A few months ago, I picked up my sweetie’s New Yorker magazine and found an article about dancing.
The first lines are, “Dancing. Ban dancing. Break its legs and bury it. And don’t make me do it. Don’t make me dance.” **
WHAT?!?! I thought to myself. I kept reading…
The author graphically describes his feelings about his lack of coordination, refusal to dance, extreme self-consciousness, and the guilt he experiences at parties.
He wrote about feeling awkward and clumsy, being afraid to look stupid, an inescapable self-consciousness, and more.
While reading it, I simmered over with questions, ideas, suspicions, curiosities, outbursts, confusion, and contemplation.
With so much to say in response to the article, I’ll start today with a story about dance-induced self-consciousness.
I remember a time during my intensive dance training in NYC when my teacher firmly said, “The camera that is in your head, that is looking at you all the time, judging – turn it the other way. Now.”
I’ve carried this image with me for over 10 years. Whenever I’m in a dance class and I feel small, stupid, or inept, or I can’t free myself to openly dance, I hear my teacher’s voice.
I pause for a moment inside. I locate the camera inside my head. (For me it’s usually in the upper right side of my brain, looking down on me). I stare into its lens, and using my magic powers, direct it to turn the other way: Leave me alone!
For some of us, it’s a camera watching and judging. For others of us, it’s a terribly mean gremlin inside who is constantly yelling at us, telling us we look stupid, we should be able to learn this faster, or whatever mean insult it can invent.
For many, it’s a gremlin with a camera. Yikes – watch out!
Does any of this sound familiar to you? Do you experience dance or movement-induced self-consciousness? What are your tools to keep going and free yourself?
Your invitation this month:
Take at least ONE 3-minute dance break during your day. Put on a favorite song and let yourself move. Listen to the music; see what it asks your body to do. Try something you’ve always wanted to try (unless it’s a back flip and you’ve never trained to do that – maybe then choose a different move ;).
As you dance, watch out for gremlins with cameras! Turn down their voices, divert their eyes, and instead tune into that spark of inspiration, that ounce of joy that is rippling, somewhere inside you, as you move.
With gremlin-squishing joy,