As a creative person I have had interests, projects, and ideas that have been many and diverse. The more I follow where my curiosity takes me, the more I start to recognize how interconnected everything really is. Three of the biggest passions in my creative life have been textiles, dance, and yoga.
For many years I worked in the bridal gown industry. My speciality was the beadwork and embroidery that was intricately involved in the making of wedding gowns and veils. Now I continue to work with brides on occasion in my work as a milliner, hat maker. The work is different but they have many things in common. In fashion we play with the edges and explore the body and form. There is always a sense of balance and an awareness of symmetry. I take great pleasure in making beautiful things that people will wear and am honoured to be part of the process. Even on the toughest most business driven days, always there is at least a moment of gratitude, peace, and meditation.
One of my favourite things about the time I spent working on wedding gowns is that the work is done barefoot. There are no shoes allowed in the bridal lab nor are they allowed in the showrooms. Weddings and bridal gowns are emotionally charged things. Being barefoot is humbling and grounding and gives room to breathe.
Dance has always been a big influence in my life. My mother was a dancer and an instructor. She trained me in her style of folkloric belly dancing. This sensuous dance was created by women and for women, celebrating the female form. In the folkloric style the midriff is not bare but the feet are. A belly dancer’s feet may be adorned with jewels, bells, and/ or paint..but they are bare. It is an intricate dance with many layers of muscle isolation all working in harmony. It takes intense concentration to do this. A belly dancer’s hands and feet and face are most expressive of her style.
Dance is a performance. An engaging performer is smiling and expressive. Her feet are strong and stable yet nimble. Her hands are graceful, fluid and open.Dancing and practicing with the other women in the troop, on my own, or with my mother, this barefoot practice is what moved me most. I grew tired of the particular energy required for performing yet still loved the practice and the yoga that was fused into our warm ups and cool downs.
Over the years my interest in dance has waned somewhat and I grew increasingly more in love with yoga and its endless variations. Yoga is not a performance. It is a practice that has no need for fancy costumes and makeup or expensive equipment, gear, or shoes. All that is required is me and my two bare feet…and perhaps a mat.
My yoga practice has informed all aspects of my life. Yes, physically it helps me to release the compression in my hips and shoulders after spending my days hunched over sewing, by hand or by machine. My regular practice has improved more than just my physical health. It has improved the quality of all my relationships. Most profoundly my relationship with myself. I am kinder, more patient and compassionate.
As I take stock of my life during moments of introspection, some themes do seem to emerge. Now, in this moment I see the power and the majesty of a mountain. I am grounded and rooted into the earth by the soles of my feet. My heart and mind are light. The corners of my mouth are gently lifted into a soft smile. The crown of my head reaching for the sky. Tadasana, the mountain pose because of you I am grateful to be able to stand on my own two feet.