What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals. ~ Zig Ziglar
Each level of S begins with our instructor asking what we want for the upcoming eight weeks. She ask each of us what we want from that level, what we hope for and exactly what we’d like to focus on as we move through each week.
Sometimes I want to focus on breath. I know its a basic thing we all do even without thought but its something I struggle with. Taking root in my own childhood trauma, holding my breath as I live is second nature. I often forget to breathe. With the nature of S Factor and life itself, this is something I must be intentional about working on. Its usually one of my goals for each level.
Most of the women in my class, many of whom I’ve been with since level one almost a year ago now mention a desire to continue building their strength and core. When one woman mentions strength and core development, we all nod in affirmation. We all want more growth there. What I did note during week one of level four was one of my sister’s comment regarding strength. She said, “I feel strength that I didn’t before. Its different though. Its internal.”
I find that to be entirely true. While I may not have acheived my ideal height of strength, it does continue to grow each week. No matter where that physical strength lies, I find that my entire being has built a capacity for strength I didn’t know existed. The capacity with which my voice and spirit carry now exceeds what I never even imagined. So while this class does teach me a physicality focused on sensuality that I did not have the vocabulary for before, it is also allowing for the emergence of something you cannot touch. Something that is more ethereal in nature that can not even be quantified. For the growth of this kind of strength, I am at awe. At awe at it in myself and in my fellow sisters!
THE GROUND WILL SUPPORT YOU
I believe that there is a subtle magnetism in Nature, which, if we unconsciously yield to it, will direct us aright. ~Henry David Thoreau
As we began week one of level four, our instructor gently guided us into our ritualistic warm up that I have come to adore. This week as she bid us to find our ways to the floor and on our backs, she emphasized that, “the ground will support you.” Its a simple claim. She wanted us to give all of ourselves to the ground. She wanted us to let go of anything we were holding. Maybe the tension was in our head, our back…maybe just our finger tips. She wanted us to let go of it all and just surrender to the ground. I loved this reiteration about the nature of the universe.
I know there are times when we hold back. There are times when we won’t let go of the tension…whether physical, mental or metaphysical. There are times when we feel so isolated and unable to proceed. Times when we feel we have no support, help or guidance. There are times when we feel uncertain. There are times when we doubt ourselves, our dreams, our relationships and even more. HOWEVER, we do not have to live in that fear.
No matter what, you have to know that the universe conspires WITH you. No matter what you think or others say, there is something higher than all of that and it is in tune with the very magical atoms that comprise the galaxy. No matter what, “THE GROUND WILL SUPPORT YOU”. The air will support you. The elements want to be in tuned with you. The universe is there for you and can hold you and all of your desires and dreams!
Don’t forget to love yourself ~ Soren Kierkegaard
During another week in class, I decided to switch things up a bit. Often during warm ups, moving meditation or while dancing, I imagine someone there watching, receiving and taking all that I give in completely. Sometimes its someone from a past relationship. Sometimes its someone of interest or just the image of a man. Other times in class, I imagine no one. Its just my siren self in her lair, with no observers, dancing her way through existence. This time, I wanted to try something different.
Rather than dance for another or just dance for myself, I danced with the intent of seducing myself. Sometimes as I do “cat cow rolls” or “hip circles” into “picasso arches”, I imagine someone below me, above me, between me and on me. I imagine them in the corner chair watching. Laying on the floor taking it in. Or being the embodiment of the physical brass pole. For this specific class, I was that person. “Every Day Sheena” was the guest of honor beneath me, in the chair, on the floor taking in everything I offered through my movement and my breath. The dancer was my erotic creature. I let Isis the Siren come out with the intent to seduce “Sheena, the metaphorical person.”
Have I lost you? Instead of imagining a lover in the chair as I lap danced or beneath me as I moved, I imagined the lover was me! I want the ultimate in seduction. I want a man to make me forget my name and the day of the week. But often, in order to have that ultimate fantasy, you must teach and instruct someone on how to love you that way physically. So I let “metaphorical sheena” be the guest of honor and it was my roll as Isis the Siren to seduce “myself” with my movement. During warm up. During moving meditation. During pole work. And during our freestyle dance.
I hope I’m expressing myself clearly. I know exactly what I meant and even if I can’t articulate it in written words, I know something happened. After I finished my freestyle dance, the instructor said to me, “I’ve never seen you so open like that before.”
I suppose its because ultimately I am my best lover. I know all the right places and words and movements and sounds and sensations that I want to experience and embody. I can give the gift of myself to my self. And perhaps that will translate into a usable moment in encounters with others. As I alternate my focuses for each class, I will have to try this exercise again. I found it very enticing. I encourage you to seduce yourself every now and then. It just may work wonders for you, whether its through dance, sensual touch or eating mango gelato. Find the height of your own self pleasure. Mine involves music, a wall, a wood floor and a ten feet sturdy brass pole.
I like a teacher who gives you something to take home to think about besides homework.~ Lily Tomlin
One thing I’ve look forward to as I progress in my S Factor levels are the often talked about “assignments.” Every other week different levels are given themes or focuses. Biker chick. Fairy tale. Masquerade. Bombshell. Whatever! Sometimes we are given little exercises separate from the official assignments. Such as, ” this pole represents everything you love and this one you hate.” Or “This pole is your past, this one your present and this your future.” I get off on stuff like this. My active imagination loves the play. If only all homework were like this. Is it possible to get my PhD in all things sexy and sensual?
When given the themed assignments, we are to find music, clothing, and movement that embody that role. For example, a few weeks ago we had sentimental week. Whether it involved a relationship, your childhood or your grandma’s apple pie and tea cakes, you were to find music that brought that sentiment to mind. Then you were to find an article of clothing and dance your heart out.
I picked an Adele song that summed up where my emotions and reality stood with someone I love but am unable to be with. I wore the dress I wore on our first date, not even knowing if it was possible to dance in it. I figured I’d let whatever natural restrictions existed with the dress inform and inspire my movement. I also decided, I wasn’t going to focus on dancing “sensually” or “sexually” or “seductively”. I was lyrically going to dance the sentiment however the spirit and my emotions moved me.
And so I danced. Or maybe I just moved. I don’t know what I did. I just know I danced my goodbye to him. And I felt broken and sad and sentimental yet hopeful. I said what I needed to say in my flying and moving and crawling and even in my hesitancy. After the dance, my instructor noted how grounded I was. How I just couldn’t bring myself to approach the chair. How my emotions were just laid bare! Yea these assignments are gonna work wonders for me.
If we’re growing, we’re always going to be out of our comfort zone. ~ John Maxwell
Lastly, due to my recent schedule, I’ve had to take various makeup classes on a different day and a different time with a whole new group of girls. In fact, the classes are also a level above me. I was hesitant and a little scared. I wondered if I’d feel like an amateur or even a little child trying to dance with the big girls. My concern had no basis. I had nothing to worry about. First, the studio I practice in doesn’t foster that kind of environment and no matter what class I’m in, I find myself in a welcoming community no matter your skill or class level.
While I love my main instructor and its my hope to stick with her for years to come, I find it refreshing to encounter other instructors. They are all different. They have different styles, focuses and features. It’s also nice to be a part of a class from a different level. Being that these women were above me, I felt like the little sister who picks up on things quicker because she can follow her older, more experienced sisters. I felt free to ask questions about challenging moves and due to their experience, they were able to break it down for me when the instructor was working with someone else. I loved it.
I took all of my make up classes with the same instructor for consistency sake and its my hope to encounter her again sometime. She likes to focus on skin. On feeling your skin. Feeling yourself push against it and beyond it. Feeling everything that connects with it. Rubs against it. She loves when she can hear the sound of your skin as it makes contact. She was the one to say to me, after watching me dance that my erotic creature LOVED MY INNER THIGHS. Maybe I knew this before but I didn’t give it much thought. Now, it stays on my mind. In fact, I was specific about bringing it up with someone. “I found out through dance that I love my inner thighs. I want you to focus on that too!” And that, he did! Yummy!
We are half way through our journey in level four. With the rediscovery of my siren and sensual self, I’ve now found a more grounded sense of being. One that doesn’t even have to focus on all things sexy. She just wants space, a song that moves her and the freedom to let her skin and bones commune with her environment. That’s all I want. I just want to touch the world and let the world touch me. Physically. Emotionally. Mentally. Spiritually. Sensually. Metaphysically. Just touch my skin.
I celebrate myself, and sing myself ~ Walt Whitman
SLY’s other S FACTOR WRITINGS