Lot's of things are happening this week. I'm starting another weights program, beginning my meditation teacher training and going back to work after being off for almost two weeks due to illness.
Considering all the new things seem to have come together at this one point, I'm going to call it the March Junction, I decided yesterday that I needed to sit down and write out some goals for the first half of the year, and also redo my vision/inspiration board, as it was outdated and needed a revamp.
This is my new vision/inspiration board.
I started doing these boards about two years ago, after Pat and Hilal got back from a seminar by Tony Robins and shared some of the wisdom they had gleaned with EP. My first poster was an exercise I did as a part of a group workshop they were running at the time, but I've kept it up since, as I like having something to look at and to remind me of who I am, where I'm going and what's important to me. It's still based around the ideas of Tony Robins, but this one deviates slightly more than the others and is more personal. I break it down for you below.
Life Mission Statement
The purpose of my life is to be empathetic and empowering. To enjoy my passions without shame and recognise the unique and individual power within myself and others.
What does this mean? One thing that has remained constant throughout my changing boards is my Life Mission Statement. This was the statement I used on my first board and it still resonates strongly with me. It means exactly what it says, there are no hidden words or double meanings in it: I believe everyone is gifted in someway and that it is up to each of us to recognise our own gifts and respect those of others. Share your gifts if you can, assist those who ask for assistance, and accept the assistance of those who wish to share their gifts with you.
To be able to express my desires, sexuality and sensuality without shame or judgement with any and all partners I choose to share any part of my heart, soul or body with. To have these parts of me respected and to return that respect when I am made privy to the desires, sexuality and sensuality of a partner. To acknowledge the unique and powerful individuality of a partner and to have my own power and individuality respected in turn. To be loved 'together-apart'.
What does this mean? This is also something that has remained constant among my boards. This is my vision of a fulfilling relationship, something to work towards if and when I am ready to find a partner to share myself with. I have not been in a relationship or had any desire for one until very recently, but I can honestly say that it is still not a top priority. The last sentence of my relationship vision is the most important for me, as I like and need my space and don't want someone who is going to expect everything to shared or for there to be no boundaries. A couple of days, a week, even a month apart, we should still be able to love each other without feeling the need to be constantly together.
The song Something Just Like This by Coldplay and The Chainsmokers is my idea of a fulfilling relationship: two ordinary people who love each other and acknowledge it.
If the world stopped turning, whose hand would you want to be holding?
What does this mean? This is a new question for me, but when I was working on updating my board and considering whether my previous question was still relevant, this is what came to my head and I felt it resonate very strongly. If the world stopped turning, if it ended, if this was the last day, who would I want to be with? How would I want to spend my time? Where would I want to be? That is what the question asks and the reflection that follows is that I need to give more time to the people I love and cherish, enjoy their company more, because it is their hands I would want to be holding if the world stopped turning. Lately I have been feeling angry and unsettled, focusing my energies into fury at others, but I was the only one cut down by it. Instead I need to put my energies into loving the ones closest to me.
The straws are not the result. YOU are the result.
What does this mean? This is a piece of wisdom I was gifted by an EP member long ago, back when I still did cardio at EP. We were in teams racing for straws; at the time my asthma was playing up badly and I couldn't run as fast as I wanted to and had to step out several times to take a puff of my inhaler before getting back into the game. I felt like I'd let the team down and apologised to the team captain and he said 'What for? The straws are not the result. You are the result. You kept going - be proud!' Ever since that moment I've carried this with me like a talisman in my heart: I am the result, I am still here, I keep coming back, I achieve, I learn, I grow, I continue to move forward. The straws are a metaphor for challenges in life: sometimes they are big, sometimes they are small, but always they are there and always we will have to face them. Sometimes we win, sometimes we lose, but if we keep coming back to face them, then we've already won half of the battle.
I have recently been listening to the sound track from Black Panther and one song that struck me was All The Stars by Kendrick Lamar. It was the chorus that particularly touched me, speaking of dreams and the stars which can represent so many things. The stars on my poster represent dreams ready to be turned into reality, paths as yet unexplored, records to be broken and changes to be made as I grow and move forward.
Lyrics from Kelly Clarkson's Breakaway
"I'll spread my wings and I'll learn how to fly. I'll do what it takes til I tough the sky. I'll make a wish, take a chance, make a change. And breakaway.
- Kelly Clarkson.
What does this mean? As I was reviewing content for my poster, this song - which I haven't listened to for years - just started playing on repeat in my head. It was the above chorus that resonated strongly with me and so I added it to my poster. This year I have already made some changes, I am breaking away from old, comfortable places that I no longer want to be in and stepping out, taking a chance, and moving forward. The lyrics felt like an appropriate homage to this new chapter in my journey.
What does this mean? This is one of my favourite photos of myself pole dancing and one of my favourite tricks: a butterfly. On the surface this just gives my post identity and makes it mine, but I chose this image for more reason than because it is a personal favourite. Last year, when I competed in my very first pole comp, I did this pose on stage having only learned it eight weeks before hand. Eight weeks might seem like a long time, but in terms of pole tricks it's not much time at all and butterfly is an interesting one to hold, because you have to maintain your centre of gravity, hook with your ankle rather than your knee and be confident enough in your grip to kick your free leg back away from yourself, which can make you feel as if you're going to over-balance. It looks beautiful, but it's quite a scary one to learn and then to hold. This pose, for me, represents the combination of strength and beauty, it is a reminder of the time I put myself out there and learned so much.
These four virtues have remained unchanged since my very first poster, but this time I changed how I displayed them and instead attached a photo of myself which was representative of each one to the corresponding virtue.
What does this mean? The Jolly Roger I'm holding actually hangs in my room now, as a constant reminder to stand tall, fly proud, and resist the temptation to agree politely. I wrote extensively about why the Jolly Roger represents determination for me in my very first Straight Living blog post, which you can read here, but I'll mention it again here. The Jolly Roger is a famous symbol of piracy and many variations were used during the so called 'Golden Age of Piracy' to demand the surrender or merchant vessels. Despite the pirates eventually being exterminated by the determined efforts of various empires, their symbol refused to die. In fact, the harder the empires worked to get rid of the Jolly Roger, the stronger it grew, until eventually they were forced to rewrite history and claim it was a warning of imminent death. Something that refuses to die, even when its creators have vanished, is to me a strong symbol of grit, determination and the will to survive.
What does this mean? We live our lives governed, quite extensively, by convention rather than wisdom. Some of these conventions are necessary, but most often they are simply tools used by those in power to exclude and keep others from challenging their privileges. Convention would tell me that 'self-respecting women' do not enjoy pole dancing, they do not think bondage is a beautiful aesthetic, they do not wear leather lingerie, do not shop at Honey Birdette, would not wear thigh high boots and certainly wouldn't pose for a photoshoot in their underwear! But you know what? Fuck that! Rebellion is about stepping outside of what convention tells you to do and embracing what you love. The only thing you're hurting by doing what you want and following your own desires is the societal structure that says you must act, look and feel a certain way to deserve a certain label. But that label in itself is only granted by the powerful who want to keep you seeking it, as it continues to give them unquestioned privilege. This particularly photo is probably my favourite photo of myself, and it rebels again patriarchy, rape-culture, sexism and slut-shaming, which would decry that I could have any sort of self-respect and feel happy posing like this OR that I could have brought these things because they make me happy, rather than to please someone else. It is a personal expression of freedom, a salute to myself and things I find beautiful. A small, personal rebellion against the system.
What does this mean? I love to write, draw, colour, dance, sing (but not in front of people) and just generally create freely. I have been writing poetry and short stories for a long time, and when I started pole, it became a new way to express myself and tell my stories. Being creative is something that is such an integral part of myself that, wherever I go, I bring something new with me. This picture, from my UV Shoot with Broken Ballerina Studio, has me painted as a storm (I didn't do the painting, the photographer's assistants did), but my theme within this shoot was 'I am the storm'. To create is as important for me as to breathe and I couldn't imagine it being any other way within my life.
What does this mean? This photo was taken in my early days of spirituality, when I felt it was important to show faith, but I have long since learned that it is not the outward display that is important, but the internal and personal journey. However, this is still a beautiful photo and it does show me doing something I really enjoy and a direction in my life that I am heading it (see my Meditation Journal for more) and I came to that place through my faith and belief. Faith is inside, it is integral, it is fuel for the soul and brings comfort to my life. Wherever I go, God is beside me.
And there you have it! My vision/inspiration board, all laid out for you to see and understand. Everything on the board has some deep, personal meaning to me and it has been an honour to share it with you. I look forward to continuing to share my journey as I move forward in this next chapter.
You don't have to like me. I'm not a Facebook post.
Me With No Apologies.