Such an inspiration to never give up and to believe in a bright and breathtaking tomorrow.
By way of force or pure desperation
Make it stop
Roots buried deep in the ground
Take hold my ankles beneath moon round
Make me one with your breath
Keep me safe in life and death
Arms outstretched to rays of light
Branches reaching day and night
Grounded feet buried deep
Fruits from harvest you will reap
Body, mind and spirit grow
As above, so below
Swell of the ocean building
Energy spreading like grains of sand
Giant wave of antiquity barreling towards the edge of the Earth, grand
Between shore and tide
veins of magic reside
Little glimpses behind the veil
Betwixt mist the power trails
Blood of the planet, clear to sight
Strengthen spirit, cleanse dark, make light
Liquid salt strip the aura of weight
Flow of water break stagnant state
White illuminance, protect and shield
Repel dark currents, make them yield
God and Mother guard and bind,
Shelter spirit, body, mind
All artwork was done in watercolor by Sarah Gomez for the collaboration of the Nature Series project. Follow her on Instagram: saraheliart
Awaken from your slumber, simmering one,
Old friend I know so well and miss
Brimstone has surrounded you for far too long,
Let your anger cool like waters kiss,
I need you more than ever now to warm my frozen heart
stuck in between a beat and stuck between breaking apart
Set my soul ablaze again, let faith run through my veins
Reawaken what sleeps now, take away old putrid pain
Purify me of the darkness I allowed to chase you out
Illuminate me with your warmth, chase the snakes out
Unburden me of banked flames seeking within me release
Let your passion flow through me, giving way to peace
I know I may have locked you up in fear of burning away,
But without some fire now and then I seem to lose my way
Walk with me again, I ask you take me on your wings,
Where swords are forged to win the war and dragons always sing
Art by Sarah Gomez
Follow her on Instagram: saraheliart
Ever since I was a little girl I’ve seen my mother, who I will refer to as Snow White for all intents and purposes in this post, take in all sorts of animals. Exotic animals and pets you’d find in swanky pet shops would show up on our doorstep and back porch. We’re talking snapping turtles, frogs, lizards, beta fish, goldfish, ducks, chicks, Love Birds, Cockatiels, rabbits, ferrets, guinea pigs, chinchillas, dogs of every breed, snakes (though those have been mostly uninvited due to their possibly threatening nature) and more recently a cat. Like a scene straight out of Snow White who attracted animals just by stepping out doors and belting out a melody, my mother simply needed to be present and they’d show up.
It got to the point where neighbors seemed to notice. Perhaps they believed we were good enough people to take unwanted pets in, for on several occasions some unforeseen force would leave fish in cups and baby turtles in bags on our front porch. While trying to not think of it as some strange Santeria being cast on us we were never able to leave them to die. We’d take them in too. Don’t get the wrong idea here. Although my lifelong dream has been to own a farm our household does not resemble one. Strangely enough it’s as if the universe gives us time between animals before delivering new ones to our care. Like a yearly subscription to the animal kingdom. And yes through old contacts I’ve also had the gift of cuddle time with baby wolves, tigers, leopards, bears and have even been able to do research on marine life, specifically dolphins. (I swam with them once and vowed to never do so again outside of their natural habitat. Shame on you Miami Seaquarium, Sea World and Taijin, Japan. Watch The Cove and Black Fish people.)
Many animals that come through our door are injured. We nurse the wild ones back to health and let them back into the world once strong enough. My mother has stories of reviving birds she’d find on her stoop during winter in New York, frozen and seemingly dead, as a little girl. She’d take them inside and witness the miracle of the animals starting to breathe again, flutter their snow crackled wings after being incubated, warmed by her hands and prayed over for hours. She’d feed them, keep them until they looked like they could stand on their own again and would release them back into the world. After she moved down to Miami in her teen years she retained this gift of caring for broken things, people and animals alike really. I guess it’s her God given gift. Though sometimes she bites off more than she can chew and that’s where I come in. If mom is Snow White then consider me a sarcastic and at times cynical Florence Nightingale. As oxymoronic as that may seem I have a soft spot for animals and people, specifically the broken ones too. Maybe that’s because I feel some kind of kinship with them and in helping them heal feel a bit of my own cracks fading.
Luna is our latest foster baby. Luna the kitten was found in front of our house one night, underweight, feral and with a broken tail. She was way too young and sickly to survive on her own. My mom took one look at her and did what she always does. I’m usually left to research the cares and needs of the animals we take in. Which is exactly what happened one morning when my mom was away on business in Washington D.C. and I found Luna with her tail hanging off of bloody matted fur and bare bone. Mind you my boyfriend and I were getting ready to go on vacation. My bags were packed when I discovered our newly adopted kitten in worse condition then we’d ever seen her in. A giant adult cat was caught slinking out of our yard when I discovered her this way and our vet says it was most likely a bad fight that got our kitten in such a bad state. My boyfriend and I were delayed from our vacation two days and took our now personally adopted animal with us on the trip to administer all the medication the kitten needed. No one else could take care of a cat that’d just undergone a tail amputation and who’d been neutered on the same day. Yes, we discovered she was in fact a he, though he retains the name Luna and all his things are still pink. (Thanks Dr. Claudio for clearing that up.) Taking care of animals and pets is a huge responsibility that takes time, money and attention. That is why I tell you now, before bringing a pet home please educate yourselves on the health and needs of the animal and its breed. Some animals are not for everyone. Unless you are Snow White and Florence Nightingale who have a habit of biting off more they can chew.
P.S. Luna is doing just fine and had his stitches removed this week. He is finally gaining weight again and has become the most playful kitten. See clip below for a glimpse at his progress.
If you and your family want a pet consider adopting. There are many animals waiting to find a caring home. Click on the links below for great adoption agencies, hospitals and vets in the Miami area.
(Though the show just recently passed I still wanted to share this blog about my little journey of dance and how it inspired me to feel whole again. Enjoy. It was written prior to showtime but with all the rehearsals and running around I present it to you now). Photo by Bradley Marshall or dancer hubby.
I’ve never felt so included and so part of a team as I do now. I have been belly dancing since I was fifteen years old, that makes it ten years since I fell in love with Egyptian dance. I learned all I could from my early instructors, Samay of Mid-East Performing Arts Company and then for a brief time once I left Florida with Alexandra Smith of the Alexandria Dance company in Knoxville, Tennessee. Several workshops between by instruction of either school helped me to gain more of a respect for the art form. I went on hiatus for a few years after this due to medical issues. Once healthy enough to try to pick up where I left off I joined the students of Belly Motions in fall of 2015 after having moved back to Miami, Florida. I was so nervous to start again. Getting to know new people, being afraid of overly competitive dancers, and trying to keep up when I was so out of shape felt like a giant weight on my shoulders the first day I walked back into class. Though I’d been at advanced level years prior I forced myself to start from beginners again and work my way back up (as I’ve done every time there is too long a gap between training).
I attended several classes held by Miss Alexandra on the weekend to try to catch up and although terrified couldn’t pass up a challenge that presented itself only two weeks after I began. I was told choreography programs were soon to commence for a theatre production being held in spring 2016. Taking a leap of faith I signed up for an advanced level baladi choreography knowing I’d been two years out of practice.
This is how I came to join eleven other dancers under the direction of Yesenia, our instructor and choreographer extraordinaire, who has drilled us for the last six months. Alongside them I was able to prove to myself I could still step up to challenges, face them dead on, make new friends and be humbled by amazingly talented people. I was stunned at the inclusivity I felt from the other dancers and staff and can honestly say I have never felt so appreciated, so part of a team as I do now. My expectations of diva type dancers who degraded others were bashed. My old conceptions of the dance community in Miami were re-aligned to a more positive frequency. With the guidance of our instructor the students and I were able to learn an advanced level choreography we are due to perform only three days from now on stage. It has been such a humbling, positive and strengthening experience. I’m a more mature woman compared to who I was years ago when I first started Egyptian belly dance. I still have a lot of studying and training to do but I can finally say I am proud of myself for falling back into something I love so much while battling bouts of depression, anxiety and medical issues that kept me out of commission for so long. I have Miss Yesenia, the Belly Motions team and the wonderful students I dance alongside to thank. Your strength and dedication were and continue to be an inspiration. (One of our girls showed up to rehearsals with I.V. needles taped to her arm so she could receive treatment before &/or after dance when she discovered she had Lyme disease. Talk about dedication, strength and drive. You go Nancy!) Thank you all for helping me believe in team work, art and myself again.
If you live in the Miami area and are interested in taking a class at Belly Motions click on the link below or stop by the studio.