Bellydancing And Spider, Growing My Attitude

Me and my baby attitude at the Hafla

We were gathered around the food table filling our plates when I looked down and saw a spider walking across my belly. I flicked it off and watched it walk away.

I didn’t think about the spider again till I got home.

I didn’t want to admit it, but after the Bellydancing Hafla, I was discouraged.  I felt I hadn’t danced well to the fast song I had chosen for the Hafla.  I went over the things I had done wrong feeling that I should be further along.  That, by now, I should be a better dancer than I am.

I began to wonder if Julz and Katleen, my teachers, were regretting asking me to join the Advanced class in January.

I was sitting by the fire with a cup of tea, all these negative thoughts spiraling through my head when out of the corner of my eye I saw a spider making its way up the lamp next to me.

There was spider again.  Surely she had a message for me. Hopefully, something to help pull me out of myself.

The first thing I read on the website Spirit Animal was that spider, like my bellydancing sisters, is a strong feminine and creative energy. Then it said…

Like the spider waiting for her prey patiently, the presence of this spirit animal in your life could point to the need to show patience regarding a project or some ideas that you are trying to realize.

On the website Spirit Animals Totems I found…..spider symbol makes it clear that what you see before you is the result of your thoughts.  If your current reality does not suit you, then it’s time to make changes. …The spider is a spirit animal whose purpose is to inspire you to gain perspective on an issue or project you contemplate taking on.”

Patience, perspective, and change.  I got it.

Kathleen has been dancing for 26 years, Julz for 19 years and they talk all the time about how they are always still learning. What I needed to do was see things clearly and honestly.  What I needed to change was my belief that I can’t dance. My belief that I’ll never be able to do what the other women in my class do.

Even after four and half years, I was still seeing myself as the “new” person. Someone who wasn’t expected to be able to dance as well as anyone else. Because I had never danced before or played an instrument, I felt I had an excuse for not doing well.  I was seeing myself through all the things I couldn’t do and not seeing all I had learned.

I was becoming a person who whines and feels sorry for herself.  Someone I don’t want to be.

The next day I talked to Emily who confirmed the difficulties of  Bellydancing.  How we’re moving our bodies in ways we never have before.  How the dance, because it’s improv, is constantly changing and we don’t really know what to expect from one moment to the next.   And that unlike working alone in our studios, all our mistakes are out in the open for everyone else in the class to see.

Then Julz wrote about the Hafla on her blog Julzie Style.

If you want to have an idea of what learning to Bellydance is really like, read Julz’s piece.

She wrote about all of us, with pictures too.

Julz wrote about how when I first started bellydancing I couldn’t “step to the beat or hear it. She wrote... ” Maria had never danced before and had zero body awareness meaning she was not aware of what the parts of her body were doing when she was moving or standing still. We had to teach Maria how to walk first, then dance.”

” It seemed a bit hopeless for the first few months, but she showed me little signs that she could dance. Maria didn’t believe me, but with patience, instructions, corrections, and building her confidence, she improved week after week.”

When I read this, I could finally see what Julz had been telling me all along.  That I was getting better. And I saw that she had more confidence in me than I had in myself.

“When Maria began taking classes,  Julz wrote, “she wanted to dance with an attitude and confidence like we did. After many attitude and confidence lessons, she “gets” it now and is more confident and has a baby attitude, not giant ones like Kathleen and I have when we dance. Lol”

So with the help of my sisters in dance and spider’s counsel,  I’m going to bring a new attitude to Bellydancing in the New Year.  Instead of believing that there are things I’ll never be able to do, I’m going to work on acquiring the attitude that first drew me to belly dancing.  That attitude that says, “look at me, I am so worthy of being seen”.

It might be just a baby attitude right now, but that’s a good place to start.

7 thoughts on “Bellydancing And Spider, Growing My Attitude

  1. Just to let you know, there’s a general cultural consensus that non-native people should not use the term “spirit animal”. Native Americans consider it offensive cultural appropriation.

  2. This is so good, Maria. For me, the spider is one who never gives up. Even when her web is torn, she goes back to work, weaving and creating over and over again.

    YOU are so beautiful.

  3. For Janet: It’s been so long since I’ve seen anything from you since you stopped blogging. I hope you’re well and still taking your beautiful photos.

  4. Now that you are using your blog for personal writing and printing replies I am sending a contribution for its expenses.
    This was a beautiful and honest entry and a lesson for all of us–even those like myself who have reached old age.

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