The moment I accepted my life was a beautiful, chaotic, sometimes a little-messy-but-always-entertaining circus was the moment I felt a true release.

There's no sense in fighting the madness, but I've picked up a few tricks to keep the show going along the way.

I hope they work as well for you as they have [and still do] for me.

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power of the ocean.

On January 31, 2015 this happened…..

blue gorialla tattoo

In the spirit of Don’t Just Stand There, I took action on something I’ve been contemplating for months on end.  I got a tattoo.  Below is a picture of just one day after I got it done and one month after I got it done ~

tattoo day after and month after

It’s white ink and located between my wrist and my elbow on my left arm.  The guys at Blue Gorilla here in Charleston were very upfront on how much it would fade over time, which I assured them was exactly what I had wanted to happen.  I wanted a subtle note – a reminder for myself – and the crazy part is if you’re standing just 2 feet away and don’t know it’s there, you can’t see anything.  I could not be more pleased with the outcome, and I can always go back down the road for a touch up.

A lot of people ask me what the word kaimana means.  It’s the Hawaiian term meaning Power of the Ocean. *It also means diamond, but that’s a total side note.  I’ve wanted a tattoo for quite some time, but knew I wanted it to really mean something to me.  Initially I had thought the word love, but when it came down to it I wanted something a little more.  Last Fall I started a random search for terms related to two of my favorite things: the ocean and elephants.  And that is when I cam across kaimana. Without a shadow of a doubt, I knew it was perfect for my first tattoo.

I have a vast appreciation for the Ocean that I can’t quite explain.  It’s filled with endless beauty and power.  It builds and destroys.  It’s home to some of the greatest ecosystems and creatures on the planet.  It inspires and erases.  Having the best of times, it is a place of celebration.  During the worst of times, it reminds you how small your troubles are, like tiny grains of sand, or that this too shall pass like the waves crashing on the shore.  That is why I chose this word  It’s what launched this 8 year journey in this city by the sea. The power of the ocean brought me here.

I’m fortunate enough to be a stone’s throw and 20 minute drive from the Ocean.  Luckily, though, when schedules prevent me from making the quick trip to the edge of America, I can always glance down and be reminded that even when the circus is out of whack and up to it’s crazy tricks again, these moments are fleeting and I’m just one small piece of an entirely larger puzzle.

So hows’t that for taking action?

Don’t Just Stand There, do something!

Until next time, xxo

jennie b

Pole Dancer Down.

Cat’s out of the bag, kiddos, this girl is a pole dancer and I have been for the past 8 months.  Before your mind starts going crazy, I’m most likely not the type of pole dancer you immediately think of.  I take pole dancing fitness classes at a studio right down the street from my house.

And you want to know something? I absolutely love it!

This isn’t my first venture into the world of pole dancing.  About 7 years ago I organized a bachelorette party where I took the bride and another bridesmaid for a private lesson.  [The bride was furious and didn’t speak to me for the first hour, but eventually she came around. 😉 ]  I had so much fun in those 2 hours we spent during the private lesson, but I was too shy to ever actually sign up for classes on my own.  Until I turned 30.  A voucher came up on Living Social so I went for it.  5 weeks and I was hooked.  I took a break for a few months, moved to the opposite side of town, and then found myself itching to get started again.  That’s how I landed at my current studio, Amorous Dance Pole and Fitness.

I’ve been training at Amorous for the past 7 months and I could not be more fortunate to have found an extended family in the amazing women who teach and take classes there.  There’s been so many lessons I’ve learned at the studio, and I’ll get into them as we go along, but for this post I’m focusing on the lesson I’m currently learning….and it has to do with the pulled muscle in my back that is driving me bananas at this very moment.

I started the new year having been promoted to Level 3 (there’s 7 levels in total) and for the first time I was learning how to go inverted!  Talk about a whole new set of muscles that I hadn’t used since I was probably 12 years old learning how to do a round-off back layout in gymnastics. Apparently I was a little over-zealous as in week 4, when I was doing a hold called The Gemini and felt the most intense strain / pull in my back, underneath my right shoulder blade.  What’s a gemini you ask?  It’s this:

gemini

image source

Essentially there’s 3 points of contact between your body and the pole: your leg, your side (just below your ribs), and your arm.  You can watch a video of it here. <– Don’t worry, it’s clean.  So you can see there was a lot going on and unfortunately it was too much strain on my back having learned inversions just 4 weeks prior.

This particular pull is fairly common in the pole dancing world.  It happened on February 2nd and I’m still in deep recovery mode with it.  (Word on the street is I can estimate at least 6 weeks on it.)  You’d be surprised how the little things catch the pain – putting sheets on the bed, chatarunga during yoga, sneezing! – each time it’s like Woah, pump the breaks, jb! So.frustrating.

I talked to the studio owner and we adjusted my classes to keep me active but still allow my back time to heal.  I can pretty much do everything except going inverted at this point, but I still find myself getting wicked frustrated with my healing body not being able to keep up with others in my class.  Has this happened to you before, too??  I’ve had issues with this ever since I was 10.  I didn’t care if I was hurt, I wasn’t going any less intense working out or performing.  (Seriously, I tried out for the dance team once with an insanely sprained ankle.)  It’s so difficult for me to allow my body the rest that it needs to heal itself and even at 31, I’m apparently still learning this lesson.

This injury is putting me way in check. I haven’t had something take me out of the game in years and that’s through training in krav maga, MMA fighting, kickboxing, AND 3 half marathons. Low and behold it was the pole that took me down.  Oh, the pole and all of it’s life lessons!  I’m constantly reminded of something a yoga teacher used to say years ago when I took her class downtown – Practice in the body you have today.  Learn, know and accept your limits.  Tomorrow is a new practice.  And although last Tuesday I left class and cried frustrated tears in my car, this Tuesday I left class proud of what I had accomplished, even though I still couldn’t keep up with everything.  A huge thank you to my awesome teacher, Rachel, who talked me through my frustration last week after class.  (You’ll hear about her again in a future post as I always seem to end up in her class during the most difficult of times!)

My back is on the mend and as with any injury, time and rest will allow it to heal – no matter how much healthy encouragement I try to give it.  This pole dancer may be down, but she’s definitely not out.

Until next time…..learn, know and accept your limits.

xxo

jennie b

I double dog dare you not to dance.

If you’ve been around my circus for a while, way back in the days of the sassy steel magnolia’s red couch, you may remember my affinity for music.  (Music Snack, anyone?! Heyoo!) Music keeps me going. It does the talkin’ when I can’t find the words.

I started to notice one particular song seemed to keep popping up in my Pandora, on my radio, my iphone, my cds – you name it, this song just happened to be playing there.  I’ve often turned to Stevie Wonder’s amazingness in times of need or celebration, however clearly I wasn’t picking up the significance of this one! That is, until I found myself catching up on the winter finale of Scandal. [Please feel free to reach out if you find yourself wanting to yell “It’s Handled!” on a regular basis as well.]  Anyways, there I was, filling up on take out sushi, loving the winter finale but knowing a wicked twist was on the horizon when BAM the song came on.

My immediate thought was HOLY CRAP, there it is AGAIN! Ugh, THIS SONG IS STALKING ME. [<— Because that happens, right? No. No it does not.]

Not exactly the wicked twist I was expecting, but then Olivia started talking. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is when it allllllll came together and made sense.  She was letting go of all the circumstances weighing her down and she was dancing it out to Stevie. That’s why the song kept coming in to my awareness, I just hadn’t bothered to pay attention because I was too caught up in my head to see/hear what was right in front of me. Someone, this time in the form of the formidable Olivia Pope, had to spell it out for me this round.  I could’ve sworn I heard a giant, collective sigh of “hot damn, she finally gets it” come from above. Thanks, guys. Again.

2014 was such an amazing year, but let’s be honest … shit ended pretty heavy. #realtalk

So tired. So exhausted. And here comes Stevie, whispering the sweet everythings I hadn’t realized I wanted needed to hear.  So now it’s your turn to listen to the greatness. I dare you to try and be in a bad mood while listening to it.  And I double dog dare you not to dance.

(If this video is showing, click here to be taken to YouTube.)

My action – my resolution – my song …… what up, 2015? I got your number, boo.

Coming up in the next post, I’ll fill you in on one of my tools to help with letting go.  It’s one of my favorites, for sure!

Until then, xxo

jennie b

when it all falls apart

dont just stand there

Looking back at 2014 I can truly say I lived each and every moment to full capacity. I experienced the ultimate highs and wicked low lows and it was a crazy, messy, beautiful circus!  I felt like the embodiment of One Republic’s song I Lived.  Ending the year with a really tough breakup, an exhausting work schedule, and coming to terms with a heartbreaking realization concerning a family member, I felt like a tornado had once again picked me up and dropped me in the middle of no where.  I was tapped out – mentally, emotionally, physically – this.girl.was.done. Tap, tap .. good night.

I couldn’t allow myself to fall down the spiral of wallowing self-pity, but I also knew I needed to be realistic and give my heart time to process, heal, and allow the range of emotions the time and respect they deserved.  My close circle of confidants will tell you they don’t know how I made it through those last weeks of 2014, and those who didn’t quite know what was going on didn’t seem to notice a difference. Needless to say, there was a lot of crying…..behind closed doors.

Starting 2015 I couldn’t let the circumstances which brought the year to an end determine my year ahead. It was as if a voice from above was shouting

Don’t just stand there, DO SOMETHING.

{Thanks guys, got the message loud and clear.} And so I did. I guess you could say I hypothetically “started walking.” I’m happy to report that a month in to 2015, I find myself in a much better place in life. But don’t get it twisted – I’m totally still on that path of recovery, haha, but I’m relying on a whole new set of tricks and tools that 3 1/2 years ago I never could have imagined would be my saving graces!  We’re talking about meditation, pole dancing, writing (ok I think we can all agree this one’s always been in my tool bag!), yoga, taking action, reiki, a nutritional cleanse, and much much more.

I started 2015 with 3 things in mind.  An action, a resolution and a song.  Don’t just stand there. – that’s my action. And in the next post…you’ll learn all about my resolution.

Until then, xxo

jennie b