Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Aikido, Belly Dance and Serendipity

during my first session with them, my teacher (sensei) in aikido class commented that i seem to be a natural for the art, and after knowing that i take belly dance classes in between my aikido nights too, said that she believes my belly dance is helping my aikido.

i took up aikido mainly because it's an elective in my MA Conflict and Reconciliation Studies course, and i thought it would be interesting to study the art of peace principles from a physical orientation. but dreading the thought of doing (what i thought was) unfeminine martial arts, i also enrolled my self in belly dance classes every other night, to sort of cushion whatever expected "unpleasantness" i thought id feel from my aikido classes-- sort of like taking a teaspoon of sugar for every teaspoon of bitter medicine. so tuesday and thursday evenings, at 7-8pm, i do my belly dance; wednesday and friday evenings at the same time, i do my aikido.

i started my belly dance class first so i was in a good mood when i started my aikido the next night. and i was in for a surprise!

aikido is such a graceful martial art, you feel like dancing rather than fighting. you actually do glides and pirouettes with graceful hand movements! it was only later when i started reading up on it that i learned that the core principle of aikido is to neutralize destructive energies, to "defeat" your opponent by rendering him/her incapable of harming you yet not harm him/her and maintain both your integrity in the process. no wonder it is called "The Way of Peace"!

then, my belly dance classes do intuitively feel like they're complementing my aikido, because in belly dance, i not only get a really intensive fat burning and muscle-toning workout, i get it in such a way that i celebrate my womanhood and have fun! it is only today when i started reading up on belly dance that i learned that it is the oldest dance tradition in the world and a way of joyful empowerment for women as well as to higher spirituality! it was not at all created to entertain men (although it is a byproduct) but as both a sacred and erotic way to connect to the core of women's femininity and the Goddess forces!

i marvel now at the coincidence of my being led to take on these two seemingly different art forms in my life now-- me who hasn't been very sporty and physically active, me who has always been the cerebral, intellectual, philosophical type... yet finding joy and exultation in these two arts now.

i marvel in quiet amazement at the paths ive taken, which have led me to this path, as i know deep inside now that the more i learn about these arts, the more i will grow as a person and as a woman, in both my character, personality and spirituality.

it's funny, too, how i started reading a book last night, Women, Sex and Addiction, and how the author, in her introductory chapter explaining her thesis and where she's coming from, mentioned belly dance as part of womanly initiations and practice in reclaiming women's rightful connections with their own sexuality and empowerment!

everything seems to be coming to a head, falling into place, even though they are coming from altogether different directions... ooohlalaaaa.... : )

magic is afoot again.

Thursday, July 21, 2005


im feeling skittish--
pawing the ground,
to break loose,
to break free...
but to where?

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Old Love

i dreamt about an old love a while ago.

i was in this big ancient house with him; it was his house with his wife and kids. he had more than the two kids i knew of; he had two little ones even.

one was sick and cooped up in a room all by herself. the other little one was having a tantrum and wanted to be sick, too, because their mother was all wrapped up in her ministrations to the sick one.

all the time, he was just there, his usual charming self, trying to flirt with me, even as his children flitted in and out of that old house. at one time, his wife rushed out of a room, bringing with her a bedpan and a wash basin. i asked if there was anything i could do to help. she just smiled and brushed me away and told me to enjoy my visit.

i asked her why she had to do everything while he just sits there doing nothing and acting like the lord of the house. she just sighed and said that that is the way it has always been, and that's the way she supposes it will always be.

but he's acting spoiled and so are your children! i was dismayed at what she was doing to her self.

she just shrugged and went back to work.

at this point, i knew-- i have no place in their house, nor does he have any place in my life now.

and then i woke up.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Blind Spot

a friend who read my previous blog congratulated me for my good fortune and asked, "how can you not know when you are treated wrong?"

i had to explain-- it is not so much in the big wrongs that i have trouble knowing about, but in the little, supposed to be "harmless" wrongs that does more damage in the long run... little white lies, inconsideration, insensitive remarks and little actions... stuff like that, which, when added together, form a bunch of actions which belie those overused words, "i love you."

i don't think it's just me; i think it's a common blind spot among women. raised to always look out for others yet not looking out for one's self in the first place, we tend to be so other-focused that we even interpret other's lack of respect, consideration and sensitivity as something that reflects on our lack of worth ("is there something wrong with me? maybe if i do more, love more, give more, he'll learn to appreciate me and be more considerate and sensitive of me too?").

i am learning now that if there's anything at all "wrong" (i think we are perfect, just as we are!) with us women, it's that we don't give ourselves enough credit, sacrificing self-respect and integrity for so-called "love" and connection. it seems anathema to a woman's total concept that she can actually enjoy her self and her life, without guilt, with or without a man.

this point was further emphasized to me last night when my daughter Thea and I watched "Down with Love" starring Renee Zellweiger and that male lead star in Moulin Rouge (i forgot his name). we laughed at many parts of the film, because we could identify ourselves and our foibles in it (well, for me at least; im not sure my 12 year old has enough experience of her own to appreciate them, although she did nod emphatically when i pointed out some parts to her and what they could mean...).

basically, the female lead star (Renee, playing writer Barbara Novak) wrote a book, "Down with Love", which became a hit among women in the 1960s. that book was supposed to be THE bible for women's empowerment.

the book's thesis is "down with love", essentially telling women to take off their rose-colored glasses and see things for what they are, which is not to equate sex with love, like men do. sex is sex and love is love and that's that. some rare times, they meet up but oftentimes, they don't. so get on with it, get moving with your life, pleasure your self in what ever way you can, with or without "love" from a man. there is so much more to life than a romantic relationship with a man.

still, in the end, though, true love wins. in the film, the male and female leads eventually fall in love and marry, despite their protestations and struggle with themselves and each other.

i guess the film also pointed out that when you take off your rose-colored glasses and see things for what they are, when the real thing comes along, you finally recognize it for the rare thing that it is too, and not get it mixed up with the fancy but empty baubles you have met along your journey.

i think i've overcome my blind spot now.
i KNOW i have overcome my blind spot now.

: )

Sunday, July 10, 2005

What One Good Man's Loving Can Do

it is amazing what one good man's loving can do to a woman--

- because she is treated right, she can now easily tell when she is treated wrong;

- because she is respected and known and understood and loved truly, she can now easily tell when she is just being played for a fool with sugary but empty words;

- because he loves her in the gentlest and tenderest way ever, she has now found her own strength and power and blossoming;

- because he loves her with a fierceness and intensity that doesn't even balk nor flinch from her frequent goodbyes when the going gets too tough, she is learning to stay now, and hoping to stay... for good.

i am blessed to be that kind of woman now.

: )

Friday, July 08, 2005

In This Life*

For all I've been blessed with in this life
There was an emptiness in me
I was imprisoned by the power of gold
With one honest touch you set me free

Let the world stop turning
Let the sun stop burning
Let them tell me love's not worth going through

If it all falls apart
I will know deep in my heart
The only dream that mattered had come true
In this life, I was loved by you

For every mountain
I have climbed
And every raging river crossed
You were the treasure that I longed to find
Without you love, I would be lost

Let the world stop turning
Let the sun stop burning
Let them tell me love's not worth going through

If it all falls apart
I will know deep in my heart
The only dream that mattered had come true
In this life, I was loved by you.

In this life, I was loved by you.

*Ronan Keating