One of my favorite tools I use with coaching clients is re-framing. I ask them to consider a thought, idea, problem, word, from a different perspective.
When we get locked into a single way of looking at something, we aren’t open to what else it might be.
I’ve been practicing this a lot lately, as my moving plans keep changing and shifting. The day after I sent in my deposit for my “dream house,” I found out the current tenants had decided not to move. After my initial disappointment, I accepted that it just wasn’t meant to be.
I called the man with the the backup house but he hasn’t returned my calls. So I’m taking that as a no. Last weekend I saw a furnished studio listed on Craig’s List. It was completely not what I was originally looking for, but I realized that it would give me the time and space and flexibility to more easily make the transition from here to there. I contacted them but they didn’t respond to my emails and then the listing was gone.
So I still don’t have a concrete where or when. But all of this has opened me up to new ways of contemplating exactly what I need right now: more of a transition house to ease into creating my new life.
I’m sure the universe is working very hard on my behalf to bring me exactly what I need. And I am breathing, allowing, and finding some fun in how it is all unfolding.
You can apply this re-framing to everything. Including dancing.
But don’t call it dancing. Because that will immediately make you self-conscious, like you have to know the steps, and look good, and be graceful.
Call it moving your body to music, instead.
And get yourself some tulle. You know, that fine, netted material that ballerinas wear as a tutu. It’s light, it’s pretty and it’s unpredictable.
It’s how I learned to move in my own body.
A friend had long ago given me a book called Juggling for Dummies. It came with three small pieces of white tulle, each about six inches long. The book instructed me to toss them up and catch them. Unlike plastic balls or bowling pins, the tulle was light and I could toss them high into the air, like scarves, and have plenty of time to position my hands and body to catch them before they hit the floor.
When I added music, my whole world changed. I wasn’t dancing, I was moving my body with the music. I’d toss a scarf high above me, extending my arms out through my fingertips to catch it. There was a lightness, a silliness in the movements that took away all self-consciousness.
I added my torso and legs into each stretch, reaching with my whole body. If I missed the scarf, I’d follow it toward the floor, bending and tucking, graceful as the scarves themselves floating in the air.
Always, I was following the scarf, not leading with my body.
Different music inspired different movements. I moved with classical and jazz and african drumming. I especially loved the slower music because it made me more aware of every turn and stretch of my arms and legs and torso. I played with stop motion, pausing with one foot up in the air, like I was in mid-step. Without even trying, I was building strength in my legs and improving my balance.
I added a second scarf, tossing them independently, moving my body left, then right to catch them both before they hit the floor. Sometimes I tossed them up together, rushing to catch both. Sometimes I let them intentionally float to the floor where I met them, my body curled like a ball, waiting.
I discovered that moving to a particular sad piece of music helped me grieve a recent breakup. My body could feel the sadness and the pain and the loss and release it without getting caught up in the story of it all.
Moving to music became a daily ritual, an afternoon act of creative expression. It was a wonderful interlude between my work day and my personal life.
These days, I move in the morning, after the dog walking and before I sit down to write. It gets me out of my head and reconnects me with my breath, my body and my heart.
I recently shared this movement practice at the Living Room Ladies Weekend Retreat. It was magical, watching them play with their scarves, moving freely and expansively in their bodies. They were smiling, laughing, completely present with each toss of the tulle.
And they have continued the practice at home, experimenting with different kinds of music and movements.
I invite you to get yourself some tulle, put on some music and move your body, following the scarves. (If you live in the Phoenix area, SAS Fabrics sells all colors of tulle, even with glitter, for less than $2.99/yd.)