Dancing & Deliberating to Define My Own Way of Living

Daily dance December is on! I actually decided to go with an app so I have some structure to my 30 day dance challenge. I could simply turn on some music and dance around but, as the NaNoWriMo challenge showed me, I do best with some external structure and enjoy the accountability.

I know this app will help support my goal in a focused well-rounded way. So instead of me just twirling and jumping around the house randomly, I get to build fitness: balance, strength, endurance, flexibility, coordination, speed, reaction time, power, and agility.

There is a self-reflection component too, which I love. The first question she asked is “Is this as good as it gets?” which came from her own experience of having Bulimia for 16 years. One day she was lying on the floor in her bathroom after throwing up blood and that question popped into her head. Ten years later she has this app and speaks at conferences and no longer suffers with an eating disorder.

Her story is heart-breaking, moving, and inspiring!

Deliberating with Myself

I considered this question for myself and my own life as it is now. At the same time I made a gratitude list to be sure I didn’t start drowning in a hole of life-is-hard-and-dark-and-crappy. Well, because I can do that sometimes.

So as a part of the reflection I wrote a list of things in my life that I feel could be better. Health – specifically increasing endurance and reducing joint pain, improving my patience, building more friendships with people IRL as in where I live now, and a few other things but you get the idea. If you do this reflection exercise too, don’t leave out the gratitude part!!

It’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the stuff we want to improve so it’s super important to look at all the things that are good or working properly. For me, a few of those things are my relationship with Mark and our best girl Tulsi, our home and thriving garden, my overall health – as in my body does it’s job well and I feel pretty good most days, the amazing super comfortable bed we have, my ability to write and create things, all the handy knowledge I have for fixing things. One I got going on the gratitude list it easily grew longer than the improvement list. Yay!

Defining My Own Way

Learning stuff about myself has proven to be one of the best uses of my time. I’ve always been more introspective even as a kid. While growing I gravitated toward things like psychology, philosophy, creative expression, and various wisdom lineages that stress the importance of understanding yourself.

The more I understand my strengths, challenges, likes, dislikes, how I learn, how I best interact with others, etc… the more able I am to live life of my own regardless of what others or the world say I should do/be. I can make my own definitions of happiness, success, joy, love, family, friendship and so on. This also lets me be a better community member since I have a good idea of the part I am best suited to play for betterment of the world and all who dwell here.

How do you define happiness?

A Mirror Helps Me Write Micro-Fiction and Reflect on Life as a Privilege Instead of a Burden

One writing exercise I like to do is find an intriguing object and imagine it’s history, it’s experiences over the course of it’s existence, and the people or other creatures who may have interacted with it. Such a fun exercise! It really gets my imagination going too.

This mirror inspired a micro-fiction piece earlier on in the year and today actually synced up with some personal growth exploration I’m in in the midst of.

First – The Personal

A dear friend of mine sent me an old photo of us from 1998-ish. I use the term friend but Jasi and I’s relationship was definitely more than that. We were roommates, chosen sisters, party partners, wing women, support systems, classmates, and just figuring out young adult life in the wild world together. We fought and made up, shared jokes and laughter, taught each other new things, cried over guys, danced until we could barely walk, and always looked out for each other. Our times could easily be made into a movie. Or a book for that matter.

When I shared this photo with my younger sister, Quinn, it started a conversation about how life was simpler then. In the spirit of the mirror, I started to reflect. I began to wonder why did life feel like it was simpler? I mean, in 1998 I still had to pay rent, bills, go to the doctor, maintain relationships, grocery shop and cook, and everything else we humans have to do to stay alive and well. So what changed? What’s different now?

Then it hit me. In 1998 I was just out of college and had been living on my own for about 2 years. Life at that time felt like a privilege to me and nothing felt like a burden. I was thrilled to be alive and absorb the world around me. Even the hard stuff like medical issues I had to put on credit cards because I couldn’t pay the bill, or break ups that shattered my heart, or eating rice and beans because I didn’t have enough money for anything else, or working extra shifts to get overtime pay were all just simply what life was in the moment. Nothing more, nothing less.

As the years passed I can see how some things began to be a burden in my mind. And though this burden was a personal mindset, it was propagated by society’s view (rules) of what an adult life should look like and what success and happiness should look like as an adult in the US. So there began to be a need to earn more money and settle into a career and the like. Not to mention that I should act a certain way and look a certain way to fit into an arbitrary mold set up by the culture around me.

So now I say boo to all that! I’m taking back my mindset of life as a privilege. It’s a privilege to breathe this air and feel the sun on my skin and eat delicious home cooked food and take care of my health and have a family and wash my clothes and be a part of this wild world. Sure there are hard and challenging times but there is so much wonder and beauty too. So much to experience and learn and grow from.

Upon all this reflection I realized that I had way more fun back then. In between all the life maintenance stuff and heart breaks and illness, there was fun, joy, parties, laughter, and lots and lots of dancing. So I’ve decided to bring the party back. Now I definitely don’t want to party like I did when I was 22 as that is NOT my definition of fun these days. So what does fun look like for me now, at 46?

I still love to dance. And I love to write. I also really enjoy creating and building things. So I have an idea to combine these things and start a local group for creative exploration of life through dancing and various arts. There’s nothing like this where I currently live and it’s really what I want to do. So I’m gonna do it! Stay tuned for progress updates!

Second – The Micro-Fiction

He wants to get her a mirror.

The burden of the beauty he beholds everyday is too much to bear alone.

He needs her to share in the mystery and wonder of her own existence so he can make sense of it, or at least feel accompanied on such an overwhelming journey.

She eschews mirrors.

Those portals into the unknowing masked as safe reflections unsettle her.

Tapestry covered mirrors are tolerable with their icy fear slightly softened.

No poltergeist will get through here, thank you very much.

And the eternal enigma therein waits patiently to see herself being seen.

Yet again.

Burning Down the House of Self-Doubt & Fear of Failure

Somewhere along the timeline of my 46 years on earth I went from believing I was capable of anything and that everything I dreamed could be made a reality to doubting my dreams and my abilities. I can’t quite pinpoint a specific moment. It was a gradual shifting. A slow torturous oppression of spirit. Such a sad state of affairs really.

I’m not going to play the blame game as there were many factors involved. People close to me, society, culture, etc… Myself as well. I’m a dreamer, that never stopped. It was just my belief in those dreams and the roads to the making them come true that have eluded me for a while now.

Today I woke up different. Again I can’t pinpoint anything specific but I can see a gradual rebirthing of my spirit to believe in myself. It’s happened over many years of learning, self-reflection, and meditation. I do see the novel writing challenge I finished last month as the spark I needed to get over a big hurdle. Thanks for the inspiration NaNoWriMo!

Writing 50,002 words over the course of 29 days was like a lit match thrown onto a pile of dry kindling I collected over the years next to the most uncomfortable home of self-doubt and fear of failure. And now as I stroll through the rubble and smoking ash I am giddy with new purpose and love the feel of victory.

As I leave that pile of nonsense behind, I make a promise to myself to always believe no matter what. Even when a little voice pipes up within asking me questions like ‘are you sure’ ‘does anybody care’ ‘isnt this a waste of time’ ‘maybe you shouldnt’, ‘will it be good’, I will simply say… I believe in me and my dreams. Period.

Moving into December I will revise my rough draft I wrote in November, and start to reach out to agents. Gonna keep this train on the tracks and keep moving. As a celebratory gift to myself, I am also going to start a new structured challenge for 30 days.

Daily Dance December!! Yep. Let’s do this!