It appears I am an initiate of the mid-life awakening.
2019 has been one of the most provocative years of my life--provoking in testing my ability to handle all the elements chosen and unseen. It's been a time of releasing so many layers, adding new ones on, living nomadically, surrendering to Bay Area home base on a super shaky ground and barely, I tell you miraculously meeting my Maslow's hierarchy of needs.
There is a calendar that lives in my household and each month there is a new activation--days ago when it turned into November, the invoker read, "Process your shame."
Fuck. My immediate response. Yep, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck.
First things first.
Second things--admit what you've been holding on to that has limited your ability to show up for all things totally abundant and good.
Work in progress.
Name it. Stop hiding. Tell the story.
You see, when you go through a hard time, it's so easy to want to constrict it, hide it, pretend that it doesn't exist.
Fact of the matter is, I have lived a great part of my life in denial, we can also call it blind faith. I am ever optimistic, positive energy activator, and I truly do believe and know you can make things happen--and as miraculous as it is--it can feel fully stressful too.
And at what sacrifice?
This year in the process of what I will call my mid-life awakening/ initiation--I performed and produced a one-woman show, traveled to Guatemala with a one-way ticket, experienced beauty in love, bought a one-way ticket to Los Angeles to lead at Ecstatic Dance LA, and proceeded to ground down solo style on California soil--answering the call to return to Oakland and San Francisco--I lived in friends homes for weeks at a time until I found resources and a space I was to claim as mine.
I've been gifted with ambition, vision, and this psychic intuition that tells me to do things even when I don't know the reasons why--just like what I'm writing now. I know there is a point and I am discovering how to share it in this vulnerable state.
My head being shaved feels raw.
I do feel exposed. Like really exposed.
There is no mane of shame to hide beneath anymore.
In my efforts to show up, write messages, scroll Facebook and craigslist at ungodly hours because of a call to action and the innate need to survive--I have ended up working with the Bay Area's most profound players and changemakers.
I became a stage manager for Eye Zen Presents, Out of Site: SoMa production in San Francisco, California. I never played that role in my life and I chose it because I needed to make money and it also sounded extraordinary to work with a queer theatre company doing site-specific work.
It was the hardest "job" I think I may have ever had--in a really long time--I had to dig into parts of my brain that I do not put to practice a lot. It certainly showed me something about myself and that I was capable of something more and by god-- I can organize time, schedules and people.
It was also during this process that I had a lot of doubt and shame around this role--this wasn't what I was accustomed to being--I'm used to running the show and creating all the things behind it.
It was a humble bow moment that I later realized was only my small-minded projection that led to me to think I was playing less than. It showed me that there is a place for me to carve out here.
This work strengthened my mind and my body.
I got to work with some of the greatest players in the industry and they got to know me as I did them. So much love, respect, trust and camaraderie was built.
One of the things I'm most proud of during the era of this year is learning to ask for more. I worked dance studio hours into my contract, not knowing exactly what I'd do with them at the time--but had a feeling about it.
I kept having this idea that I'd get an opportunity to do something more experimental. Sure enough, the SOL VIDA™ conscious dance laboratory that we call Fab Lab was born and out of one of the healthiest collaborations I've experienced this year.
I have experienced the beautiful and abundant synchronicities of working with the holy-what-in-the names like Ecstatic Dance Oakland, Soul Motion, Girl Project, Grown Women's Dance Collective, Destiny Arts, and Eye Zen Presents in less than six months of my landing.
There has been a general consensus that this is where I'm supposed to be.
A friend noted that this year seems like my big year of collaboration. And you got that right.
We put SOL VIDA™ on the map in a big way. It's been so cool to figure out what this energy and movement is all about. It's also taken tremendous energy to figure out what to do next.
I've asked so many questions, spoke so many prayers, vision walks, journals full, minutes of chanting, prayers to the waters, hugs of the trees. I wake up everyday in practice.
My life has truly become what feels like one walking personal ritual.
Figuring it out every freaking god-loving day.
I am devoted to love and light.
I am devoted to walking my birthright.
I want to be the living, breathing, highest version of myself.
This shit is hard. Being her. Consistently.
My challenges and mistakes have aged me. They have built me up. They have clarified my purpose. They have helped me set boundaries. To say yes and to say no with equal satisfaction.
Lots of spiraling and spinning that I process in nature and on the dance floor.
As humans, we often think and say--when only this or this gets better, then I'll be better with myself.
I've challenged myself to ask: What decision will I make if I'm not centered on scarcity, lack or comparison?
Comparison is a bitch.
Periodt. (Side note: I love language and mixing up Ebonics, Spanish and all the things)
How will you really show up?
Which brings me to final shame sharing for now. I have shame about how I've handled money in my business. My methods haven't felt good, they often came from a place of feeling "thirsty" and based on survival. Oooh, it's so hard to admit and I thank you for saying yes to supporting this work anyway--we all know it's going to be okay boo.
This is a supreme area for growth that I've dedicated much of this last cycle to learning from others and finding a way to thrive in a colonial capitalistic society whose system I despise--how can I value myself, create the spaces and sustain the movement?
When I evaluate my choices and projections--I'm amazed I've had any level of success.
Here's the thing though--success is what you choose.
By god, I know that this is a year of success on so many levels--it just amazes me what happens after I teach--the affirmations are frequently immediate and remind me just how important this work is.
Part of this initiation is about setting priorities.
I've had to ask the questions about where is the energy flowing, what do I want my life to look like and feel like. How much can I commit to one thing? What is that one thing? Is there really just one thing?
The one thing that feels clear and has come through the messengers and chanting it has become very apparent to me that to gain my solid grounding, to be of the highest service of my self and the upliftment of humanity doing my work is in offering consistent opportunities to experience Unwind + Grind and Fab Labs.
I feel the most all of me when I get to teach from the depths of my heart SOL VIDA™ style.
And writing... so much more writing. This is scaring the shit out of me writing this and I'm doing it anyway. Highest self me is ready to revolutionize the world through these experiences in connection and expression.
This mid-life breakdown-to-tha-breakthrough initiation of truly stepping into the Golden Circle, being Queen Warrior Axé has been no joke. I am here. I want to be all the best of me. I accept the shit that has been living in me and I release the shame of the not knowing how I'm ever going to pull it all off.
I pray that this rawness symbolized by my bald head allows me to continue to remove these veils of fear and shame.
There is no hiding behind a bald head.
I am ready to stop fighting me.
I am being required to show up all the way.
To be successful in all the ways.
It's really quite miraculous--these hardships that turn into your most profound learnings.
* * * * * * * * * * *
Now that you've heard some of the story, I'd like to offer you some tidbits of personal ritual that you can practice for yourself, save you some of the time and the pain. There are ways to remember who you are and focus on what really actually matters--living your greatest truest high self and giving yourself outlets to get all the gunk out and be closer to a higher expression of your authentic self.
I hope some of these tools help you go there, consistently!
💜5 RADICAL SELF-LOVE RITUALS FOR THE EMBODIED REVOLUTION💜
Extra Love--> PRAY, PRAY, PRAY, PRAY, PRAY!!! Ask for what you need and listen. No matter your spirituality or religion.
All right folx.
Leave a comment if ya hear me, feel me, feel this, want this, know this, whatever it is.
I am because of you. You are because of me. We are because of we.
Blessings dear babes, blessings of the highest to you and all that's in your heart.
Axé Out (drops mic in vulnerability and goes into the forest and hugs eucalyptus trees)
April (Axé) Charmaine (ah-shay / i feel the spirit / it is so) is the founder, director and leader of SOL VIDA™, revolutionizing the world through dance, connection and authentic expression. Born and raised in Denver, Colorado, she is a holistic dance and performing arts educator, writer, producer, speaker and consultant who is now a Bay Area, queer, black, mixed-race artist, unschooling mama, empty nester activating her dreams and activating #TheEmbodiedRevolution in Northern California, USA.