Opening 2019 with the climbing of NEW mountains

Joana Saahirah Ilhas Dornes

Opening 2019 with open arms and heart

Flying into 2019 with the Passion and the Love I´ve always carried in my heart, a renewed sense of purpose and hope.

Here´s what they rarely tell us: evolution takes work; growth can be painful; letting go of limiting beliefs, wounds, old ghosts can be a never-ending battle but, YES, we can do it. If we genuinely want to.

I´ve never sat in my comfort zone – whenever I reach the top of one mountain, I start looking for a new mountain to climb. It´s the climbing, not the arrival, that builds our character.

From Portugal, my homeland where I was safe and comfortable, to Egypt where I spent 8 years building my career and myself in the midst of unimaginable challenges and blessings; from Egypt to the whole World where I´ve been traveling as an invited artist to perform, teach, and lecture on Egyptian Dance, Music, and Culture; from the World to wherever I dream.

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Along the way, I´ve written an endless amount of articles for highly respected maganizes and newspapers; I´ve written and published my first book – The Secrets of Egypt – Dance, Life & Beyond” (follow link to get your own copy: http://www.lulu.com/shop/http://www.lulu.com/shop/joana-saahirah/the-secrets-of-egypt-dance-life-beyond-2nd-edition/paperback/product-23143198.html?fbclid=IwAR2Jfl0G_J0QIVEQzejQdSkQ8PzO7v0GkKDNpIOy0-V7VjOmA36OzSVmFlA ); I´ve created a pioneering school – Joana Saahirah´s Online Dance School -, I´m about to publish my second book – Behind the Curtain – and I´m already working on my third book.  A brand new, upgraded, platform for Joana Saahirah´s Online Dance School will soon be released. Stay tuned at this blog or ask to join our dance community via email (send email to dancemagica@gmail.com)

And this, ladies and gentlemen, is is just a little sample of how much I´ve lived, dreamed and materialized and how much I´m doing in the present. I hope it inspires you to turn your Wish List* into a Dreams Accomplished List.

wink-happy-16Hint: I have no intention to stop growing and making IT happen.

In 2019, more than in any other year, I thrive for new mountains – the most unexplored, frightening, amazing mountains; the ones that will ultimately bring me closer to my truest self. I hope YOU´re brave enough to do the same.

Happy climbing, my friends!

 

In this video: Joana Saahirah BOMBASTIC Majance Performance in Quebec, Canada. Quebec was one of the cities included in Joana Saahirah´s USA & CANADA SOULful Tour.

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May Wisdom, Light, Love, and Beauty rule our new year.

The Ballroom (Shall We Dance?)

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A new morning, fresh and generously damp, is upon Bali. Another big celebration is keeping the streets empty and the temples beaming with colors, life, rituals performed for so long time itself has forgotten when they´ve started.

I´ve arrived two days ago, after traveling for two days, and I haven´t stopped a second. Not physically, not mentally, certainly not emotionally. Much less spirituality.

Part of me is scared – our brains don´t like insecurity, we don´t like insecurity, the world tells us we shouldn´t like insecurity. Not knowing. Stepping on foreign ground – truly foreign, wild. Why would someone put her/himself through that?

They wouldn´t (most people don´t), unless they´re aware Life´s too short for small minds, small dreams, small hearts.

This is perhaps what it feels to be alive – out of the comfort zone, raw & open, our chest courageously open towards the wilderness: a mix of adrenaline, fear, excitement, moments of “why do I keep putting myself in these pickles?!” with moments of “Oh, God! I love myself and my life so much. I´m proud of myself for growing continuously”.

Moving to a faraway, exotic, country isn´t new to me. I´ve lived, and worked, in Spain, Lebanon, and Egypt. I´ve also traveled the world, consistently, for work in the last 5 years, dealing with people from varied cultures, educational backgrounds, perspectives.

None of that protects me from being human. Each adventure is new – the 40th leap of faith is as scary as the 1st. The risk of getting disappointed, hurt, open to failure and success; the possibility of not being able to adapt, love, engage; the possibilities for disaster and bliss are there, fresh out of the oven, as they were the first time we went out of our comfortable zone. 

I don´t think everybody should follow their dreams, the same way I don´t think everybody should avoid television, meat, gossip, self-hatred; a wide set of stuff I dislike.

I don´t even think everybody should live their fullest, brightest, life.

I do think everybody´s free to CHOOSE what they wish to do. Or not to do. Even if that means they´ll choose apathy, cowardice, fear, laziness, remaining in their comfort zone, not going for what they love, not fulfilling their purpose.

This is our biggest blessing and/or our doom: FREE WILL. WE GET TO CHOOSE who we want to be and how our lives are going to unfold. 

At our pioneering Online Course “Enta Omri, a Journey of Soulful Egyptian Dance & Self-Love”, I taught a module on Co-creation. In that module, I called Life our biggest, and most faithful, “Dance Partner”. And that´s how I see it: 

We´re all in a ballroom. Our lives are handing their hand to us, inviting us to dance. We check the dance floor – wet, slippery, dangerous; with holes that lead God knows where, weird corners, dark spots we cannot see in detail. 

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Most of us will bow our head and decline Life´s Invitation:

-Nah! I´ll pass. My feet are hurting.

Some, perhaps the crazy ones, will say yes with shaking legs; they´ll allow Life to take them to the dance floor. They´ll be lead and they´ll lead.

That´s the thing about accepting Life´s invitation: WE GET TO LEAD AS MUCH AS WE ARE LEAD.

The ones who stay on the sideways, complaining about their feet, are not lead and are certainly not leading. They´re stuck to the ballroom walls, watching Life go by, whirling-whirling-whirling with the ones who don´t mind falling, or breaking a leg thanks to the slippery floor. They´ll criticize them for falling, for making mistakes, for daring:

-Ah, how do they dare!

They´ll probably not know despair, the fear of the unknown, the risks; they´ll also not know what it means to be alive. Fully, unsafely, passionately alive.

Sooner than later, they´ll watch as their feet get stuck to the floor, their muscles become frozen, and their brains dead before time.

Yes, it´s a choice. Living or dying before time. Watching life go by or DANCING WITH IT – ALLOWING IT TO LEAD YOU WHILE LEADING IT YOURSELF. Wherever you end up, in this case, will be a good place. The Dance always takes you where you´re supposed to be.

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One of the many religious celebrations that parade in the streets of Bali on a practically daily basis.

 

“I travel not to go anywhere but to go. I travel for travel’s sake.
The great affair is to move.”
~ Robert Louis Stevenson

This is how May kicked my ass (so sweetly); this is how you´ll kick ass in June!

waterlily-graphicsfairy006c.jpgI can hardly believe we´re in June (what a cliché!).

Here´s the thing I dislike about clichés: we end up bumping into them, even if we don´t want to.

Here´s today´s inevitable cliché: where did time go?

The more you focus on your own life, your dreams, your people, and your priorities, the less you feel inclined to check your neighbor´s garden and the faster time will pass. In fact, you won´t feel it passing.

Eye_of_Horus_Right.svgMay was particularly blessed, busy, and fast-paced. Here are the goals I set, & accomplished, this month:

 

Vintage-Pointing-Hand-Image-GraphicsFairy.jpgI celebrated Joana Saahirah´s Online Dance School 1st anniversary with our beautiful dance community. We had several events, Facebook live sessions, contests, gifts, and our special pioneering Course “Enta Omri, a Journey of Soulful Egyptian Dance & Self-Love”.

 

Vintage-Pointing-Hand-Image-GraphicsFairyI´ve moved forward with the editing of my upcoming book – a collaboration between me and a talented Slovenian photographer, Breda Jurecko;

 

Vintage-Pointing-Hand-Image-GraphicsFairyI´ve created, and delivered, our game changer Online Course: Enta Omri, a Journey of Soulful Egyptian Dance & Self-Love (now available, fully recorded, at our school). Aside from the classes I taught – 10, to be more exact, each focused on a particular theme related with dance, personal, and life expansion -, I´ve created extra material that totally kicked my ass; it pushed me beyond everything I´ve done, so far.

The bonus material – videos, articles, music, images, Love Sheets with Life Changing Questions & Exercises – offered with the course was in itself enough to make me work like a maniac for 6 months, at least. But I´ve made it in one month, adapting, changing, improving as we went along.

The participation of the students and their feedback was an essential key to the success of this course.

Enta Omri Journey by Joana Saahirah Online Dance School*Follow the link for more information: https://joanasaahirahworld.com/2018/05/03/enta-omri-a-journey-of-soulful-egyptian-dance-self-love/

 

Vintage-Pointing-Hand-Image-GraphicsFairyI´ve made the final decision to move to Bali, Indonesia & took care of the logistics behind such a huge life shift. 

 

Vintage-Pointing-Hand-Image-GraphicsFairyFurthermore, I´ve studied and challenged myself on a personal level like I hadn´t done in many, many years. 

Am I exhausted? Heavens, yes. Am I happy? Absolutely.

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As far as I´m concerned, June will be even better, and more intense, than May.

At least, I plan on showing up for my part of the deal.

What about YOU? How was your month? Did you achieve the goals you´ve set for yourself? Wait a second…you haven´t set your goals?

No worries. There´s no better time than NOW.

May´s gone – bye, darling! -; June´s here – hello, gorgeous!

You CAN act upon your dreams now.

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Grab a Journal, or a blank paper;

Write JUNE, the most blessed month (so far), at the top;

Write a list of your TOP 3 GOALS for the month which is now starting;

Then, write the STEPS you´ll take to make them happen;

Go ahead and schedule those steps on your agenda. 

The present moment is all we have – make the best of it.

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The Big Move (Joana Saahirah´s NEW life in Bali, Indonesia)

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In Bali, two years ago, on my way to work in New Zealand

Yet another rEvolution in my life & career – I´m moving to Bali, Indonesia, this June.

I fell in love with Bali two years ago, on my way to work in New Zealand (with the lovely Candice Frankland) and, since then, my mind was set upon it.

Big life changes are often scary. I know the fear because I´ve been through it many times, never allowing it to stop me.

-What´s the big deal? I would…(fill the gap with your dream)…but I…(fill the gap with your excuse).

“I would… if.” – I´d be a millionaire if I earned a buck every time I hear this.

The ones who actually go after their dreams – that may, or not, include moving to a faraway, exotic, country – are fully aware of the gigantic enterprise they have ahead. They´re also aware of the excuses – always easy to find -, the fears, the possibility of failure and, what can be even scarier, the possibility of success.

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In my life, a short but intense existence that already feels like a 200 years old adventure, I´ve done what everybody told me was impossible. First, in Egypt; then, around the world; and then, inside myself. It seems like proving people wrong has been my life mission.

I didn´t grow up in a particularly supportive environment, quite the opposite. I love my parents, and I know they do the best they can, but what they gave me, and my sister, while we were growing up was mostly negative critics, demands, the claim that we didn´t deserve much in life, and we´d never become financially abundant because, and I quote, “only dishonest people make money”; they made a point on making us feel we weren´t special. And we couldn´t dream big.

Whenever we brought A grades home, which was always, my mum would dismiss it as “nothing more than your obligation”.

I don´t remember them patting us on the back, or congratulating us for something we´ve done. Ever. At least not in our presence. Whatever we tried to do, it was never good enough.

They´d been raised in austere, poor, emotionally empty homes and that´s how they´ve raised us. Despite that, I made – keep making –  an effort to give myself what I didn´t receive in my childhood: love, sense of worth, self-confidence, a new set of beliefs about life.

The reason I´m telling you this is to tell YOU, too, independently of your circumstances, CAN grow, reeducate yourself, start LOVING yourself to the point of believing you can materialize any dream you commit to.

Reminder: 7bf53db5fa2aa74fb5bcafaea5a5f0de--dream-quotes-good-quotes.jpg

I´ve ventured into different kinds of wilderness, only to discover most of the danger is within us, & I´ve gone beyond my limits, never setting for mediocrity, comfortable zones, less than what I know deserve. None of this makes me a hero – it just proves every human being has the ability to dream & give their best shot at the materialization of that dream.

For me, failure is not failing to arrive where you wish to go; failure is not even trying, out of arrogance-cowardice-weakness, joining the Haters Crusade as a consequence.

“Do what you preach; let your words reflect who you are.”

If I teach courage, self-confidence, uniqueness, & the strength to DARE GREATLY, I have to set an example. That´s the most important part of being a Teacher.

You have to live what you teach.

Time has arrived to evolve & trust life, some more.

I can do it. YOU can do it.

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Ready to take off, keep growing & sharing the light with the world.

 

Crossing to the other side of the river

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Photo taken by yours truly in Dublin, one of my favourite cities in the whole world.

“Crossing to the other side of the river” – what a strange title for a blog post.

I, the one who wrote it, cannot explain it. But I write it, anyway, and I keep it. I trust the Mystery, the potential of Not Knowing, the Void.

As we open 2018´s door, a symbolic landmark created by human imagination, I find myself working on a book I never dreamt I´d write. Other literary, and dance, projects will have to wait, at least for a couple of weeks, because this one – uh, ah! – it´s grabbing me by the hair.

I sit on my desk and words flow, in a hurry (they know I´m on deadlines); urgent. My chest burns – every word comes out of it in flames. Insecurities come to the attack but I know them well. I dismiss them:

-Come on! You, again? Don´t you have anyone else to bug?

They don´t answer but I know what they´d say if they did:

-Everybody has their own tribe of insecurities. We cannot bug anyone else because we belong to you – we are YOU.

And this is what I want to tell myself, my students, my friends; you, who are reading, right now: embrace your demons instead of denying or trying to hush them away. Invite them in for a cup of tea; hug them so tighly they have no other choice but to hug you back.

In dance as in writing; in writing as in life, there are two, mostly unmentioned, qualities that allow you to thrive:

One is trust in yourself and your talent(s). It can come across as cockiness, especially if you´re a woman, and that´s why so many of us avoid developing it. It´ll annoy anyone who doesn´t believe in themselves; it´ll attract envy and competition and gossip and too many “ands”. Self-deprecation earns you more sympathy but it doesn´t get you far.

The other is persistence. If I want to be precise, I´ll call it stubbornness. In men, people call it passion; in women, they call it obsession. Either ways, focus, persist, discipline yourself not to give up on yourself. So hard, I know…(you CAN do it).

They may not look like much but they do the trick. Some of the most precious things in life are invisible so…pay attention…stay awakened…see.

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Happy 2018!

M.A.N(hood)

19225096_10155378778702731_1747508637645553645_n“I don’t like to discuss my marriage, but I will tell you something which may sound corny but which happens to be true. I have steak at home. Why should I go out for hamburger?”
~ Paul Newman

Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward

Although comparing his woman to a steak is not a good idea – not for me, at least -, the truth hidden behind these words is spotless and it can only make me respect Paul Newman, more than I already did.

He was not just a great, charismatic actor and the most gorgeous man ever lived on earth but he also happened to be a MAN. Not a kid old enough to be a man but an actual man. A rare diamond!

Egyptian Dance Intermediate Level starting at Joana Saahirah´s School!

Egyptian Dance Group Course – Intermediate Level – by Joana Saahirah starting next Saturday, 13th May, at Joana Saahirah´s Online Dance school operated by Powhow.

Authentic Egyptian Dance & Personal Empowerment guaranteed.
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Let´s get this party started!

Follow the link for more informations on this and other courses available at Joana Saahirah´s Online Dance School:

http://www.powhow.com/classes/joana-saahirahs-dance-studio

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Being (the dream)

11Dreams don´t impress me much.
What truly impresses me is the ability to turn them into reality in a way that dignifies both dream and dreamer.
Working & believing persistently, without losing ourselves on the way, until a vision becomes a reality; believing it´s possible when everybody else doubts it.
 
Character. That´s it. More than dreams, what impresses me is character and how far it can take us.
 
Photo: me, by my fireplace, working on one of my (many) dreams. Moment captured by Ana Samuel.

The matter dreams are made of

night-writing

This photo was taken a couple of nights ago, during a rare nocturnal writing session. Here´s a side of me the public rarely, if ever, gets to see: bare faced, cranky, sleepy and, apparently, cold. There´s my Dancer´s Persona; there´s my Writing Persona and then there´s my Writing in the middle of the night against my will Persona. This is the one captured in the image. When I´m not travelling – and I travel for work constantly -, I work out and write the heavy stuff (book in question) in the morning. Afternoons are for teaching, choreographing, reviewing the morning´s work. Nights are for relaxing, digesting the day´s work, making love, going to the movies, renewing myself, dreaming; performing, if that´s the case. Except when a phrase insists I have to take care of it in the middle of the night. So I got out of bed – disturbing a friend who was staying with me in the process -, put my rusty, old male robe on, grabbed a cup of coffee (at 3 am!) and wrote. Forget the fancy cigar, the whisky, the vintage typewriter and the inspired look on the writer´s face. There´s fiction and then there´s reality. It may not be so shining, or cute. Hell, yeah!, sometimes it´s awful. But it´s true. Rewarding. Beautiful in its raw, uncoloured, vulnerable way. This, my friends, it´s the matter dreams are made of. When I´m all sweaty and muscle-broken in the dance studio, searching for a movement which insists on hiding itself from me; when I wake up at 3 am because a phrase won´t let me sleep until I put it, and myself, to rest on paper. This, I suspect, is the dream.

This photo was taken by my friend, the one whom I awakened in the process of being awakened  by the phrase which awakened me (loads of awakenings). In his immense sensibility, he believed it was worth to witness, and register, my writing insomnia.

Who, if not someone who loves me and appreciates the value of the marathon(s) I´ve been running, would think of registering such a moment?

It´s probably the worst looking picture I´ve ever seen of me. Vanity issues aside, it´s wonderful.

Wonderful because it´s true & profoundly human.

Wonderful because of what it represents.

Wonderful because, thanks to millions of moments like this, dreams DO come true, one (unglamorous) moment at a time.