Zen and the Art of Letting Go...

We all have something, some emotion or someone, that in order to grow, to break our emotional "lock", we really need to release from our lives.  The key is figuring out just how to do it. Easier said than done. I find the older I get the less I want to or am willing to deal with crap so I try to weed it out of my life, and since that's my choice I am more than good with it. But how exactly does one deal with a loss or pain that has been thrust upon them, one they didn't want or didn't expect?  When somethingisn't my choice I find it very hard to handle. How do we learn to handle grief when we least expect it?

Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross named five stages of grief people go through following a major loss.

Five Stages Of Grief

  1. Denial and Isolation. At first, we tend to deny the loss has taken place, and may withdraw from our usual social contacts. This stage may last a few moments, or longer.
  2. Anger. The grieving person may then be furious at the person who inflicted the hurt (even if she's dead), or at the world, for letting it happen. He may be angry with himself for letting the event take place, even if, realistically, nothing could have stopped it.
  3. Bargaining. Now the grieving person may make bargains with God, asking, "If I do this, will you take away the loss?"
  4. Depression. The person feels numb, although anger and sadness may remain underneath.
  5. Acceptance. This is when the anger, sadness and mourning have tapered off. The person simply accepts the reality of the loss.

I have had 2 major situations this year where I have become hopelessly stuck at step #2 - Anger or rather the step I feel Kubler - Ross has missed, let's call it#2A - Anger & Demi-Tourettes. This is where one feels empowered to strike out at people and finally say everything on their mind, to everyone they know and random people on the street. Usually obnoxious and horribly mean-spirited, it is at least honest. No holding back at this stage. Isn't that a step? For me it is and I seem to be stuck there.  According to Dr. Kubler - Ross our lives can be painful until we move through the stages. That's all well and good but please tell me how?  While I realize that dwelling on both situations is making me miserable I can't seem to move past the anger stage. I need some help so I seek it out.

"Write a letter to them but don't send it, talk to a therapist, talk to them and figure at what created the situation, tell them off and gain some closure, punch them in the head, key their car, buy new shoes, forgive them and move on, don't forgive them and move on..."all suggestions from friends and doctors a like. None help or rather some help at some points of the day and not during others.  While intellectually I understand the 5 stages of grieving, I secretly feel by numbering them we trivialize the emotions. Plus where is the Jack Daniels stage because I was stuck there for a while as well. Whenever one is grieving people seem to expect you to snap out of it quickly or handle it with grace. I am not that person, I am not that graceful. I need to feel the pain to know I am alive and maybe to not make or accept the same mistakes later.

In the end everyone needs to grieve in their own way. What works for some will not work for others. Don't be so quick to judge or give your opinion unless directly asked. Sympathize and support but don't suggest. What is helping me to move on are the people in my life that truly love me, regaining my health and realizing that I am important and worthy of relationships that are worthy of me. That and time. Time to wait out the storm, time to adjust to the new surroundings and time to learn how to let go.



You Spin Me love/hate relationship with spinning pole

Okay I'll admit it...I was a pole "snob".  I was that girl. I mean come on spinning pole wasn't really pole dancing - it was CHEATING!  That is until I saw a video that really struck a chord with me, that and I actually bothered to put my pole into spin mode, promptly flew off, slammed violently into my wall and realized crap IT IS REALLY HARD! Why do we sometimes treat spinning pole as cheating? It takes a lot of core strength and control to invert on a spinning pole. Truth be told spinning pole memorizes me. It reminds me of the perfect, dainty music box I had as a child with the spinning ballerina on it. There is an ethereal feeling to spinning pole.

While I love watching it, I just can't seem to bring myself to switch that pin to spin mode. I'm sure the nausea doesn't help. But lately I find myself using the excuse "I'm old and I know what I like, I know what I enjoy" when it comes to trying new things such as food, clothing, music, freestyle vs choreographed pole dancing, static vs spin - "I don't need to try trap I don't like it" etc.  Is it the older we get, the more set in our ways we become? Am I being lazy or am I just afraid to try and fail? OH MY GOD have I become "that" old person? I'm not really sure but I do know I could probably use some professional help.

The great thing about where I live there is a lot of professional help. The nice thing about living in LA is that if you toss a rock out a window you are bound to hit a great pole studio. Allure Dance And Fitness Studio has a cool spinning pole class that I really need to get to (actually I took it once - I'm a wuss and spiny intimidates me, but I'm going back), taught by the fabulous Mina Mortezaie (2010 USPDF Amateur Champion). If you're in LA you should check out the class and make me go with you!

In the end I guess I realize that I don't want to be static, I need to move, to grow and yes maybe even to spin.

It might have a lot to do with Pachelbel's Canon in D but here is the first spinning video I ever saw years ago and it really made me think about the beauty of spinning pole.


And some more of my favorite dancers performing spinning pole - enjoy!

Aerial Amy - Someone I call my friend and have watched grow over the years. She is always pushing and challenging herself within respect to her dance.
















Erika Rodgers...always unique!


Tumbling Down The Rabbit teach or not to teach.

Alice ran across the field after the white rabbit"and fortunately was just in time to see it pop down a large rabbit - hole under the hedge." "In another moment down went Alice after it, never once considering how in the world she was to get out again."

Just like Alice every once in a while I feel the need to toss all caution to the wind and rush head first down the rabbit hole...yes, yes, I'll quit my job and start teaching full-time or better yet join the circus! However unlike Alice I am 43 with a messed up back and a mortgage- I need to know how I will get out again or at least how I will pay my bills in Wonderland.

So many of my friends come to the point in their pole/aerial "journey" where they ask them selves what now? Should I teach? Should I compete? I'm always curious as to what brings us to this point. Is it the need to push ourselves further. Is it peer pressure? Have we convinced ourselves that if we don't that we have somehow failed or is it in our heart and soul? Do we have an absolute love of the movement where we want to share, need to share with others and experience the rush of the newness through others eyes? Is this something one would do part-time or full-time, can you truly afford to teach? Is it a way to make money? What is your true motivation?

I can honestly say I have never wanted to compete, I had a life time of it in gymnastics and I'm not nearly good enough. But teaching hmm that is an interesting thought. Maybe teaching pole might be fun. I had an opportunity a while back to "cover" a friends pole class for her ( a beginners class so I was safe) and after class it hit me. I don't really want to teach. I love pole, love taking class, love using my pole at home and love introducing my friends to it. I love seeing my friends throw their first back hook spin and see the child in them emerge. But honestly when it comes to pole I just want to dance, I just don't have the drive to want to teach pole. Aerial is another beast altogether. This I want to teach, of this I am sure with every fiber in my body.

So what makes a good teacher? I feel a good teacher is somebody who has depth of knowledge, understands technique, is comfortable and capable of verbally & visually explaining things, picks up on emotional cues and knows how to deal with people and their multitude of personalities. That being said not everyone is cut out for teaching. I have had great teachers that honestly weren't the best dancers. I have seen dancers that memorize people with their fluidity, grace and strength that couldn't teach a fish to swim.

I think it's most important to know where your passions lie. As a teacher your students should see and feel the passion you have for the movement. To that end never stop being a student, continue to develop your skills and passion and it will shine through in your teaching.

Teaching that one class really made me look at my self and think why do I want to do this? The answer was I don't. I do however want to take the classes that I have formed in my head that follow the formats that I enjoy and think others could benefit from in a lovely space that I have designed with free parking and a sauna...this is my passion and I dream of it as I tumble down the rabbit hole.


A Slower Brave New World

Faster Pussycat, that's right I am all about speed. I'm a fast chick. I have fast friends. I have a fast job. I love fast. I love adrenaline. I love speed. I always want to fly - higher and faster. I am the strong, fast, brave one of our group. I was so looking forward to this summer. I had so many great plans in store: surfing (damn it I will get better at this), aerial arts, stretch classes,  pole classes,  aerial yoga teacher training...

CRASH.... - I get sick, really sick, scary I'm not sure if I am going to make it through this sick, hoping it's not ovarian cancer sick, write love letters to my husband, family and friends just in case sick, cut you out of my life if you aren't really an intricate part of it because I no longer have enough time sick. Everything in my world starts to move really fast - and suddenly fast is bad. Tests and more tests, rushed tests, poking, blood work, more blood work - please stop poking me, no more probing my insides with out buying me a drink first dammit! I am no longer strong or brave, I am just tired.

Good news "we are pretty sure it's not cancer".  Bad news " it still has to come out, it's gonna be a tricky operation and we might have to take out the other as well depending on what it looks like once we get in". Crap losing one ovary is bad enough - but both? I am too young for this crap. There are too many female/mental/sexual repercussions I don't even want to begin thinking about, not to mention I have already had a hysterectomy - this will be my 3rd major surgery dealing with reproductive BS - I am woman hear me roar - ENOUGH already. I need a break.

Operation is over and I survive - cancer free. Now the tricky part about all of this is how do I heal? I am not a good sick person. I get stir crazy - I push too hard. I want to be better now but I'm not - and while I kept an ovary (thank you lefty!) how do I deal with the changes, because unfortunately things are different - I can feel them.  I have weird night sweating moments that wake me up.  Maybe it's the Vicodin but I fear its my body trying to get used to its new lower hormone levels. The weight loss - 10 pounds in two weeks so far, this is a cool side effect, all of the scar tissue removal and removing the cyst is great but is the weight loss fat or muscle?  Am I gonna be weak once I get back in the saddle? I was always strong, I don't want to be weak. And what about getting back in the saddle? Sex is a scary thought right now, as is any other physical activity harder than walking to my bathroom. When am I going to be able to do all the stuff I love.

They say you don't really experience life until your 40's...I guess I am there.

I ask my friends what the hell am I going to do for the next 8 weeks?  They all say SLOW DOWN and just get better. Easier said than done.

One smart, close friend says "why not write a blog - keep track of your recovery and your new journey?".

So I will, I do - slowly.