Radical Self Care – I’m learning, exploring…and you?

Iworkpict always seems that I have to get that universal kick in the butt before the concept of self-care crosses my awareness. In complete opposition to what I encourage with my clients. Yes, guilty of doing, more than being.

A recent round with a cold/flu virus knocked me back…again…seems this year I’ve caught everything that is going around. I probably should have received the message the 2nd time around with a cold but it took this last knock for me to sit down and reassess. My body had been talking pretty loudly before the virus…knowing I needed to do more yoga and meditation, take more time for soaks in the tub and “do nothing”time. But as many of us do, I kept putting it off until I “had the time”. Well the universe made sure of that.

This time I paid attention. I took time to review just how busy I had been through the last months and in that business had neglected my being. We all get caught in the hamster wheel of “busyness” but I was more than a little surprised to see just how many hours I was logging in with work tasks each week. No wonder I was achy and sore given that both my jobs, holistic therapist and dance instructor, are so physically demanding. I let that number of hours echo around in my brain for a few days realizing I was the only one who could make the changes needed for a more balanced life.Holisticentrepreneur

What I find tough in that is how much I love the work that I do and how difficult I find it to say no when a client has injured themselves and is in pain, or a student is working with a choreography and has hit a wall. I realize that I’m not very different to a lot of others in the varied personal service industries, if you’ve been at it for any time at all it is likely because you have a passion for what you do. But again, I’m brought back to I tell others; if you get sick or disabled and can’t work what is going to happen in the different aspects of your world?

So what changes have I made? With both businesses I’ve reduced the number of hours that I am making myself available. Saying no is difficult so I’ve decided during the off hours I will stay away from the computer email messages and turn the phone off. A little self preservation that will go a long ways and I KNOW that in the long run, I will have more to give to both others and myself. It is the first in a few steps that I need to implement but it is a start!

(for my adjusted hours at Hand To Health please click here)

What steps are you taking, right now, to look after you?

Is it called “work” when you enjoy it so much?

With January at an end and February beginning, I have had so many opportunities in the past month to experience just how extraordinary my career path is and how grateful I am that I do what I do. I have great gratitude for what it is I do to earn my living, to have the opportunity to do work that I absolutely love. At times I wonder if my reasons aren’t selfish because of the benefits that I receive in offering holistic health sessions to clients and dance classes to students.

789It is so rewarding to see clients come out of their sessions in less pain and often feeling relaxed and more peaceful than they have for quite a while. Through having a hand on their muscle, joint, ligament, etc. I can actually feel the unwinding and healing process begin as their body and mind relax and unwind. The human body always amazes me at just how much it can heal on its own once given the chance and sometimes a little guidance or direction. Clients that allow themselves to embrace such a relaxed and trusting state that they actually feel safe enough, at times, to fall asleep. The trust they put in my abilities to facilitate their healing journey is truly humbling. I learn so much from each and every one of them.

In dance classes, the laughter shared amongst the participants…there is so much laughter every single class is filled with it! (and we all know that releases really positive endorphins into our body). The wisdom and stories and life experiences that women share with me during sessions or at classes crosses all age barriers and leaves me in wonder.

Within my classes I am witness to women providing a type of support to each other that erases any abdvdayboundaries of class level or ability, and includes everyone whether beginner or performance level…the clapping and cheering for each other in sharing the dance, life transitions, trying something new despite feeling intimidated, the reassuring touch on the arm or encouraging words when frustration takes over in trying to “get” that move. The creativity and inspiration that is shared whether it is the tweaking of a dance move or a new costume idea or a different way to tie on a hipscarf. That look that crosses a dancers face when she is “getting” that move or feeling a physical or emotional shift within…it is usually gone in a flash but really, an honour to be witness to.

I am allowed to watch women blossom in their self confidence and self esteem. I’m included as they feel the muscles in their body begin to tone and develop in new ways and they know they are walking a little taller in their posture. I see the smile that passes between them and a loved one at haflas and events when they share that part of themselves outside of the safety of the class room. Through the past 12 years women have come and gone from the classes that I teach, for many reasons, each of them have left an imprint not only on the way that I teach dance but also upon my life.

I have a deep and heartfelt gratitude to those I’ve learned the stylings of belly dance from, especially Latefah as she set me on this path of joy and encouraged me from the start. I’ve learned from so many throughout North American, who have taken the time to share their joy and passion for dance!

I have the deepest gratitude to those who have shared their love of holistic health, some of the toughest teachers … but those have been the best in encouraging me to learn the body from inside out and all spaces in between and others who have taught the awakening of emotion and energy and then the gifted ones who taught me to work with the balance of all 3 … body, mind and spirit.

hand It is not lost on me how the two career paths I have chosen work synergistically with each other. How one supports the other and the knowledge I glean from one can be used to support those participating in the other. Students of dance can draw upon my knowledge of the human body and how it works while clients can draw upon my level of understanding in movement, stretching and strengthening. It wasn’t an intention, they have just ended up that way and for that I’m so grateful!

I am often asked if I’m tired after sharing a health session or a dance class. My responses is a definite no. The exhilaration that runs through me afterwards as perhaps, maybe, in some small way, I may have had an impact upon that person through helping them, dissipates any tiredness.

You can discover more about my work by visiting http://www.handtohealth.com and http://www.abbotsfordbellydance.com

A Party & a Prize Draw

It’s a celebration with a wonderful

Organics Gift Basket Prize Draw.

For all of the information click here

Holistic and Joyful ~ Let’s Celebrate

Probably the most holistic activity I do for myself is to belly dance! Sounds strange perhaps, but let me explain a little.

This September it will be 17 years since I took my first belly dance class and 12 years since teaching my first. I signed up because I thought it would be a fun way to fitness…it has certainly been that, but that has only been a side benefit in comparison to the amazing holistically healthy other mind, body and soul benefits.

Think about these questions for a moment and what your answers would be…

When was the last time that you actually PLAYED?
How old were you when you played dress up?
Have you ever just allowed a tune, rhythm or phrase of music to enter through your ears and move your entire body?
Do you participate in any activities that make your heart soar with joy, your lips smile with delight and at the same time bring a calmness to your spirit? Was it recently?
What activities do you actively participate in to increase your self-confidence and self-esteem?
Do you have a social life with others where you can laugh freely from the depth of your being?

Did you notice I didn’t ask you any questions about your physical fitness? That’s because, with belly dance, you can be at any fitness level and make the “work out” from a class whatever you want it to be…it’s that individualized.

Perhaps it’s time to step out and see what this is about and so I invite you to


Join me for a BELL~ Y~TEA
Thursday, September 4th 7 to 9pm at the Abbotsford Ballet Studio
FOR
* A Dance Jam
* Free Refreshments & Party Favours
* A Celebratory word & drum Circle
* Bazaar
(Spanish Imports & Helen’s skirts)
* A special Organics Gift Basket prize draw that you can enter when you come with a friend who would like to experience a belly dance evening.
The more friends you bring the more entries you receive.

It doesn’t matter whether your friends have danced before or not…the first 15 minutes of the Dance Jam will be an introduction to basic steps.
You will need to bring a full skirt & hip scarf (extras available) & drum or zils if you have them
Please RSVP to JingleWhenYouWalk@gmail.com by Sept. 1st
More information about Abbotsford Belly Dance Classes & Workshops can be found at http://www.abbotsfordbellydance.com