, just let your initial feelings flow… you can edit or pretty up your words later if you so desire…
….more workshops and airplanes and lovely dancing women. It is a good job, a trying job, and a job that takes me away from my home, my man, my animals, my other life. Sometimes I feel split, but it is my life, what I have built over the past 22 years, and I am blessed, honored, humbled, sleep deprived and patience tried, and have so many other roller-coaster emotions and physical challenges. This enewsletter is called Caravan Trails, but when I type too fast, as I do so often, it comes out Caravan Trials, and there is an honesty in that error. This job of dance teaching, directing two troupes, traveling around the world, it sounds so glamorous, doesn’t it? It is for sure an honor and a privilege, and I love it.
Then sometimes you have to step back and take stock, look at your days, your life, your relationships, and your desires. What is it you want out of life, out of dance, out of work? And are you getting it, or are you settling for something less, or something not quite right? With the new year, we quite often talk about resolutions, or revolutions, of what we want, need, desire. These soul-searching sessions bring about truths and change. Change is such a good thing for me, I reinvent myself constantly through my days and weeks and years. I have so many desires in life, but I strive to understand what the most important things are to me. It is not fame, which I have achieved in a sub-cultural level with this dance job, nor money, which I have not achieved. But there has been prosperity like no other. I have taught women to celebrate themselves and to empower themselves. To fall in love with themselves again, or for the first time. I wrote about this a lot in my book, Tribal Vision, and shared several women’s thoughts and stories about how the dance has changed them. I have networked and brought women together, in close proximity, and over the miles through different countries.
Through dancing, I have showed women how to look at themselves, at each other, and at their lives. I have learned so much from them too. Over the years I have been on a million stages, taught a million workshops and a million women. As a teacher, I hope to have given women the ability to find within themselves the skills to dance, to teach, to perform, or just share in the celebration of life, of themselves, and of their communities, by dancing together. Through the structured movements of Tribal, and other experiential dance exercises, I have taught women how to create art with their bodies, costumes, music, and with their words. I am a thousand times rewarded by their achievements, some miniscule and some monumental.
But this dance life does not go without many emotional and painful moments. Many of you ask how I do it. This dance is one of communal camaraderie, hard physical work, creative revelations—and someone always takes the responsibilities of leadership. In so many cases, that would be me. The universe has given me that role, and I have chosen that role, I fill those shoes (or bare feet) well.
But what happens to the leader sometimes? She feels bits of loneliness as her babies move on and leave her, like a mother and child. She has seen her dancers leave with a desire to branch out on their own, sometimes forgetting about her and how much she loved them, taught them, and empowered them to be that strong dancer, to love themselves and to love the dance and make it theirs. No, not all of them forget, some remain in constant contact, and some distant, some share their stories with her of their teaching and performing revelations and catastrophes, their hardships and their rewards. She doesn’t expect a lot, just a little, to be able to be proud and share in their excitement, to advise if that is asked for, to hold the hand on the nervous journey, to gloat in their glory, to praise and support. Again, there is nothing like being proud of someone you have touched along the journey.
This dance journey is one of friendship too, because of the community aspect, the networking, the support system that comes so naturally with tribal dance, as all dance together to raise that magical energy. As a leader, one takes the role of not always being the good guy, needing to direct by setting limits, rules, and boundaries, both professional and personal. The friendship aspect gets convoluted with dance stuff, depending on the end desires. Many of you have shared your heartbreaking stories about divorce-like troupe breakups, or friendships gone sour, arising from problems in your dance world. It happens, as it does in any type of community or society. It is not without the stuff of life.
How many times have I had a woman befriend me, their teacher, telling me what a great friendship we have, and that they don’t want anything special from me? I tend to take people at their word, and instead of shutting her out, I take her into my life, only later to be hurt because all she really wanted was to be involved more deeply in my dance world, to be a part of it, to perform or teach, or to be me. And when I needed her on a personal level, or could not give her what she wanted in that dance world because it did not fit, the friendship was gone. The leadership role is also a privilege, and I have never taken it lightly. So I have tried to learn, to not befriend my students, to keep a strict line between business and pleasure, but that is not my nature, not is it the nature of the dance. I am an open, loving soul, who loves to share. I enjoy discovering others and befriending others, and this dance is about that community building and sharing, so it seems incredibly dysfunctional and wrong to not have those relationships. And it keeps being proven wrong to me, and I keep misjudging other’s intents. But somehow that, too, is a part of life. My lessons. Not everything is meant to be forever, not every friendship is meant to last, and people learn from other people.
So I let go of that part, and keep the dance alive for myself, and then for my students and peers. I see other’s go through the ups and downs of what I have experienced, but each must find their own path and go through their own experiences. I don’t have an “I told you so” attitude, or “I know better”, but there are many things I have learned along my journey. And I think that is one of the reasons why I am a good teacher, a teacher of wisdom and experience, with a desire and the knowledge to share. But again, it really only comes to empowerment. How can you be an artist if you only imitate? If you only follow in one’s footsteps and never take your own path? True, it takes leaders and followers to make the circle go around. And I want you to be your own person, your own dancer, individually first, then collectively within your group, your troupe, your tribe. Not to be cliquey within your troupe, I have also witnessed the pain of some shutting others’ out. I have seen egos expand and shrink, and I have seen many learn the dance but not the spirit of the dance. That saddens my heart. I can teach lessons, skills, and ways of doing, but it is only for you to use as tools to find your own path. My job is to help you become the best dancer you can be, and to honor yourself through movement and connection, the connection of yourself with the dance spirit, and the connection of dancing with others—that magic of our schynchronistic movement and power.
So really, what am I trying to say? There are many roads on this dance journey of mine, and yours. Joyful, celebratory, life-changing, painful, tearful, with physical challenges as well as mental challenges (remember when you brain kept trying to tell your hips what to do, but they wouldn’t behave?). It is all part of the journey. Remember that. The pain of one can be the joy of another. It is hard to be clear with yourself sometime, but the most important thing you can do is be true to yourself. What you really want, what you desire, what is attainable given who you are. Do not settle. Then you can truly gather what you need for your journey. And to enjoy the entirety of it, not just the reaching the end resuIt. That is a beautiful thing, and pain is part of those travels, along with change and truth.
Wow, this seems like a heavy newsletter, but sometimes I need to just let my words flow. My path has been one to share with you these tribal travels of mine, and it is not always easy, in fact, it is almost never easy. But I have had rewards and pleasures a plenty, and I have met some truly wonderful people, and made great long-lasting friends as well as passing acquaintances, along my path. My road is changing and is bumpy, as I grow into my crone years, as a dancer and as a woman. I don’t always know where I will end up because I let life lead me, although I often try to plan ahead too much. But I know my dance world is changing . Meanwhile, I still dance and share, because that is what I do.
I go back and reread this, and remember how I was feeling… those emotions come and go as my dance journey continues. What do you find yourself going through? Some of you have been on this path for many years, and some are new to the tribal quest. Write it down, and then save it to reread in two years…or share it with me…
Like this post? Let me know, and please feel free to share it with others who will enjoy it too! Thanks for that!
Enjoy and dance your truth…