Flexibility in the sense of “being ready and able to change to adapt to different circumstances.” Of course, the flexibility of mind and spirit that eases our adaptability appears in tangible form in the body: as suppleness, pliability, pliancy. The embodied and the intangible versions feed each other. Here, I want to talk about the latter.
One of the most important life lessons I have learned did indeed come from the dance master I have been studying with. Yet, it’s a lesson about the flexibility of mind and spirit that has fundamentally shifted my perspective.
Yesterday, I realized yet again how critical to our vitality a pliable approach is. I am beginning a new performance project and am in the throes of arranging logistics. There are not a lot of dancers involved, nor numerous dates for rehearsing and performing.
Even with only several dancers and a few dates under consideration, there are already a number of conflicts in people’s busy lives. I started to throw my hands in the air, feeling the project slipping away in the tide of competing schedules.
But, wait! Was the course I had set for us the only way to proceed? Of course not.
When I re-focused on how much I want to bring this project to life, I started exploring how else we might work together and came up with an alternate plan that will allow everyone to participate at different times and with different people if we can’t coordinate as originally planned.
Truth be told, I actually prefer the backup arrangement at this point. It will give us more opportunities to work with the ideas and movement…and with varying dancers. Exciting!
As I write this, the words I’ve memorized come back to me: “when one way doesn’t work, another will.” The wisdom of heron spirit animal that is patient, resourceful, tenacious.
My dance mentor/teacher is indeed a master of flexibility. Her main goal is to facilitate inclusion and the maximum amount of fierce dancing. She bobs and weaves as needed to achieve those two laudable aspirations. Her sublime physical fluidity feeds and reflects her mental/soulful flexibility and vice versa. A perpetual flow I am aspiring to.
In the meantime, when I encounter rigidity, I just keep asking myself: How can I be flexible here?
Photo credit: Middle-Courtesy of Nikki Carrara © 2016