Like in any marriage, we have had our ups and downs. The downside? Impatience, anger, and fear. Conflicts of the ego, where I was getting ahead of myself, wanting things to be other than they were at the moment, an unwillingness to commit. I've mainly been the problem. I can admit that. Flamenco has always been there for me. When times were tight, Flamenco bought groceries. When I was grieving death or heartbreak, Flamenco sang to me and held me up in its rhythmic waves, to the point where I've learned to breathe and float while resisting pain.
Flamenco has also taught me joy in small things. The satisfaction that comes from the perfect arch of the eyebrow, that slight shoulder bounce on the 10 in Bulerias, that perfect hip roll or head roll. The fun of shaking a scarf or my hair at the audience. Flamenco taught me how to flirt and how to own my sensuality. It didn't teach me to do it in a cheap way either, but in a badass way. Alluring and defiant at the same time. As a teacher told me once, "You're saying, 'You can look at me, but if you touch me, I'll cut you' ".
Flamenco taught me patience, hard work, and care for my craft. I honestly believe I would not have really understood mindfulness meditation or yoga if I hadn't been through the rigors of Flamenco training first. It literally has been blood, sweat, and tears. Toenails ripped off, bruises from falling or hitting myself too hard when doing a slapping step, a busted knee that left me on a cane for awhile, cuts on my hands from the palmas or even my castanets, a sprained toe that turned black. That one also left me on a cane for awhile. There were hours of staring at myself from every angle in a mirror, hours of going over the same step over and over again to get the counts or the feeling just right, hours and hours and hours of classes. The expense and experience of selling off your stuff, packing up the rest, and moving to another country for years, just to spend hours every day honing your craft. So now, understanding that I am a baby at meditation is really easy to accept. Flamenco was my first practice.
Flamenco has been gifted to me in this lifetime and honestly, I feel we've been together before. It's the only thing that explains why I've been practicing snapping on multiple fingers ever since I was a little girl. I've recently been a little out of love with Flamenco. Again, it's not Flamenco's fault. I think those of us who are married to Flamenco often abuse its sacredness with getting caught up in unnecessary stuff. Pettiness, insecurity, avarice, fear, anger. All of these things get in the way of our contract with Flamenco. And it is a sacred one. No one can tell me Flamenco is not sacred. It is a musical form with roots that go as far back as 900AD. It came together from a merging of various cultures, led by people who were resisting persecution. They took their pain and suffering, faced it, and channeled it into beautiful music and dance that gave them a moment's freedom. To me that is a gift from the divine, the cosmos, the universe, the collective consciousness, however you want to look at it.
So Flamenco, I am now working on falling in love with you all over again. As our relationship enters young adulthood, I am looking to mature. I will be bringing in what I am learning from my mindfulness, loving-kindness, and gratitude practices to infuse our relationship with a renewed love and respect. I will embrace the divine feminine that you have allowed me to channel more than ever before. I will remind myself of your grounding force every time I place my nailed feet onto the tablao, acting as a tree, rooted in the earth. Just like a tree, I will stretch my limbs to the skies, and like the wind that blows through its leaves, I will float across the floor with the aire that breathes me every second of every day.
Flamenco, I vow to you to honor our sacred contract. I am grateful to you for these almost 19 years. I want to extend my gratitude to all lovers of Flamenco. In the present, and in our future, may we always be mindful of our service to others through this art and that we may be of service to Flamenco itself. May we all be happy, may we all be at peace, may we all be free.