I have hips. If I sound shocked it’s because I’d forgotten (again). But this morning after taking my first Zumba! class, I marvelled at how foreign the sensation was to move my hips as they were meant to move – from side to side.

I’ve had this experience before, forgetting my hips. I remember taking belly dancing for the first time when I was 10 months pregnant with my first son and then again when I was pregnant with my second son. I liked the way the baby moved in response to my own movement and I liked how sensual and powerfully feminine it made me feel – even despite the newness of the dance to me. I remember the instructor speaking about the roots of belly dance being about birthing and how it is a celebration and an expression of women’s power. Of women’s stories. Of women’s wisdom. Most of all, I remember being in labor with my sons and moving my hips in a figure eight for hour after hour as I brought new life into the world. I can’t think of another time I felt more powerfully feminine.
And yet this way of being seemed to be the exception in my life.
Growing up in my tribe of white women, I learned to find my way in a world that values predominately the masculine. I let myself lose my connection to my hips. I became a runner and often joked that “I didn’t have hips” because how my body was shaped, lean with a wide waist and narrow hips. I entered corporate america and learned to walk tall and straight, not a sashay or wiggle in sight.
As I think of it now, it makes me sad. Don’t get me wrong, I love my masculine side – the part of me that stands firm like a mountain and moves directly in a line, swift and efficient. But that is only half of me and, truth be told, takes a fair amount of energy and consciousness. By denying or discounting the feminine in me, I had made a part of myself invisible – sawing off part of who I am without much thought. How terrifying how that happens. And it seems I’m not alone.
Last week, twenty-two women came together at my winter Tribal Gathering to talk about sensuality and power in women. We remembered our hips – indivdually and collectively – and honored their desire to move from side to side as something that is destinctly feminine. And powerful. We talked about connection between spirituality, sensuality and power in women and acknowledged how this feminine way of being in the world – being with the world – will heal us.
So let’s move our hips again. It’s time. When you have a free moment today, put your finger tips to your hip bones. Literally connect with them. And listen to what they have to say. Watch as start to move with ease from side to side as you walk. Give them a little shake or shimmy and celebrate how this ancient instinct still lives within you.