I moved to San Francisco 21 years ago last week.
I had just narrowly escaped a theatrical cult, arrived with 2 suitcases, no money & no job.
I spent the first few nights at Cameron House, a social services center in Chinatown. I just showed up on their doorstep.
Here I am 21 years later…with a job that never existed before I dreamed it up. Perhaps about 20 suitcases-worth of belongings now (pretty much just costumes ; )…living in studio nest filled with Feathers.
The city had been calling me for years–it was the backdrop for family adventures (read: garage sales!)–when we needed to escape our bohemian village of Mendocino, California.
But I had the sense that I needed to be ready to live here–that if I came too soon, I would be overwhelmed by all the city offered.
So I visited the city periodically over the course of my 20’s, testing the waters. Was it time yet? It became time suddenly when I almost spent 2 years on the road with a theatrical cult. A story for another post…
I knew that I was in search of a crossroads between Art (Dance), Spirituality & Psychology, and San Francisco seemed like the best place for that. I began my search and took sample courses and workshops at CIIS, Tamalpa Institute, The Move On Center (which has since moved on ; ), and InterPlay. I resonated most with InterPlay (an improvisational art-making, community building & healing practice) and became a certified InterPlay leader, the first of many mind/body/spirit uniting certifications.
One thing I learned through InterPlay that has served me to this day, is to go with my strength. Our culture focuses us a lot on what our weaknesses are. How stuck I was when I focused there!?!? In dance I was trained to focus on what was NOT working for me (i.e. how I couldn’t do 5 clean pirouettes…or the full splits…or remember choreography very well).
But once I started going with my strengths, it all shifted. I got to create a life built around my strengths, and highlight those!?! Ohmigosh, what a reframe! I sigh a sigh of relief, just remembering that.
I will take my time with sharing the legs of my journey growing into the Showgirl Shaman that I am today, and spread it out over multiple posts. This Showgirl Awakening journey is just that: an ongoing AwakenING, with an emphasis on the -ING. It doesn’t end. I keep spiraling around the same core Feminine wounds of:
- being afraid to be seen, TRULY seen
- being brave enough to ask for what I need
- even admitting to myself what I actually need, let alone desire
- forgetting to savor my embodied senses of movement of taste, smell, touch, sound & sight
Yet, every time around this spiral, I have more awareness, self-compassion, resources and resilience. No more getting stuck & frozen for decades. I never did perfect those piroutettes, or do the full splits. In fact, I’m at the heaviest weight I’ve ever been, am letting my gray hair grow in, and I love myself enough to get on stage this Friday and strip down nearly naked, while dancing to Stairway to Heaven in front of YOU!
I am the classic Wounded Healer. I teach Showgirl Awakening because I needed–and need–it myself. I couldn’t find a school that offered the form of awakening that my body and soul super desired. So, by the grace of the Awakening Showgirl herself, I have assembled, downloaded, learned, stitched together by hand, that way that any true soulwork happens (check out Red Shoes, as recounted by Clarissa Pinkola Estes, one of my remote teachers in my ’20’s who helped keep me alive before I began my Showgirl Awakening).
Sometimes the Awakening Showgirl herself had to clonk me on the head and lay me up in bed with illness in order to get my attention. I created my first One Woman Show in 2013 about that episode, which I’ll share in another post.
But for now, I’d like to share with you the 3rd One Woman Show I created about my dance journey from 4 years old until 33, the beginning of my Showgirl Awakening. Enjoy it below:
Yours in Glitter & Stardust,
PS I’d love to hear what woke up in you as you read and watched the above. Do share below.