Stay the Course.

I’ve done a lot of thinking over the weekend. I attended a workshop on the Bhagavhad Gita and spent some time in contemplation, checking my intention in regards to burlesque. In truth, burlesque feels like yoga to me. Lyra feels like yoga to me. When I do these things, I am healing parts of myself. I am celebrating my wholeness. I am connecting with my body. It is a beautiful alchemy and my intention was to share it with others. At the workshop, I came across this verse:

“For one who has conquered the mind rise above the dualities of cold and heat, joy and sorrow, honor and dishonor. Such yogis remain peaceful and steadfast in their devotion to God.”

I don’t know that I have conquered my mind, but I know that I have done my best and continue to step up to the work. I know that I am devoted to sharing my learnings with others….to perhaps support them or initiate them on their own path. I also know that if I am steadfast in that truth, whether my name is held in esteem or in criticism, I will not falter.

I entered this week with a renewed sense of purpose and peace.

Thank you everyone for your kindness last week! A lot of people reached out to say “keep going’ and so, I shall. Onward and upward.

Much love.

Lanta

2+

Tits Up!

“I sat with my anger long enough, until she told me her real name was grief.”

I am saddened that anyone would dictate to a woman what can be done with her body.

I am saddened that a part of me still seeks outside approval.

I am realizing that for every step forward is one back. Today, I must acknowledge that my small self is hurt that anyone might think poorly of me. My divine Self knows that what they think is none of my business.

From the mouth of Mrs Maisel….”Tits up”.

We’ve got a show to get ready for.

2+

This is a rant.

I am angry. Really angry. Like a fire in my gut kind of angry.

Following my burlesque Troupe’s sold out show, we decided to bring our show to our home town of Strafford. 5 out of 7 members either live in the vicinity or have family that do. We recognized that this raised the embarrassment factor because we could potentially be dancing in front of neighbors and our kid’s friend’s parents (eek!), but the fact that we were so self-conscious was exactly what we wanted to address. We are not ashamed of our dancing or of our bodies, so what is the big deal, right?

I reached out to book our local Community Club. We wanted full disclosure of what we were offering, so we showed the Building Manager photos from our last show. She saw the female empowerment and was thrilled for us. Although this venue is much more expensive than our previous, I signed the contract. The ladies in my Troupe are ready to step up to the last remnants of shame, and body consciousness embedded in their psyche. They want their community to see their growth, their beauty and hopefully, be inspired by it. Men and women alike. “How?”, you ask. Well…women might be inspired to find beauty and self-expression in their bodies, no matter the age, shape or size, casting aside societal demands for perfection. (a rant for another day, but who determines what is beautiful and what is not?). Men might see women as fully realized, confident and independent…not dancing for the audience’s pleasure, but for their own. How refreshing to reinforce that we do not exist for your pleasure, but for our own.

So, why am I angry?

Where to begin? I reached out to the local community paper to take out an ad. I recognized that having “Tits” in your name does not make for family friendly print, but wanted to verify and seek clarification on cost, dimensions etc. I also inquired about submitting an article discussing my professional journey of empowerment via yoga, lyra arts and burlesque to help inform the community of what is available and how it supports empowerment of men and women. The response I received was insulting.  “I’m assuming this is not a real burlesque show.  I’m sure the BLCC would not approve that.” What the what?? I was further advised that they would allow an article or ad for my yoga as that is “appropriate”. Let me be clear, I am not angry that the publication won’t allow me to use my name. I chose a risqué, in your face name, knowing full well the limitations of doing so. That they have determined my show to be immoral and inappropriate chafed. I taught yoga last night and practiced a loving-kindness meditation. I was really working to accept that not everyone is going to love what I do.

Upon booking the venue and attempting to market the show, I set up our ticket sale and created an event on social media. I invited all my local peeps to attend. Shortly thereafter (seriously, under an hour), an acquaintance posted an article about Burlesque from FeministCurrent.com and stated that our middle class privilege to take off our clothes discounts the women who do this to survive. Sigh. We are not strippers (not that I have any issue with sex workers of any kind). We are grown ass women who have found ourselves stifled by judgement, conditioning, family, sexual assault, mental and physical abuse and so much more. We are removing these shackles and reclaiming our bodies, our image of beauty. We are dancing! We are creating friendships. We are holding space for each other to be unique and weird and shy or whatever else we are. We are stepping out from under other people’s definitions of what we are and trying to define it ourselves. This is a scary process. It is deep work. Who knew stripping off a robe to wear the same amount of clothes you would wear to Bow Lake could feel so vulnerable? Furthermore, who knew people would be lining up to throw stones…to lock us back up in their little box of appropriate. You know that box. The one that demands that you look nice, but not too nice because then no women will talk to you because their husbands are staring. You know the box where everyone talks about love and equality and openness and love thy neighbor unless you look differently, or act differently than their expectations and then you are OUT. Don’t forget the box of whore. Or virgin. Because apparently, there are really only 2 boxes here and I am MAD!!!!!! But, do be the kind of woman who straightens another’s crown, right? Grrrr. I think I am almost done. Ultimately, I am sad. I am disappointed. I am disillusioned.

But, I am not stopping. This show will go on and hopefully, if this sparks something in you, you will attend and experience firsthand the absolute joy these women feel when they dance.

I am not stopping. I am going to keep turning inward to uncover the spaces where I have allowed myself to be small, instead of powerful.

I am not stopping. As long as women (and men!) keep signing up to take yoga classes to connect with their divinity, lyra arts to connect with their inner child or burlesque to connect with something that was taken from them, I will do this work.

Thank you for reading this. If there is a part of you that comes up wishing I was a little more tasteful, respectfully, please explore it’s origin. If there is a part of you saying, GO GIRL!, then please stand with me on June 15 to support these gorgeous women and their journey! You can buy your tickets here. And if you feel curious to explore any of these offering, please let me know.

Lanta


5+

Come and get it!

Welp! I am not very good at writing regularly, but I am back! I continue to seek vulnerability, softness and openness in my life. I continue to lean in to areas that create discomfort and attempt to reconcile the truth with action. It is a daily practice. I invite you to join me in it.<3

So what have I been up to?

I sat for a boudoir photography session with Nichole Goldworthy, relinquishing all control over the choices and am thrilled with the results! I was so afraid to see the images…afraid that I would hate how I looked, but she captured a calm, self-assured woman (sexy too! teehee) and I realized that that is who I am and it is time to let go of this belief that I am anything less.

Which leads me to my next topic. Danger Tits! Burlesque. This moniker was given to the troupe I formed for my burlesque 50th birthday bash by my cousin, Missy. We had T-shirts and a sign made up. It was so fun! It was a tongue in cheek name acknowledging how society seems to find women’s breasts a danger zone. They are lovely. They also feed our children. Come on folks! Lets lighten up! I may also delight in saying the name and watching people’s faces, but that is not important to this story. What is important is that in February, a group of women joined my troupe. They committed to my mission statement which is:

We are a troupe of women seeking to empower and express ourselves through dance and celebration of the female form.

Isn’t this exciting! These women have been meeting every weekend and are delighted to see their hard work culminate in a show! Yes! A show! That you can attend to show your support! So the details….Saturday, April 27. Doors open at 7:30. Show starts at 8pm. BYOB. Sue’s. Rollinsford, NH. $15, Buy your tickets here. Who knows? Perhaps, you will love it so much that you will want to be in our next show this Fall! Either way, I hope you can come!

So much love,

LantaPS This photo was taken on a DTB field trip to Portland to take a burlesque class with my teacher at Red, Hot & Ladylike, Miss E. Aren’t we totes everything?

0

hmmmm…….

It has been over a month since I last wrote.

I had a varicose vein removed at the end of January. It was a little more extensive than I had thought it would be. It rendered me inactive as I healed and following my ablation and the holidays, I find my weight up. The old thought patterns came up, but I was able to set them aside…mostly. I hunkered down and started to manage this through upping my cardio and restricting my calories. Blah blah blah. This topic bores me, but I think it is important to share that like yoga, it is a constant practice. Old stories fight to return and imbed in your consciousness. You must be vigilant. You must repeat your TRUTH like a mantra until you remember. Do remember that you are more that a number on the scale. You are more impactful than your face that will show age. I am.

So, I wrestle with this dichotomy as I prepare for a boudoir photography session that I purchased last Fall. I am more than my image, so why am I doing this? Why? Is “because I want to” enough of an answer? Why do I want to? What do I want to see? What do I want to experience? Am I doing it for my husband? Am I doing it for myself? I have been questioning this a lot. I think I am doing it because I want to be even more vulnerable. Even more honest. I think the body is a work of art. I want to feel that way about mine. As is. Whatever I weigh when I wake up Tuesday morning. So, there is my answer.

Further musing demands that I point out that my father passed away a year ago. A lot has happened in this year without him. I don’t know what I think about spirits supporting you from beyond, but I know I am aware of his absence. Not in the ways I expected to be. I am reminded that he thought everything I did was amazing! That he loved me. That we didn’t get as much time as we should have. That we were on the cusp of being more accessible to each other as he and my stepmother planned a move closer to Minneapolis and that was taken from us. I am further aware that he was as weak as he was kind….and kindness is more important than strength. I am learning that I need to cultivate that in myself. More vulnerability. More softness. More kindness.

So, I am going to begin with vulnerable and commit to writing here more often. It is always an exercise in vulnerability and I hope that my sharing allows someone else to move toward healing and self-expression.

As always, so much love to you!

Lanta

PS I always welcome comments, insights or anything you want to share.

4+

Hear My Call.

Yesterday, as I was speaking with a close friend, I spoke aloud a truth that I had discovered on retreat last September and she told me I should blog about it. My first thought was “I think I already did” and then, I thought “Do it again! We all need to hear this and know this truth!’ So, here it goes….

I am not broken. I am not in need of fixing. I have had experiences. I have been wounded. I have belief systems, both self taught and inflicted upon me, BUT these wounds and experiences and belief systems do not make me less…less worthy, less valuable than another, less deserving. I am not less than myself. I am. I am myself. I am the culmination of my experiences, good and bad. I can work to heal my wounds. I can work to observe outdated belief systems and let them go or change my way of thinking.  I can not do this, however, if I believe that I have been broken. I can not accomplish this work if I rely on another person or persons or their belief systems to fix me.

These truths were reinforced at EXALT, the devotional immersion retreat I attended 2 weeks ago. Only I prevent myself from experiencing sovereignty. Any healing or changing or growing or evolving or releasing that I am going to do will only happen when I step into the full picture of me….the shadows and the light, the solar and lunar…when I create the balance necessary to support my beloved self in all of her radiance.

So, I am sharing this. It feels a little emotive and vulnerable, but I am strong enough to share this with you. If you aren’t embodying all of you….if you aren’t loving all of you…even the parts that are weaker or fatter or smarter or not smart enough or whatever you gauge yourself by and find wanting, then hear my call. I challenge you. I beg you. I need you….to begin to own your own unique offering….to begin to love yourself exactly as you are. Don’t you think it is time? Don’t you feel the longing?  I truly hope this finds you. The world needs more people like you. Like me. To come together.

In love,

Lanta

 

5+

Exalted and beloved.

2019 is coming in to me like an ecstatic tidal wave! I attended a New Year’s Workshop “Soul Destiny” with Ruth at Peace Tree Yoga where I got really clear about where I was heading and why. I hosted my first Ladies’ Nite burlesque class and it was sold out! I flew out to LA and spent two days immersed in devotional meditation and breath work with some jaw dropping inspiring women, creating a communion of sacred feminine and masculine within myself. I knelt at the altar of my own divinity and found myself beloved. I returned home exalted and ready to share.

This week continues to support my heart’s longing. I kicked off my first Aerial Conditioning class with 7 students ready to develop the strength, endurance and flexibility needed to feel like circus stars! My students were all smiling when they departed, so I think they left feeling accomplished! Yay!

Sophie, my Danger Tits Burlesque co-conspirator, and I have been meeting weekly to work out the choreography for our next show (April 27) and on Sunday, Feb 3, we begin our Performance Class. If you are thinking this sounds fun, but……(fill in the reason why you can’t do it), I implore you to follow that first response which was YES! This troupe was formed as a way to empower and support you in expressing your best self! We do not care about age, size or dance experience! Bring your desire to have fun, let go of negative self talk and ignite your imagination. The rest will fall into place! I am attaching the Performance Class Contract which outlines all the details. We are looking for at least 4 women to round out our troupe. Are you ready to feel dangerous?

So much love,

Lanta

DTBPerformanceContract-2

2+

Sharing

I began this journey to reclaim myself. To become more comfortable in my skin. To see what I was capable of. It was certainly challenging. I had to get real with myself. I had to dig deep. I had to see myself and allow myself to be seen. I had to stop when I was injured. I had to hold space for myself that was more about acceptance and compassion than it was ever about accomplishment. And at the end of the day, it was so much fun! I love dancing and flying on the hoop. I love yoga and the constant unfolding of life’s mysteries when you follow the path. And most of all, I love sharing what I learn with others.

So….drumroll please….I am rolling out 3 new offerings at Peace Tree Yoga. Yes, THREE!

The first is a monthly Ladies’ Nite. The second is a 5-week session called Aerial Conditioning which is the prerequisite for a 5-week session, Lyra Arts. Full descriptions and sign up links are available here.

If you have been following me on this path and have thought “I wish I could do that”, now you can! Let’s feel into our bodies and connect. Let’s laugh and love the way we move. I can’t wait to see you.

 

3+

What next?

Nothing like having a procedure the Tuesday before Thanksgiving and then, waking up on Wednesday to full blown vertigo. Seriously. I took a few minutes to feel sorry for myself. Well, maybe a few hours…no judging. I called the Dr and got a prescription of meclizine to slow the spin and made an appointment to figure out why this has been recurring so frequently.  I  allowed my husband and sons to step up to prepare the house and food for Thanksgiving and I plotted. I mean, what else can you do when laying in bed is your only comfortable, non nausea-inducing option?

So….what was I plotting? Let me tell you!

I was plotting the future of DANGER TITS! Burlesque and what I want our troupe to look like and offer. I was considering what I want to manifest in 2019 with my CirqFit Lyra Teaching certification under my belt, as well as my Red, Hot & Ladylike Burlesque teacher training almost complete. How can I offer these exciting and empowering forms of movement to my students without over taxing myself? And then, the retreats! I will continue hosting the Peace Tree Yoga Fall Retreat with Ruth because it brings me so much joy to collaborate with her. I will also be offering a Chrysalis Retreat and am looking at a venue in Kennebunk to determine if that is viable for our special group of ladies.

Ultimately, I am plotting how best to inspire women to seek self-expression in movement, to be empowered as they embrace  and celebrate their unique form. How to live their fullest, most joy-filled life surrounded by like minded women.

So…..stay tuned. Ladies’ Nights will be coming soon followed by fun circus art lyra sessions. If this is of interest to you, comment so I can be sure to reach out personally as these take shape and get scheduled.

So much love to you!

Lanta

 

3+

Shift.

It has been a week since I turned 50! A busy week. Usually after a lot of output (leading a retreat/a performance/an event), I set aside a day or two to unwind, process and refuel. Last week did not offer that to me and so, I plodded on arriving at Friday night curled up sound asleep on the couch at 6:30 pm. I vowed to make this week a little more restful although I knew Ron would be away on a business trip. That said, I booked a massage with my friend Siuzanne Jenkins of Kriya Yoga. My Yoga by Donation students had given me a gift certificate for my birthday and I was ready for it!

The massage, as always, was wonderful, but what I am here to share was what I experienced energetically. As she placed her hands on my shoulders, I felt their tension and almost resistance to touch and in that moment, I realized that I did not need to carry so much on my shoulders a minute more. Not one! In my head, I ran through the list of what I was choosing to set down. No more shame. No more fear. Good bye unworthiness. I release you guilt. I accepted that I wouldn’t be everything for everybody, but I could be just enough for me and those who love me. As her warm hands hovered over my heart, I felt a release. I was filled with unconditional love and was able to meet thoughts of those who I have vilified with a sense of acceptance and compassion. I released them and in my forgiveness, released myself, from further damage. As I left, Suzanne shared a quote that had stuck out to her in a training. Our consciousness resides in out fascia. Hmm….

So, I am feeling a little tender this evening, but I also feel lighter. So much this month has supported this healing. The Tonglen practice that began at Peace Tree Yoga and I have been sharing with my Yoga by Donation class because I think it is so impactful. The 3 week Cleanse that I just finished where I refined habits, was mindful about my energy, my resources, my environment and of course, my 49th year goal coming to fruition in a 6 number performance ( and amazing party if I may say so myself!). It has been a month of leaning into suffering and the parts of myself that don’t reflect who I want to be in the world. And every time that I leaned in, I found more depth and more capacity to love others and myself.

Thank you Suzanne for touching my heart today and creating this shift.

3+