How to Dance Through Life

We've spent a lot of time talking about ways to develop a sustainable dance career.  We've touched on auditioning, networking, paying taxes, finding work, work ethic and much, much more.  We've even talked about building patience and perseverance while waiting for our careers to take shape.

So, it's very clear that we know how to go about dancing professionally.

But how do we dance through life?  

How do we sustain our peace, purpose, and joy for the long haul?  How do we push past mistakes?  How do we overcome failures and disappointments to thrive once again?

All of those steps are apart of the dance of life my friend.

While I find it important that each of us be equipped to dance professionally if we so desire, I find it vital that we learn to dance through life.

So, today I want to teach us the steps. 

The first step of dancing through life is to learn to be present in the moment.  Think about it, all we have is this moment.  The past is no longer and tomorrow isn't promised, so all we have is today.

Being present calls each of us to be fully aware of where we are and what we're doing at any given time.  We're to have our mind, body, and spirit all focused on the moment at hand and nothing else.

The key to achieving this is to intentionally bring our focus to the task before us.  For instance, if we're washing dishes, being present means that all of our focus and energy is present as we wash and dry each dish.  We're not just going through the motions while thinking about everything else on our "To Do" list.  We're just there, giving our full attention to the dishes.

And so, dancing through life asks for the same focused attention.  Whatever season in which we find ourselves, we're to fully be there, not regretting the past or worrying about the future.  We're to be open and fully present for every moment in our lives.

The second step to dancing through life is to take risks.  We're not designed to get complacent and stay in the same place for our entire lives.  Each of us is designed to grow and evolve into the best possible version of ourselves.

Taking risks means being courageous enough to step outside our comfort zones into unchartered territories.  It means facing uncertainty to do something we may have never done before.  It means following our hearts even when those closest to us don't understand.

When we take risks, we're betting in favor of the person we were created to be.  Even if we fall short a time or two, stepping out on faith to take risks gets us closer to our destiny than we think.

Which brings me to our third step.  Please know that each of us will face setbacks in our lives, and when we do, it is extremely important to get back up again and keep going. 

Failing doesn't matter.  It's what we do after the failure that matters.

This principle is one of the key values in my teaching philosophy.  In every movement class I teach, from day one, I stress the importance of learning to recover quickly and seemlessly.  One of my famous call and response mantra's sounds like this:

  • Me: "What do you do if you mess up?
  • Students: "Keep going."
  • Me: "What do you do if you forget everything?"
  • Students: "Just be strong and wrong, but keep going."

And so it is in life as well.  When we make a mistake, no matter how large or small, we're to keep moving towards our goals.  When we find ourselves lost, stuck in a rut, in a crisis, or in any other circumstance that life will throw our way, we're to keep going.  

We just need to put one foot in front of the other, and trust that we'll find our way.

Our final step is my favorite one.  To dance through life, we must follow the rhythms, and make up the steps as we go.  

Everything in life has a rhythm.  Inanimate objects, animals, people, circumstances, and even life itself has a rhythm.  Simply put, rhythms are the natural ebbs and flows of a thing.  For instance, the way grain curves through a wood table is that table's rhythm.  The fill, wash, rinse, spin of a washing machine is that machine's rhythm, and the ups, down, plateaus, and everything in between is the rhthym of each of our lives.

To dance fully through life, we've got to acknowledge these rhythms and make up the steps as we go.  It's just like learning to freestyle.  While some people can naturally move to a beat without any guidance, many people are terrified of doing their own thing for fear that it'll be wrong or not good enough.

Well, I'm here to tell you, that you are good enough.  In fact, you're more than that. YOU ARE ENOUGH.

Just as I tell my students when I'm teaching them how to become more comfortable with free-styling, it's not about what you do, it's about how you do it.  Just acknowledge the music, and let your body do the rest.

So when life throws us curve balls, we too must acknowledge the rhythm and trust ourselves to figure out the rest. 

All in all, the steps to dancing through life aren't complicated.  Even if we miss a step from time to time, life works in such a way that we'll always get more chances to try again.

If we can stay present in the moment, take risks, recover after we fall, and keep moving through whatever rhythms life presents us, then we'll be dancing better than any professional ever could.

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