My Sanity…..my Bullet Journal

I have an addiction to Pinterest, I will not lie. I love looking at and saving beautiful images. Usually relating to Bellydance costuming, Decor, Gardening and Art. During one of my trawls of all things ‘Artsy’ relating to Art Journalling last year April, I came across an image that changed my life and my delinquent brain forever….Kara from BohoBerry’s Blog post on her Notebook Collection.

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My current notebook collection

 

My SO said to me a while back, “you don’t have any addictions”. Well,technically no I don’t, – don’t drink, don’t smoke, don’t eat chocolate (yes, that is a thing) – but…..I have an obsession with blank notebooks (especially one’s with beautiful covers), is that the same? So you can see why this post caught my eye. And boy does Kara have some beautiful notebooks. But what really peaked my interest were her ‘Bullet Journals’ and the pictures of her current journal. It looked so pretty – like an Art Journal but so much more.

 

In her blog ‘BoHo Berry’ she referenced Ryder Carroll’s Bullet Journal website, when I watched his video on the basic Bullet Journal or ‘BuJo’ I had one of the ‘AAAAAAAAAH!’ moments (you know the whole choir singing thing) . Here was a way for me to keep track of everything I normally wrote on scraps of paper everywhere, or forgot to write down, AND a way to feed my Notebook obsession.

I’m going to leave this little video from Ryder’s website here because he explains the system so much better than I ever could. And it’s only 4 minutes long…..so short and sweet.

Boy, was this an epiphany!! And to make it even better I could journal, doodle, plan, draw, colour in, stick pretty pictures and customize it to my heart’s content. So, of course I went out and bought a new notebook and dove into my 1st Bullet Journal. This was in May last year. Has it helped, a hundred times YES!, if you get into the habit of actually writing everything in it. That is definitely the only catch with this system – you can make it as pretty or as plain as you want to but you actually need to write everything in it.

BuJo Blog - Plain and Pretty pages

 

The spread I think I love the most and use almost everyday is what most BuJo’ers refer to as a ‘Brain Dump’. You sit quietly somewhere and literally dump everything that is currently taking up space in your head down onto paper. You can do it as bullet notes or you can write is as you would a journal. And I don’t just mean your shopping list and what you need to remember to do tomorrow (well obviously that too), I mean things like what your kids did today that made you smile, the dog that dug up your favourite roses, your car that needs a service, hubby that doesn’t put the toilet seat down. Every joy, frustration, happiness, sadness and just things……E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G!

Once its’ on paper the brain tends to think “Okay, I don’t need to remember that anymore, it’s now in a place that we can go back to, to remember it if we need to.” Making space in your head for new things, helping you remember, getting rid of frustrations, keeping cute memories. Its cathartic for me. It’s almost as if, once you write it down, the brain can file it away correctly so that you can retrieve it a whole lot easier. I find that if I have ‘dumped’ it in my journal, I will remember even if I don’t refer back to where I wrote it down. I just remember it more easily…Go Figure. And for me that was a BIG thing! Yes people, after 40 your brain does forget stuff a lot more often than it used to…..get used to it.

My first BuJo was a cute notebook I bought from a local ‘newsagent / stationary’ chain store. And I actually filled it – yup, that was a first for me – I filled it up in 6 months. At the time I was using it for personal and work stuff but realised that I needed to start keeping these separate so when it came time to migrate over to a new BuJo, and after hours of research on my ever faithful Pinterest I decided to go with an A4 Ring Binder for Workstuff and a Traveller’s Notebook which I made my own inserts for.

For those of you that have no idea what a Traveller’s Notebook is, or TN for short. It is leather or fabric cover with elastic bands in the spine that hold notebook inserts. A TN can hold up to 6 / 8 notebooks at a time. Which is what I liked about the set up. Instead of using the index of a traditional Bullet Journal where you basically have all your collections, projects, notes, dailies etc. spread throughout your BuJo as you create them. I could separate my daily planner from my Brain Dumps / Commonplace book, from my Budget Planner, from my Collections. Each having their own space. As you fill one up, you replace it with a new one. Easy Peasy.

BuJo Blog - Pic's of my journals

My 1st and current BuJo’s

I must say that this system has been an absolute lifesaver. It has been a way for me to spark my creativity again, keep track of everything that is happening everyday (which with my brain is a good thing) and to journal memories.

Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube have a wealth of inspiration and tutorials on every aspect of Bullet Journalling, in all its various forms. I have created a list of favourite IG accounts for you to peruse. All these lovely ladies can be found on all the social media platforms and also have wonderful Blogs too. It was just easier to list the IG account names. If you get bitten by the BuJo bug like I have these guys will give you all the help you need.

@bohoberry                                     @tinyrayofsunshine

@theplannersociety                       @decadethirty

@makememoriestoday                  @thefoxyfix

@theinkyhand                                  @scrubs_n_coffee

@cursivebird                                     @sixtyninejournals

Like I said before if the bug has bitten you, it’s a bit like Alice down the rabbit hole. Welcome to the Madness, a sudden unexplained obsession for notebooks, coloured pens and pencils, fountain pens and pretty ink, washi tape….oh washi tape…., stickers, etc, etc. Make sure you put aside a large portion of your budget for your growing stationery stash, that you WILL have explain to your SO because to them it just does not make any sense…..lol.

Well, I have given you a whole lot to ponder on. I think I may go into a little more detail on the workings of my BuJo’s in a future Blog, so watch this space.

Happy Journalling!

Jacqui

 

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Gratitude and Self-Love

 

I have the privilege of working with a group of awesome Ladies for a wonderful global company that allows us to work from home. We have a global online meeting bi-weekly and once a month one of us get a 10 minute slot to share something with the Group. It could be anything from a work related topic, to a game, quiz or Inspirational topic. March was my month, and after having a good 4 or  5 months to come up an awesome topic I decided to go with something that have been trying to do but still need to get a handle on myself. Being Thankful and looking after Myself – “Gratitude and Self-Love”.

Even though my ‘little-ly’ (my 18 year old son – lol, yes, I still think of him as my baby) doesn’t live with us anymore I can very much relate to the other Ladies in my Group at work – who are also stay-at-home working Mom’s and Wives. Even though you are technically at home, you still have to work a full day, along with all the joy’s of being at home all day too. You know what I mean- laundry, dishes, meetings, toy / clothes gatherer, cleaning, work deadlines, fight mediation, being a walking encyclodedia, keeper of the lost and found….. And we wonder how we are ever going to get everything done in a day….

Our lives are extremely rushed, filled to the brim with work and family commitments that we sometimes feel like we are robot’s moving from one day to the next. And we get to the end of the week and cannot remember what we did at the beginning of the week.

We need to STOP, BREATHE and take in the Wonder of the World around you.  All the things that pass us by on our busy days….Be present in our day, with ourselves, with our families. We need to take the time to be consciously aware of what we have in our lives, even the most minutest thing, and we need to be thankful for what it brings to our lives.

Studies have shown that being Grateful can:

-Lessens anxiety,

-Decreases depression,

-Creates Self – acceptance,

-Gives you more energy,

-Lets you sleep better,

-Lets you live longer,

-Lets you breathe easier,

-Creates greater Happiness,

-Helps make better decisions,

-Strengthens your relationships,

-Boosts your career.

So I challenge you to find time either in the morning before your day gets started (yes, you may have to get up a little earlier) or in the evening when things start winding down (when the kids are in bed and hubby is watching sport) to commit to paper those things that you are grateful for in that day.

I challenge you to start a Gratitude Journal for 30 days.

  • Using the prompts below will give you a good start. I found this wonderful printable on ‘GoodThingsRealized‘ Blog site and they are so thought provoking and speak to even the smallest things that can pass us by.
  • Try and add one additional thing that you are thankful for that is personal to you each day.
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Image Courtesy of Shastalilly @ goodthingsrealized

On that list of things to be Thankful for is YOU!

We often forget that WE are the most important person in OUR lives, and we forget to take care of OURSELVES. Life is hectic, YOU need to be YOUR best and happiest, to give YOUR most to everyone around you. Look after yourself first, then look after others.Take the time to look after YOU!!

I DARE you to try and do at least one of the things on the following list, at least once a week!! This printable is courtesy of Paula @ thirteenthoughts and some of these ideas are just so cute!! – When last did you jump on a bed, any bed!!!

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So all you Lovelies, go and buy yourself a Beautiful Journal and a cute pen with glittery ink and give it a try!!

Happy Journaling!

Jacqui

 

Hello…..again

Okay, I know. If you want to do thing Blog thing, you actually need to Blog, right? You actually need to show up and publish something, right? *Sigh* I know, I know…..Life happens when you are busy making plans.

And that ever present ‘no-body will ever read it’ reared its ugly head again. But yesterday while reading BIG MAGIC by Elizabeth Gilbert, she addresses that exact point.

And you have treasures hidden within you – extraordinary treasures – and bringing those treasures to light takes Work and Focus and Faith and Courage and hours of Devotion and the clock is ticking, and we simply don’t have any more time to think small.

So I have decided that I will bring my ‘extraordinary treasure to light’ and share them with you. If just one of them bring joy or inspiration to just one person I will be happy.I’m only one third of the way through the book and it has been inspirational to say the least.

So on that note, I will be trying to post something here weekly. Whether it be Dance related, a Creation or just Life in general. And hopefully you enjoy my musings, rantings and other stuff.

See you all again soon,

Blessings

Jacqui

The Uncertainty of…..

As I mentioned in my last post, I have recently re-branded my Oriental Dance Studio due to the misconception of Belly Dance in the area where I live. To go with this re-brand and because it was so close to our National Women’s Day, I decided to host a Ladies Only Women’s Day Celebration.

Everything started off with a bang, major excitement from the Dancers, great enthusiasm for where and how we were going to advertise and how many ladies we could get to join us. Even a very unexpected benefactor and a wonderful sponsorship. Our initial intention with hosting the event was to showcase exactly what the Studio does and to educate the ladies in the town on the history of Belly Dance, as well as hopefully make a little moola to supplement the cost of our costumes for our year end event. Well, we had posters up every where, or should I say businesses promised to put posters up, but the closer we got to the event the more we realised that the people in this town will promise you the world but seldom deliver. If it wasn’t for my wonderful dancers and the awesome sponsorship we would not have made a cent. And the Ladies that did attend were mostly friend and family of my dancers…..so much for new business. I had a major bout of uncertainty about 3 weeks before the event due to the absolute lack of interest (and boy we went all out with advertising) that I was seriously considering cancelling the event. If it wasn’t for my SO’s gentle reminder, “who cares how many people attend, those that will come will love it. And besides you are not in this for the money, you are doing this for your dancers”. So the Show went on….

Everyone that did attend absolutely loved it (can hear my SO….’told you so’), but I don’t think we will be doing it again, purely because of the uncertainty of the eventual cost and the lack of interest of indifferent individuals.

None the less we enjoyed ourselves, any excuse to dress up, bling up and DANCE!!

On the subject of uncertainty, exactly a month later in August, Marina and I performed at the annual Tribalation event. This is an annual event held in Johannesburg, that provides a platform for Dancers and Studios to perform and showcase various types of Tribal Fusion, ATS, Gothic Fusion Belly Dance and is supported by dancers from all over South Africa.

I love performing at the event and this was my 3rd year but as before that voice of self-doubt and uncertainty reared its ugly head. I set myself a challenge this year to perform a totally choreographed piece. Now if people know me they know that I usually only do improvisation….so this was more stressful than I ever imagined. I had that constant nagging feeling that it wasn’t good enough, I wasn’t good enough, no-one would like it, etc, etc,etc….ad nauseum……aaargh!!

What made it even more difficult is that it was Marina’s first Tribal solo at the event. Last year she was part of the Studio Troupe number. This year she was choreographing her own Tribal piece, and here I was, her teacher, a nervous wreck about mine, having to be very strong and encouraging for her. Boy, I should have taken a page out of her book. A picture of calmness, strength and grace. Her solo was beautiful! Mine I will always find fault in and criticize, even though the crit’s for it were good.
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So in closing…….Why is it that a person cannot accept that something you do is good, that people like it, that you are good enough. Why do we always self-sabotage…..mmmmm. Something I am still working on.

Blessings,

Jacqui

A Little News….

Wow, but its been an age since I posted anything…..my bad! I think I spend more time trawling other peoples Blog’s and thinking how great they are at it….and how regularly they post, instead of doing my own. Hey, what can I say Pinterest is addictive…heehee.

Well, since my last post quite a lot has happened, so I thought I’d give you all a little insight into my mad world over the last couple of months. If you can recall, I have a small Belly Dance studio in Rustenburg, NW, South Africa. As much as it has been my Life Saver over the last couple of years, it has also been a source of stress too. We have been open for about 5 years now and over the 5 years I have never really had any more than 10 dancers at any one time and I look at other studios in similar sized towns with 30 odd dancers and I think, what am I doing wrong….which is a major frustration I might add. I had gotten to the point where advertising no longer worked, word-of-mouth had all but dried up and then the inevitable ‘haters’….okay, maybe that is a bit strong. I should rather say the ‘hugely misinformed’….women in our small town that look at Belly / Oriental Dance as something akin to stripping, parading ourselves for male amusement (not knocking those that do this…whatever pays your bills), wouldn’t been seen dead at a class or event, and the Husbands that will not allow those that want to come and try a class, to even mention it in polite company. Its a never ending battle that I sure many Belly Dancers through the ages have had to deal with. So after contemplating closing the Studio, which only lasted a short while because I couldn’t abandon my wonderful dancers, I addressed the possibility of re-branding the Studio with said ‘wonderful dancers’….and to my utter amazement they were 100% behind my decision. It was so nice to know that it wasn’t just me that thought that what we had created was worth fighting for and that we needed to make these misinformed women aware of the beauty of this ancient dance form.

And so the search for a new Studio Name began. Something that would embody our style, our mission, ethos and studio standard. After a short list of 5, the majority vote was for:

MiTribe Oriental Dance Collective

So on 1st August 2016, Rusty Belly Dance officially became MiTribe Oriental Dance Collective.

MiTribe Cover 3 (new title)

Our reasoning behind this move was to clearly define what we do as an Oriental Dance Studio. Although we still firmly base our foundation, and especially that of our Beginners in the fundamentals of Belly Dance, we have steadily become more Fusion orientated over the past three years. We aim to combine different dance forms, such as Tribal Fusion, ATS (American Tribal Style), Ballet, Contemporary, Cabaret, Kathak Indian, Bollywood and Spanish Fusion into our unique choreography and technique classes. We still feature Classical Egyptian and Turkish Belly Dance, but it is not our main focus.

Most importantly, we have to rebrand to suit the conditions of the extremely conservative, predominantly Afrikaans, “small town” mentality we face in our city. Rustenburg is growing and evolving, but it is not as cosmopolitan as the larger cities in the country and if we hope to sustain our growth, we will have to move away from the “Belly Dance” reference. It is a sad state of affairs that, even in this day and age, women are still led to believe that Belly Dance is something akin to stripping. In our town, this radical step is needed to change the attitude towards our dance form so that women would no longer be afraid to be associated with Belly Dance. We understand that we run the risk of being seen as taking a cop-out by Traditionalists, but we daily face comments from unenlightened women asking “Don’t you only dance for men?” or “What does your husband think?”, not to mention the negative body image issues that are associated with our costuming. This lack of education and exposure is harming the dance form, not helping.

The rebranding of our studio was therefore not a move away from spreading the knowledge and joys of Oriental Dance, but an action to strengthen it. Our studio ethos and mission statement had and will always be that of a tribe of women who collectively share the same standards and values and who embody the power and passion to motivate each other to be the best they can be. We strive to always represent Belly Dance in all its associated forms with the reverence and respect it deserves.

Our new Mission Statement:

MiTribe Mission StatementAnd we kicked the re-branding off with a wonderful event to celebrate everything about being a Woman…….but more about that in the next post.

Have a Blessed day!

Jacqui

 

The Dancer in me…

2015-08 Tribalation 1493 webThis a photo from my 2nd Tribalation improvised solo. I was very proud of myself for being there a 2nd time and this time with some of my students. Its been a rough road to build up the courage to dance at an event that showcases some of the best Tribal Fusion dancers in the country. Especially if you have never had any formal training, totally self-taught and full of self-doubt. But I digress, let me go back to the beginning…….

Dance is in my blood, I have been dancing since I was about 5 years old. Starting with Classical ballet in the Cecchetti Method which I completed my Advanced certificate in, then on the Modern Dance, a bit of contemporary and cabaret and finally Belly Dance. I was even lucky enough to take over a Ballet School to teach the DASA method for about 5 years. Even though I was always told that I was a born dancer, choreographer and was very good at it (by teachers, adjudicators, other dancers etc) I have never really believed it. I basically spent most of my youth and early adult hood believing that I was not good at anything, that even included my marriage and being a mother.

But as time passed and I grew up, went through so many challenges that broke me, that made me doubt myself even more, dance was always a constant. No matter where I was I always seemed to gravitate back to dance in some form or other. I found Belly Dance (as like most people) quite by chance almost 15 years ago. I did about a year of classes with my then sister-in-law and fell in love with it. It was my savior when everything around me was falling apart….when I was falling apart during a very traumatic divorce and custody battle…..in a way you could say that it rescued me, it kept me sane.

At the time, around 2005-ish, there was not really much belly dance here in South Africa but I luckily had a job that allowed copious amounts of internet access…..so a closet Belly Dance stalker was born. I started following the careers of Rachel Brice, Sadie, Ansuya, Petit Jamilla, just to name a few and absorbed the beauty of Belly Dance like a sponge. Lol…I still have print outs of belly dance handbooks and notes that I found on the internet, (hey, Youtube was not so good then….heehee). Have you ever tried to teach yourself Belly Dance from a written handbook…..not easy I tell you. After leaving town and having to stop the classes that I did at the time, I found out about BDASA (Belly Dance Association of South Africa) and Shalimar Harrison, right there and then I purchased by first belly dance DVD’s. And the rest you can say is history. I spent the next couple of years learning everything I could by myself.

After moving to Rustenburg in early 2010, a teacher in a nearby town heard via a mutual friend that I belly danced, and as she put it ‘brilliant’, she approached me to take over her group of students that she did monthly workshops with, these ladies were keen to do weekly classes which she couldn’t provide. After much soul searching and once again, that inevitable self doubt I said Yes. Thanks to the faith of a then total stranger, and now close Belly dance Sister, Mira, Rusty Belly Dance was formed.

We are a very small belly dance studio in Rustenburg, in the North West province. I teach the Middle Eastern basics to all my beginners students but we do a bit of AmCab, ATS and of course, Tribal Fusion. We have been going for 5 years now, with some faithful students from the 1st classes that are still with us, but we gain a few passionate ladies every year that enjoy  and learn to love Belly Dance like I do.

Through these wonderful woman I have learnt to love myself again, to see that I am strong, that I am good enough. And even though I have had only a little formal training in Belly Dance (in the greater scheme of things) I have been willing to learn from others over time and pass that knowledge on to the ladies in my classes. We have fun, we laugh, we cry, we share each others successes, challenges and heartaches and by doing so grow each and every day.

If I can leave one final thought. I will be eternally grateful for the role that DANCE has played in making me who I am today. Far stronger, courageous and happier than I ever thought I could be. Heehee, I even met the love of my life, my soul mate through Dance. If that’s not good then I don’t know what is!!

In upcoming posts I’ll let you know a little about my inspirations, my studio and some of my other passions.

Happy Shimmying,

Jacqui xxx

 

 

A Short Introduction

Firstly lets start with a little intro about me…..lets see….. mother, life partner, lover, teacher, dancer, choreographer, artist, costume designer and creator, fitness fanatic, real food eater. If I can think of any other’s I’ll add them later…lol

I’m a 45 year old woman, who still thinks she’s 30-ish, who’s been through 15 years of tough times, of self-doubt and a little bit of self-loathing thrown in, who’s finally learnt to like….let me re-phrase that….. love herself and the skin she’s in. It took damn near forever in my opinion, but finding a wonderful man who helped me grow, loved me for who I am and not who he wanted me to be, loves my passion for dance and pushes me to be a better person everyday, who balances me, who hugs and kisses and dishes out compliments all day, helped immensely. I also realised that I’m not getting any younger and I’ve still got a whole lot of life to live.

I stumbled across a YouTube video called ‘6 min for the next 60 years of your life – a rant‘ by a guy called Gary Vaynerchuk, that spoke volumes to the state of mind I have been in for a while now. That feeling you get when life is kinda running away from you, you keep looking back and thinking…if only. Well I decided after hearing his ‘rant’ that my best years are still to come.

I have years of life experience and a current mind set that put me in a unique position to be able to try my hand at literally anything and see how the proverbial cookie crumbles with little of no self-doubt. So I’ve decided to start doing things that I love, if something doesn’t click with me then I will not be doing it…..so I’ve started sketching and painting again. I have gotten over my insecurities enough to post a video of a Tribal Fusion solo performance I did last year and I will follow up with others

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Pencil sketch of Buddha – Apr 2016

. Hey! I just figure we only live once and if we can brighten someone’s day (even my own) then why the hell not.

So this Blog will be a journey of self-discovery, showing my art, my dance (including my lovely ladies that I teach Belly dance too), images that speak to me, costumes that I create for above mentioned dance and anything else that makes me happy.

As cliched as it sounds I’ve always wanted to try this blogging thing. I love writing (could never sit still long enough to do the book writing thing though…..okay, never thought I was good enough – story of my life), love sharing beautiful things, and recently built up enough courage to take some of my creations into the wide world.

So come along for the ride…..I can’t tell you where it will lead or how it will end, all I know is that I am pleased that it has started.

Have a blessed day!

Jacqui