The Practice of Kindness

For the past 8 weeks, on Monday nights, I have been attending a bellydance/yoga class.

Each week we gather and we connect to our bodies in movement and stretching.  We gather for the purpose of learning and experience of working towards a goal.  The atmosphere is special, and we are all taking our lessons quite seriously.  Our passionate leader and friend, Monique Manning is soulful, experienced and doing what she was born to do.  Several of us are mothers, and this night is a precious one of enjoying our bodies, and connecting us to the realms that only breath and movement can reach.

Tonight I came to class feeling flustered by an off day.  I realized I hadn’t eaten in hours, and my mood was just less that shining.  I complained about it to a friend and then complained about my body, whose landscape had been permanently altered by childbearing.  Each week I have become increasingly critical of my body in that space, and so cruel that it is sometimes just painful to look in the mirror.  I berate myself and it feels awful.

We began our practise, breathing and moving like the ocean.  And then Monique said something…..

Something about reconnecting with our intention for being there.

It hit me like a smack in the face.

I don’t show up at bellydance each week to berate myself.  I don’t even show up to sculpt my body.  These are not my intentions for being there.

My intention for showing up is to have fun.  It’s to connect with women in my life in a way that is healthy and powerful.  It is to gain mastery of my body and to train.  It is to unlock my body’s secrets, to blaze trails in undiscovered muscles and movements.  It is to dance in celebration of blood and sweat, to join the heartbeat of life in the glory of rhythm.  It is to celebrate my body and experience the joy of dancing.

I am discovering a new and nesasary intention with this class.  It is to practice being kinder to myself no matter what.  Practice shining the light of love at my reflection in the mirror.  It is to find the place in me that can feel off and still give my heart to that intention, still be a contributing member of our dear, precious group in that sacred time.

This is a worthy practice.