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Speaking up, making art for relaxation and coming home…

Happy Pride beautiful ones!

In these past few weeks, we have sadly continued to see more incidents of racism, misogyny and bigotry but we have also witnessed many people waking up to the struggle, as well as some taking a firm stand. The UK hip hop dance scene is not free from these discriminatory behaviours, and accusations of sexual abuse have also been revealed this week.

It can be a traumatic time for those speaking out so if you need a safe space you can contact groomedinrecovery@gmail.comYou can also support dancers in recovery here. It is always frightening and draining to face the past, speak up and call out. I take courage form James Baldwin’s powerful words:

“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced”.

In times like these, we can be affected in many ways and on many levels. Our vibration is shaped by our experiences. Last week, (thanks to the suggestion of Kenrick from Boy Blue), I offered a healing womb meditation online. Watch the meditation here for some refreshing and realigning of your core energy (I am in the process of re-recording this in a beautiful collaboration which we hope to share soon). You may prefer this Kundalini class to act not react. We are currently in ‘Pluto transformation’ where our deepest repressed and unvoiced fears may surface. This is also a time when karmic repayments are spread to those spreading good energies. Conversely it is at this time that our words may be misjudged or misunderstood, and we become distracted by reacting rather than taking positive action that creates long term change. (So I hope you find this Kundalini kriya of benefit!)

I will forever be moved by these powerful words by James Baldwin (Watch the rest here)

“It seems to me, that the, artist’s struggle for his integrity is a kind of metaphor, and must be considered as a metaphor for the struggle, which is universal and daily for all human beings, on the face of this terrifying globe. To get to become human beings…”

James Baldwin goes on to talk about “the poets – by which I mean all artists –Are finally the only people who know the truth about us. Soldiers don’t. Statesmen don’t. Priests don’t. Union leaders don’t. Only the poets…”

Powerful words, and big responsibilities for all artists.! His words have made me reflect too on the extent to which we are all toxic. How can we use our life journey to become better human beings? it is important to recognise the power of creativity to heal. I have been painting this week because I find it helps me return to stillness. It was also through painting that I originally realised I wanted to dance. Painting has helped me reflect on my busy pre-Covid lifestyle. Although it was rewarding, allowing me to connect, to create tribes and families all over the world, it was also a way to avoid, in the words of Ekhart Tolle, ‘‘living with myself’ or finding stillness.

Home, or isness, or bliss, or innocence (as taught in my coaching programme) is an energetic space within our body, and I hope that in between your surviving, your teaching, your working, your creating, your activism, your protesting, your speaking up, your caring for others, your listening to others, your donating large sums of money, your earning large sums of money and generally making ripples in this world, you are also giving time to yourself to rest, to recuperate, to come home, to breathe, to laugh, to sigh, to cry, and most of all, to be still!

Sending all my love in these different times: You are super(s)heros!

Ella xxx

The Masks We Wear

Dear beautiful humans,

If you are recovering from ill health or the trauma of the racism and bigotry witnessed this week, we send you love and a warm embrace. How tragic, difficult, hateful and yet hopeful these past two weeks have been.

I felt proud of Bristol this week. In October 2018 I posted a piece of street art on my insta by an anonymous artist. It was a protest revealing the truth about Edward Colston.

Colston (though I imagine you already know this!) was a slave owner who was responsible for the death of thousands of human beings, yet he was celebrated as a hero.

I went to school in Bristol and can remember numerous calls to take his statue down. On Sunday, the public made it a reality! Marvin Rees, the Mayor, called it ‘poetry’ in motion. Colston who had Africans thrown overboard as commodities, now lies at the bottom of the harbour.

I read an interesting article (What ended the Slave Trade – The Teacherist) this week, which presents a convincing argument about why these statues should be removed. To those who say this is an attack on British history. This is history!*

This beautiful poem by my hero Maya Angelou also re-touched my heart this week, and feels very relevant in every way to the themes emerging over the past weeks: https://youtu.be/UT9y9HFHpU0

I am amazed to realise that one year ago, we were making a dance piece whose title would work so very well today. ‘The Masks We Wear’, was co-created with five wonderful young women in Leeds. (Watch their final performance here). Perhaps it is time to bring it back!

The piece explored personal reflections on identity, and the inescapable pressure of being female in the digital age. I worked in collaboration with Vamos Festival and Costuminati, funded by Leeds Inspired. We explored public and private self with five talented young women through masked dance.

As a person of mixed heritage, particularly one with very light skin, I have been drawing on the multiple layers of my own identity to hold the pain of loved ones, to pass on important information to those that might benefit, and to feel my own anger whilst acknowledging my own privilege. I have found this time triggering, healing, inspiring, but tiring.

As a result, the Getting Better Box has evolved further and is now full of anti racism recommendations. I invite you to have a look, and if you feel inspired to send in your ideas to add to the collection. (And of course continue to send your poems, your well-being and dance classes and anything else that you would like to share on the platform).

I have been thinking a lot about polarities and masks not just this week but over these lockdown months. I have been thinking about how much in our pre-covid world we boxed, divided and labeled: Good, bad, right, wrong, masculine, feminine, black, white.

Perhaps in a post covid world we might try to occupy the spaces in between? Can we, rather than label experiences as positive and negative be more balanced? More accepting? More open-minded?

I would like to finish with a passage by Kaya Mindlin, sent to me this week (read the full post here)

“This battle has been in progress for a long time, and a huge layer is being hauled right now. It takes great effort. It will take everyone’s participation – but participation will look different for different people.

How you contribute to this movement depends on your karma, skill, resources and capacity. Be you an orator, a maker, an artist, a writer, a protester, a healer, a religious leader, a politician, an activist, a parent, a therapist, a promoter, a networker, a teacher, an example, a friend… you are needed.

Your role may be visible to many, or to few, or it may be invisible. Maybe you are shouting from the rooftops, donating large sums of money, publishing books, leading workshops, starting protests.

Maybe you are counseling others, maybe you are praying, maybe you are tending to someone who needs care, maybe you are making someone laugh, maybe you are breastfeeding a future contributor. Do YOUR duty and it will have a ripple effect that contributes to the whole. Take in rest, take in nourishment, take in love, take in the divine. Then get to the work that YOU are meant to do”

Sending all my love in these different times: you are super(s)heros!

I love you,

Ella xxx

Sunday Musings

‘When your action rests on a foundation of your inner practices, it is aimed in accord with both collective good {sāmānya dharma} and individual purpose {svadharma}.

This battle has been in progress for a long time, and a huge layer is being hauled right now. It takes great effort. It will take everyone’s participation – but participation will look different for different people. How you contribute to this movement depends on your karma, skill, resources and capacity.

Be you an orator, a maker, an artist, a writer, a protester, a healer, a religious leader, a politician, an activist, a parent, a therapist, a promoter, a networker, a teacher, an example, a friend… you are needed. Your role may be visible to many, or to few, or it may be invisible. Maybe you are shouting from the rooftops, donating large sums of money, publishing books, leading workshops, starting protests. Maybe you are counseling others, maybe you are praying, maybe you are tending to someone who needs care, maybe you are making someone laugh, maybe you are breastfeeding a future contributor. Do YOUR duty and it will have a ripple effect that contributes to the whole.

Doing your duty requires that you “pull the bow back”. We require the sacred pause – turning inward – to aim well. When your action rests on a foundation of your inner practices, your outer work is aimed in accord with both collective good and individual purpose.

If you’ve been working at this movement for a long time and are driven to be at the helm of the surge right now – remember to rest and rejuvenate. If this movement is new to you and you feel driven to play catch-up – please slow down and be discerning or you cause more harm than good.

Being a contributor is done in large and small ways, every day. Your yogic practices – āsana, mantra, prayer, meditation, study of texts with teachers, ritual pūja, ayurvedic self-care… is the foundation of the work you are here to do for the collective.

Take in rest, take in nourishment, take in love, take in the divine. Then get to the work that YOU are meant to do.

Kaya Mindlin (Yogi)

Womb Healing and Holistic Pelvic Care

I first discovered Holistic Pelvic Care via Tami Kents meditations. I was listening to an online app called Daily Om and taking a course: Unleash the Goddess Within by Jumana Sophia.

In one particular meditation on that course, she referenced Tami Kent, and that meditation was so powerful, that I just knew I had to find out more. I began my research to find out who she was and more specifically, what this meditation was, and how I could go deeper

Tami Kent has written three books: Wild Feminine (this is the first one I read), Creative Feminine and Mothering your Centre.

On reading Wild Feminine I really began to discover the power of Holistic Pelvic Care. I noticed some profound movements in my centre. I had had various issues in my root growing up: suffering from Candida from 2005-2008, and until now, I really do feel trauma (no matter how big or small) in my root.

During my training as a Kundalini teacher, I learnt a lot more about how imprints are left on our aura, and how energy imbalances are a result of the unconscious agreements affecting her use of energy.

Tami Kent’s teachings about a woman’s physical and energetic presence being affected by her experiences really resonated. Tami Kent teaches that life leaves imprints & impacts on the female body or the feminine spirit.

I first experienced Holistic Pelvic Care in Bristol (my hometown) with a practitioner called Helen Hodder, and again, the results were profound. At that point I had been suffering from something which I now know is called hypertonic tension: I am a dancer, and a;lso do aerial, and so have a strong core, but I was actually over tensing! This process was like a rebalancing for me… it felt like for the first time I took personal ownership of my energy center.

In times like these we are living through: horrendous racist police violence, the coronavirus pandemic, economic crisis, there are multiple levels of imprint and impact affecting all of us (regardless of gender), and so when I was offered a scholarship to train with Tami (who lives in the US and probably in normal times I would not be able to afford), I did everything I had to to get the rest of the money together and make this dream come true.

If you would like to sample a short introduction to the work, please click here for a free meditation.

I would describe Holistic Pelvic Care as a little like Feng Shui, of the womb space: working with the flow in the pelvic bowl to realign core energy, and that the more you clear, the deeper space you are able to hold space for others. I feel so blessed to be able to share this work, and to be able to heal my own womb space along the journey.

Ibeyi

A few weeks ago, on the new moon, I set a task with my coaching clients in our monthly group session: inspired by Ru Paul’s Drag Race, series 10, episode 11, to create a poem about their ‘Evil Twin’: Our shadow self: the things and sides of ourselves we are ashamed of and hide from the world… Here was my own response… which resulted in a marriage of masculine to feminine! I called the poem Ibeyi, which is ‘twins’ in yoruba.

Ibeyi

Her ying
His Yang

They collide awkwardly
Bumping into each other
Like a couple sharing their life together
but living separately
Off kilter

He is Brutish at first
Angry, bossy,
He tramples on her paintings
believing them to be unworthy

Later, when she’s not looking
He picks up the pen
And tries to recreate her shapes
But finds his version to be missing something too

She is quiet unsure of her worth
So enamoured by her brothers long words
She takes a step backwards
willing to be more like him

But when the time comes
It is him who is frozen
Those puffed up words cannot hide
His fear

And it is her golden honey voice
That mends the cracks
Like a Japanese kintsugi pot

He helps her to sweep the space

listening carefully, head cocked sideways
after,
He asks her to show him how

they place the painting
they made
together
in the centre

A beautiful blend: sweeping figure of 8s
Golden meeting red
Lines and curves of shadows and light

The sun and the moon creating the perfect eclipse