Dirty Dancing

“Nobody puts Baby in the corner.”

~ Johnny Castle (Dirty Dancing)

I always wondered what happened after Johnny plucked “Baby” from that corner and they were done with that last dance. Did they make it?

We got the pay-off in the form of Johnny asserting his position for his girl, experiencing the feel-good pleasures when our bad boy came back for our protagonist. Our hearts fluttered and soared as he mouthed the words “I’ve had the time of my life. No, I’ve never felt this way before” while holding her close. Yet, as the credits rolled out to the catchy tune, I found myself somewhat mystified.

Call me a stick-in-the-mud if you must, but I was never completely sold on that romance. The chemistry between Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey lingered somewhere in the sludge I’m playing with, getting my hands dirty while seemingly bagging the movie.

In the context of relationships, chemistry is a simple feeling people get when they share a special connection. It’s that underlying impulse and need to see the other person again, to be close to them – a romantic spark. This is the part between the characters that I felt wasn’t conveyed through the screen. 

Having said that, I must somewhat digress. Just a little. I’m thinking of the scene where “Baby” shows up at Johnny’s doorstep after her father saved Penny from certain death following a dodgy abortion. Johnny tells her he’s never met anyone like her, that she’s not scared of anything. Her response gets me every time when she says:

“Me? I’m scared of everything; I’m scared of what I saw, of what I did, of who I am. Most of all I’m scared of walking out of this room and never feeling my whole life the way I feel when I’m with you.”

Sigh.

That is one great dialogue delivered with just the right amount of vulnerability. You can grumble all you want about not being a romantic, but if that line doesn’t make you feel something, then perhaps your heart is caked with a thick slick of that mud you thought I was stuck in.

Need some help getting clean?

The truth is, I’m not writing about Dirty Dancing today because I wanted to talk about romance or sexual chemistry. Despite my personal take on the on-screen chemistry (or lack thereof) between Patrick and Jennifer, the romantic “coming of age” love story hit the archetypical “forbidden love” romance conventions superbly, making a gazillion dollars worldwide and going on to become the first film to sell more than a million copies for home video.

Obviously, something worked. Maybe it was that line of Baby’s. Or the undeniably hot dancing scenes, which let’s face it, sizzled up movie screens and temperatures the world over. Someone pass me the ice as I gear up to tell you something strange.

Strange things. Other than people, the universe is always communicating and responding to us in some way. It may sound a touch on the “woo-woo” side and whether you believe or not is your thing. But it’s when you begin to tune into yourself and the energy around you that you start to become aware of the most uncanny and wonderful things happening for you.    

I hadn’t thought about Dirty Dancing for the longest of times, yet now, it seems to have become something in my life. At least, temporarily. No, I’m not planning on taking Mambo or Salsa lessons, or writing a romance novel any time soon (I’ll leave the romance writing to Catherine Evans). It’s just that suddenly, this romantic 1987 American flick has begun to shadow me and I’m not entirely sure why.

It began a few weeks back when I meandered to the couch with my plate of dinner and flicked on the TV. Dirty Dancing flitted onto the screen. This is the only time I might actually watch something on TV, and only for the length of time it takes for me to finish eating. It was good enough to grab my attention for that snippet of time.

I felt something shift slightly within me. When you become attuned to the universal consciousness, your inner reactions to your senses are a telltale sign to pay attention. Still, I switched off the movie after about 15 minutes and thought no more of it.

Fast forward one week and I experienced a repeat. That’s right. I grabbed my dinner, made for the couch, turned on the TV and there it was again, Dirty Dancing. This time, I’d caught the above-mentioned scene; Solomon Burke’s Cry to Me caught somewhere in my chest as I bit my lip and turned off the TV. 

Gets even stranger. I downloaded the album so I could hear that song again. Only, that track isn’t included on the iTunes soundtrack (true). But, She’s Like the Wind is, and it grabbed my attention, so I listened. When the song traveled from my buds and into my ears, what happened was something I’ll never forget.

The following day, that same song was playing when I stopped by my local store to pick a few things, and ever since I downloaded the album, my iPad has taken to randomly playing She’s Like the Wind all on its own. Which has never happened before. Like, ever.

My mother often wonders why stuff like this occurs in my life. I tell her it’s not that the signs aren’t there for her, but that she’s not paying enough attention to catch onto them. When we make a conscious choice to become aware of and push beyond our preconceived ideas of the world, we begin to open our mind to perceive and receive more information from a greater intelligence. And I can’t begin to convey the appreciation I feel to be able to tap into this part of our world.

As these beautiful unseen forces are currently slapping me in the face with a bit of the Dirty stuff, I can’t help but wonder again what had struck me so long ago when first watching the movie. After the summer spent at the Catskills Resort and it was time to return to the “real world”, did Johnny and “Baby” ever make it? Was their love strong enough to overcome the obstacles they would have had to face?

I guess we make up that part of the story as we go.



The Whisper

Intuition is the whisper of the soul.” – J. Krishnamurti

I’ve heard it many times throughout my life; that inner voice whispering through my soul and guiding me forth as I’ve stumbled along my life path. Every day we’re faced with choices; sometimes, the decisions we need to make are crucial to the way our paths unfold. Other times, the choices are much simpler. All of the time, though, there is an unseen part of you and me that has no motive other than to love and guide us through our physical experience here on the earth plane, and that presence ultimately wants the best for us and our soul growth – the higher self.

Hold on a second, I know what you’re thinking – but before you go jumping to conclusions, I’m not planning to conduct a lesson in spirituality here. That’s not my gig. I’m no Wayne Dyer or Matt Kahn, although I have enjoyed their teachings. I’m no self-proclaimed guru, or Zen master either. That’s not me. My intention is to create a place I can share my thoughts and perspectives. Some I’ve gathered through my experiences in the external world, and some I’ve learned from the eternal space we find within ourselves – the great silence. Besides, it’s my belief that spirituality is very personal and something that needs to be experienced in order to understand.

Now, where was I?

Oh yeah, the higher self of yourself. The beautiful presence that stalks you like a shadow you just can’t shake. That all-knowing, all-encompassing part of you that connects you to all things, including source energy. Actually, it’s the essence of source energy, and if you understand that notion, then you’ll understand what Neville Goddard and U.S. Andersen meant when they wrote “You are god.” Or indeed, how powerful and symbolic the words “I am” are.

It doesn’t matter whether you acknowledge this pure part of yourself as it’s there regardless. How you choose to use that higher guidance is entirely your decision. Have I always listened to my inner self? No. The truth is, it has taken me many years to learn how to cultivate and nurture a relationship with this invisible part of myself and to arrive at a point where I am comfortable enough to trust it. Can you imagine how many more years it has taken for me to gather enough nerve to even write about this stuff?

Lots and lots.

I can think of many instances when I’ve listened to that inner voice, even before I was self-aware enough to really grasp the reality of those rich inner layers. Of course, there’s been plenty of occasions when I’ve chosen to ignore my inner guidance system too.

I’m going to touch on one of the times when I actually listened before I had gained enough insight and awareness about myself; the section of my life when I lived beneath the veil of ignorance. I was about eighteen years old and in the middle of a turbulent relationship (young love – you got to love it). It was a late Saturday night and my boyfriend had thrown me from the comfort of his ride and left me alone on a dark Sydney suburban street. It was punishment for standing up for myself. This guy was sweet at times but he could be a real hot-head.

I had two choices. I could walk the half-hour it would take to get home, which meant negotiating the Rockdale station overpass, or, I could go to the house nearby of my friend’s boyfriend, who I’ll call Grant, and ask for a ride home. Since a young woman meandering around Rockdale station alone at night wasn’t considered safe, I went with the latter option. I was no dummy, no way was I going to risk a late-night stroll over that station on my own. That was rape-bait behaviour, so it was a no-brainer. Besides, I knew my girlfriend was with him that night and she would look out for me.

The decision was made, and I set off towards the house. Now, before I get to the part where I arrived at Grant’s place, I need to back up a little and explain that Grant happened to have a little room at the back of his home and separate from the main house. Grant had recently allowed one of his old mates to occupy the room, which I’d frequented often with my group of friends. His mate, who was much older than the rest of us, had recently been released from a jail stint and had now taken up residence in our hang-out room.

I had met Grant’s friend numerous times while always in the company of my boyfriend and friends. He seemed okay, but in all honesty, he wasn’t someone I’d felt entirely comfortable around. That fact wasn’t all that foreign to me, though, because seldom did I feel comfortable around people I didn’t know.

Grant shared the main house with his ageing grandfather. Whenever our tribe would hang out at Grant’s place, it was this back room that we’d pile into and sit around and listen to music or watch movies. A rather serious looking Pitbull terrier lived there too, and I remember being a little concerned about entering the backyard alone with this dog on guard.

The point is that I had never been in the main house, and I wouldn’t dare dream of imposing on Grant’s grandfather, especially at that time of the night. Therefore, it had to be the back room. However, when I’d arrived at Grant’s house, I noticed his car wasn’t parked in the usual spot outside on the street. Hmm. What to do? I didn’t really think too hard about it at the time; it was late, cold, and I was tired. So, I decided to see if Grant’s friend was still up. He had a car, and he was nice enough. He might even drive me home, or in the very least, I’d have somewhere warm to wait for Grant and my friend to get back home, right?

Right.

So, there I was, in the dark, creaking open the side gate that would lead along the narrow path towards the back room. The Pitbull turned out to be okay with my intrusion. She knew who I was and allowed me access to the premises without a fuss. She trotted alongside me as I snaked along the path and emerged into the backyard where I was confronted by the shadowy walls of the blackened back room and the sound of light snoring.

I did what any eighteen-year-old would do in my situation; I acted without thinking. I began to knock on the window of the back room and softly call the guy’s name. It was very possible I’d considered this man was a member of my tribe, considering he seemed to always be around us of late. I’m pretty sure that was the driving thought. I trusted my friends, and Grant vouched for this guy. So, why start distrusting now?

A rustle sounded from the other side of the window; a slight movement accompanied by a mumble broke through the snoring, and it was at that precise moment that I froze on the spot while an overwhelming tingle zapped up my spine and whirled through my mind. My inner self was screaming at me to stop what I was doing. The message was unmistakable – keep knocking and I would find myself in a world of trouble. A clear warning to retreat.

For some reason, I didn’t second guess myself that night. I listened.

My heart pounded as I quietly retraced my steps, bid the dog farewell and crossed over the creaking gate threshold. I emerged back onto the street where I sat on the brick fence outside Grant’s home and waited for him and my girlfriend to arrive. Thankfully, I didn’t have to wait too long in the cold, and I eventually got my ride home safely.

It would be a long time before I pondered the feelings that hit me that night. At the time, the moment passed and I got where I needed to be, and I didn’t take the time to acknowledge the significant message my intuition provided. Yet, there was no mistaking that inner voice warning me to stop knocking on that window. It was strong and precise, and it gripped my senses with a loud alarm that I couldn’t ignore.

I can’t predict what might’ve happened had I awoken that man, and I shudder to contemplate how it could have played out for me. Somehow, I know that something much higher than myself was looking out for me that night – a guiding presence that sought to protect me, and I chose to listen; and for that, I give my eternal gratitude. How blessed are we to have access to the wonderous tools of intuitive guidance? If only more of us would tune into the beautiful sanctuary within us and take our cues from that divine source, I’m certain this world could reach astonishing heights in evolution. There I go doing the dreamer thing again.

I love you, John Lennon 😉


To the Wonder – Aqualung
Listen with the ears of your soul.

A Shamanic Soul Journey

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“Hey Kim, my other half is interested in attending this event. Wondering if it might interest you.”

A fast click on the link to check it out reveals a compelling headline: A Shamanic Journey and Drumming Circle. Truth be told, I didn’t need to dive in any deeper on this one. My usual tendency to procrastinate the pros and cons of deserting my comfortable lair in favor of stepping out into the big wide world took a backseat. I was in.

“Tell your other half she has a partner in crime,” I replied.

By other half, my friend and author Catherine Evans was referring to her pseudonym, Cate Ellink – her less subdued self. This is the part of herself that loves to explore strange phenomena and pushes back against the social norms. The same part of herself that I seem to energize. I must admit, I do have a knack of unleashing and fueling those underlying qualities in those closest to me. Go figure.

Maybe it is because I tend to view the world through the lens of acceptance. I have no interest in judging others, idle gossip or sifting through tedious social bullshit. I am the first to laugh at myself and do so often; I like to play too; especially when the game involves a worthy adversary – in the nicest sense, of course. Yep, overall, you could say that I Go with the Flow. I work at keeping the faith and trusting that the universe has my back even during the times when the reality appears to the contrary. And I love to ponder and explore the more mysterious side of life. Who doesn’t?

Yeah. Back to the drumming.

Honestly, given all I just divulged about my interest in mystic exploration, it isn’t a long shot to conclude that taking a Shamanic Drumming journey is right up my ally. Even though I had never drummed before.

“Don’t you just smack your hand down?” Cath responded when confronted with the above comment. “Rhythm. We have rhythm, don’t we?”

Well, yeah. I’ve got rhythm honey, but as far as I’m aware, rhythm tends to favour my hips and not the ability to chime on a musical instrument.

Hmm. I didn’t express those thoughts out loud. Instead, I shut my mouth and charged forth into unknown territory; the world of Shamanic Drumming and meditation.

Did you know that the medicine drum is a tool used for healing and transformation since ancient times? And that drumming has the power to synchronise brain hemispheres and create altered states of consciousness in which healing and wisdom from the higher self can be obtained?

We were anointed with pine oil and smudged with sage and other pungently burning incense. We were cleansed and balanced with some kind of spritzy concoction; we listened to our hosts talk about the moon’s energy and shedding old habits that no longer served us; and we each gave an offering back to humanity in the form of soft tobacco leaves and syrupy whispers.

They gave us a medicine drum; mine was of deer, Catherine’s, kangaroo. Turned out, we didn’t have to just smack our hands down and wing it. We had drum sticks to guide our… erm… rhythm.

Oh, and we found it! Maybe not right away, but when our hosts began the steady tempo and the sensual sounds of our hostess’ voice rose above the thick incense curling through the room; rhythm had not eluded us. In fact, it became our friend.

The beat seemed to seep into my being like a sacred mystery unravelling the invisible threads binding me. It was glorious and liberating, utterly beautiful, and it created a sense wellness within. Sometimes, all it takes is an unexpected moment to arrive to show us what we didn’t realize we needed. I hadn’t realized that I needed to merge with the beat of a drum and fuse with the sacred energy accompanying us in the room that night. And I certainly didn’t realize that I needed to join hands in a circle made up of like-minded strangers and express my wishes for the greater good of humanity. It was like soul therapy.

After which, I felt renewed and energized. Were you aware that rhythm is a primordial vibration that pulses through our bodies with the beating of our hearts? Yep, consider the following quote:

“Ancient sources tell us that the frame drum was not just a powerful symbol of spiritual presence, it was an important tool for many spiritual experiences. Priestesses of the goddess were skilled technicians in its uses. They knew which rhythms quickened the life in freshly planted seeds, which facilitated childbirth and which induced ecstatic trance of spiritual transcendence. Guided by drum beats, these sacred drummers could alter their consciousness at will, travelling through the three worlds of the goddess: the heavens, the earth and the underworld.”

~ Layne Redmond

They spoke about our connection to the land and the universe, and how most of us are living beneath a veil of ignorance; and how the ideals and beliefs of humanity have turned upside down. The need to get back to our roots and remember the truth of who we really are is becoming imperative if we wish to see change in the world.

I agree. I guess that’s why I found myself in a dimly-lit area breathing incense, smelling like pine oil and gazing in wonder at the oh-so-interesting altar-mat splayed mid-center of the room and adorned with totems.

We sat upon blanketed mats with pillows and listened to words of ancient practices and beliefs surrounding the Bone Dance. Syllables strung together to form sentences fell upon my ears and swirled around my euphoric mind – the concept of shedding the outer layers and becoming a skeleton resonated someplace deep within me. The notion being that beneath our fleshy exteriors, our material-based desires, and our personalities, we are all mirrored. Take it all away and we’re left alike; an identical process of bones.

Have you ever meditated to the sound of the drum with interluding bouts of the didgeridoo? D – d- did you do-do?

Sorry, couldn’t help myself. I hadn’t either. Admittedly, I’m not used to participating in group meditation, preferring the solitude of my own soft and quiet space when practicing stilling the mind. But there was something extremely transformative, uplifting and moving about tuning my senses into those soulful beats, that I almost forgot how hard the floor was becoming beneath my butt. Almost.

Okay, I might have to work on that part of the whole Shamanic Drumming journey experience.

All in all, the night far exceeded the expectations I actually didn’t have. It began with a picnic beneath the stars and great conversation, and ended on a naturally induced high – the likes of which cannot be achieved without transporting your spirit to the higher-realms where mysteries abound and dreams are for the taking.

Shamanic Drumming was more than just a meditative journey. It was a soul journey and I can’t wait to do it again.