Sunday, 27 May 2012

Name that goal...

I find working in a Primary School incredibly rewarding because I’m continuously inspired and learn something new about myself and others every day.  Anyone, regardless of their age and background can set a goal to change their life for the better and with a little bit of determination, persistence, and self belief, they can achieve anything...

At the tender age of 4 years old, a little boy used to enter his classroom every morning with his classmates. The first thing the children were instructed to do was to go to a desk and write their names in pencil on a ‘Self Register’.  Some of the children did this quickly and simply with no problem.  However, given that it was their first experience of school, it’s understandable that a few of the children struggled to recognise their name, let alone grasp how to write it.  This little boy fell into this category, because he would awkwardly and shakily hold onto his pencil and shout out “I can’t do it... I can’t write my name!”  I would try to help him affirming "Yes you can!" showing him what to do, but he’d get himself wound up and frustrated.  The next morning the little boy continued to sound defeated: “I can’t do it!” and again the teachers in his class including yours truly, would encourage him to keep at it.

The thing I witnessed over the weeks was that the boy did not give up on himself or his goal to write his name. Morning after morning he became more and more confident, and as time went by, he started to listen to our advice on how to hold his pencil with a firmer grip and slowly began to recognise the letters which formed name. With perseverance, the boy began to write his name bit by bit more and more every day.  To his surprise, a month or so later with a lot of hard work he nailed it and happily shouted out “Look look, I CAN write my name.”  This was a great feeling. 

Now at the age of 5, and having conquered the goal to write his name by taking baby steps, the little boy has moved on to writing words and is currently learning how to form sentences. The boy’s journey through school life has only just begun, but with this dedication, courage and strength of character, I think that if he continues to focus with this attitude, he will do well in school. He has inspired me to pursue my own goals and keep moving forward even when the going gets tough.

This story is living proof that anyone, including you can set and achieve a goal if you really put your mind to it. Once you've achieved any goal, be sure to celebrate and reward yourself, but also remember that the journey doesn’t just stop there - keep on going and believe in yourself.  Life as it stands is an ongoing process of learning and striving to be an even better person than you was previously.  So go on, give that goal of yours a name, write it down with a time frame of when you want to achieve it by, then figure out the baby steps you intend to take which will help you work towards your goal. 

Happy shimmies :)

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Where the shimmies began...

It’s funny how no matter what’s happening, dancing has always been a trusted muse to bring on a happy and positive vibe for me.  

With distinct memories of being a 7 year old in the playground among school friends dancing to the “Locomotion”, I often used to go home after school itching to practice my dancing even more.  I used to love it when my friends and I showed off our dancing to the other kids and dinner ladies in the playground.  In a racially divided school at the time, dancing helped bring children from different ethnicities together, which is something I’ll never forget.   

Now as an adult, my dance passions lie in bellydance, also known as Raqs Sharqi, Middle Eastern dance and Arabic Dancing.  People often ask me in surprise, “so why bellydance?” And I always reply “WHY NOT!” Bellydance is not only a beautiful and historical artform, it has an inclusive culture open to children, men and women of all shapes and sizes, whilst embracing femininity, sensuality and celebrating diversity.
I first discovered bellydance by accident during a trip to Egypt in 2007 on a cruise along the Nile.  A lady was on the dance floor in a stunning white outfit dancing to the beat of a live drummer.  At the time I had no idea what she was doing, but I loved it - her energy was so uplifting and the dancing was exquisite.   Everyone in the audience clapped, cheered and were taking loads of pictures.  I was sat there smiling happily whilst bouncing in my seat during the performance, which did not go unnoticed because I got pulled up to dance (OMG!) - as photographed above.  Later I discovered that the lady was in fact bellydancing, and the drummer was not just playing any old drum, it was the Darbuka, a classic Middle Eastern Drum.  As soon as I returned to England after this trip to Egypt, I started attending bellydance classes and to this day I continue to be mesmerised by the artform (recent photo below). 

Today is a good day for the bellydance community - its ‘World Bellydance Day’.  Every year, the second Saturday in May is a day for bellydancers all over the world to celebrate the magic of this dance, raise awareness for what bellydance actually is and contribute to supporting local charities through their love of this dance.  

So what’s YOUR muse? Think about what inspires you and brings you alive. And whatever your muse turns out to be, be it dancing, painting, singing, walking, anything... just go for it!

Happy shimmies :)