Two women consistently lift my spirits each week. Belinda Ferguson is the founder of Belindance and I have been taking belly dance lessons from her for over a decade. I often claim that belly dance is the most fun you can have with your clothes on! It it is a strenuous workout, employing both large and small muscle groups, not to mention learning how to isolate movements and learning to counteract the body’s tendency to be lazy and use muscles that will do the job most efficiently, although perhaps not quite as gracefully or elegantly.
Vanessa Lindsay-Botten is the founder and director of You Gotta Sing! Chorus. I have been singing with them for about six weeks and absolutely love it. I am continually filled with awe and gratitude to be part of this amazing group of singers.
What do these two amazing women have in common. They both emphasize the basics, and of course, breathing is one of the most basic of human actions. For the most part, we aren’t conscious of our breathing, it’s involuntary and most of us don’t use nearly all of our lung capacity.
The other thing they have in common is enthusiasm for their art and for encouraging people to be the best singer, the best dancer, the best person they can possibly be. Belinda never allows a dancer to say ‘I can’t,’ but rather, the expression becomes, “I have not yet learned how.” I have taken those words to heart and apply them in many other areas of my life. Vanessa smiles with genuine pleasure at our efforts and I have heard her say on more than one occasion that any other note than the one printed on the page is harmony!
One of the earliest understandings of the word enthusiasm is ‘filled with God’s spirit.’ I experience the sacred and holy when I am with either of these women. Whether I am finding the choreography challenging or finding the right notes is a lost cause that day, both of these women find a way to affirm me and others in a way that leaves me feeling affirmed, valued and better equipped to spread love and life to our hurting world. Both of these women seem to appreciate the idea that their gifts and skills are gifts of God. Through performances and participation in concerts to raise funds for various causes, these women share their gifts with others for the benefit of our world. These women make me feel as if I have tapped into the very breath of the universe, the breath of God.
And that’s my window on God’s world.