A response to the Pacific Northwest belly dance community (and musicians too!)...
I am exhausted but cannot sleep. A most incredible thing happened last night! Without exaggeration I can say it has indelibly changed me, altered my reality forever, and elevated my sense of what is possible. It’s the sort of thing that happens only in one’s fantasies. I had just finished another epic performance with MB Orchestra, whose music has powered so much of my learning and inspiration for over a decade – I know that’s true for many of us. Just before reaching my changing space, sweaty and utterly spent, I was intercepted by the lovely Angie Thompson ("Fateen" of Rishi’s Egypt), who informed me I was not to change yet and that I needed to return to the stage. One can only imagine how dazed and disoriented I was.
I was met with a stunning bouquet of roses and carefully prepared speech by Rishi, explaining that the belly dance community (and musicians too!) had come together to give me a generous gift in appreciation of my years of hard work and dedication to them, both individually and collectively. I was presented with a 2-night stay plus dining and spa services at Rosario Resort and Spa on Orcas Island! Not to mention some cash to cover ferry costs and transportation.
Just like that, an entire community has joined together and presented me with the most glorious demonstration of gratitude and love! I was and still am profoundly stunned! As exquisite beyond galactic proportion as this gift is, what has me changed forever is the act itself and the incredible words said and written by Rishi and all of you. As I’ve prepared this response, I felt sure I would never find words to express what this has done for me. Love. Pure L-O-V-E love is what you’ve given me. The most powerful force in the universe. Think about that – the MOST powerful – more powerful than the many negative forces that are making us feel powerless and hopeless. Your gift of love cleanses me of all negative elements and background noise I carry from the past. How can I thank you?? In my years of investment, building events and experiences that bring people together, I never imagined anything like this taking place. It seems unimaginable still... I love you too!!
And then there’s trust. Your trust in me as a colleague and friend, fertilizing my efforts by participating, engaging, supporting, and attending, is what has brought all of this about. Seriously, the community we enjoy today is because of each of you. And the reward of seeing the fruits of my labor – a growing audience, wider appreciation of live music when paired with dance, local performers elevating their talents and being celebrated – has been more than enough gratitude and infinitely gratifying. Moreover, through your participation I have personally learned so much about dance and entertainment, about organization, management, and leadership, and about myself and my own life purpose.
Keep growing and creating, and bringing the truest YOU to your life every day. That is what you’ve reinforced in me with this incredibly act of kindness. Whatever residual doubts and negative baggage I’ve been dragging around now must go. I’m profoundly inspired to step up and do better, and with more clarity. The journey is terrifying at times. Thoughts of “How did I get here?” and “What on earth do I think I’m doing?” have paralyzed me on occasion. As this fear becomes more familiar, I’m learning to just get out of the way of myself. Thank you everyone for this guidance that most likely you aren’t aware you’ve given me, of showing me how to be the truest form of me. I can’t ask for greater!
I must confess, part of me wishes I could reallocate your generous contributions toward 2016 production costs. Instead, I will accept your gracious gift and go cleanse, purify, and refresh myself, so I will return stronger and able to bring it to the next level. I can’t thank you enough for this!!! I also wish I could somehow redirect this gesture back out to so many among us that also need to be acknowledged and thanked. But I’m hoping that somehow just witnessing this kind act coming to life will bring about assurance to everyone that gratitude is in abundance. I’ve just found out that I’m being thanked in people’s thoughts during times when I was sure no one cared. That means you are too. Just think of the possibilities of what will come when we all give more of this thing called love.