Sunday, April 29, 2012

In Sync

In a dance class, once the class starts moving, people are not only moving in sync -- they start to breathe and vocalize in synchrony.  It’s like the phenomenon when you place two metronomes in a room clicking at different speeds.  In a while, they will sync up and click in the same rhythm.  That happens with people, too.  Women who live in close proximity start to have their monthly cycles in the same rhythm.  Sometimes I look around the class and many people are wearing the same color.  If I had art-directed the class, I wouldn’t have been able to do it better.  That could be a coincidence.  Maybe not.

We all become more “one” when we are dancing together.  It’s just a fact of vibration on planet Earth.

Sometimes it happens that a dance class is crowded.  Some people are okay with this and others are not.   People tend to have their own spots where they like to dance.  When the class gets crowded, clients can sometimes start to get fearful that there won’t be enough room for them to enjoy the experience.

Well, it’s understandable!  Dance is precious to us and we don’t want to miss a moment!

However, if everyone would let go of the fear and embrace the love (the dance) and realize that everyone is there for (more or less) similar reasons, everyone would feel they have enough room.   Because of the synchrony, if you let go of being afraid of someone encroaching on your space, you will have more room to move.  That seems paradoxical, but if everyone relaxes, synchrony will happen with personal space on the dance floor, too.

This reminds me of times when I really felt I was RIGHT, in some dispute or other.  And I was going to hold onto that because it felt so good to be RIGHT. And even better for the other person to be WRONG -- (not something I’m used to). 

But holding on to my RIGHTNESS like grim death, really was that—grim death.  It didn’t get me anywhere I wanted to be.  It’s like that old saying, “Would you rather be right or would you rather be happy?” 

It’s the same with holding on too tight to your dance space, your opinion, or your RIGHTNESS; rigidity gets you nowhere you really want to be.  It is based on fear.

When we soften and allow flexibility, when we can make room for someone else, it is based on love.

 In that place, we can breathe better and -- more importantly -- dance happier.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Cracking the Code

I’ve had a lot of music that I love “in the queue” for years that I just can’t use as the basis of a dance routine.  There are some codes I just can’t crack.  Even if I keep trying and come up with something, I usually don’t like it.  I’m trying to make something out of nothing.  For me, anyway, some songs remain unusable, no matter how much I love them.

Recently, a dear friend of mine who is trying to take care of an elderly parent went through a process that I recognized because it was so similar to my own.

My friend’s dad was always, and remains (duh) very difficult.  Somehow we always feel that if we try one more thing — a new doctor, a new medication, a new place to live – the people we love might finally “get it” and change.  My friend acquiesced to every request.  He really knocked himself out.  We were trying to say to him, “Stop!  Your dad is not going to be any different, no matter what you do!”  But he just kept thinking, “Okay, this will be the last thing.”  “No.  Okay, this will be the last thing.”  Then he hit the wall.

This is so similar to when people kept pointing out to me that I was an enabler.  I had to do what I had to do until I realized that there was no filling an empty bucket with a hole in it.  I couldn’t fix my “bucket” and neither could my friend.

He and I had to finally let go.  We both had to understand that there are some codes that just can’t be cracked.  There are people who can’t change, no matter how much we think we can love them into it. 

In this case, letting go doesn’t mean not loving.  It means accepting and loving anyway.

You can love the song and not be able to dance to it the way you want to.

But you still love the song.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

You Know

Any time you are moving to music, to a beat, to a rhythm in your own head, you are dancing. Don’t ever let anyone tell you what dance is.  You know.  You can try and try to BE a dancer, and find that it somehow eludes you, so you are never “there.”  In fact, chasing something, by definition, means that it is running away from you.  But if you decide that you are a dancer right now, every time you dance, you are a dancer getting better and more proficient. 

You already are what you seek to be.  You just didn’t know it.

One of my favorite movies is Galaxy Quest. It’s about washed up television actors who were in a cult series (like Star Trek).  Alien beings had seen transmissions of the show and thought it was real.  As the plot unfolds, the aliens ask the actors for help in another galaxy, and the actors, because they “act as if” they are heroes, become heroes.  They already were the parts that they were acting, they just didn’t know it.  They didn’t have to pursue heroism; it was there inside them waiting to be uncovered.  

In the book, Dying to Be Me, Anita Moorjani, talks a lot about “allowing.”  This is the idea that we already are everything we want to be, because the tapestry of life has already been woven.  (We move through time; time doesn’t move through us -- just as quantum physics has shown.)  Since everything is already, we don’t have to search or seek, we only have to allow.  And allowing is about just being.  Being the truth of who you are and trusting that.  No one else can tell you what course you’re supposed to be on, who you’re supposed to be, or what you’re supposed to do. 

I spent a large part of my life being what others thought I should be.  I didn’t trust myself.  I figured these others must know something I didn’t.  They seemed so sure.  So I thought I’d better listen.  Well, although they had the best intentions, they were still wrong. 

Trust that you know, in the deepest part of yourself, who you are. 

You already are who you seek to be; you (maybe) just don’t know it yet. 

So instead of doing, we can decide to be.  Instead of believing, we can know.    Instead of seeking, we can allow.

The path begins and ends right where you are.  

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Giving = Getting

Sometimes I’ll walk into a class I’m about to teach, and I get nervous.  Maybe it’s because I’m trying something new; maybe there are a lot of new people.  (There is always that push-pull of wanting to slow down for new clients, yet make the class challenging enough for the regulars.)   When I say to the class, “It doesn’t matter what it looks like, only what it feels like,” I’m saying that to myself as well.    I find that if I can relieve someone else’s nerves, I‘ve made myself feel calmer, too.

It seems like I am always exhorting people to be easier on and more loving to themselves, yet I am so hard on myself sometimes.  When I look at that self-flagellating behavior in myself, I really understand that we all teach what we need to learn.

The reality is, if I can’t be nice to myself, my “niceness” to others is suspect.  There were times in my life when I desperately wanted someone to “see” me.  But that’s impossible if I can’t find anything in myself that’s worth seeing.

I used to think that if I could find someone to love me unconditionally, then I would be healed.  But the truth is that in order to heal that wound, I had to love someone else unconditionally.  Only by giving it away could I receive it. You can’t give away what you don’t have, so it must have been there inside me, waiting to be uncovered.

You teach what you need to learn and you give what you need to get.  It allows you to be in your power rather than giving your power away.  We are all connected.  We are all dancing the same dance.  What you do for you, you do for everyone else, too.

Love yourself.

It’s the first thing you need to do.

Sunday, April 1, 2012


I really like repetition.  It comforts me.  I love to dance to songs over and over again.  If I love it, I really love it and want to do it over and over.  The more you know choreography, the more energy and expression you can put into it, the more present in the moment you can be, the more you sweat, the more endorphins are released, and on and on.  I read books I love over and over. I have a very high “reprise threshold. “  I’m embarrassed to admit how many times I’ve read Pride and Prejudice.  It’s like I’m a child sucking my thumb; it just makes me feel better. 

I guess repetitive behavior is okay on the level of dance and reading books and watching movies; I repeat these things because I love them.  But I found that in loving a person with a big problem, repetition is not at all comforting; not for me or the person in question.  In fact, in this situation, my repetitive behavior (enabling) was based on fear.  Fear of not being loved; fear of not being a nice person; fear that I’m just not good enough (that’s a new one).

So I was guilty of being an enabler.  It was my pattern and I couldn’t diverge from it. I derived comfort from doing the same thing; even though doing the same thing (clearly) was not helping.  I thought, “I’ll just do this or that one more time” because I couldn’t stand the anxiety of not doing it.  It became an addiction.  Only enabling stopped me from “jonesing.”   

But there comes a time when, as with all of the enabled, the stakes keep getting raised (with your “help”) and the situation becomes unbearable. In therapy, I realized that my behavior, though on the surface seemed “kind,” was really anything but kind.  My enabling helped the person stay in a bad situation.  My “kind” behavior was really about me feeling like a “good” person. It was anything but helpful to the person I loved.  It’s like being Neville Chamberlain.  “Go ahead, take Poland.  Then all the bad stuff will stop, right?” 

I had to practice stopping that behavior.  It was hard.  But I learned that repetition based on love is one thing; repetitive behavior can be disguised as “love,” but is often fear.  Fear is being attached to the outcome, as though I had any control over that once events were put in motion.  I could only control me.  So every time I was faced with another opportunity to “rescue,” I could ask myself whether what I wanted to do was based on fear or love. 

Love is when you allow another person to make his or her own life.  Love is when you trust your loved one to find what’s real and true within.  Love is when you are connected and not attached.

So now I repeat: “Is it love?”

“Is it love?”