How does LUSCIOUS feel?

how does luscious feel?

I did my first ever Instagram Live yesterday. I had to look up how to do it ; ). The day went kinda south, so I girded myself with the improviser’s axiom, “Don’t Prepare; Just Show Up.” I had this idea of lusciousness, and that’s it.

So here is that IG Live. Skip in about 35 seconds to the actual start (lol, learning curves ; ).

Alia’s First IG Live!

LOTS of tips on feeling/moving Luscious!


Which brings me to…

Luscious

Hub the cat kind of needs a fez. He reminds me here of all those dear guys in Egyptian movies, caught up in the music, gazing affectionately at the dancer.

This is what I’m feeling, anyway. I’m liking where we’ve been going, and I kind of want to stay with that for a while. The last one was BOLD and we did soak on the bold side of things (Sekhmet, anyone?). I like how it was a little bit challenging, gender-bending, pushing our comfort zones a bit. Gave us a taste of a different way to be. 

I’d like Luscious to be transgressive in a different way.

I’ve had a lot of shame around sexuality to unpack on my journey. It took time and patience. We steep in the mixed messages of our social programming. Must not be sexy! NO! Must be sexy–for the other. Must not like sex! Ew, dirty! Must like sex or at least pretend to–for the other. Must not look sexy! Will get in trouble. BAD. Must look sexy! For the other…

And for us as dancers, it’s even more complicated–our costumes, the public side-eye, the even more mixed messages from the countries of origin. It’s tough to pick apart our own feelings, wants, and desires from the layers of shame and blame. 

Folk of the culture maintain that this is a woman’s dance. Everyone dances this dance, yet it’s a woman’s dance. Interesting. Gender binaries aside, to me, this means egg energy as opposed to sperm energy. The sperm goes out. It rushes. It has a goal. Swift, like an arrow! Get out there! Make those calls! Go get ’em! Rah!

The egg…. attracts. It’s magnetic. It’s engaged within and of itself. It doesn’t have to go anywhere, do anything. It doesn’t even have to put on eyeliner. It’s that juicy and… luscious. 

What if we don’t have a female body, or don’t identify as female?

Who cares? 
Sperm energy is generally valorized in Western culture–we’re allll expected to run around like little do-bees, busy busy productive extraverts. All the genders are expected to act like sperm, so why shouldn’t we all act like eggs, too? It might be a bit outside of our comfort zone–true learning is uncomfortable. And learning new skills increases our capacity for learning skills. So that pays off. And we could all benefit from seeing ourselves as luscious–self-love, affection, cherishing, magnetic, fragrant, mmmm…. 

And we could all use an hour on the sofa with with a nice little dish of bonbons. Right? And getting to enjoy those bonbons, as a choice, nibbling them slowly, for the creamy pleasure of it …

Lusciousness, Dala3, playful sensual/sexual confidence, ​is a core component of the cultural dance. It is NOT about the other. It IS about ourselves and our own self-love, affection, cherishing. Soooo…

Announcing!
Alia’s Inspiring FUN Class,

Luscious

What we’ll do
  • Explore and embody lusciousness
  • Translate simple combinations into lusciousness
  • Bring our luscious movement quality to a range of musical styles, tempos, and genres
  • Make space for self-love, affection, cherishing
  • Practice grounded, present, agency

Luscious runs Tuesday at 4pm EDT from August 9 through Sept 13 (no class Sept 6). Each class is recorded (instructor view only). Each recording is available during the session.

Will you please join us? It’s going to be… luscious ; )
Register here https://aliathabit.com/shop/#live/

Love,
Alia



Two Videos (and more!)

Delighted to present this interview on belly dance and trauma resolution, recorded at Neskaya in New Hampshire for the UK website, DanceWise!


In addition, here is a tiny, tiny dance video from class this week..

This was the final week of BOLD, which was a roaring success–dancers expressed specific attributes and found that they were more relaxed about what to do when they had someone to be.

Our next FUN class starts August 2. What would you love to do? What outcome would you like to have? Let me know. I’m planning now ; ).


If you haven’t yet read Midnight at the Crossroads: has belly dance sold its soul? you might enjoy the first chapter. It is an overview of the book as a whole. Sign up here (use the email this newsletter came to to avoid being signed up twice), and get a free download of the chapter.


I’ve also set up the free Mix and Match demo as an ongoing free class. If you missed it, it came out pretty nicely, and the first half includes a taste of the work we did in BOLD, and will do more deeply in Create Your Glorious Self. Access is for a week, and you can always re-enroll. Register here (again, use your newsletter email)


Finally, Joe Williams’ ongoing Delsarte workshops are back! The next one will be Expression of Arms and Hands. There is no recording–this is a live-only class. I treasure these classes. If you can swing the time, it will be worth your while. Sunday, July 24Th, From 10:00 am – 12:30 pm (Central Time) Register here.

Summer hugs and love!
Alia

How to Reprogram Your Self Talk (and why it’s worth the effort)

Behavior Creates Emotion

Yep, I’m reading another book. What to Say When You Talk to Yourself, by Shad Helmststter, PhD is alll about the power of self talk, both positive and negative. I’m not sure what I think of it, yet (I’m a little more than halfway through). But it has made me think, and you might also find this interesting.

As dancers, what we say to ourselves can make allll the difference between our shows feeling great vs feeling like a hideous disaster.

Background–I used to be very, very unkind to myself. I said things to myself that I would never say to another person. I hated myself and told myself so at every opportunity. (It wasn’t until I found Somatic Experiencing® (SE) that those cruel voices resolved, and stayed that way.) And I am not alone in this!

Perfectionist fault-finding and vicious self-talk is wayyyy common. Something like 50% of folks report feeling like imposters. So, of course I had to read this book (plus self talk is a piece of the puzzle I’m putting together for Create Your Glorious Self…) Anyway…

Create Your Glorious Self

The advice is to first listen to your own self talk.

What are you saying? Is it self-compassionate? “There there honey, we’re doing okay. We’ll get through this!” Or self-empowering? “Wow, you did it! that’s awesome! Woo-hoo!” Or even, “Oops! Hmm. Okay, let’s try that differently next time.

Or is it more along the lines of, you stupid cow, what were you thinking?! Or, I suck at this! Or, this is the worst day of my life!

The toxic rain of negative voices can be so constant we don’t even notice it anymore. But that’s what trips us up when we want to shine. That litany of, I suck, I can’t do this, they are looking at me, they hate me, that’ll never work, who am I to ____, I don’t know what I’m doing… is self-programming, and it is also self-fulfilling. When we think this way, we feel powerless, so we act powerless., so we feel powerless, and on and on, in a miserable feedback loop.

(Side note–I’ve had some serious dental infections in the last few years, and one thing I noticed was a rise of anxious, weepy self talk along the lines of “I don’t know what I’m doing…” So sometimes there are other roots (haha), to the problem.)

Anyway…

Listen.

What are you saying? How often do you say it? What happened just before the cascade of negative? Sometimes there is a trigger. Sometimes it’s just an all day party ; ). How do you see yourself? When you look in the mirror, what do you say to yourself? Do you have your own back? Or are you busy stabbing it?

Maybe you are lucky and you feel good about yourself! WOO!!! You can sit back right now and have a bonbon! Well done.

If not, take action.

How to Reprogram Your Self Talk

Helmstetter advises us to reverse the things we say to ourselves, in the moment that we hear them. I suck at this, becomes, “I am competent and I can do this!” They hate me, becomes “They don’t know me yet, so here I am!” Today is disaster, I just don’t have it in me, becomes “Today is a great day! I have plenty of energy, today especially!”

I have been playing with this, and sometimes I have to laugh at the ludicrous irony of these upbeat re-framings. So I have also been engaging in “interrogative” self talk, which means questioning my own inner statements. “Is this really the worst day ever?!” Um, well, no. “Do you really not know what you’re doing?” Well, actually, I am pretty competent. That’s been pretty interesting, too. If the affirming piece is tough for you, the interrogative option might be a nice bridge.

On the other hand, I recognize the value of the process, and I do find a lift follows the shift. Saying things out load makes a difference too, as does writing them down and reading them, and reading them aloud. However we get these new things into our heads, they get into our heads.

Next Steps

We can move on from reversal to general good news about ourselves on a regular basis, saying kind words to ourselves, out loud–and saying kind words about ourselves to others! Speaking of the mirror, I love the bathroom mirror to check in with myself, to smile and cheerfully greet myself and say some nice things. I’m in there several times a day, so that’s several times a day I can check in and smile at myself.

Behavior Creates Emotion
Plus there are practical applications….

Say you want to quit something–smoking (or playing solitaire on your phone, or whatever). Helmstetter advises saying something along the lines of, “I never smoke.” or “I no longer enjoy smoking, and I have quit” He suggests we say these things to ourselves, and out loud, and to others–even as we light up and inhale.

Just continue to say the words, as we continue to smoke. We became conditioned to smoking, and we will become conditioned to the idea that we do not smoke. It will take some time, maybe a few weeks or so. One day we will be lighting up, and our now-reprogrammed subconscious mind will say, then what are you doing with that ciggie?! Yuck!

The trick is remembering to do that. Helmstetter explains how much more valuable it is to generate positive self talk ourselves–but he has built an empire on pre-recorded self talk for every conceivable issue. Which is funny, but everyone’s got to make a living, I guess.

Anyway, I’m planning to play with this in the coming week <cough solitaire cough>. I invite you to join me at whatever level. Listening, reversing, questioning, or straight up affirming your wonderfulness.

Know that you are wonderful! You are beautiful and loving, and worthy of love.
I invite you to say so to yourself, every day ❤️

And here’s some music (a sound bath, anyway ; ) for self loving self talk.

Love,
Alia

PS Create Your Glorious Self is coming together beautifully! I’ll be doing some cool events leading up to it, so please stay tuned! (Registration opens at noon EDT on August 7, 2022. There are only 15 seats…)

What’s the Most Important Thing?

The most important thing is art

A feng shui practitioner was advising me on my house (like, 20 years ago). Trying to get me to prioritize, he asked, “If you had a fire and lost everything, what is the first thing you would need to replace?”

I thought hard about this. “I guess I’d need to get new costumes. And a stereo. And music.”

He stared at me. “A BED!” he gasped. “You’d need to get a bed!”

“Oh!” I said. “I just assumed I’d be sleeping on a friend’s sofa.”

The Most Important Thing is Art.

Sure, there are LOTS of enormously important things–our children, families, lovers, livelihoods. Our beds and blankets. Our four walls, roof, food and water. These are vital. They are precious.

And so is art. For artists such as ourselves, our creative work is our most important work. Yet…

We do allll the other crap on the list. From our paid work on down to staring off into space, anything is a great candidate for putting off art. Somehow those other things expand to fill up all the available space. We drop into bed exhausted, sure that tomorrow will be different. But it isn’t. It’s like the White Queen’s jam, always yesterday or tomorrow. Never jam today.

Why do we tend to put art last?

Lots of reasons. We want to make a big space of time, so we have to get everything else out of the way first. We don’t feel like it right now, but later maybe we will. We have to do things to make money, care for our fam, etc. Things are too crazy right now, I don’t have time, focus, energy. Art is frivolous, who am I, I’m not a professional artist, I don’t even count…

I get all the things. I have spent a LOT of time NOT doing my creative work. I have spent years feeling numb and uninspired. Taken up with other obligations. You are not alone, however it is that you are coping. I am with you, and on your side. I started teaching dance because I couldn’t make myself practice.

But time and again, I have come back to this fundamental truth: The most important thing is art. And found ways to goad or inspire myself to do some.

This is how the 90 Day Dance Party was born

I was frustrated and fractious, and then I remembered–the most important thing is art. So I committed publicly to a 90-day free-improv practice of 20 minutes a day, and invited people to do it with me. 400 people signed up. That was in the fall of 2012. This year is the 10th anniversary of that momentous decision. More about that in the next few months ; )

What’s ironic is that doing our creative work often takes a lot less time than any of the other pieces, especially if we make a habit of it and give it a time block, like the 20 minutes of the 90 days. When we do our creative work first, we have plenty of time to curse and struggle with the other stuff. Plus we get to feel good all day long! So…

Here is your permission to make art first

Feel free to add your name with the graphics program of your choice. Or write to me and I’ll send you a personalized copy.

Whatever the creative work you choose to do, just pick a block of time, and make a habit to do it.

I usually pick ONE Thing to focus on the night before, so when I get started, I already know what I want to do. For today, it was this newsletter.

Currently my creative time blocks are 90 minutes long. Even without a clock, I can tell when 90 minutes is up, because my mind starts wandering and I have an urge to check my email or look at my phone. (I do not look at my phone in the morning. I have it on Do Not Disturb all night and morning. My kids and my sweetie can ring through Everyone else can wait.)

After 90 minutes, I dance for three songs on my playlist, and maybe have a snack, for my willpower. And I celebrate! By then my brain comes back online. I give this combo most of the morning, as I am making a (very modest) living from art, which is both terrifying and astonishing. This is not something I ever planned to do–previously, dance paid for dance. I made money from dance so I could take classes and travel to events. But over the parent care years, my previous income stream drifted, and now here I am. It’s been a very long, circuitous road for me.

My creative work now tends to be writing, like this newsletter

Making courses, like the upcoming Create Your Glorious Self. I count doing Somatic Experiencing® (SE™) as creative work. Dance, drawing pictures. One of these days, I’ll get to marketing being creative work and then I’ll be all set ; ).

It’s taken a lot of experience for me to do this, and a lot of paring back. I would have had a very hard time of it when I was younger, when my kids were small. Last week, we talked about willpower, being a parent, doing what needs to be done whether we feel like it or not. I love my kids, and my mom. I am grateful I was able to be there for them. I did what I felt was was right as much as I could. It was hard, and I wish I could have done it better, but we are all who we are in the moment and we do the best we can. So…

Feel free to start very small…

Make a 10-minute time block. Do a little drawing, or a freewrite, or dance to a few songs on your playlist. Make it into a habit. Over time, it will become easier. Over time, it can expand. But for the rest of they day, you have that secret spark of knowing you did some art today. And celebrate it!

Love,
Alia

PS Create Your Glorious Self is the most exciting thing I’ve done in a while. The page is getting close to done!

What draws you? What turns you off? What questions do you have?

Your thoughts are welcome. Just reply to this email. Thank you!

How to dip your pinkie toe…

BOLD

We’re all spinning a lot of plates right now. It takes all our energy just to keep our lives, our loved ones’ lives, together. Like the Red Queen, we have to run as fast as we can just to stay in the same place. Pandemics of virus, violence, injustice, poverty, natural disaster. Many of us (most?) are on our last nerve. Stuck maintaining our status quo. The stakes may feel too high to mess with what’s working. The idea of taking a risk feels a little… risky.

This is why we have dance. Dance classes (ideally), create a safe social space for playful exploration. Zoom classes may not be as social, but they do increase the safety factor. We are in our own homes. We can shut the door. We can turn off our camera. We can even turn off the lights.

And we can play.
With the group–or privately, where no one else can see us.

BOLD is alll about play.

It is a space to play dress-up–with our identities.

Combining cutting-edge behavioral design with innovative movement cues, BOLD provides a weekly interlude with a sparkly-new chest of dress-up opportunities.

Maybe we can’t throw ourselves into a new life. But maybe one tiny little part of us–maybe just the tip of our pinkie toe–might like to dip into something a little more… Exciting. Fun. Even… BOLD.

In our own home, in the privacy of our own space, we can let our hair down. Try on a new style. For our soul. We can enjoy feeling luxurious, strong, fluid, sensuous… happy.

When we act As If, we feel it.

Behavior creates emotion.

It’s easy to try this at home. Smile at yourself in the mirror. As if you were someone you love ; ).

Give a flirty little wink. Interact with yourself with enjoyment. Keep it up for a minute or so. Then see how you feel. Map that feeling in your body so you can come back to it whenever you want. Come back often!

Dip your pinkie toe…

BOLD is the appetizer buffet for Create Your Glorious Self (CYGS). In CYGS, we get to design our Glorious self and bring it into being–for dance, work, or any other Venue in which we may wish to behave differently.

In BOLD, we explore trying on attitudes and archetypal qualities within the context of dance. We play with varied qualities and movement cues each week, so we get to sample a lot of options. And each new way of being increases not just our available toolbox, but also our capacity for change, and our level of personal power.

Oriental dance music is alll about these wisps of feeling, emotional timbres, sometimes only for a breath, as a quarter tone brings in some subtle shift. As we increase our capacity to express subtle states with our bodies, our dance becomes more grounded, intentional, and–mesmerizing.

BOLD

BOLD starts Tuesday June 14. All sessions are recorded (instructor view only), and available for the duration of the course. Registration and more information is here: AliaThabit.com/Fun-Class

Come dip your pinkie toe in BOLD!
Let’s dance and have fun.

Love,
Alia

Your Glorious Dance Self

Your glorious dance self

Back in the day when everyone had to have a dance name, I thought about making one for myself. I already have a perfectly good Arabic name (being SWANA), but part of the dance name thing was separating one’s dance identity from one’s every life. Safety being one of the concerns, also sounding more glamorous (and sounding more “ethnic,” now regarded as brownface, kinda racist, and best avoided*). However,

Safety and glamour are entirely legit–scads of performers have stage names, authors have pen names, and they can make a big difference in our sense of confidence as artists.

So I was wondering about a stage name for myself. I love my name, Alia–it means sublime, exalted–“the high clear place at the top,” my mom told me. But you know, the safety and everything. So I thought about borrowing my cousins’ name–AbuSamra. Talk about Glamour!

Alia AbuSamra!

But then I thought about keeping track of two names (I can barely keep track of the one I have). And I thought about divorcing my dance self from the rest of my life-accomplishments. And I though about how much more glam Alia AbuSamra would be than I am. I did not want to be jealous of myself, and I wanted to own all my facets, so I let it go.

Recently, I have been thinking about her again….

During Secret Stories, and now Mix n Match, we’ve been playing a lot with different qualities–of movement, but also of attitude–ways of being.

Confidence is a big issue for dancers.

Part of it is the way we’re often taught. We squint into the mirror and criticize ourselves–constantly. We tend to look at what’s wrong, and how we can fix it, generally by developing an ever-more rigid focus on technique. On top of this, we endure an unending deluge of media messaging telling us just how we do not make the cut–too fat, too skinny, not pretty, young, shapely, smart enough–need this cream, that blush, deodorant, shapewear, and so on, day after day after month after year.

It’s no wonder we doubt ourselves.

So how can we increase our confidence?

Part of the problem is that we bring our squinting, criticizing, fault-finding, terrified self to the party. Because that’s the only dance self we’ve ever had, that’s who shows up.

What if it were Alia AbuSamra who showed to dance? Or Aphrodite? Or Astarte, the Phoenician goddess of love, sex, war, and hunting? Or Elena Lentini, the goddess of Oriental dance? Or Taheyya Karioka?

It starts to get interesting, doesn’t it?

Richard Wiseman, author of The As If Principle, reviewed study after study, all of which show that behavior creates emotion. For example, when folks act as if they are cheerful, they start to feel cheerful. So if I started to act as if I were my mythical Alia AbuSamra, I would start to feel like her–to become her. I wouldn’t have to be jealous of her–she would be my secret! And I could BECOME her, as I practiced embodying her qualities.

When we act as if we are Taheyya–embodying our sense of her–we start to feel like her too. We start to embody that mindspace. We start to become it.

I’ve been diving into the research in this and other areas as we explore these qualities of being in the FUN classes. They’re like Secret Identities. We’re having a lot of fun with them–and not just for dance.

Superman has Clark Kent.

Selina Kyle has Catwoman.

Who might you have? Imagine who could show up in other areas of your life!

I’m thinking about a 3-4 month coaching/course to develop and field some Secret Identities.

I wonder if that might be interesting for you. A deep dive with monthly accountability, email updates, and lots of opportunity for exploration and test-driving, reporting back, tweaking–and reveling!

What would you like to see in a course like that? What would make it work for you?

As you ponder that, I invite you to try it out. Act as if you are your heart’s idol!

Please let me know how it goes.

Reply to this email, or comment on the Blog!

Love,
Alia

PS it’s Recital Season again!

Wouldn’t you love to show up to your recital with a mesmerizing dance you made yourself? Without all the frustration and tears?

You can!

Announcing

How to Make a Dance in FIVE Days!

From entrance to applause without setting a single step
Learn a time-tested, systematic approach to dance composition that you can use over and over again.

MD5 opens Sunday, May 22 through Saturday, June 4th. I’ll be monitoring the forum during that time to answer your questions and help troubleshoot any roadblocks that arise.

I invite you to have a look, and see if MD5 is a good fit for you:
alia.teachable.com/p/make-a-dance-in-five-days


*Of of course, if you have a vintage Eastern dance name, please go right ahead with it. Currently we can do better, but anyone who already has an established name, kinda gets grandmothered in ; )

Announcing! THRIVE with Alia!

Thrive with Alia

For the past 6 months or so, I’ve been envisioning a new web presence that highlights my unique skillset. Finally, I have made that vision a reality!

I invite you to check out my NEW home,

THRIVE with Alia!

Thrive with Alia

It’s got clear portals to the services I provide, updated pages, a simplified nav, and general ease of use. Our new domain, ThriveWithAlia.com will soon be live (aliathabit.com still works, and still goes to the same place. I just like this option ; )

In celebration, I’ll be rolling out some special new events and classes over the next several months. Our Free FUN Class last week was the first of these. Look for more coming up in the next week or so!

THANK YOU for being part of my life–and evolution!
Love,
Alia

Wonderland starts Sunday!

Welcome to WONDERLAND

I am so excited for Wonderland! And part of my excitement is that Delsarte movement expert Joe Williams will be our guest artist, with a 2-hour live interactive workshop on using Delsarte principles to subtly enhance meaning, emotion, and engagement in our dance! As you may remember, I included Joe’s workshops last year in my professional development post; I am beyond delighted to host him as a guest artist for Wonderland!

Wonderland includes so much material for making meaningful, compelling dances! It is great for creating structures to inform improvisational dances, or to give richness and depth to set choreographies. It can even be used on the fly, with music you’ve never heard before!

This is a major component of the CDA system that I use to make all my dances. CDA incorporates musical structure, narrative and symbolic content, stage pictures, and more to create fully realized dances for improvisation or choreography. Wonderland is the heart of this system.

The course runs 5 weeks, concurrently with Secret Stories, a FUN Class Deep Dive into theatrical expression. Secret Stories (a $65 value) starts Tuesday! It is included free in Wonderland as a bonus! (but you can also just sign up for Secret stories–it’s going to be WONDER-ful ; )

I’ve even included a private lesson with me for each student, to better develop your vision!

This is going to be such a great class! There are still spaces left, along with a modest sliding scale. Wonderland will be hosted on a private forum, just for participants. I hope you will join us!

With all my love,
Alia

Your Holiday Gift!

She raises her hands and brings the return of the light

2021 was a big year for me in many ways. My Mom became very ill on Jan 28. I stopped everything to be everything to be with her. She passed away April 17, and was buried, which was her choice, April 28. Fortunately, a dear friend moved to Vermont just in time to help me though. But it was much harder than I ever imagined it would be, and I only did what could not be put off.

The rest of the year feels like one long lost weekend. I did what I had to do and nothing more.

But I did get some things done. And, to my amazement, they came out rather well.

The Promise

The FUN Class

We ran SEVEN Fun Class Deep Dives, each with it’s own special topic!

  • Open Heart: Improvisational belly dance infused with Dancemeditation and Somatic Experiencing®.
  • BEDROCK I : Re-patterning our foundation movement vocabulary
  • BEDROCK II: Improvisation with Transitions and Combinations
  • BEDROCK III: Improvisational Musicality
  • Entrancing: How to Improvise to Entrance Music
  • Visionary Veil–Beyond Tricks: How to improvise with the veil
  • Bobby Style!: Exploring Bobby’s class format from the 70s, small combinations, different every time.
    (Our next FUN Class will be Bobby Style II: With Zils on!)

SIX new classes!

  • SPARK*
  • Feeling Resistant to Creating?
  • How to Dance or Speak for the Camera
  • How to Write a Great Blog Post
  • How to Map Your Music from Fact to Fantasy
  • How to Make a Dance in FIVE Days

I’m amazed to have put out all this content. Plus the newsletter!

FORTY-TWO newsletters!

Most of them written this year. Which is pretty darn good.

I also had the good fortune to undertake

Scads of Professional Development

  • Dandash’s fabulous class series for Zara’s Zouk
  • Joe Williams’ monthly Delsarte workshops
  • Kathy Kain’s yearlong Touch Skill Training for Trauma Therapists
  • Ariel Giarreto’s brilliant Healing Sexual Trauma
  • The Transformative Power of Eros w/ Dr. Peter Levine & Kimberly Johnson
  • Eric Maisel’s yearlong Creativity Coach Support Group
  • Lisa Zahiya’s Make More Online (which I am just beginning)
  • Peter Levine’s Covid, Post ICU, and Ventilator Trauma
  • Plus half a dozen excellent trauma skill webinars produced by Somatic Experiencing International
  • A year of Dunya’s Dancemeditation classes on Zoom (heaven!)
  • Mary Bond’s superb body reading classes
  • And a bunch of other things I can’t remember right now ; )

On the personal fulfillment side, I bought a deck of Tarot cards.
I drew ninety-five pictures on my phone (including the one above)
I read over a hundred twenty-five books.

That’s a lotta stuff.

Especially for a year that felt like I wandered through in a fog. While navigating the bizarre cocktail of stressful grief-stricken scary weird shit with which we are all coping. And avoiding Covid.

So here’s to 2022!

Let’s make it the best year we possibly can.

I want to get better at self-care. Regain my health. Nurture my spirit mystic side. Come into my power. Integrate my interests into a full-featured rich resource to help us THRIVE.

What about you?

Where have you been? Where are you going? How will you get there?
Let me know…
Below↓


AND

I have a gift for you.

Well, two.

The first gift is SPARK* FREE

I’m giving this because it is about relaxing, rebooting, and nervous system regulation through movement. It’s about feeling better and trusting our bodies. You will find that here, and it will be available all year: https://aliathabit.com/2021-gift/

The second is an invite to a party!

Omicron crashed our local First Night.
We usually draw thousands of folks to our little corner of the middle of nowhere.

So the event hosts are making it free, live, and online.
Dec 21: LIVE streaming performances all evening.
Artists and schedule here: www.firstnightnorth.org

We gotta have fun and enjoy what we can!
Hugs and Love for 2022,
Alia

How to Gather Nectar

bees gather nectar pollen biological mandate

Bees pollinate flowers, right? So so some moths, and a few other insects. The flowers get to reproduce, and the bees get food. 

Symbiosis! 

Symbiosis is a process in which all parties to the arrangement benefit. Unlike its opposite, parasitism, in which one party benefits at the expense of another, symbiosis is the original win-win. 

Bees have it easy. They don’t wonder about the ethical ramifications of their floral relationships. They don’t agonize at night about whether it is fair to drink the flowers’ nectar, to fly off with there pollen. They don’t have existential doubts. They have a biological mandate. 

We, on the other hand, have a bit more of a puzzle to solve. 

Where is our Biological Mandate?

We wonder about a lot of things–we can’t sleep for the constant questions. Is it okay for me to do X fun thing? Do my words or actions detract from or harm others? Who am I to think my needs are so important? These are important questions. So…

All any soul-nurturing stuff, which, our culture tells us, is selfish frivolity, may demand some soul-searching. And sometimes our discoveries aren’t pretty. For example, when our interests collide with someone else’s.

One such conflict of interest is when we give priority to doing things for other people and don’t make any time for ourselves. I don’t know if you have noticed this, but I find that all I have to do is plan something for myself (or even have a deadline), and the phone starts ringing, or someone needs help.

Women tend to be socialized to help everyone else first.

But you know what they say on every airplane? Please secure your own oxygen mask before helping others. It’s great that we care about our friends and family, and it can be hard to carve out a little space for ourselves without feeling guilty. But the fact is, everyone else gets better service when our own creativity is fed and cared for.

Another conflict is when a loved one has issues with our dance interests. Some of us step back at that point, often for very good reasons. Some of us go forward, for equally good reasons. For myself, I went forward. Those issues were the last straw in a difficult relationship, and I had already compromised myself nearly out of existence. Another friend stepped back. She found other creative outlets that worked for her. Both of these responses were valid, and both took courage.

And sometimes the conflict of interests is with ourselves. Our own doubts and fears can keep us from nurturing ourselves and our creative side. We wonder so hard if we are doing the right thing that we can talk ourselves out of the self-care that dance gives us. We put so much pressure on ourselves. Who are we to dance? We’re not very good. We’re not even “doing anything” with our dance. Well, so what?

Just dancing for fun is plenty. Fun is important! Feeling good is important to our physical and emotional well-being. If we don’t fill our own well, no one else is going to come along and do it for us, nice as that would be.

It’s on us to gather our own nectar.

Yes, sometimes it’s very, very hard to give ourselves that love and care, to give ourselves time to rest, to enjoy things, to dance, whatever it is we need to thrive. Nature abhors a vacuum, they say, and our time tends to fill up fast.

Many of us have been subject to all three of the above scenarios—most of us probably have done at least two out of three. So what helps?

Put yourself first.

I have to learn this lesson over and over. Other things take a LOT more time than doing a little art. And they are never done. So finishing everything else first is a very bad idea. Take 20 minutes to do some fun art stuff first and you are set for the day—you get that little cookie of satisfaction that lasts all day long.

Accountability.

Put yourself fin a position where you have to do it. Courses and intentions are a good choice for that. Marking off the days you dance on a calendar helps to establish a streak. It’s fun to keep the streak going. Having a friend do it with you, so you can check in with each other. I created SPARK* mostly to help myself take care of myself.

Embrace your biological mandate.

Just say YES. Humans have made art since they figured out that charcoal makes marks on rocks. You have the right to make art. To do something enjoyable. Step forward with your unique vision. Give it the nurturing it needs to blossom and grow. No one else in all the world can do what you can. Trust yourself. Let it out. It’s time.

Love,

Alia

PS Want some help?

SPARK* is here for you.

For all of us feeling burned out, angry, anxious, alone, lost, sad, or searching, SPARK* can help rekindle our heart, our life, our joy.

I’m collecting alllll my skills and tools for this one. Oriental dance, Dancemeditation, Creativity, and Somatic Experiencing. I like things that are magic, and these are all magical in their practice and their effects. Soothing, enlivening, grounding, energizing! SPARK works on so many levels to bring us back into our bodies, to ourselves, to our balance and comfort in the world. Just tune in and enjoy. I’ll be your flower ; ) Symbiosis!

When is the last time we had actual fun? Enjoyment is a biological mandate, too. We are made for pleasure. Nectar!

Spark FREE is a one-shot reprieve from the daily wtf. August 6 at 5pm edt. YES, there will be a recording. It’s FREE and everyone is welcome. More info is here.
https://alia-thabit.ck.page/sparkfree


SPARK* A 6-week soul vacation is a deeper immersion into soul healing, release, and joy. SPARK* runs Fridays, 5:30-6:30pm edt, August 13 through Friday, Sept 24 (no class Friday, August 27). YES, there is a recording! 

Registration is now open. Seating is limited. There’s a special treat for early signups (but it’s a secret. Hint: It will come in the mail). https://aliathabit.com/shop/#trust

Here’s some lovely music…https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FjPhXjmrTPE&list=PLqgbyDNJ3NvWoIyjZf0BnSzLP1yzMvf43