Sometimes when you are dancing, instead of staying completely with yourself, you can also be too focused on others. It’s good to be aware of others in the class because then you won’t bump into anyone. But sometimes focusing too much on another person can inhibit you. For example, when you really know a song, you want to go for it—you want to leap and try a few turns and get the most out of it. But what can happen is that you hold yourself back because you don’t want anyone to think you’re showing off. The same thing happens in reverse, when you come to class tired after you had a bad night. Sometimes, instead of honoring the feeling that makes you want to just take it easy, you could feel compelled to force yourself to do more than you really want to do. This can happen because you are too worried about what others might think about you. I also see this kind of thinking when a potential client says, “I’ll come to class after I lose 20 pounds.” This client is too focused on others and what (she thinks) they might think rather than what would be good for her body and spirit.
In class, when you really let yourself be in the dance the way you want, you give everyone else permission to do the same. When you become aware of someone really putting all their energy into a dance, or staying at the simplest level, you think to yourself, “If she’s doing that, I can certainly do this!”
It really goes back to the idea that what you do for yourself, you do for everyone else as well. We are all One.
Countless times when I was in school, the teacher would say, “Does everyone understand?” and when I didn’t I would never, ever raise my hand. Then, almost always, there was a person who would verbalize pretty much what I was thinking. And I would relax and think, “I’m not the only one, whew!” When I saw someone else being “brave” (yes, it seemed brave to me), it made me think that maybe I wasn’t so stupid after all and that a question I might ask could actually be useful to me and maybe somebody else, too.
When you allow yourself to be authentic in any situation, you are giving others permission to do the same. You are honoring and nurturing yourself. You are giving a gift to yourself and everyone else.
In this holiday season, practice gifting yourself by expressing your own authenticity.