A few years ago my then 8-year old daughter and I were talking about peer pressure we came up with this phrase- “when in doubt, dance out…”
These words came from her own natural inclination to flow gracefully with movement and her creative association with how to create a metaphor she would remember. As children all of us have this innate gift of flow and lack of inhibition that allows us to break into dance without hesitation whenever we like. Many of us have enjoyed the internet videos of people of all ages when they dance freely regardless of age or state of ease and talent.
What is it that draws us to this free flowing example of joyous movement that makes us smile? I think it’s what my daughter recognized at a very early age would allow her to remove herself from difficult situations- FLOW. When we acknowledge and still disallow our heads messages to resist what our heart and soul long for we “flow” through experiences. Like dancing, unencumbered we practice an allowing of what is and remove ourselves gracefully without forcing change.
I am not very good at this kind of flow. I find myself frequently going into a mental state of judgement that says “this isn’t right!” If a situation doesn’t fit or is out of alignment with my beliefs, I want to learn how to flow more freely and dance myself out of challenging situations. Here’s what I am learning;
1. To be like a dancer warm up and stretch my thoughts: Anticipating a potential conflict allows us to flex our spiritual muscles meditating on calm presence. When challenging situations arise, taking a deep breath stepping back from the situation gives us pause- time to reflect on what we need to learn and then intentionally say or do.
2. When there is a situation that does feel unjust or breaks rules or is for me immoral or unethical, studying the principles, or the statutes or covenants or whatever true to ourselves beliefs that ground the situation helps me gain perspective and understanding. Information and being well informed provides powerful insight and is an essential tool in productive communication. Just like a dancer learns fundamentals, understanding the core principles of why certain individuals and cultures create their own forms of rules and actions, helps illuminate why what I see this as problematic, exists.
3. A dancer learns to put different movements together to create a combination. Preparing a statement to approach a difficult situation requires the same careful and thoughtful focus. Preparation with a “yes and” approach means integrating both the viewpoint of the person being challenged as well as my own. Balance is the grounding in dance. Centering on and acknowledging both sides of an issue is the essence of effective communication. Simple equations but often so hard to accomplish.
4. When a dance is performed and complete, it is done. That combination flows into the next and if a mistake is made, it is let go, allowing the dancer to flow to the next combination, dance, performance etc. The moment is not lost, it just seamlessly morphs into the next movement.
From my daughter, now a 12-year old dancer I am learning the art of letting go- dancing out of painful and challenging situations. I frequently feel like I have two left feet, but I still believe we are all dancers at heart.