My line between burnout and thrive can feel so delicate. One minute I’m inundated with adrenaline and inspiration and the next I’m empty and listless. It can feel like a sudden flush or rush or it can trickle in slowly like a stream meticulously carving a new path.
I’ve been steeping in the space of trusting and knowing that energy is infinite and renewable, it’s truly the basis of my spirituality. But there are those times, so often in life when we feel drained, when we know we are depleted and when we struggle to dig to the deepest of depths to fill our cups back up to the brim.
My last year had me doing this, constantly sipping from my soul chalice, hoping and praying there was still some nectar to be had to allow me to forage on. To allow me to not only honour and embody my fullest self, but to give, authentically and graciously to others.
8 years ago I got my first teaching job Tantra Fitness, I was 2 years into my burlesque career and so nervous to start translating what I did naturally / self-taught into a curriculum for others to start learning from. I never had any burlesque training, in those days, like the days before me, it was extremely DIY, Youtube didn’t even exist yet. (I know, 10 years is not that long ago, but in the digital age, it is!). All I had was experience and stage chops, rehearsals and peer reviews, what I had seen others do on stage and what I had read in books or what people had told me. Ultimately, I / we made it up. These days you can take burlesque classes from instructors who have never done burlesque but might know concepts of it. They might have seen a show or know because they have sexy dance moves that it can be called “Burlesque”, but ultimately it’s borrowed from those that do it authentically, artistically and as a career. The ones that live the art of the tease and the strip. Parallel to our Exotic Dance sisters, it is a new medium to teach and therefore there is not many standards or pre-set curriculums. I’ve often had woman say they have taken a burlesque class, but it’s not “what I do on stage”, meaning it is a sexy dance class, perhaps referencing our industry or perhaps not. I think the more sass the merrier, but know your roots!
“The best thing you can do for an artist is hire them.”
(Jo Boobs? Cass King? I swear it was one of those power pussies!)
My reflections, as the last day of the year is upon us, turn inward. I kept thinking I would have more time to write about the immense fulfillment the last year has brought me. How I’ve been moved multiple times by kindness and generosity. How being bestowed with opportunities in my industry have moved me to tears. How the balance of performing / traveling / teaching and training exhausted me, but in the same breath invigorated me. How I was able to become more deeply connected to those I know and was given space to encompass so many more new relationships. How being part of an industry that is thick with art, beauty, creativity and glamour doesn’t come without struggle, friction, uncertainty and heartache. How each one of us carries stories of triumph and failure. How we can judge ourselves and each other – you can always do better, do more, someone is always doing more and doing it better.
~ note ~
Although we all love boobs, some of you may be at work. At the end of this post is a set of nude photos that may not be conducive to your current environment.
~ end note ~
After what feels like forever but was actually only about 2 weeks of intense back to back everything, I fell down. I was exhausted. I was ok with that, realizing the run had been not the last two weeks, but the last 6 months coming to a head. This was a wake up call for balance.
My greatest fear is holding back.
The holding back of any expression possibly lost due to fear and the lack of courage to overcome it. The thought of not fulfilling my heart’s passions and letting them drown unrealized in the deepest part of me is frightening. I have always been a bold person, done what I wanted despite what might stand in my way. But there is more to it – another level. I recall the conscious moment I decided I would start living for me – creating out of nothing, the vision I had for myself. It would be (it is) the most work I have ever done. It is also the most satisfying, the most pure and the most terrifying.
Before I gave an interview on what I teach, someone whom I admire very much said to me, “Go get em, don’t be stingy with your knowledge. What you have to offer is valuable, be generous.” It was sound advice from a leader I trusted. It gave me the insight and strength to not only be strong in my character but trust what I had to offer was of worth. You see, when you are teaching, you are not meant to know everything – you never will. What makes you a good teacher is the ability to share who you are, where you have been and what you have learned. It’s your perspective and how you present it that makes you a good teacher.
Through my years I’ve had so many crushes on my teachers. Ones who inspired me, who pushed me, who were kind to me. Ones who drove me to be better, to strive and to achieve. I’ve have teachers so strong that even now, I hear their voices as I transition poses in a yoga class led by someone else. That gentle, knowledgeable voice – the one that triggered a gem of awakening in me. That moment of connection I felt with myself, made simply because of what they shared of themselves so generously.
There is a danger to the word sexy.
It’s like a preloaded gun that someone handed to you to use but you didn’t ask for it in the first place. But here you are, finger on the trigger, pointing at a target and hoping you hit the bull’s eye.
Sexy is subjective. Sexy is preordained. Sexy is a myth. Sexy is as individual as each person, and yet it is commodified and sold as something standard and commercial – something unattainable. No wonder women rebel against it – or long for it so intensely. We shy away from this human right of feeling sexual because we do not feel sexy. Their kind of sexy. If we look to the mainstream to give us clues on how to be a woman and how to be sexy, we are losing a game that was never meant to be won.
I am indeed a wealthy woman. One who can bankroll a heart, can shell out mad abundance and front the bill on kindness. My currency is love and I have very deep pockets. As wealthy as I am there is also a great debt that I carry: the debt of gratitude. This debt is not heavy like a sack of carbon blocks slung over your shoulder bogging you down; repressive. This is a weightless wonderment, a renewable resource. It exists everywhere and is begging to be claimed; cultivated.