You've heard the phrases “Dance with Life” and “Dancing with the Divine” but do you really understand what these phrases mean? And how do you possibly consider that life is a DANCE™? That what you do on the dance floor can equate to how you choose to move through life?
In this article, we are going to explore this concept of DANCE™. Are you ready to dive in?
“Everything in the Universe has rhythm. Everything dances.” ~ Maya Angelou
Those of you who know me, know that I like definitions. Dictionary.com defines Dance as :
To move one's feet or body, or both, rhythmically in a pattern of steps, especially to the accompaniment of music.
To leap, skip, etc,. as from excitement or emotion; move nimbly or quickly; to dance with joy.
A successive group of rhythmical steps or bodily motions, or both, usually executed to music.
So basically dance equals movement. Movement on the floor and movement through life.
I have been a dancer all of my life. My journey began at the age of 4 at the Edith Ronay Dance Studio in Astoria, NY (Queens). I studied ballet, tap, and jazz and I was hooked. Of course, I had dreams of becoming a prima ballerina for the NYC Ballet but life had other plans for me.
What I did come to understand was DANCE as an acronym. You see, when you first learn a dance, there are certain steps you take on that journey and they are:
D – Discovery - of the steps, positions, alignment, moving through space, emoting as you dance. The basic techniques involved in the dance.
A – Assimilate – through practice/repetition the steps et al become part of the muscle memory of your body – you've “taken it in” in that you don't even really need to think about it. Your body knows what to do.
N - Nurture – as you continue to practice, you develop nuances in your dancing that nurture you physically and emotionally. The discipline dance teaches provides mental training and a spiritual transcendence. You become this wholistic expression of moving art.
C – Calibrate – Adjust/course correct your movements as you integrate all the subtle nuances as you emotionally connect to the music you are expressing using your body.
E – Expand – The more adept you become with the dance, the more you are able to articulate through the dance and the more you grow.
This applies to all types of dancing; ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop, contemporary, ballroom, street dance, belly dance, etc.
“Learning to walk sets you free. Learning to dance gives you the greatest freedom of all: to express your whole self, the person you are.” ~ Melissa Hayden
Are you beginning to see the correlation between DANCE™ and your life? Let's go a little deeper as I share my grief journey to illustrate:
When Brad, my first husband, passed away my world was shattered. Life as I knew it was never going to be the same again. I felt lost, betrayed, and alone. Sure, I had my family and my children to raise yet I felt my children were being gypped as Brad was the better parent and they were “stuck” with me. At my lowest point, I didn't want to live without him and even made plans for how long I had to stick around until my oldest would be able to care for her sisters and I could go and join him. Needless to say, I did decide that I wanted to live and wanted to live well. As I moved through my grief, what I was really learning anew was how to dance with life and how each stage was a movement in the overall choreography that is my life. So, let's look at the acronym again:
D – Just as you learn new steps when you learn a new dance, I was discovering the new steps of my life. What did I desire as I heal from the loss and move forward. Who am I now that I am no longer Brad's wife? Who is Elaine now? How does Elaine wish to BE as she lives this life? What does this new life even look like? As you can see, I went through a reinvention process in all aspects of my life. All of this falls under the process of Discovery!
A – The more I learned as I continued the journey, the more information became assimilated into my being. New ways of thinking and being became body memory as new neural pathways were created for new beliefs that were chosen, mining the gifts that the experiences of my life held and continue to hold for me as I move forward....the gifts from his passing, and there were many but the one I want to highlight here is that I was not the bad mother I had led myself to believe. He always knew that. I just didn't believe him and yet, he was right. Everything you live and experience leads you to become who you are in this now moment and who you will evolve into as you Assimilate what you learn, truly “take it in”.
N – Just as you Nurture your dance through practice, it is of vital importance to Nurture yourself. It is important to make time for self-care – especially for those of you who are Highly Sensitive and if you're reading this, chances are that you fall under this category. You want to have practices in place that nurture your body, mind, and spirit. A Spiritual practice can be as simple as taking a moment to connect with your soul every day. When you are depleted, you have nothing to give to anyone so these practices are not selfish. They are essential! This is the step where you are treating yourself as a whole person....body, mind, and spirit. You are not looking outside of yourself for what you need because you are taking the time to Nurture.
C – Calibration is adapting/course correcting as you go about your life. This is about being open, flexible, and detached to outcomes. Understanding “this or something even better” when it comes to the desires you co-create with the Divine. It's about assessing what is working, what isn't, and what needs to change and being willing to make the changes to keep you moving towards your desires.
E - As you move through the previous 4 steps, your expansion is inevitable. And of course, once you Expand, you go back to step 1 and uncover new discoveries, new desires and the dance begins anew.
So you can see how:
“Dance is Life and Life is Dance!” ~ Elaine Torrance-Gingrich
To review, when you DANCE™ with life, you are:
Discovering – who you are, what you desire, who you desire to BE in this world and the life you desire to co-create with the Divine that is your unique and valuable expression in the world.
Assimilating – taking in all the information – the data of life – and mining what serves you and what does not. You create the new neural pathways for the new beliefs you choose to adopt and the new ways of being.
Nurturing – Creating the boundaries that honor your energies, the practices that nourish and nurture your body, the spiritual practices that nurture your soul and connect you with who you truly are and what you truly came here to express and keep you grounded.
Calibrating – Being open and flexible, able to adapt and be led by the Divine when you don't know “how” or the “how” you think is not the path of least resistance. The willingness to be led/re-directed to “this or something even better!”
Expanding – Your nature is to grow and evolve. You are not the same person you were 10 years ago and you will not be the same person you are 10 years from now.
Call to Action
My Mentor's request for you is to take the following quote into meditation:
“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action; and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. If you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. You must keep that channel open. It is not for you to determine how good it is, nor how valuable, nor how it compares with other expressions. It is for you to keep it yours, clearly and directly.” ~ Martha Graham
So, what does your DANCE™ with life look like? Are you enjoying your DANCE™?
Until Next Time...