Passion: Jet Pack

I started to write about the amazing fuel that passion constitutes, inspired both by  a movie we just watched and my recent dance experience. I realized that there at least two posts in all of this.

When I moseyed through my archives to avoid repetition, I found this post from two years ago.  It says, with a few tweaks, what I’d still like to convey:

It’s 12:30 a.m. and I’m completely revved. Even though my intense, rockin’ dance class with powerhouse teacher K ended five hours ago. Even though my body is completely exhausted, wrung out.

I’m still jazzed despite the fact that since class roared to a finish, I’ve driven the long ride home, eaten dinner, done a couple of loads of laundry, taken a jacuzzi, talked with family members near and far, and written another post. Sleep, anyone?

Photo credit: Essennelle Studios

Photo credit: Essennelle Studios


The funny thing is I almost didn’t go tonight. Feared I didn’t have the energy. Just as I’ve hesitated, second-guessed, wrestled and negotiated with myself on so many days when I’ve planned to dance.

Don’t get me wrong: I LOVE dancing. It just takes so much to keep it up–the energy, the kinesthetic capacity, the long drives alone, the mental preparation. And then there’s the old self-sabotage….

But, I did make the 60- minute, rush hour trek. And surprise, surprise. Although I’d bargained with myself that I’d just to do things halfway, maybe sit out and watch, I actually went full throttle. Drenched in sweat, gut-busted, breathless.


Photo credit: Joe Sills

What would have seemed an utter impossibility before class became the inescapable conclusion: my lifelong passion for dancing took over and fueled the whole flight–with a major assist by the dynamo of a teacher and the other beautiful dancers. Amazing.

Same story at last night’s rehearsal and last week’s faraway classes…. You think you don’t have the energy for even 10 minutes of all out dancing. But, baby, you turn the music on, get the body moving, and you’re entranced. You have more energy than you’ve had all day. You’re riding high.


I’ve been calling it passion or enchantment. Then when I started reading the masterwork, “FLOW,” a few weeks ago, I found another spot-on description of these luminous moments. The brilliant researcher and writer Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls them “flow” or optimal experience.

When I read this vivid passage from the book, I recognized the familiar shimmery experience I have when dancing, bodysurfing, sailing, cooking, writing.  The endeavor could be anything, but the

“…’optimal experience’…is what the sailor holding a tight course feels when the wind whips through her hair, when the boat lunges through the waves like a colt–sails, hull, wind and sea humming a harmony that vibrates in the sailor’s veins. It is what a painter feels when the colors on the canvas begin to set up a magnetic tension with each other, and a new ‘thing,’ a living form, takes shape in front of the astonished creator….

Contrary to what we usually believe, moments like these, the best moments in our lives, are not the passive, receptive, relaxing times…The best moments usually occur when a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile….”

Right on.

Csikszentmihalyi articulates perfectly what happened for me tonight. Of course, there was the euphoria and the meditative falling away of everything else except the dancing. But also, the enormous challenge and even frustration of expanding, pushing limits. Which reminds me of why I so often describe my dancing as thrilling AND infuriating.

Photo credit: Jane Shauck

Photo credit: Jane Shauck

It explains why my major experience in class was a glow. So that even though I messed up, fell behind at times, clunked, and just plain didn’t get things, I was transported.

One moment, you’re bent over sucking wind, muscles aquiver, wondering how you’ll ever move across the floor for your turn. The next minute, you willingly, eagerly sink your teeth into the gorgeous movement, find breath and energy from heaven knows where, and you fly.

I call that magic. What’s yours?

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23 Responses to Passion: Jet Pack

  1. kanzensakura says:

    Many times, you are my magic – your dancing, energy, flow, positivity, creativity, willingness to share and empower. My money is on you, every time.

  2. I could feel the power of dance in this piece! Wonderful to have such magic that you can call into your life at any time.

  3. words4jp says:

    I so miss this feeling. I have experienced it only when I have danced.

  4. F.G.M. says:

    Quelle passion, quelles merveilleuses passion Chloé! “I so often describe my dancing as thrilling AND infuriating”…
    ” find breath and energy from heaven knows where, and you fly.”
    Bien que je ne dance pas, je comprends au plus profond de moi ce que tu dois ressentir… tu as pronononcé les mots qui disent TOUT; “breath and energy”. I call that magic. What’s mine? THE SAME 🙂 much love to you dear Chloé & merci

    • Lorien says:

      Bien sur que tu danses! Tu danses avec les mots dans la tete, et puis tu nous montres la danse des mots. Mais ca fait du bien de temps on temps de se bouger le cul aussi! 😉

    • SirenaTales says:

      Yes, your magic IS the same, my friend. It breathes and dances through your poetry’s expanse of words, feeling, ideas and beauty. Thank you so much for your ongoing, generous support, Frédéric! xoxo

  5. Lorien says:

    I just love this! And I love the pictures. I was always hiding my dancing…by myself, in my room, in my dorm room, in my apartment…and then one day i was in California and my sister took me to a five rhythms class–and I danced and cried and cried and danced. Your pictures remind me of the energy I saw in the five rhythms dancers–so much passion and freedom. And I’m with you–just put that music on baby!

    • SirenaTales says:

      So happy to hear you aren’t hiding your dancing any longer, Lorien. Thank you very much for your lovely comment, sharing your kindness and experience. So, yes! Let’s put the music on and dance, dance, dance! xoxo

  6. Mélanie says:

    chaque fois qu’on tombe, on se relève – lentement ou rapidement, mais souvent plus forts qu’avant la chute… c’est “ça” qui est magique… 🙂

  7. diahannreyes says:

    I am so familiar with that moment of flow- in acting- although I don’t have them yet as often as I would like, which would be all the time. But I’ve thrown away a more conventional life for those moments- when you feel like you are one with and riffing with the entire world- like riding the wave and being the wave at the same time. I love to be the flow when I’m writing- it’s like I’m just showing up at the keyboard and the stories are just flowing out of my fingertips. Yet so often I resist- procrastinating in ways that seem like I’m doing something important- as if I can’t yet stand to have all that pleasure rising through my body– too much yumminess that I’ve been conditioned not to take in.

    • SirenaTales says:

      “…I’ve thrown away a more conventional life for those moments- when you feel like you are one with and riffing with the entire world- like riding the wave and being the wave at the same time”….such a lovely, apt description, Diahann. And the discarded “more conventional life?” You and me both, baby. Thank you so much for sharing your experience so generously here. Yes, those moments of flow are unutterably wondrous. Here’s to relishing as many of them as we can, my friend, and spreading the positivity all around us as we embody that flow. love to you….

  8. I agree- finding your flow is magic. So happy you’re in yours now! xxoo

  9. Miranda Stone says:

    First off, where DO you get your energy? 🙂 I understand exactly what you’re saying here, however. Some days I think I won’t be able to write more than a paragraph or two of a story, but then I sit down and start working, and the next thing I know, a couple of hours have passed.

    • SirenaTales says:

      Heh–not sure about the energy, although I do get revved up by others’ inspiration. Thank you for sharing your writing experience–isn’t it grand when you get into that zone when time and everything else falls away? Incredible. Here’s hoping you are finding some of those moments in your busy schedule, my friend. xoxo

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