I have been at battle with my ego and reconciliation with my shadow for this last bit of time. Something has felt like it’s been missing. I’ve been retracing my steps to see how I got here-to this dark place where I feel like not doing any of this, any of these things I know.
Quarantine fucked me up a couple of times.
Entering 2020 with the greatest faith and clarity--everything I thought I was going to do (like really committing to growing Ecstatic Dance QTBIPoC in the San Francisco Bay Area--that was gonna be my thing) and then we all know… we had to stay inside, no more social gatherings.
I got weird with covid. I couldn’t look at the images, I didn’t want to hear about the news and I got an obsessive compulsive disorder about antibacterial and bleach. It wasn’t until I came back to Colorado and got a taste of my family and lifelong friends that I realized how contained I had got and how many unnecessary limitations I put on myself.
There were things that kept me solid and purposeful this year. Amazing people in my life. The Art Gym. My training with SomaSource, having monthly teachings, caucus groups, seasonal dances and mentorship online saved my soul a few times over and helped remind me of what’s important.
Most recently, we danced on December 12… a shadow dance.
I’ve been doing this work for so long that I entered the space without expectation, I certainly didn’t expect to come to a full blown confrontation with my shadow. That dance sent me into a spell. For days, I filled up journal pages, asking myself so many questions--writing with black and red ink, filling in other parts with purple and orange (color therapy is real).
The messages I received from that dance were:
I went searching in my past--studying all my photos, selfies, posts from the past few years. I wondered what happened to the bright eyed, smiling, bold, brave and energetic being? Where did this joyous part of myself go?
I’ll tell you what I found… In the last couple of years, I gave myself over to people and causes that didn’t actually serve my highest self. Also… fucking COVID. Somewhere along the way I got it all wrong and misled. An ego trip.
As I took inventory of this year, I couldn’t help but feel like I failed. I got super disheartened producing virtual workshops, because attendance was low. It felt like rejection, it hit all my trauma points of abandonment, not being wanted, accepted or acknowledged.
I did have some incredible partnerships and projects this year, that were super fulfilling--testing the waters for the Movement Collective I seek to begin--The ER aka The Embodied Revolution, going live with my comrades on Instagram for #VoteNoMatterWhat, choreographing The Wiz for East Performing Arts Camp, co-creating Elevate the Energy was ah-fucking-mazing, and getting to direct 12 Angry Them, supported by a whole team was super supportive and taught me once again how much better life can be when you ask for and receive help.
It’s crazy though, I felt like I couldn’t share a lot of these projects because I couldn’t make sense of the difference between myself and SOL VIDA. I don’t know if I have or if I ever will, but I can see that I AM SOL VIDA and my heart and soul are bursting to share all of the parts of me.
At the end of November, I embarked upon a lifestyle cleanse with a couple of dear friends. We decided to go Full Moon to New Moon to see if we were able to change some habits. We gave ourselves a lot of grace for imperfection. My energy had been so low, feeling super lethargic, lazy and just ill because I wasn’t honoring my body.
This is when I stumbled upon and remembered there is an entire Ayurvedic path to eating for your life type-- I made a quick study of my dosha and realized where I was going all wrong. Since then, I have really reshaped my food habits--eating three times a day, cutting out snacks, meat, dairy, sugar and gluten for the most part. Warm foods and warm beverages for me. I thought it was gonna be hella fucking hard, but its been really soothing. And I have a new favorite recipe.
I guess that’s the ultimate gift of 2020- to live in a new way and to slow the fuck down.
I’ve been in a self-imposed ritual for these past weeks working to unearth my whole self, to get clearer about my identity, purpose, desire, boundaries, and to repair my self esteem. I’ve spent weeks not living my purpose ("taking a break")--not doing anything, ruminating, clearing, dancing, excavating and writing.
Then came last Friday, an Embodied Divination workshop with Amara T. Smith--someone I’ve wanted to experience much more of since I met them at a Rosangela Silvestre workshop at University of Berkeley in 2019.
I was super reluctant to go, didn’t even turn on my zoom camera which is pretty crazy for me (cuz I’m a Leo, lol), and because most of the time, I really am willing to be super present and seen. Anyway, I got over myself when we had to go into breakout rooms and put in small groups. I turned my camera on with my divination group--you see Amara did a reading for groups based on personal objects in correlation to the Orixas --that got me, that's what I needed to get my mind blown and to wake the fuck up again! Her reading for our group felt so right on--it was the permission I needed.
Messages from the workshop included:
OMG! The permission to write was huge for me. Hence this big ass blog.
And the teaching… wow… earlier in the fall I also received spiritual guidance to create more of a video platform. Burnt out on virtual workshop production--I’ve been enlivened to think about creating more videos that are actually useful and hopefully inspirational.
People seem really surprised when they hear that I am afraid, anxious and scared to be myself.
This reconciliation and reclamation of myself has a lot to deal with being all of me. I get really overwhelmed by how much I want to offer to the world. I get lost in the multiplicity of all of my identities, my projects, my names. It makes me stop stone cold and want to not do anything.
As I looked back on the rebirth of SOL VIDA from 2018, it was clear that it wasn’t just about dance. The original intentions had a lot to deal with alternative lifestyle, healing, wellness and manifestation.
This dark period has felt like no dark period ever before and I honestly wasn’t sure if I was going to come out. Coming back to myself has felt really, really difficult this time. Feeling pulled in many directions, hearing too many ideas and not having clarity put me at a standstill.
I’ve had to return back to basics. My personal development journey began with affirmations. The Artist's Way, setting intentions. I’ve had a strong morning ritual practice for a long time, but adding an evening one has been helpful too. Limiting my social media consumption, limiting my Netflix consumption and taking a break from cannabis.
Lots of habits changing. Awakening more and more and more.
The night of the great conjunction, I was willing to sit out another ritual/ceremony until I started reading about it and realizing how potent this portal is. I got out my shekere, sat at my ancestral altar, began to hum and sing. The ancestors gave me very clear messages. Since then, I feel different, more accepting of myself, and more willing to be all that I am even if it’s not who I thought I was or who you think I am.
While I may not be able to tell you exactly what is to come, I know that my guiding force is to RETURN TO EARTH and STAY IN THE LIGHT. I’m going to trust myself more. My original ideas are pure. So are yours.
Don’t be afraid of your darkness--it’s actually where the light comes from.
Soundtrack for my shadow work.
P.S. Trust me--there were a million amazing things (no matter how cray it was) that happened this year and I am incredibly grateful for my whole life and experience on this wild and wondrous planet. Gratitude is my first go-to when I feel far out.
Much Love forever and a day 💜
Please ask questions, comment, like, share and take care.
April Axé Charmaine (she/they)
(ah-shay / I feel the spirit/ it is so)
April (Axé) Charmaine, CEO/Founder, Sol Vida Worldwide