As a middle-aged woman, I feel both young and old at the same time. Sometimes my body is fluid and strong, and sometimes it’s cranky and in need of rest.
Learning to respect my body and its (new) needs has been one of the most challenging (and fulfilling) transitions of my life.
As I allow time and space for the cycles of rest and recovery, I find that I can do and be more. It’s not always a tidy and easy thing, but it is measurable and transformative.
Photo by BRUNO CERVERA on Unsplash
For instance, now I no longer work at the computer for 4 or more hours straight.
Instead, I get up every 45 or 60 minutes for a walk around the house or some easy stretches for a few minutes. Sometimes I turn on a little music and lie down with my eyes closed for some deep breathing. A 3 or 5 minute break is all I need.
Photo by Luke Chesser on Unsplash
This way I can keep working, instead of experiencing mental and physical shut-down after just a few hours, and losing productivity for the rest of the day.
I also no longer teach 2 or 3 dance classes back to back.
In my 20’s and 30’s it was easy to teach several classes in a row, with no breather in between. While I miss the rush of all that energy, I also have come to love the attentiveness of a single hour of teaching dance.
Photo by Keenan Constance on Unsplash
I show up to class feeling centered, connected and clear. I give more generously of my time and attention. I respect my physical limits and take better care of myself during class. And most importantly — I transmit this new level of self-care to my students.
This way, I can keep dancing in a sustainable, long-term fashion. I can keep teaching, creating and feeling well in my body.
But most importantly, I no longer run after every opportunity.
This has been one of the toughest lessons for me, because I love learning, I love variety, I love trying out new things… But respecting my energy levels and my time means choosing carefully what I do and how I invest myself. Maybe something is worth doing but not full on. Maybe something is worth passing up, even if it looks fun.
Flowing with life and minding the body means trusting the cycles that show up.
Some cycles of rest and renewal that have great meaning for me are:
- Listening to Inspiring Talks by Wise People
- Hanging out In Nature, Doing Nothing
- Journaling for No Reason
And most of all, the deep inner reflection that happens for me as one year ends and another begins!
This is when my heart instinctively wishes to ponder where I’ve been and where I’m headed… how the journey is going… where I need to fine-tune or shift or pivot my attention… in other words, how to live a better life in general — not by forcing some kind of output, but rather by surrendering to the natural rhythms that present themselves in life.
One of these natural rhythms is winter time.
Photo by Andrew Ridley on Unsplash
I’ve decided to take long winter breaks from in-person classes at my home studio. The excuse is too much snow, but the real reason is — for everything there is a season.
Binghamton Belly Dance classes will return in the Spring, and will continue to run March through November each year.
I might run a few special workshops during the winter, but I am not sure yet at this point. We’ll see. Binghamton Belly Dance is a work in progress, evolving, adapting and growing over time… and hopefully doing this more like a tree and less like a truck… organically, naturally and gracefully minding the seasons and cycles of life and the human body, rather than pushing its way through everything.
For updates on classes and events coming up ahead, please follow my Facebook Page. To hear about the occasional free workshop that I offer every once in a while (and other special offers), please join my Meetup Group.