her steely fluidity respires
as stars stud winter’s cape, trailing
her steely fluidity respires
as stars stud winter’s cape, trailing
That’s what I asked W yesterday when I noticed a lament of hers rear its self-limiting head. And it’s the question I’ve been asking myself repeatedly lately, especially when I feel stuck or frustrated.
For boldness requires daring, courage, leaping out of our comfort zone. As scary as it may be to think and act boldly, it’s just the ticket to take us to new places, to explore the outer ranges of our selves.
Ah, yes. The frontier!
The truth in the famous words (possibly misattributed to Goethe) that “boldness has genius, power and magic in it” was reinforced for me in dance class this week. When dancers were uncertain or otherwise not fully committed to the movement, the result was dance that was weak, small, dull. Empty, somehow.
When those same dancers started executing the movement with more daring, the dancing became fuller, exciting, compelling. The physicality was more sweeping and powerful. The overall energy encompassed a far greater range.
Presto! The dancing came alive.
The magic I witnessed in the dance studio was an embodied manifestation of the alchemy of boldness. Acting with courage and daring transforms who we were into an expanding version of ourselves. Transporting us to realms that are necessarily unfamiliar. Sure, we may feel vulnerable…and also refreshingly vitalized!
So, for you dear Reader, what would bold look like?
Middle photo courtesy of Nikki Carrara © 2016
let me be
(In response to the reblogged original below)
Getting up today after not just one doozy of a nightmare, but two, I was dragging around like a wet dish rag. Still a bit shaken and, for sure, drained.
Food, caffeine and some deep breaths of fresh air helped a bit. Yet, none of them really tuned me in to the morning. Just as I was wondering if there were nothing I could do to revivify and really be present for this new day, a fave tune came on the sound system and without thinking, I shot up from the table and started to dance.
Yes! How could I have forgotten?
For when we dance, we ground ourselves in the present and move energy through us. We remind our bodies of all the wonders that they are and do…and they remind us of the same. We fire neural and mental pathways that may have been neglected and become flaccid…
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“One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.”~André Gide
So, we hinge over from our waists, turning on one deeply bent leg, and spiral our torsos fully around as if chasing that trailing leg. While keeping our focus on our trailing foot.
We worked on this turn yesterday in dance class as part of a long phrase that strung together numerous challenging moments. The dance photos here only partially reflect the movement, but at least give an idea.
As I practiced the phrase and watched my comrades do the same, I thought about how I have attempted this movement many times and yet still find it very hard to perform well.
Sure, some of it is due to the complexity of the movement. But I realized how much of the difficulty stemmed from the fact that the movement is unfamiliar. Being upside down, twisted, turning on one leg, and fixing our gaze over our shoulders while spinning is not something we do often in everyday life.
What struck me especially forcefully was how much we continued to resist dropping and turning our heads or hingeing over or bending our standing legs as fully as we could. We were still holding on to the familiar in one or more ways. I.e. upright, symmetrical in the torso, focus level, legs straight.
Not surprisingly, the more I released into the new territory of movement, the more organic and fluid the movement became…and the more exciting and fun! I discovered physical range I hadn’t appreciated before.
Synchronistically, as I chewed on this post, I looked out on the tempest-tossed marsh and spotted three deer bolting from the land and into the flooded expanse. First, they ran and leapt, and then must have dropped unexpectedly into a deep rivulet. Suddenly, and seamlessly, they transitioned into swimming.
By leaving the narrow peninsula and swiftly adapting to the unknown conditions, they successfully traversed the waters. They gained a broader expanse of land and headed off to more possibility for food and shelter.
The lesson for me, again, always: The more facility we develop in opening to fresh ways of being, the more possibility and vitality we cultivate. And the more fun we can relish along the way :).
Top photo courtesy of Nikki Carrara © 2016
Yes! Dance can cure many ills, express joys and excitements, and carry us to transcendence. As I say below: “…if you are ever feeling blue or powerless or angry or baffled or euphoric or anywhere in between, maybe try a little dance. It has saved my life…maybe it can brighten or diversify or energize or, yes, even save, yours.”
Sounds dramatic, right? Yet, I realized once again last week that the seeming hyperbole is actually spot on in so many ways.
I had been sitting alone in my kitchen, crying. Feeling powerless to help my husband who was in the hospital for a tricky operation. I was anxious, sad, alone and angry; my hands of support, empty.
Hang on. Was there really nothing I could do?
Suddenly, through the dark emotional miasma flashed the inspiration that has saved me time after time when I have traveled the bleak landscapes of grief, depression, loneliness, frustration, loss…and, of course, also those of jubilation, hope, compassion, transcendence.
DANCE. Get up and DANCE!
So, I put on some of my husband’s fave tunes (anthemic Stevie Wonder) and rocked out. Sending energy to my husband, the doctors, everyone in that hospital, and the universe.
Yeah, baby. DANCE! It felt SOOOOOO good.
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One of my adult kiddos just conceived of and single-handedly spearheaded the planning, funding and implementation for an event to enrich the imaginations and lives of 100 young students from an underserved area nearby. Students she doesn’t know and probably will never know.
After pouncing on the opportunity to be generous, she then had second thoughts as the crowdfunding campaign took a few hours to ignite. But she needn’t have worried.
Because as we witness time and again, many, many people when faced with the chance to be generous, to be compassionate, choose that luminous path. Faced with whether to act with expansiveness and heart, they so often opt for that route… and not for the one that will cost them less in time, effort, thought, money.
What we also know is that generosity and compassion spark more of the same. By acting with big-heartedness, my daughter struck a chord with people near and far. Some who are people she knows well and and many who are mere acquaintances and even strangers. All pitching in to benefit kids they also do not know and will never meet.
Her recent quest reminds me that we always act in a void of certainty about what our actions will inspire. Yet if they are kind, we can expect that somewhere, somehow, they will fuel more of the same.
Art credit/calligraphy: @scriptfancy