What I love about salsa & bachata dancing is seeing the vulnerability of others. I don’t usually see people putting themselves out there, prepared to get it wrong and look foolish, but when learning to dance mistakes are obvious, frequent and absolutely unavoidable.
Last week we had a move in the bachata class that required the mans hands to trace the waist and hips of the woman from a low, almost kneeling position whilst the woman flicked her hips from side to side. All very sexy stuff and looks great when the demonstrated by the teachers but more like a group of nervous fumbling teenagers when the class tried it. However when I got over my own feelings of inadequacy and uncomfortableness it was beautiful to be with a group of people who wanted to express their bodies in a sexual way without imposition or expectation. It was a dance, an intimate interaction with people I don’t even know the names of. If I had stayed stuck in my own vulnerability and fear of looking stupid I may not have seen all those wonderful people who were feeling the same way. Being comfortable with my own uncomfortableness brought me humour and great joy. I saw how my own wobbles are everyone elses wobbles and it really brought me into the heart space, which in chinese medicine is about expansion and ecstasy.
It would have been easy to constrict and get stuck in my uncomfortableness, my shyness, my fear of dancing and moving with a stranger, my questions of whats he doing, what does he want, but it wasn’t about poor, uncomfortable me. I didn’t get lost in my own emotions, there was a space between me and my thoughts and with this perspective I was able to see the beauty of the bigger picture. Humans of all shapes and sizes, personalities and ages, willing to give it a go, to feel the harmony when the body moves with another body in time to music. To know that we are all in the same boat and on the same dance floor, getting it wrong, making a mess and having another go.
In Chinese medicine this distance from emotions is really being in the heart energy. Sometimes its easier to be in that heart space, to feel joy and expansion when we are alone. Walking in nature, at the top of a mountain or drinking tea in the sunshine. There’s no one else to knock us off our cloud, to trigger feelings of inadequacy, anger, or shame. But to be living often means we have to interact with others and can be buffeted by their actions. If we don’t take them personally, leaving a space between oneself and the emotions that other people evoke in us, its much easier to see a bigger picture and even feel elation and joy to see the bigger picture, which is that life is fragile & beautiful; full of joy and pain, there’s no holding onto one and avoiding the other. Sometimes this is easier said than done. I got unexpectedly dumped this week and so to help my shocked small intestine and my tender heart I made this soup ……… I’m all better now 🙂
Black Fungus Soup
- 2 tbsp dried wood ear mushrooms
- 4 Chinese red dates or 1 tablespoon of goji berries
- ½ inch of ginger
- 2 carrots
- 1 litre water
- 3 scallions
- 1 red pepper
- 1 small chilli
- small bunch of coriander
- 2 tsp light soy sauce
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 3 tsp rice vinegar
- 1-2 large tsp miso
- Juice of 1 lime
Black wood ear fungus has the ability to thin the blood by dissolving platelets. This helps to lower blood pressure thereby helping the heart to circulate blood. It’s used for its texture rather than favour and I recommend the already shredded variety as the uncut variety (shown in the photo) can grow when rehydrated, to frighteningly inedible sizes. Chinese Red Dates and Goji berries are packed full of vitamin C which as we know is great for the immune system but often overlooked is its ability to repair the body. Delicate blood vessels can become damaged as plaque build ups cause small tears as they pull way from the arteries, becoming dislodged by flowing blood.
Firstly drop the fungus, red dates, goji berries and ginger into the water, bring to the boil, then simmer with a tight fitting lid for one hour. Then add thinly sliced carrots, red pepper, scallions and chilli and let them soften for a five minutes while you take a cup of liquor from the soup and dissolve the miso into it . Add the dissolved miso back into the soup with the soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, chopped coriander and lime, taking care not to over cook the miso as this will kill the delicate pro bacteria so good for your large intestine within the fermented miso. The sour flavour from the lime will help liver function and assist the heart further by detoxing and cleaning the blood. All round, a great soup for a wobbly heart.