Dance has always been one of my passions. It is something that liberates me and celebrates me. Often when I am dancing I wait for the moment when I just feel my heartbeat in sync with the beat of the music playing and I am totally tuned inward. My movements are minimal and my spirit dances. It took me some time to be comfortable with how I want to dance and move in a crowd. I have learned a few dances and each one taught me something about myself. I think you must also know that writing this blog was inspired by watching Dancing with the Stars which I never miss!
The act of dance for me is akin to finding your flow in life, your own creative expression. Dance involves learning technique, surrendering to the flow, tuning into the rhythm. Every one’s body responds to a certain kind of music and beat. Personally, I love dancing to the beat of drums, cymbals and latin dances bring me joy. It takes a while to figure out what you like and what you do not. It is a great way for anyone to build confidence and begin the journey of figuring out who you are. Several movies like Step up, Footloose, Dirty Dancing etc show us how dancing helps channelize our emotions. There is dance for every emotion we feel. Perhaps this is what inspired an entire branch of therapy known an dance/movement therapy which helps reconnect with the language of the body.
Questions you can ask yourself:
1) Have I ever been ridiculed for dancing? If so, can I let it go today and try again?
2) What do I enjoy more- dancing by myself, with a partner or in a group?
3) What type of instrument or music feels good to me?
4) What kind of dance helps you relieve stress and which one exhilarates you?
Each one of us has a dance in us which is beyond any form of dance that one can be trained in. Yes, you can master the techniques of a form and achieve excellence in it however dancing to me is beyond what someone can teach you. It is what flows from your heart. It is the courage you find in yourself to move the way you want to. It is the sheer joy and love out of which you move.
Some dances that I love are bollywood dancing, kathak, salsa, samba, contemporary, bachata, tango and belly dance. Having listed these here, I would also mention that I tend to pick movements from several of these at any given point and make it my own. I have danced alone in a crowd several times only to find others join me a little later. There are always some people who wait for someone else to begin. For me, all of this also tells about how you like to live your life. Not right or wrong..just is.
So, what are you waiting for? Get your dancing shoes or just dance barefoot!
The Stronger I get, Harder it is for me to bend…
You must be wondering what’s with the title, guess what this title just slipped off my tongue 2 minutes ago when I was talking to my friend. Serendipity, would you call that? Well, without dragging that much let me tell you what I am referring to. I am referring to the strength of the person that we become with age, experience, insights etc etc. The word bend here is not used with a negative connotation but refers more to adjustments. Some years back when I was pursuing my MBA, I had heard the term agility which meant that you are strong but flexible to adapt to situations. I always kept that in mind as a benchmark of how I wanted to be. The professor who talked about explained the concept with a beautiful analogy of the green grass and tall trees. Tall trees are noticeable and look strong whereas the short green grass often goes unnoticeable and looks meek but when hit by a storm, tall trees fall down to the ground and the green grass survives. This questions our basic understanding of strength which often is phrased as ‘as hard as a rock’. When we consider the above example, we are forced to rethink of strength as the ability to survive which has a prelude in one’s ability to adapt. I have given the example above to contextualize the word bend in my writing ahead.
Some years back, I was going through a phase of asserting my identity to myself. I was searching for my own value system and the way I wanted to live myself which included my work, my idea of a vacation , my ideal life partner and things I would like to engage in etc. With the help of some of my mentors and great friends I became the person I wanted to be. I received positive re-inforcement for the way I was with some minor areas of improvement. It has always been tough for me to receive feedback which involves criticism but I was lucky to find people who made me understand the value of positive criticism and I paved my way through those improvements. I reached a stage where I felt that I was the best person I could be and consolidated my idea of myself through my actions. Having moved from a point where I was not sure of many things in life to a point where I was being just the way I thought was best made me confident in myself. I would easily adapt to different situations and be open to different perspectives in life. I was happy that I was the green grass and not the tall tree.
Little did I know that I was going to be presented with a relationship where I would have to reflect on my self perception of what I am. It requires discernment to be able to decide whether your assertion is proving to be stubbornness in a relationship. It is this reflection that forced me understand that when we are in a relationship, there obviously is an other( read person) whom you ( encompasses your values, habits, behaviors, beliefs etc) are trying to relate to. I was trying hard to be the green grass whereas in reality I was coming across as the tall tree in the relationship. Today while I was talking to a friend, I mentioned to him that there is reason why our parents want us to get married by the age of 23-25 or so. The reason being, at that age we are still in the process of solidifying our identity and not achieved closure on it. As we grow older, we become more of the person we are and hence not ready to modify ourselves easily if so proposed by someone else or by circumstances. This closure provides us with stability in our thoughts and does help us move in positive directions. Right at this moment, I am tempted to offer an example from partnered dances like salsa, jive etc. The feminine aspect of these dances is to be able to follow the lead offered by the masculine. The beauty of these dances is to be able to complement each other’s moves and more so for the female partner who can be the best individual dancer but has to know how to offer herself in the best with the lead. Another aspect in these dances is that, a female is more receptive and not assertive (The male and female used here are not necessarily referring to ideal man/ woman traits).
With all the description above, I am trying to say that sometimes our perception of our strengths becomes our weakness. My idea of asserting myself had reached a point where I did not feel the need to change anything in myself and was not willing to bend for anything. I found that the strength of who I am was coming in my way of nurturing my relationship. It was hard on me to realize that my individuality had become too strong to accept any changes even if they were minor in mature. I felt as if I wanted to stand at a place where I was comfortable and wanted the other person to do all the hard work and reach towards me. As I write this, I would also like to mention that I am not an advocate of sacrificing to an extent where you cease to exist and fight to search who you are all over again. Instead, I would be glad if we could find a midway of doing things which calls for a lot of discernment at our end. In some heavy words, it would be finding your path between individualism and collectivism. It would be a move from being independent to being interdependent, from saying “this is me, take it or leave it” to saying “is that how I come across?, let me think about it”.
Well, this is just the beginning of another life lesson for me and from the looks of it, it seems like a tough one indeed. There are times when I felt that I can live my life all by myself and that I don’t need to be married to someone but today I feel that having someone next you all the time, keeps you in check at different points of time and through various life transitions.
My Spirit wants to dance……but she will have to wait
My Spirit wants to dance. She knows the best rhythm and beat that would make her dance but is shying away from it. She dances on other beats too but does not shine in them. If it was only for these beats, she would have danced her way through life but it seems the flooring provided to her isn’t suiting the footsteps. The shoes are hurting when she dances on this floor yet she is trying to adjust. The beat also does not excite her right now but she fools herself by trying to believe so. I have instructed her to believe and live with some of these facts – that she will have to wait for a while…
Her care takers fail to see the glow she has when her body strikes the rhythm it is meant to serve. They want her to dance on the tunes, they had chosen for her. I am indebted to them for all the care and support they have given me through years. She does not seem to care for it and only knows her rhythm. She does not want to understand the circumstances that I am in and she does not understand any debt. She says, when you let me dance, all your debts shall be repaid. I do believe in her but I am scared that my care takers won’t understand her. If I support her, I know I will start living, for, right now I just exist. Once when she danced through me it seemed to be the best feeling ever. I did not want to stop her. I wanted that feeling of being alive each moment of my life. I spoke to them about it. Alas! They themselves were denied their rhythm. I cannot blame them for what they make her do but I feel suffocated when she cannot flow through me. For, she is sole reason for my “being”.
The rhythm of the universe keeps knocking within and I can’t open the doors. I can feel the beauty she wants to show me but cannot bear suppressing it. In moments of quiet, I let her dance. In her rejoice, then, lies my pain. I do not talk about her with others because when I did, I found myself to be foolish. Most of the seasons, I am left alone with her and she asks me, “when will you give me my wings”. I cannot explain to her the many silly reasons my caretakers load me with. When I talk to her about it, she blames me for not having the courage to keep up my promise. Sometimes, walking along some lonely streets, I witness some spirits who have found and are living their own rhythm. I keep quiet as she enviously looks at them. I fear, one day, she may stop knocking!
I know she is selfish. Much to my surprise, it is only in such selfishness that I have found veracity. It is only when I let her be, I feel beautiful and purged. She wants me to know that all I need to do is to let her take charge and the rest shall be fine. I sit here waiting for the moment when she no longer asks for my permission and storms herself through me…Possibly, I lack that force right now…
Wandering about in wasteful times, I pity my inability to live “her”. But, I want and need her in me, hence I dance with her when she is about to get into a recluse. This is how I save my Spirit and pacify her by saying, “the day is not too far when you and I shall be one”. She smiles and gives me another chance to save myself…