Chapter 3 -------- The Meeting
It was August 11th, 2015, and it was a day like no other because it was the only day every year that was also my birthday. Like any other summer day in Sedona, AZ, it was blistering hot. Occasionally we would be blessed with evening monsoon showers, but temperatures hovered around 100 degrees in the sun. However, I was still greatly enjoying my first summer in Sedona.
I had moved about four months prior from Tucson, Arizona, which is about 3.5 hours south of Sedona. The State Capital, Phoenix, our largest city, was directly in the middle. Thankfully the weather in Sedona is about 10 degrees cooler than Tucson and 20 degrees cooler than Phoenix. After 16 years of unbearable heat, I was thrilled that the thermometer rarely broke 100 degrees. Meaning I could go out hiking and biking to my heart’s content. Throw in an unlimited monthly Yoga pass, and I was in heaven.
Sedona was the perfect place for me and on my birthday. I was starting with yoga and then taking a trip down to the creek. Oak Creek during the summer is the perfect balance of heat and cold. The water kept me refreshed, and the sun kept me jumping in the water all afternoon. I would regularly go up to Grasshopper point because it was a good place to cliff jump 20 feet into deep water. Plus, it was only a couple minutes up Oak Creek Canyon. A canyon full of beautiful swimming holes with incredible views, in my opinion, nothing in Arizona compares.
Now I did thankfully have the day off from work, meaning I could sit back and enjoy the day. I intended to take myself to dinner that evening. I started a ritual of taking myself to my favorite restaurant on my birthday. Not because no one would come but because I wanted the alone time. Too much partying in my youth would leave me recovering on my birthday. I rather enjoy me time, and what better day to do me, than on my birthday?
This birthday was going to be no different, and I was going to be taking myself to dinner at the local Vegan Eatery, Chocola Tree. I had heard positive reviews but never had the extra money available. I have never been vegan, but I would consider myself a conscientious eater. It matters how my food is grown. I continue to eat Non-GMO, organic, or more preferably local. I rarely eat processed food, and I try to cook as much of my food as possible.
It was a big treat to take myself out to dinner at a new exciting restaurant. I spent ten years working in restaurants so naturally, food is something I particularly enjoy. Trying new amazing cuisine is always an adventure for me. That dinner began an undertaking that I could never have foreseen.
It was a cute restaurant with tons of plants and greenery. The inside had walls covered in art and superfoods. The menu was full of tonics, teas, and an array of healthy elixirs. I had never seen such an extensive menu full of vegan food substitutes. There was cheese, burgers, and even vegan nachos. I decided to go with the mushroom Fantasy because I’ve always loved good fungi. With my delicious Pu-erh hot tea to accompany me, I was settling in for some fun people watching.
It was about ten minutes after taking a seat that I spotted a few women just wandering around the restaurant. One of them was walking around with a baby, and the other two were being incredibly social. The baby was not interested in the action because she wouldn’t stop staring and smiling at me. The inner child in me exchanged smiles, waves, and some funny faces. It was at this time, a friend of the baby’s mother approached from the back of the restaurant.
She was a beautiful, confident, and stunning woman. I noticed her from before, but she noticed me this time. There was almost an instant connection. She approached me without hesitation. Her self-possession was unrivaled, and her beauty breathtaking. It wasn’t very long before she had a seat and joined me for what would be the rest of my meal. She introduced herself but I sadly, at the time didn’t register her name, as I so often don’t. I have never been the best at remembering names right when I meet people, I’ve gotten better, but it still happens. This new stranger was probably one of the most interesting people that I had yet to come across in Sedona.
I think what made her so appealing is that we could talk about anything. I'm rarely able to open up and discuss serious topics with such openness. My views on society greatly differ from the mainstream view of worldly things. Well, this incredible woman was someone after my own heart. The friendship was immediate, but she remained so elusive to me. I couldn’t read her the way that I could most people; there was something else about her that I couldn’t place my finger. Either way, I was overjoyed to be having such an incredible random experience on my birthday.
I remember one of the first things she decided to do after hearing it was my birthday. She had me pull out my phone, not to get my number. Instead, she wanted to read my star chart. Little did I know that she was probably one of the most adept readers of star charts I have ever encountered, and I used to sell my art at psychic fairs. As she quickly looked over the chart, she was completely thrilled at what she discovered. While I wish I were a little more adept at what everything means, I do have a basic understanding of certain influences the planets have on us. However, I am most familiar with the planet retrogrades.
Anyone familiar with something called Mercury Retrograde has likely noticed the effects. Mercury retrograde is a three-week period where Mercury appears to start moving in the opposite direction in the sky. This phenomenon happens several times a year, causing many to experience something I have personally experienced many times. It is as if all the lessons from the past several months seems to resurface at the same time. It is recommended to proceed with caution during these times.
When I learn it is Mercury Retrograde, I heed the warnings. Many spiritual teachers offer advice about how to navigate life during retrogrades. My experience has taught me that many past issues are brought up spectacularly, only to test our current emotional reactions. In my opinion, the stars and planets affect our lives in ways that few people understand or even try to comprehend. I had previous star chart readings, most significantly a reading saying my ideal partner would be a water sign. My new friend and dining companion just happened to be a water sign.
Well, as she read my birth chart, she proceeded to tell me much of what I already knew about myself. I was a strong fire sign, and had many planets in the house of Leo, including the sun. I displayed the characteristics Leo’s have, intelligence, warmth, and courage. Leo’s also battle with arrogance, pride, and struggle to listen. It wasn’t so much the Leo information that caught my attention, but it was the fact that she started saying that our other planets lined up with one another. My Venus was in an auspicious place on her chart, and my moon was in her mid-heaven. Honestly, even knowing that and writing it, I still barely understand what it means.
I have since discovered that studies on the subject have shown that most lasting married couples have favorable star charts. It is uncommon that two people with unfavorable star charts end up together, and if so, show higher divorce rates. (The Astrology File” by Gunter Sachs)
So now that we knew the stars were aligned, I guess getting to know each other was the next step. We started talking and talking and talking. I sat there across from her feeling the connection that we had. I am far from the person to make the first move and was just so blown away at how smart and insightful this person was. She was as smart if not smarter than me, which I loved. Her sense of humor was light and sweet. Although she also had this stoic presence that made her elusive to me. I honestly didn’t know what to think, and I just kept talking with her. We talked until they kicked us out of the restaurant.
I offered to give her a ride home, which she explained was less than half a mile up the street. I walked her to the door and gave her a big hug goodnight. The energy between us was so powerful, but neither of us dared to make the next move. It was perfect just how it had happened. As I started my car, it began to rain, the drops hitting my windshield as I backed out of the driveway. She stood in pristine beauty at her doorway as I waved goodbye. It was now sprinkling as I drove away from this mysterious woman who had unknowingly stolen my heart. She was all I could think about that night and the next day. Although I didn’t have her name, I saved her number in my phone as “Beautiful.”
I was fascinated and couldn’t believe how lucky I was to receive such a special Birthday Present. I felt terrible that I hadn’t caught her name or remembered it, but it didn’t stop me from thinking about her. She had truly captured my eye that night. We both knew there was something special, but I didn’t make a move, and neither did she. It just wasn’t meant to happen yet, but I wasn’t going to let that stop me.
The next day came around like any other, up early and off to yoga. The one difference being I couldn’t get this amazing woman off my mind. It made me feel again like a little boy at Christmas. My inner child was running wild, and I wanted to see her again. As I was driving to the store that day, I coincidentally drove past her friends from the previous night. I texted her right after I saw them because it just felt like a sign. After a couple of texts back and forth, I straight up called her. Thankfully she mentioned her name early in the conversation, and I never forgot it after that, it was Danielle Claire. So beautiful and so elegant, it fit her perfectly.
I knew this phone call was special because again, our conversation flowed so easily. Our second evening, we ended up talking on the phone for nearly eight straight hours. We truly talked about everything important in our lives. What made us unique, and what made us stand out from the rest of the world. Much entailed the problems faced by aggressive male egos. Something both of us had very strong opinions and experiences to share.
As a beautiful woman, she was repeatedly a target for the alpha male. All the smooth-talking, conniving, lies, and insidious means that these guys do and say to try and get in women’s pants. This incredible woman told me stories of which I am unable to repeat; she was, after all, 007 dance teacher. Her purity and beauty were only masking her strength and awareness. She could smell out ill intentions like it was a sixth sense. This gift was as much a curse as it left her jaded to the abuses of men. I wanted to understand further, as I was never a victim of repeated abuse.
We talked about it for a while because she had been in one bad relationship after another. These guys would appear as good, honest, and caring individuals but instead were cunning deceivers. These guys are so good at putting on a front that most people don’t see the person they are behind the scenes. Men have become super good at hiding their true selves from women and the public. So much so that I honestly believe that if women knew what their husbands or boyfriends thought or said, they would be hurt, devastated, or at least disappointed. Danielle and I both felt that there was something seriously wrong with the way men behaved, and the conversation deepened.
She told me that night over the phone many additional stories. She would have guys that would promise the world, would put on the face, but when it came down to it, they were horrible people on the inside. They were cold and manipulative. They were secretive and would be people who many times had separate lives. We discussed men having other girlfriends or even wives. The bizarre stories that I have heard are cruel and a bit disheartening.
It was endless abuses that many of these men put Danielle through, and because they put up such a good front, it is impossible to convince other people otherwise. The topic of her many crazy past relationships was a hot issue. I’ve since learned, from her friends, her past boyfriends seemed so nice but were capable of such awful behavior. Throughout her life, men inflicted a large amount of psychological pain. She even explained how much it affected her when her father took his life when she was only ten years old.
We shared experiences that most people wouldn’t share with a practical stranger. We talked about deep topics that have positively and negatively affected who we are as individuals. I was impressed at how much she understood the dark side of the men that are being created by our society. She was impressed that I was willing to stand up to those alpha males because it isn’t easy.
I explained how much being a man whore is celebrated among groups of men. I even found it difficult to speak up against the behavior. So often men are conditioned to be accepted by the alpha male. If we disagree with the alpha male, we often become targets for ridicule. It has personally taken me years to develop the confidence to stand up against some disrespectful behavior, and rarely do I do it in a public setting. However, if I have communicated my feelings about a topic, I have no problem reasserting myself.
Over the 8-hour phone conversation, we also discussed to a great extent, the abuses women commit towards one another. Danielle had repeatedly dealt with attacks while running her dance studio. She was the victim of many different women in the local community, and I had sympathy. Her personal life dealt with men attacking her, but her business life was the exact opposite, the women reigned havoc.
I haven’t personally experienced the cruelty that is committed from one woman to another since I am not a woman. I have, however, been the victim of a woman’s jealous anger. I found it difficult when someone is spreading lies to make you look bad. Some women are even willing to say or do anything to cause your life pain. I even had one willing to turn my friends against me to prove themselves right and feel better about themselves. Some people want to put others down rather than put the time and energy to build themselves up.
Jealousy can be a very powerful emotion when women decide to use it against one another. Danielle expressed this is so many ways, and I think it was women who were the most defamatory. With men, it is usually right in your face with verbal or physical abuse; men are typically more direct. Women, I have found, are far more manipulative and conniving when it comes to getting what they want. It would blow my mind to hear how horrible women would behave.
Danielle said it was something that she has had to deal with more and more over the past decade. When she first moved to Sedona people were far nicer, and she didn’t have to deal with half the headaches that she was dealing with when we met. I think the story that always sticks out in my head is about how a group of women would repeatedly show disrespect during dance practice. Problems that were so bad it made her question teaching dance in Sedona.
She told me there used to be a bench outside the dance studio. However, some mothers couldn’t find the capacity to be quiet during practice. They found their social time to be more important than respecting their children. Danielle eventually removed the bench only to face ridicule from the mothers. The same mothers who couldn’t remain quiet during recitals. Enraging Danielle, by their selfish behavior, only made their situation worse.
Danielle felt it was more important to provide a safe space for her students than to be popular. Danielle even implemented a requirement that all children must stay during the whole recital to prevent disrespectful parents from leaving early and disrupting the show. Yes, Danielle had to deal with parents who repeatedly would leave immediately after their child was finished dancing. No care for anyone else but themselves.
Danielle held the bar highest inside her studio. She wouldn’t tolerate poor behavior from any of her students. She would kick girls out of her dance school if they showed any sign of being rude, or even exhibiting rude looks. She expected all girls to be respectful and supportive of one another. If a girl were hurtful to another, she would have the girls vote to see if the person should receive another chance. She included the girls too.
She wasn’t the teacher who said, “I’m in charge, and you must do everything I say.” She was the one who allowed girls to grow. She would inspire each student through the fundamentals of dance, to evolve into better expressions of individual talent. I would later witness this in action. Danielle let her older and experienced girls have far more freedom. Once the girls gave a conscious demonstration that they had learned structure and form, they were allowed freedom in their expression of dance.
Danielle could control the actions of those under her care, but it was her efforts outside the studio that truly fascinated me. I hadn’t met many women who were outspoken and stood up for other women. These days I keep hearing more and more stories about how one woman went on a personal vendetta against another for ridiculous reasons. Most often it just appears to be one woman undermining another for personal gratification, were putting someone else down seems to make the other person feel better — digging for dirt, spreading false rumors, and a long list of other slights that I still find unbelievable.
I think what made me even more captivated by Danielle was when she told me about the horrible women in Sedona and how they treated her and her friends. Danielle, as I found out, was truly a best friend to everyone she knew. When one of her friends lost her mother, and as a result decided to close her business, Danielle was there for her. Danielle and I both wish that people weren’t so selfish because the backlash that happened for Danielle’s friend was possibly one of the most horrific community reactions that I have ever heard.
Danielle told me that since her friend decided to close the business that many of her clients were less than happy. It was purely selfish. They didn’t care about the situation she faced; they were upset they would have to go somewhere else for services. The reactions were purely self-centered, which is sad that people would respond in such a way. They couldn’t seem to understand why she would close her business, even though she had suddenly and traumatically lost her mother. Many women began to spread horrible rumors because they were unhappy about the outcome. Danielle would have to accompany this friend to the store to protect her from people who would say the most inappropriate comments. Honestly hearing about someone willing to stand up to others because it was the right thing to do was so heartwarming to me. I was falling in love.
Was this the girl I had been looking for all my life? Danielle Elise Claire was by far the most amazing, most intelligent, strongest, and on top of that beautiful woman, inside and out, that I had ever encountered. As we talked more about other topics, I think we both had realized that this was something special. Our conversations deepened, and we talked more about our past. We discussed my rather charmed childhood and her rather rocky childhood. I understood her, and she understood me. She could see that I had been on a journey of growth the past decade, and I could see she was ready to find true love.
I never expected that call to inspire me to change my life. I had my last puff of tobacco after I hung up the phone. Danielle made me want to quit, and that night, I did it cold turkey. I have tried to quit before, but it never seemed to last more than a couple days to a week. To say, cigarette addiction is tough to beat is a huge understatement. While I’ve never been the pack a day smoker, I still usually have two to four cigarettes a day. Still a decade long addiction that I wish I never started.
When I was twenty, I bowed into peer pressure and started dipping chewing tobacco. I struggled with that habit for years until I started growing my tobacco. After three years of chewing tobacco, I switched to smoking the plant instead. I haven’t grown my tobacco in a few years, but I have been trying to quit smoking ever since. Danielle gave me a little more incentive to quit, mostly that she would feel ill if I remained a smoker, she was too sensitive, and it would cause her health problems. I enjoyed my last puff of a cigarette with my roommate that night.
Before we hung up, we had realized that this was going to be something more. We had made plans to make it official the next day; she wanted to set up a picnic for me at a park near her house. She wanted me to find her, and she would tell me when she was ready, where to find her. I waited in anticipation all morning to see her, we had planned on meeting in the early afternoon. At one-thirty, she texted me that she was heading out and that I should leave in thirty minutes. I can’t explain how all the butterflies got in my stomach, but it felt like my stomach could fly away. I hadn’t been that nervous since I was a teenager.
When I made it to the location, I found an eight-foot deep crack in the ground and through the middle was a nice little area to have a little picnic. I spotted Danielle off to the right further down the crack doing a little exploring. Even though I saw her first, I still had to find a way down to her. I quickly searched and found a little walkway that descended into the long deep crevice. I would never have known it was there even though I drove by it several times before. It was private and a perfect spot to meet for the first time. I spotted her just before we locked eyes. I don’t know if it was just me, but I think we both went in for the kiss right away.
The kiss was truly powerful and memorable. Our lips remained locked for twenty seconds before we released. After thirteen hours of talking, we were ready for a little bit of action. The mosquitoes quickly joined our kissing party as very unwelcomed guests. While the mosquitoes weren’t very kind, Danielle truly was. She had some incredible little snacks, all organic, non-GMO, and very delicious set out for us. We didn’t hang out with our biting friends very long, but I can tell you that it was a beautiful first date. It was official; I was going to be spending quite a bit of time with Danielle. We were truly inseparable, from that point on.
Please feel Free to share or re-post this chapter. Stay tuned next Monday for Chapter 4 of Dancing Beyond Cancer If you would like to finish the story NOW you can purchase the full book at...