Sunday, September 18, 2011

Ooooooh! Look at the Shiny Object!

Look at this shiny thing over there, so you don’t notice this other thing over here!

That works with our small children, significant others, bosses, and sometimes, even ourselves.

It works in dance, too.

I was nursing an inflamed Achilles tendon.  So, I was not able to leap using my right foot.  (I hate that.) Because the teacher is in front of the class, everyone (consciously and unconsciously) agrees that the teacher is the leader.  If I am less energetic, it can spread to the class.  Since there is that give and take in dance class, I don’t like to slow it down; not only for the clients, but for me, too.

When I am supposed to leap using my right foot, I find something to substitute for the fact that I cannot leap.  Instead of focusing on what’s wrong (sore tendon), I focus on what’s right.

When I “faux” leap I can:

Lift my arms in a different way.
Try to open my chest and shoulders more.
Open my left hip more.
Try (try) to decrease the distance between the back of my head and my left foot.

Doing these things distracts me from not being able to come off the floor but also leads me to new discoveries. It makes me come at the movement from a different perspective and that helps me to find new avenues of creativity within the dance.  And I can continue with these new discoveries even when my tendon has healed.

If you are frustrated by something over which you have no control, you can try to focus on something over which you do have control.  You can try to find the joy somewhere. In finding something that is positive, you can often find new ways of being.  Admittedly, sometimes life throws us devastating blows and we really have to lower the bar to define what, in fact, is the “joy”.  But even “I’m not dead” is a start toward focusing on what’s good.  

So go ahead---look at the shiny object.  It may lead you to an exciting, unexpected destination or even a discovery about yourself.


  1. Beautifully stated, Susie! :) And I'm sure you remember that the art of distraction is one of the techniques used in hypnosis for "pain management." As you so eloquently stated, it also works in everyday life..., AND in dance class! xxoo

  2. Focusing on what we can do rather than on what we can't moves us forward. It's the only way to make progress. As an adult, I had to learn to walk again, but not before I learned to sit up, stand and then take my first step. --Mary Ann