At the end of dance class yesterday with my mentor and dance idol, I asked for some help with a difficult inversion (handstand) we had worked on in class. This particular movement requires buckets of control, balance, flexibility, and upper body strength. Oh, and a big dollop of conviction.
Yes, to execute this well, you have to be confident that you can slowly and gradually bend very low on one leg, the other in an arabesque, and push off, almost jumping with one foot, to balance upside down on your hands. Very challenging!
I showed her how I was performing the movement. While spotting me, she gave me some pointers and then showed me how to practice on my own, working on releasing unneeded tension in my hip while being strong in my core, arms, legs.
I jokingly gestured to my head, noting that that’s where the work really needs to happen–in the mind. Believing, committing, being courageous. She didn’t let my offhand comment go, instead replying: “Well, that’s always the case, isn’t it? That we have to overcome the mental obstacles to do what we seek to achieve?”
A truism I know so well and that I even teach my students…and that, at times, I still forget. What we think we can do is what we are more likely to perform. Or, more fittingly, what we think we cannot do we almost surely will be unable to. The mental shackles of self-limitation will hobble us.
If we’re aiming to expand, venture onto new frontiers for ourselves, we need to believe we can do so…or do our best to fake it till we make it :). Believing doesn’t guarantee our success, but doubting ourselves pretty much guarantees failure.
I see it all the time in dance class: the hesitation, the giving up before we’ve even begun to move. It always result in some sort of coming up short, whether it’s in dancing that is behind the count, or stiff, or poorly executed. It’s the same for achieving our dreams.
And now, I’ve got some inversions I need to practice. What about you?
“If you can dream it, you can do it. Always remember that this whole thing was started with a dream and a mouse.”~Walt Disney
Photos courtesy of Nikki Carrara © 2016, 2017