Tag Archives: dance

For the love of power naps

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I discovered power naps fifteen years ago, and now I’m self employed with no dependents living at home, I can use them to gain even more constructive time in my day.

Four years of IBS left me thin and weak, and then I discovered bellydance. If I wanted to dance, I had to eat, but also be as rested as possible, to give me the best chance of dancing the hour and a half session. How could I fit it in? I was so tired and yet, daily household tasks needed to be done and the children needed collecting at 3.15pm. I chose to power nap from 1.30pm to 2.10pm, rising from my bed, driving straight to the school able to spend almost an hour in the car writing my first novel.

I loved bellydancing and wanted to dance more. There was another hour and a half session the following evening. Could I manage two nights of dancing? It wasn’t just the overwhelming fatigue I felt every minute of every day, but the pain was often excruciating, leaving me drained and nauseous and ready to give up on life. I tried the classes and with the help of my regular nap, I was able to bellydance twice a week.

Sticking to the routine was easy for me; it helped with pain and tiredness and enabled me to do the things I wanted to do. I had so much more energy for the children too, making getting them to clubs after school so much easier.

The power nap combined with bellydance changed the course of my life. Before I had my children I ran an Offshore Funds Settlements Department in London; in 2007, at the age of 44, I created Phoenix Bellydance and began teaching Egyptian dance to women and girls, as well as continuing to write. I had articles published in dance magazines, interviewed dancers and musicians and wrote their stories, but it was around 2009 that I knew I wanted to write magical novels, having discovered the stories of Dion Fortune.

My mind was opened to all sorts of possibilities, but managing the IBS was still a problem. I’d taken on two cleaning jobs for friends, just three hours a time, but with teaching in the evening, and attending classes and workshops myself, I struggled to manage my pain and the fatigue again. And then I discovered reiki. I’d signed myself up for an aromatherapy massage course, hoping to learn more about essential oils and their healing properties, but there weren’t enough people so the reiki course was suggested as a stop gap.

Learning about chakras gave me the frame work to heal my own body and mind. I attended a later aromatherapy massage course too, and proceeded to Reiki 2 training. My naptime took on even more relevance, a time not just to rest but to heal. Around this time, I realised a sense of ‘self’ I hadn’t known before. I discovered American Tribal Style® Bellydance and around the same time, greater confidence working magic on my own or with close friends and my daughter.

Throughout this time, I discovered that a power nap wasn’t called Forty Winks by accident. Forty minutes was the perfect length of power nap for me; any less, I didn’t feel refreshed after and any more, I felt heavy and lethargic and struggled to get going. I was allowed to press the snooze button though, as it gave me ten minutes if I needed it, to come round slowly.

Now, especially if my partner is working away, I use power naps to make my day even longer. Up before 6am and out walking by half past, if I nap before 3pm, I can still have energy to pull brambles, dance, research or write until about 11pm…I feel like I’ve fitted two days into one! It’s not possible to use them every day with work commitments, but if I’m up early and fading by 11.30am, I’ll always try and fit in a power nap…or sometimes a cat nap if a kitten comes to join me.

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Dance against all the odds

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Our two half hour sets at the annual Lampeter Food Festival held in the grounds of University of Wales Trinity Saint David, gives Tribal Unity Wales the opportunity to share the dance we love and all the hard work we’ve put in since January, working on a new theme. This year, as well as learning new dance moves and combinations, we’ve been focussing on formations.

Getting ready together, we were oblivious of the problems the organisers were facing….… one of the generators had been tampered with. We arrived at the entertainment tent to discover there was no electricity to our half of the site. All we could do was wait…and have our photos taken… …and wait. We were told, no more than fifteen minutes…twenty minutes later one of the fabulous husbands ran home to get his guitar amp. We wouldn’t rock the festival with it, but we could certainly hear the music to dance to….and the crowd enjoyed it too.

We’d never danced in a chevron to fast music before. It’s really hard because only a few people can see the leader, relying on every member of the tribe to cue clearly to pass the moves on. Despite the quiet music, we loved it! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3O7wGp5Yzas&t=2s

We were rained on a few times during our break between sets, but still the generator wasn’t fixed; another had been delivered, but didn’t work either. My partner drove home to pick up another music machine for The West Wales belly dancers who were dancing before us, but in the end, it wasn’t needed as one of them had a spare generator. They were able to perform to full sound and kindly allowed us to borrow it for our set too.

Supported by the rest of the tribe zilling, three of my advanced dancers and I shared duelling duets in public for the first time. See if you can work out how it works….it’s tricky to perform, but once you get the hand of it, great fun. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RWgmwsUjH_8&t=5s

We did it! We shared our love of dance, especially American Tribal Style® Bellydance and invited up the audience to join us at the end. Because there is no choreography, American Tribal Style® Bellydance is a dance language, bringing dancers together from all over the world. Watch out for the Worldwide American Tribal Style® Bellydance Flashmob, held annually. This year, on 13th October, American Tribal Style®dancers will dance to the same piece of music, on the same day, all around the world and share their videos on Youtube. This year the music is Burning of the Temple by Djinn and it looks like Tribal Unity Wales has secured permission to dance somewhere other than the park….it’s going to be brilliant!

I was a chubby child I was often called clumsy or a fairy elephant, told I could learn the piano but was too fat to dance. All my life, I believed I couldn’t dance…until I was 40 years old and walked into a bellydance class for the very first time….and I haven’t stop dancing since! My daughter joined me on that day fifteen years ago. I’m pleased to say, she loves to dance and we sometimes get the opportunity to dance together.

Don’t wait, join a dance class near you today!

Check out the Tribal Unity Wales Facebook page for details of classes, photos and videos. https://www.facebook.com/Tribal-Unity-Wales-1291117667580270/

 

 

 

Toegate continued

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The broken toe is healing…slowly. Today I’m walking my steps for the first time in Wellington boots since the crunch.

(Not sure why I look like I’m hovering over the earth!)

I started a few months ago, getting up around 6am and starting my day with 2k steps for two reasons, both related to me stopping smoking. Firstly, I miss the first cigarette of the day with the same intense craving I’ve woken up with for forty years, so I’m trying a different start to the day. Secondly, I’ve put on weight around my middle and I don’t like it.

Teaching women to bellydance, I encourage them to love their bodies, I know, but this bit around the middle doesn’t belong to me. It has been sent by the Nicotine Monster because I won’t feed him anymore, and I refuse to sign and accept the delivery!

So I’m building up the steps again slowly; 1k in the morning, 1k at lunchtime and another 1k in the evening. Combined with 6 hours of dance each week, I’m hoping to see a difference by 1st September.

Tribal Unity Wales will be performing at the Lampeter Food Festival on 28th July and at the Cardigan Bellydance Festival on 4th August. After that, I’ll return to 2k every morning…why not join me?

 

 

The Waning Moon

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If I could choose, I’d snuggle up in my writing room from full moon to new moon.

At new moon, I’m fired up and open to ideas zipping around the universe. I take them, examine them and claim them if they’re useful. Sometimes I let them go; often I save them in case they may prove useful.

At new moon, I’m working towards. I act on new ideas. I can see where I want to be, what I want to achieve and a path to follow to get there.

At new moon, I’m fresh, vibrant and excited.

On the full moon, I give thanks – I’m here! I made it! There’s a sense of achievement, even if I’m not where I expected to be.

And then the moon begins to wane.

Louise asks Lizzie the question in The Orphan Witch:

“So the full moon isn’t necessarily the end of something? You mean while it’s waning is the time to dot the ‘I’s’ and cross the ‘T’s’ and confidently file away the past weeks?” Lizzie nods in reponse to Louise’s grasp of the concept.

I’ve completed one week of the waning moon, with another to follow before the new moon on 13th July, and I’m longing to hide on my riverbank, just me and the trickle of water over the rocks, the call of the red kite and the abundance of butterflies flitting among the brambles. Reducing the Vesuvius size pile of day-to-day, is exhausting. But there’s five days to go. I must complete what I’ve started. I must rally, summon the energy and push through to the end.

This is also my time of the month for letting go. Some tasks are challenging, some actions may not have succeeded or caused problems. Often my own doubts surface at this time of the month and cloud my vision. This weekend, on my riverbank beneath the waning moon, I’ll write down those niggles, those old stories that take away my confidence and I’ll burn them, sending them away so as not to carry them forward to the new moon.

…and then I’ll be ready for whatever the new moon has to offer….and I’ve new ideas battering my ears already; new music to dance to, new dance combinations, new lesson plans and, best of all, new stories.

For more magical musings and a FREE short story, sign up for Wendy Woo’s Round Robin here http://wendysteele.us15.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=bd3cc38cba01c2dea4a5f386f&id=6210056252

 

Magic Matters 2

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Almost a year ago, I posted about my exploration of the definition of magic and I offered my interpretations to help you live and enjoy a more magical life.

https://wendysteele.com/2017/07/10/magic-matters/

I showed you how small changes in your life, connecting with the planet and the universe, spending quality time with family and friends, getting closer to animals, birds and other wildlife and caring for the world family, would change you. These small changes can make a big difference; being LESS attached to technology, electricity, gadgetry and computers and MORE in touch with the natural world, showing kindness and love, will impact on your health and wellbeing.

In this second post, I’m focussing on one aspect of your life you could change that could bring you new adventures, new challenges, exciting opportunities and more love in your life… removing the old stories.

We believe we’re making our own decisions, walking new paths every day but instead, we carry the past with us and its influence on every thought and action means we’re living old stories….

“I’m so stupid!” “I can’t move like that because I’m too old/too stiff/unfit/fat.” “I’ll never be able to do that because I’ve got my mother’s feet/knees/eyes…” “I always get nervous when…” “I always give up when…”

From today, this very minute, now, hear when you say this, correct yourself and change your life. “I’d like to learn more about that.” “Tell me again and I’ll make a note of it.” “I’ll need to practise. I’m sure I’ll get it.” “I love a challenge/new idea/adventure/book/song.”

Some old stories will take a lot of clearing, however. I was lucky enough to be invited by Katie Holland to join her first facilitator training course for Awakened Bellydance™.  Awakened Bellydance™ is healing through movement, using sound, vibration and bellydance moves to clear and cleanse the chakras. You can find out more here https://www.awakenedbellydance.com/what-is-awbd

Letting go of the old stories leaves room for you to write new ones, giving you space to explore and helping you understand how unique and special you are. Obstacles and fears are only perceptions.

Use the changes from Magic Matters to inspire you… DANCE under the stars, LAUGH and CRY with your family and friends, SING to the birds and animals and spread LOVE and WARMHEARTEDNESS wherever you go.

Don’t let old stories hold you back. Enjoy writing a new story for yourself today.

Bright Blessings xx

 

The Wonderful Wendy Woo Witch Lit Team

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On the run up to The Flowerpot Witch blog tour, I’ve been introducing you to the fabulous team of women who help me get my book from my imagination into the public domain. Today is the turn of my final first reader, Melanie Collier.

Hi, I’m Melanie, dance and movement teacher, crafter, blogger and provider of document services such as proofreading, copy-editing, data entry or just plain old typing.

I teach belly dance in Pembrokeshire, where I also provide cover for LIFT (Low Impact Functional Training) gentle exercise sessions for Age Cymru. My first love was ballet, but I’ve been to workshops or courses in lots of other dance styles. I also studied contemporary dance, and through that was introduced to somatic movement practices. Since I was diagnosed with severe osteoarthritis several years ago, (something of a hindrance and embuggerance to a dancer) I’ve found yoga and Pilates useful and become increasingly interested in somatics, both as physiotherapy and as applied to dance.

When I’m not dancing, exercising, proofreading and editing, I like to mess around with yarn (I always have a pair of socks on the needles), wire, beads, sequins, sea glass, fabric, ribbons, paint/pens/pencils or Photoshop. I take commissions for things like socks, jewellery and fabric flowers. Various bits of my digital art are gradually being added to the print-on-demand sites Zazzle, Redbubble, Cafepress and Deviant Art as I engage in the perpetual fight with my antiquated PC to load them.

And when I’m not doing any of that, I’m gardening, watching wildlife, recording moths (like proofreading, identifying moths requires an eye for detail) and butterflies, blogging, doing mindful meditation, and trying to find time to practise drumming, learn other new skills and curl up with my cats and a good book. Housework is low on the list of activities!

I met Wendy through dance and it was only later that I learned she’s an author. I was quite flattered to be added to her team of first readers for The Naked Witch, a new genre and activity for me. I immediately fell in love with Lizzie and her daughter, and was enthralled by the way she thinks and works and the descriptions of her sessions in her sanctuary, so was very glad to get an early look at the following two novels. I’m not sure if Wendy likes or loathes my nit-picking (especially the lack of commas before clauses beginning ‘but’, which drives me NUTS!). However, I am sure that readers will enjoy the books very much indeed.

Melanie is a creative, vibrant spirit and a beautiful dancer. Of course I like her nit-picking! With Melanie’s sharp eye and unflinching determination for perfection, she helps me whip my books into shape, ready for you readers.

http://dancingmoth.blogspot.com/

https://www.facebook.com/DancingMoth/

Join me tomorrow to meet the cover designer and formatter of the Wendy Woo Witch Lit books. In the meantime, keep an eye out for the blog tour poster and, if you haven’t yet been introduced to the Lizzie Martin series, check out my books on my author page.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Wendy-Steele/e/B007VZ1P06/ref

https://www.amazon.com/Wendy-Steele/e/B007VZ1P06/ref

 

 

The Wonderful Wendy Woo Witch Lit Team

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The Flowerpot Witch is nearly here and like all heartfelt, all consuming endeavours, I couldn’t have done it on my own. Family and friends supported me over the nine months it took to write and edit, but a very special team of people… in fact, a very special team of talented, creative women then took the book on, to be ready for publication and online, out into the public domain.

Over the next few days, I’m showcasing my own personal heroes, the real and amazing women behind my books.

Today I’d like you to meet Sarah Ward, one of my first readers. I met Sarah four months after she’d delivered her second child, when she  came along to a lesson to learn American Tribal Style® Bellydance with me at Tribal Unity Wales. She’s a friend but one I can trust and who will always be honest with me….

I’m Sarah, and I run an independent photo print shop – Y Stiwdio Brint (“The Print Studio” in Welsh) – in Lampeter with my husband, Ash.

I do a bit of design work here and there, but mostly spend my time ensuring that our business runs efficiently, and continues to flourish the way it has over the two years we’ve been open to-date!

I volunteered to read Wendy’s first Witchlit novel rather selfishly as an excuse to read something fictional and non-business related; since our three children came along, and then the business, reading for pleasure seemed to be a distant memory! I got stuck in, fell in love with the main character Lizzie, and savoured every word I read! The laid-back depiction of any “witchy” goings-on made it feel like I was reading about a friend, and the warmth of Wendy’s writing made the book a total breeze to actually read!

The biggest compliment I could pay was to ask Wendy to be a first-reader for the next two books also, as I couldn’t wait to see how Lizzie’s story continued to unfold. Now that all three are out in paperback form, I’ll soon be putting in an order for the trilogy so I can easily dip into Lizzie’s world whenever I like!

http://www.ystiwdiobrint.co.uk/

https://www.facebook.com/yStiwdioBrint/

Sarah is easy to work with and delivers useful feedback and honest critique. She’s an amazing, young, creative inspirational woman and a stunning dancer. She plays an active part in her local community looking to revive Lampeter high street, as well as nurturing three children, dancing with her tribe and administering in the shop. I’m blessed to have her as a friend.

Do check out her website and facebook page for all things print.

Join me tomorrow to meet another member of the team.

 

 

 

 

The first signs of Spring

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While taking part in an online interview last week, talking about the progress of my Witchlit books and my writing life, I realised that now, the end of January, is the end of the calendar year for me this year  and this fills me with hope.

While there are good things to carry forward to a new exciting year, Awakened Bellydance™ , dancing with Tribal Unity Wales and the publication of two novels ‘The Naked Witch’ and ‘The Orphan Witch’, there has been one sadness I would have done anything to change.

The loss of my beautiful friend, Anna… I , the writer, have no words

But instead, today, on the eve of Imbolc, the beckoner of Spring, I begin a new year in memory of my friend. I carry her spirit, her passion, laughter, humour, song and dance, all of it. After the pain, sorrow and heartache, I am changed, renewed, refreshed.

I stopped smoking ten days ago. I am a non-smoker.

I will publish two more Lizzie Martin Witchlit novels this year.

Somehow, someway, I’ll share Awakened Bellydance™ , guiding women to their inner goddess and to the strength within themselves.

I will teach the dance I love, ATS® Bellydance, to my Tribal Unity Wales ladies and wherever we share the dance with the local community, we will be awesome.

I will be part of the Wheel of the Year, celebrating the seasons and tides.

 

Full moon blessings to you all.

Do subscribe to my YouTube channel for short stories and extracts from my novels, read to you from my Welsh riverbank

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCw3ee9CuNdek9ZC1Im8I_iA

 

 

 

Awakened Bellydance™ – 7 months on

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At the end of April this year, I embarked on a personal journey with eleven other women in Bulgaria, guided and supported by Katie Holland, dancing and learning to facilitate Awakened Bellydance™. I wrote this a few days after returning home…

‘We breathed, we feared but we trusted and within the safe, protected space of our room, we danced, allowing the music to shake up our bodies and free our minds. We let go and the layers began to peel away.

Every day, we learned, shared, discussed and laughed and then we danced again, fear, judgement, disempowerment and pain, relinquished from our bodies and minds, into the earth to be transmuted to the love we craved.

Together, we healed, allowing our minds to be free to think, to create and to manifest and to step closer to our bodies, to feel the emotions and energy rising through us.

Deeper we delved into the closed off parts of ourselves, removing all obstacles and reinstating the power of the goddess, the women we truly are.

We reached up, beyond ourselves, out into the universe, to the stars from whence we came.’

Awakened Bellydance™ changed my life… I was no longer afraid. Without fear, I chose music for Tribal Unity Wales to dance to, confident that I had chosen well and in every lesson I taught, I allowed my heart to guide me.

I published my second Witchlit novel ‘The Orphan Witch’, knowing it was the perfect magical sequel to The Naked Witch’ as Lizzie Martin, my main character, followed her heart. The third novel, ‘The Flowerpot Witch’, flowed from my pen.

I grew a few vegetables in a bath tub and a tractor tyre and cooked plant based food, gathering new recipes and sharing time cooking with my partner.

I sang in the car…and in a hot tub in Essex in front of other people!

And so much more! Everything I did was different…I was different. I shone with a sense of ‘me’ I’d never felt before. There was no ego, just a deep connection to myself, who and where I was and an understanding of where I fitted into the universe.

Life hasn’t been easy. I’ve had a lot to deal with but trusting from the heart, I could cope with anything.

One morning, a few weeks ago, I awoked to depression, anxiety and fear. I wanted to cry. I wanted to stay in bed and hide from the world forever. Why had the fear returned? How had the depression manifested when I was so much more in tune with my mind and body? What had I done to bring this on? What had I done wrong?

But I refused to revert back to the old stories. The past is gone, no longer my story to tell so, I chose to see this time as a different kind of chaos and Awakened Bellydance ™ had equipped me with tools I could use to live in it. If I cared one iota about myself, now was the time to use them. I grounded and protected myself every day, sometimes outside in my wellies and dressing gown in the frosty morning air, sometimes indoors. I danced every day to my favourite song at the moment, ‘Wild Things’ by Alessia Cara and allowed myself to laugh or cry, however the music moved me. I continued to write, sometimes choosing to research or write a short story rather than my novel. I taught my dance classes from the heart, allowing myself to be swept up in the music but always focussed on creating the best lesson possible for my ladies.

I facilitated Awakened Bellydance™ solar plexus chakra, guiding and supporting women to clear away the old stories where they lacked confidence and self esteem and where they sought impossible perfection. We opened our hearts to new opportunities, stories we could create of focus, achievement, perseverence and resilience. We stoked the fires, burned away the obstacles and rose like the phoenix from the ashes.

I’ve focussed on strengthening the connections to the things I care about. On my riverbank, beneath the magnificent full moon, I blessed my physical sacred tools and sang to the goddess of the moon with my singing bowl.

 

I’ve lived with depression since my teenage years and learned to cope in many ways but Awakened Bellydance™ provides the dancer with the ability to reconnect with herself and the universe. It’s not about coping but living in confidence and love. Not only are the old stories confronted but they’re dealt with and binned and new stories are created, ready to manifest and be the story of the life you want to live.

For more information about Awakened Bellydance™ and its creator, Katie Holland, visit https://www.awakenedbellydance.com/awakened-bellydance

Lift the veil and live your life as the person you really are.

 

 

Dance to the music of your soul

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You know the feeling. A song drifts into your ears. Your heart begins to race. Your toes twitch. Shivers fizzle down your spine. A connection is made with the music and your soul. But do you dance?

m_100_1396 As a child, I was surrounded by music. Dad loved to sing. He came from a musical family sat around the piano while Mother played and each child would perform their ‘party piece’. I learned piano from the age of four but was chastised by my teacher (and even during piano exams) for my lack of ability to pitch a note and dancing was out of the question for a ‘fairy elephant’. It didn’t stop me immersing myself in music though and at forty years of age, I joined my first dance class.

I teach dance to inspire women to dance now.

What music inspires you?  I adored Indian music before I started dancing and once I began, discovered Arabic music  for the first time. I’ve always loved a choir and now, in Wales, when I attend book fairs and Christmas fairs, I’m filled to bursting by the luscious lilts and bountiful harmonies of Welsh choral music. Beethoven piano music awakens feelings in me, filling me with a sense of awe and joy while a simple, gentle chant to the goddess can carry me away to the sea.

I encourage my ladies to share music they love and we dance to it together in class.

What about the music of nature? Standing on my hill in the chilly hours of dawn, the birds awaken the day, their song ricocheting between the trees like a greeting echo. The river sings many songs. Sweet, cheerful music tinkles between the stones when she is low but in full flow she bursts like a geyser between the rocks, bellowing her song and her powerful intent as she hurries to the sea.

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Dance anywhere and everywhere! Dance in the rain DSC_0307 dance in the park DSC_0005 dance on the beach 11167955_1610750972516726_7729406917342820848_n dance in your front room, dance on a grassy knoll 13528430_10154418410354739_3392390366723899125_o dance with friends 11053065_1610337169224773_4219450298485072431_nand dance alone 10556448_727027910700917_1801320681454343591_n

Listen to the music…and dance.