My evening of self loving began when I slid on my simple cotton leggings and tank top. Most people I talk to assume that self loving means you’ve got to be naked. On the contrary! I was getting dressed in my tight and easy outfit and heading out the door.
I was stressed. I’d just had a difficult conversation with my partner after hours of sitting and staring at a computer screen. I felt like toast. Sometimes, its easy for me to go from feeling burnt out to spiraling down the drain into feeling like shit. Despite my crispy edges, or because of my crispy edges, I headed to a place where I could be among lots of people without having to explain anything, make small talk, or even interact with others if I didn’t want to.
Walking up the steps toward the ballroom, I saw the writing on the wall, literally.
“Seeking the Balance in the Imbalance.”
The intention for the evening seemed so perfect. How do I find my own balance point of love, life, sex, body health and vitality, when I feel so off? How can I come back to the center of me — the desire, the hunger, the passion that can get so easily sidelined in the face of stress, upset, and winter blues?
Last night, I attended one of the many ecstatic dances in Portland with a simple intention to move my body, stretch, get bigger, and just come back to my body. One of the things I love about the dance spaces that I’ve been visiting for the last 5 years is that there is so much permission and encouragement to just be with yourself. No matter if you want to stand, sit, roll on the floor, shake, swish, swirl, dance alone, with another, or with a group. People yelp, scream, cry, pray, laugh, clap, snap, kick the air, kiss the sky, and just move. There are just three main guidelines for this particular dance: take the conversations outside, keep awareness of yourself in the space, and don’t be a creepy jerk.
Typically, I begin my dances laying on the floor, letting the music and my energy build and move me to the next phase. I love love love sliding across the surface of hardwood floors, drifting between techniques and positions I’ve learned throughout my life in ballet, karate, yoga, and always moving in the direction of what feels good to my skin, my muscles, my urge.
My usual impulse is to dance alone, maybe watch other people dance together, or maybe dance near someone but not to get too close. Tonight, however, following the intention to seek the balance in the imbalance, I adjusted the weight of my dance from my whole foot and heels to the balls of my feet, and I noticed a big shift in mental clarity, general disposition, and willingness to engage with others.
With a smile, eye contact, and a nod, I approached a fellow I’ve seen on the dance floor over the last few years. Sometimes his moves are random, strange, and mechanical, but generally, I see him as very responsible with his energy and respecting the space between dancers.
To a sweetly romantic song, he opened his arms, securely holding the space for us both to dance in, moving closer together, then farther apart, maintaining eye contact with me the whole time. His attentiveness was palpable and inspiring. I welcomed being pulled in by those eyes and the presence of the here and now moment. Not for him, but for me. His showing up and our dancing wasn’t about making a deep interpersonal connection with him but our interacting as mirrors for each other. I could feel him encouraging me to dig deeper, dance harder. I could feel the part of me that said, “Yes! More!”
The dance was just about those moments of expressing, exuding, and exchanging the sensual erotic energy in a bubble of now. I could feel my pulse quicken, my hips, arms, legs pushing at the edges of possibility, with an internal reverberating question of how much of me am I willing to express?
“Fuck it”, I thought. I dug in deep to crank up the volume on my passion and sex. What a gift to give myself! Spinning around, looking him in the eyes, tracing the contours of my curves, allowing my torso and hips to sway and pop,moving with presence. I felt so confident, self-possessed, and totally in control of my body, my energy, my sexuality. Balancing really showing myself and really showing up for myself was the sexiest moment of the night!