Rise and Thrive



International Women's Day

Photo by Johannah Reimer

Photo by Johannah Reimer

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don't you take it awful hard
'Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines
Diggin' in my own back yard.

Maya Angelou

I love this poem. I love how it embodies so deeply, what we as women have to rise against, as we embody our flesh and spirit. And I know, as a white woman, I don't get the half of it. But I appreciate it beyond belief.

As I write this, women around the world, and hopefully all genders, are celebrating International Women's Day. In my youth, I though feminists were angry and aggressive, and declared myself aligned with the cause, but not a feminist. Today, I declare loud and clear- I AM A FEMINIST. So is my son, and my husband. What a crazy idea, right? That men and women and all genders deserve equal rights? And why the F do we have to have a movement about this? As many beautiful signs carried by our wise elders read in the Women's March this January, "I can't believe I'm still protesting this fucking shit." I am utterly baffled that this isn't a given. But we know this is not the world we live in. Yet.

This week as we danced, all I could think about is all the women in the world who don't even have the right to dance. Whether it is due to religious or political constraints, opportunities, availability, or even knowing that they are beautiful creatures, worthy of creative expression and pleasure- there are so many reasons so many women can't dance. Knowing that if our bodies are an extension of the earth's body, then clearly our bodies must be connected to each other as well. Even inseparable from each other. So this week, we danced for all women.

We imagined that each movement, each gesture rippled out of our bodies, out of the room, and radiated across time and space. We imagined every woman in the world benefitting from our love, our bodies, our dance. We sent our dance back in time and offered it to all those who have come before, and we danced for our daughters, nieces, grand daughters and all those who will come after us.

What I really want to share with you this week is the incredible wisdom that poured from the dancer's mouths after class, so here it is:

"What if the menstrual bloating of my body is actually my body expanding to hold the capacity of emotion I'm experiencing? My prayer is for all women to expand and feel what has been made wrong as an expansion/protection."  

"My prayer is the at all women trust exactly who and where they are. The process is unfolding is bigger than us. So I was dancing trust."  

"We need to embrace our hearts and embrace our courage, so we can share our pain. When we share and don't push it away, we can heal and transform it for ALL!"

"I want to continue bringing what we danced through, the wisdom of love and connection."

"I'm practicing the art of listening, so as you all spoke I really took it in. I want to thank you all for what you brought to the room, I heard you."  

"I feel like I was granted special privilege to be here with you all today, and I bear witness to you all."    

"I was holding my center today as we danced, so I didn't grip, and it seemed like a great metaphor for how to go through life right now, pulling my heart and center up so I can breathe, speak, be seen and be in the world."

"I realized I need a little bit of contact for me to feel myself, resource myself, and then I have myself. So my wish is for women to reach out, because we need each other, if we could have the bravery to reach out for contact, we can resource ourselves and be there for the world. May we all ask for the support we need." 

Dance Invitation: When you move this week, whether it's yoga, a walk, a hike, dance, or anything else you do- imagine your movements benefitting all women everywhere. Knowing we are all connected to each other, let the benefit of your movements travel far and wide to the women who need them most. We are all in this together.