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Greetings from the Shamsiverse, September 22, 2017

I’ve always loved the way rose leaves hold rain drops.

Greetings Fellow Space Traveler!

Happy World Rhinoceros Day <3 (I didn’t realize it was until my friend Christa posted this morning. Thanks Christa) –

I’ve watched a baby rhino over her first few weeks of life, joyously dancing around her mother, only to watch her circle frenetically around the body of her mother four months later. I’ve tracked rhino for kilometers, following their footsteps, their scent, the branches neatly bitten off. I’ve been charged both in a vehicle and on foot, gaining a great deal of respect for their size and power. I’ve watched them investigate a go pro, and been stunned by the resulting footage, both comical and beautiful as it is. I have taken a whole lot of incredibly good rhino photos, as I’ve been lucky enough to spend time up close with them this past year. What I want to share with you on World Rhino Day, though, is this. The map of their skin. The grooves and folds are mesmerizing, the feel of it tender but incredibly tough and so flexible. And warm. Their ears are fuzzy inside, their feet feel like the softest leather baby shoes. I hope that generations to come will be able to watch and learn and track and touch these magnificent creatures. It’s going to take so many of us working together to make that happen. Here in Zululand and across Southern Africa, there are phenomenal people and organizations working hard to ensure that the rhinos stay with us. I hope you’ll help in any way you can. #worldrhinoday #conservationawareness #zululandrhinoreserve #stoprhinopoaching #southafrica

A post shared by Christa Gallopoulos (@christacreates) on

Rhinos are a big deal in my world.

Growing up, I was always hyper-aware of my Dad’s ‘shrine’ of small rhinoceros carvings. Most of them fairly small – less than an inch or two long. I think the largest is maybe 8 or 9 inches and carved of wood. Some were stone, there is an ebony one, but I think most are wooden.

Regardless, the collection held my attention. It radiated power – love, strength, beauty. Love.

Later I would learn that my Dad’s highschool nickname was “Rhino” and had everything to do with what a tough MF he was. All of the rhinos had been given him over time to create a centerpiece that acted as an anchor in our home. I mean, I never considered that’s what it was at the time, but in retrospect, yes exactly what it was.

“Rhino” One of my first paintings (a 24″ x 54″ triptych) I created with my Dad specifically in mind. The base layer is nothing but words (unseen, but present) that describe how Rhino acts as a Teacher and Messenger in my Life.


Rhinos are a big deal in my Life.

For me, Rhino is about armor. It’s that armor that both protects – but also separates. It’s about those ‘horns’ (keratin) – extending from the forehead – the third eye, and then again from above the nose. Both speaking to this idea of heightened intuition, and that intuition being a natural extension of the physical body. Rhinos are about understanding power (from within), and energy (mostly energy conservation), and simply being aware.

When I work with animals as Spirit Guides, I make myself as open and blank as possible. I do my best to empty myself of expectations, literally envisioning myself as a giant piece of blank fly paper. Yes. Sometimes my visions are weird.

(I mention this because I also try not to be ‘rote’ or allow all of my information/knowledge about specific animals to come from books or even other people. I believe completely that we each have our own connection to Source (God, Jehovah, Allah, Great Spirit, The Universe) and because we are all individuals, sometimes Source will give us messages in ways that only our brains can understand. Conversely, maybe we need to receive a message in a particular way (that no one else could possibly know) …and Source gets that. Cool, no?)

Again, when I work with Animal Medicine, I open myself to what I need to hear at that moment in time. More often than not, if it’s an Animal I’ve worked with before, the message may be the same, or similar, but maybe the Animal presents a different aspect?

That’s why the ‘open’ and ‘blank’ part. I think it probably has a lot to do with me not being the same person from day to day – growing, learning, forgetting, stress levels, toxicity levels …right?

So today – when Rhinoceros entered …I knew immediately It came here to tell me to let the armor down. Because I’m safe. Because I’m distancing myself from people. Because I need to conserve my energy. ….but this is different – I have a crystal clear vision of just the Rhino’s mouth, grazing.

My vision is honed in on this pointy muzzle, grazing over grass – even just passing over some grass. I get the deep gut feeling this has something to do with being discerning about my eating, but I’ll need to sit with it longer to find out.

The armor – well, that’s an old problem. And definitely has to do with being ‘tough’ and independent.

Tuesday during a meditation I made a promise to The Lady that I would go and sit with Her at the Lady of Guadalupe’s Grotto over at St. Jude’s. This is a big deal for me as well. It’s me working on softening. It’s not about wearing pink (although, that has been helping), it’s not about being ‘nice’ – but being kind, it is strangely enough also about having solid boundaries …because being soft is easier if I don’t freak out because I let someone step on me. True story. Wow. So much.

Well, it’s been a difficult week of people we loved (both unexpectedly and with the relief of long suffering) cross over from the physical. It felt far too easy to turn in and retreat from sensation and comfort. But I knew that I needed to at least let people know how I was feeling, even if I didn’t tell them the exact nature of my pain. If I hadn’t told people that I was feeling tender and out of sorts – I would have acted out when they interacted with me, and it wouldn’t have been anything that they did, other than not treating me with the kind of space and tenderness I was needing.


So yeah – armor. Boundaries.

Stay soft …and know that I’m safe.

Simple, no?


Happy Freyja’sDay World! Dance with me!!!!

Until next time, I hope you get to spend time with people you love doing stuff that fills you up and brings you joy!

~Shamsi, Charlie, Me

Happy Freyja’sDay World!


I get to be part of what already feels like an epic performance, Saturday, October 7th. I’m more excited about this show than I’ve been about anything I’ve done in more than several years. Tickets are available through eventbrite, the picture links there. If you’re in the area, or plan to be two Saturdays from now – this will be an event worth making time to see.

The Ghostly Cotillion is a one-of-a-kind Theater performance with local and international dancers. October 7, 2017


For the foreseeable future, my Shamsi-schedule over at Crescent Lotus is:

Sat – PoundFitness® 9AM
Tue – PoundFitness® 6PM followed by Anatomy of Bellydance (A.o.B.) @ 7:15PM
Wed – PoundFitness® 6PM <—-NEW DAY & TIME!!!!
Thu – PoundFitness® 5:30PM
Fri – PoundFitness® 9:30AM <—NEW TIME!!! We’re now an hour later on Friday Mornings!


Week of September 22, 2017