Welcome to Reflections of a Buddhist Pole Dancer!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Why a Buddhist Pole Dancer?

For several years I've secretly labeled myself a Buddhist Pole Dancer -- not that it's my email signature or on my business cards, it's just a personal title that balances my spirit and makes me smile. :)

The Buddhist part reminds me that I am being my best when I am mindful-- one of the core principles of Buddhism. The Pole Dancer part reminds me that I am happiest when I engage in some sort of play. The joy that overcomes me from pole dancing sings to my soul.

While I am not an official Buddhist, I am drawn to its teachings. I love the gentle reminders of who we ALL are (Awakening Buddhas!) and that our suffering is a result of grasping pleasure and running from pain. I love learning about the Middle Place and ways of reaching it through meditation and mastery of thoughts. I love the notion of staying put when things are tough, for those moments are the best teachers. I love the eightfold path and its suggestions for how we might speak, think, act, and earn a living. I love the simplicity of Buddhism and the challenge of the practice at the same time. I find I am a better being when studying it. I am happy when I am here, now, no matter what might be going on here and now. At least I can melt into the middle of it and just be. The happiness doesn't necessarily come from the content of the moment, but from the moment itself.

While I am not an official Pole Dancer (at least not a paid one or one who performs for others!), I love pole dancing. I've been doing it for about six years-- smitten after my very first lesson. My pole is in my living room-- I can swing around with happiness and catch a view of the Monterey Bay at the same time. I love the joy I feel when my body flies effortlessly around the pole. I love the strength achieved from new moves, particularly upside-down push-ups. I love the grace and femininity I feel from dancing and moving to the music with only the pole as my partner. I even love the barrage of bruises that cover my legs when I try to master something new. They're indicators of courage and dedication. With pole dancing I also love the playful mystery that surrounds it all.

So I am neither an official Buddhist nor a professional Pole Dancer, but I call myself a Buddhist Pole Dancer. What gives? I am less attached to labels and more drawn to feelings. Buddhist Pole Dancer resonates deep within. As a barometer of my well being I can usually trace it back to these two indicators: my practice of mindfulness and my willingness to play. When I am at my best I am a Buddhist Pole Dancer. Knowing this about myself gives me easy guidance when I am off track. Am I present in my life, nurturing my spirit? Am I playing on my pole and connecting with my body and my innate need for fun? Whereas an answer of No confirms my funk, an answer of Yes indicates a path of wellness.

What empowering descriptors encourage you to be your best and serve as a guage of balance? I'd love to know!

*No Buddhists or pole dancers were harmed in the making of this moniker. I hope they weren't offended, either. :)


Larry said...

I LOVE your idea of having a simple "empowering descriptor" to encourage me to be my best and serve as a guage of balance. My go to description of myself has always been "a new age-urban cowboy-hippy-redneck," but this doesn't really work as a guage of balance. I'm gonna have to put some thought into this to see if I can come up with something better.

Your words, "a barometer of my well being..." and "knowing this about myself gives me easy guidance when I am off track" really speak to me. Thank you.

Taylor Greif said...

I've just stumbled across this post during my lunch break and it really fills my heart with joy, as I've often given myself the exact same title! While I'm not an official Buddhist or Pole Dancer, I'm aspiring to develop both of this aspects of my life. I've recently been reflecting on the fact that pole dancing is a very meditative/ mindful experience for me. Learning new tricks requires me to breathe through and sit with the pain, to eventually reach something beautiful. I leave my pole classes with such a sense of strength, beauty and confidence that I can't help but go back for more. (Not to mention it's so much fun!!) I love that I'm able to cultivate that mindfulness from the cushion in a fun pole dancing class too

How funny it is to find some one else with similar experiences!

Be well,