|Excuse the bit o' blur...but they ARE dancing as I take photos!|
In that photo, in that room, during that very special class, the ages ranged from early 30s to 80. The women I teach are some of the strongest, bravest women I have ever had the privilege to know.
Every time they walk into class, they are taking risks, exploring their inner landscape, growing their true selves. This is the work of Adventurers, to be sure.
And I should know...
One of my favorite things to read are books about adventure, Big Adventure, Extreme Adventure. I love stories about nutbag types (and I say that with admiration) who climb Everest with no supplemental oxygen. Or men who run 152 miles through a dried and cracking oven of a landscape with no breaks but for medical checkpoints. You know...to make sure they aren't going to DIE.
When women come into my studio, they are not, obviously, in danger of physical death but there are other deaths that feel just as frightening.
For one, we risk the death of illusions to which we have clung about who we are. Restrictive illusions, yes, but they are comfortable in their familiarity.
Besides, if we allow these illusions to die -- if we take an active part in their killing -- what next?
Might we not be expected to be our most radiant, daring, fulfilled selves?
That is some scary shit for most of us who are settled into our (open-doored) cages with their padding and yummy foods.
We also risk knowing we are already free.
Freedom is frightening, because if it is true that we are free then it is true that we have chosen that cage. We have chosen to stay in the cage.
If we are free, we then have to take responsibility.
It can much more fun or a whole lot easier to blame the weather or the bills we need to pay or the children we need to raise or the spouse who likes us just the way we are or the culture that dictates the order of our lives (college, marriage, house, children, retirement, death).
This is all to say that I admire the women who not only come to the studio not knowing a soul there, the women who brave trying something out of their comfort zone, but also the women who continue to come, week after week, class after class...fully knowing what they are in for and still asking for more.
I am surrounded by Adventurers of the Soul.
I realized a couple of days ago that the books I read are all about men. So I put out a call and asked for women who have done daring things about whom I may read.
I am surrounded by Adventurers of the Soul every day, for sure.
But this freedom thing...it's a one-step-at-a-time kind of adventure and I can take all the inspiration I can get.