I love to dance!
Now, when I say dance… I don't mean anything beautiful or graceful. I don't have any smooth grooves or style in fact I've got only one move which gets embellished with bouncing and grinning like a loony, usually around the kitchen while I'm cooking, or in the garden, or while the dog is trying to join in (in his own special way). I don't even need any music; I'll often make up my own unique showstopping tunes as I'm going along… a list of recipe items strung together with funky undertones, for example, can usually work perfectly well. My husband lovingly says that I do, on occasion, remind him that he should keep the telephone number for the men in white coats close at hand.
So, in 2013 at a major even in London, when a HUGE name in the world of Mind, Body and Soul came on stage in front of myself and a thousand other people and declared to the room “stand up.. we're going to dance” why did I leave the room? Surely I should have been up for it ready to strut my funky moves out there in the world, right? After all, this was my only chance to see this amazing woman, so why didn't I stay?
Perhaps you're now shaking your head at this and reading between the lines that somehow I'm an awkward introvert, not ready to let myself go, or to release the energy that this dancefest was supposed to be shifting. You'd be surprised how many people at the event shared the same judgment like somehow my ‘not' dancing was simply a declaration to the world that I wasn't ‘ready' to dance.
But over the years, through experience and time, I've learned a few lessons in how to dance through life, and the first thing that I learned was when it's OK NOT to dance!
Step 1: Know it's OK NOT to dance
The real reason that I chose to leave the room, the reason that I didn't stay, was simply because I believe that no one should ever, ever, feel forced to do anything; so being forced to dance was a big no for me. It wasn't a question of the experience of, giving it a go, of seeing where it led me it was a question of having no choice.
Looking around as I left the auditorium I could see so many uncomfortable people, who perhaps wanted to remain in their seats, maybe they just wanted to see how it went before deciding to join in. But, in this room of highly charged peers, the pressure was high… very high!
So this is why I chose to leave.
In this highly pressurized world, we're constantly being forced in one way or the other to join in. There are reminders everywhere that conformity is the rule, to just go with the flow of our peers… certainly don't rock the boat, after all the boat is safe, we know that, so it's best to just stay put. Really?!
Finding the courage to say NO to the things that we dislike, don't want, or don't agree with takes guts! But only when you start to choose to say no, can you really find what you do like, do want, do agree with.
Feeling powerless to decide to say NO is a crippling barrier to finding real happiness. If you think you can't say no, if you feel trapped or drowning in other people's needs and wants then your own dance never has a chance to find its way to your feet.
The courage to choose NOT to do something is to be celebrated, every time you manage to say no to something you'd usually just give into give yourself a pat on the back, a high five or a Yeh Baby!
Embrace NOT giving in, making do, getting by; be cool with your choices of what you don't want to do.
Step 2: Find your own groove
I've said before that I'm not what anyone else would call a great dancer. I admit that I did have 3 or 4 disco dancing lessons when I was about 8 years old, but as I've never been good at getting my hands and feet to work in harmony, it wasn't a good fit for me.
However, as I've got older I've learned my dance, I know what makes my heart sing, and my feet boogie. It's not all that beautiful for the outsider to watch perhaps, but learning not to care what anyone else thinks is half of the fun!
A dance is a connection to happiness, a connection to your life, a connection to who you are. It doesn't even need to manifest into groovy moves: It just has to reach your heart!
Every day as you live, work, travel and share your life take a chance to listen to your inner boogie.
When you feel joy in your life, that's where the dance lies. It's an expansive, arms flailing, shoulder rocking, head bopping dance… it's there… just listen… feel it.
If anything you come up against in life makes your shoulders sag, and your heart small then you'll know your inner dance has gone and sat in the corner with a sulky look on its face. But you can tempt it out and back onto the dance floor by just letting it know that you've seen it skulk off. Noticing when you're in the wrong sort of funk lets your dance know that you see the problem and in acknowledging the fact that you're not dancing your dance, things will start to shift and change.
Smile, be open, sing (in your head where it's inappropriate out loud), laugh; all of these things will keep your inner feet tapping with the joy of life.
Step 3: When it's your time to dance — dance!
There comes a time when you'll know your dance is there, and it wants to break out into the world. It wants to express itself, to be more than just an inner expression, but and outer expression of who you really are.
“There is vitality, a life force, 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 will be lost. The world will not hear it.” —Martha Graham (dancer and choreographer)
When your time comes to dance don't hold back don't worry about the ‘what ifs' — don't care if people judge your moves or laugh… it is not their dance, it's yours!
Your inner dance once let loose in the world is an unstoppable groovyness that infects everyone around you and can literally change lives.
At this point being ‘forced' to dance should never again enter your life. You choose when to dance, you choose how to life your life, you choose to be your authentic and awesome self.
Dance at home, dance at work, dance with your family.
Dance your own special moves over everything you do, and let that happiness show others that it's safe to let their own funky dance burst out into the world whenever and wherever it needs to.