When you are enamored with your own garbage you are either headed for crazyville or have found your path in life. This morning I swept up my office and was thoroughly captivated by the beauty that lied within my dustpan. In it were coins from bellydance hipscarves, a piece of abalone shell from Hula class, pink feathers from boas in Burlesque class, pieces of hot pink mylar from cheerleading pom poms and some tiny pearls from who know where. I know it sounds unbelievable, but it's true: I am in love with my job. GoddessLife headquarters is an unconventional workplace that I created by doing what I love to do: dancing, dressing up and empowering women. As much as I like to keep it a secret, I do actually have "real work" such as shipping DVD orders to Target that I squeeze in between the 15 classes held at my studio each week. But I can make even the most tedious work glamorous by strapping on a Brazilian headdress and rhinestone g-string. I struggle to remember to tone it down when the UPS man comes, though it is a challenge since I own more corsets than khakis. I love my job, but it wasn't always this way.
I was fired from my last job of six years. My boss sat me down over his 18th espresso of his day and started on his tirade by telling me I was a "wild pony". I was about to say, "thank-you" when he interrupted me with his thick Greek accent to yell at me dramatically, "You are ruining my life" and proceeded to let me go. Yes, I was bellydancing and technically doing what I loved to do. However, I had the dubious distinction of working for the grand-prize winners of the ultimate chauvinistic bosses of all time: Middle-Eastern restaurant and night club owners. If that didn't chip away at my self-worth, imagine making a positive contribution to society if you don't wake up before noon! Sometimes I wouldn't officially "clock-in" until 11pm and I was lucky: the best dancers in Cairo don't go on until 5am! I thought I had a productive day if I made it to the post office. If that didn't make it a crummy job, envision finding a splotch of babaganoush on your new $1500 jewel-encrusted-velvet bellydance costume.
By the time I was fired, I was swamped with running a business, but was afraid to leave the security of my restaurant income. Being fired was a blessing and helped me to focus on my raison d'etre. The first time I had a glimpse of my purpose in life happened in NYC when I was studying dance during the day and making a living bellydancing at a Moroccan Restaurant at night. My dancer friends talked me into teaching a bellydance class at the restaurant. During the first class I got chills witnessing all the dancers transform into women. It was empowering for me to dance exclusively for women - the origins of bellydance. I named my class The Goddess Workout because I believe all women are Goddesses. After that, doors opened up for me and I came to believe that the things that were synchronistic and fell into my lap were the things I belonged doing. One of my students was a film producer and said lets make a video of your class, which became the first Goddess Workout Video. At the time, there were no bellydance videos on the market and it was not yet considered fitness. So I took my class out of the restaurant and introduced bellydance into gyms. My big break happened when one of my students who was taking my class at Crunch Gym wrote The Goddess Workout into an episode of Sex and the City. Everything changed for me. The DVDs got into Target and sold well, very well. I opened up my uber-girly clubhouse, The Goddess Center. Bellydance is hotter than ever and my classes are filled-to-capacity.
I don't live on Easy Street now that I am my own boss. I work later than I did when I was bellydancing at restaurants, I take a lot of risks and still break out in a sweat when someone tells me, "No". But knowing that I am living my reason for being, makes me feel like the richest woman on Earth.
My best advice for you if you are still struggling to find your purpose in life is to observe the signs you are given. Do you get the chills when you go to Home Depot? Do you feel passionate about animal rights? Do you have mad internet skills? Stop trying so hard to figure it out and give notice when things come effortlessly - like a gift. Try new things and keep doing all the things you like. Don't ever feel trapped by current circumstances in your life. Your path will be illuminated to you because it has been in front of you all along. If someone can actually make a living by having a fun job such as writing OPI nailpolish names, like "I am not really a waitress", you can have the job of your dreams, too!
Mon, April 21, 2008
by Ms. Dolphina