Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Finding Your Freestyle

Finding your freestyle. Sounds easy right? Freestyling. Like something you just do automatically. Press play and let go, lose yourself in the music and dance. What is it about freestyle dance, or even singing, that makes me feel so vulnerable and uncomfortable? I am strong, I'm a fighter, I have a voice, I know who I am and where I’ve come from. I stand tall in that space.

Choreography, teach me and I will follow, I will learn it, practice it and eventually work to make it my own. I even performed in a flash mob earlier this month in front of a few hundred people. But tell me to just dance, move, do what feels good and I freeze. I don’t know what to do. I don’t have any moves in my back pocket waiting to be showcased. I want to retreat to the corner. In that moment I am raw. With every layer peeled back revealing my core, my fear, embarrassment and my emotions that I keep so neatly tucked away. My brain explodes. I am lost. Sharing emotions that reflect a loss of control, such as lack of perfectionism, or fear, has been engrained as a weakness. It’s debilitating. I am in control of myself; I am not afraid of anything. I have a handle on everything, even when I don’t. Or so it appears.

But, this is why I am here. Since when do I choose the easy path? I intentionally place myself in uncomfortable or challenging situations in an effort to grow, to learn and to overcome. My tattoo is an expression of my life to this point, Invictus. Unconquerable. I refuse to accept my own excuses. I will not fall. I need to give myself permission to dance, to let go and free myself from my own restraints. To allow self-expression outside of the words I share here with you. I want to learn the skill and technique. I want to learn to dance. I want to be free from myself. To move to the music with purpose and passion and to openly make mistakes, feel silly and even awkward. Freestyle isn’t meant to be perfect; it’s an individual expression. This journey is going to take time, practice, grace and patience. I am in it for the long haul. I watch the others spontaneously create movement and am inspired. I so deeply want that. I envision it. I want to be confident in my freedom in a world that makes us feel and believe otherwise. Ordinary people have had an extraordinary impact on my life. I am grateful to be surrounded by so many at School of Breaking.

After only a few short months, and many more to come, my School of Breaking family has had an impact on my life. And to you all, I say this:

You’ve inspired me.
Believed in me.
Encouraged me.
Supported me.
Cheered me on.
You’ve made a difference in my life.
Today and everyday, I am thankful.

Appreciate the people who help you, who are there for you, who see that you are vulnerable and don’t just look away.  Thank you all for allowing me to share myself openly and honestly with you, and in return you’ve provided a safe space with constant support, acceptance, patience, friendship and love. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Taking Life Head On

We don’t have forever to be who we are. We owe it to ourselves and those we love to be truly alive and authentic in each moment. But, we’ve all got a million excuses. We find every possible reason to justify our inaction. The timing isn’t right, it’s too cold, I’m out of shape, I don’t have the money, it’s too early, I’m too indecisive. Excuses. I’m not trying to alarm anyone, but unless you believe in reincarnation, this is the one life that you get. Either you use it to its full potential or you just burn daylight. Take stock of your life. Get out there, do everything you want and everything you think you can’t. Why? Because you can! Accomplish the goals you’ve set for yourself, if you leave it to chance you might be waiting forever.

Let’s face it; there are people out there who are living like they are literally waiting to die. They have very little ambition, no drive, no sense of purpose just going through the motions of life. Somehow, they have allowed life’s circumstances to beat them down, to kill their spirits. They have bought into the lie that their dreams don’t matter. If plans don’t pan out the way that they’d hoped, they take it as a sign that they are being unrealistic or that they are reaching for the unreachable. I call bullshit. You can do whatever you want to do, or if nothing else, at least try. Really now, what do you have to lose? I am constantly on the go, trying new things and diving head first into new challenges. Am I great at everything? Not even close, but that’s not the point. The point is that I am open to possibility. I believe in myself, I am willing to put myself out there and take chances, experience life, transform from the inside out, learn about myself and grow. My purpose is to live by example and inspire others to live as the best version of themselves. Motivating others to be their best, by being my best.

If you find yourself always discounting the things that you really want to do, the places that you want to see, then it’s time to get out of your own way.  Sometimes we are our own worst enemy.  Once we allow fear to fill our thoughts it takes on a life of its own. You can’t change what has been, but you can certainly make new choices that will be more life affirming. Unfortunately, there are people who will find seven ways to Sunday to convince you that you are crazy for thinking that you have the right to create your own destiny, to change careers, to take on a variety of seemingly impossible challenges. Those naysayers happen to provide me even more motivation to go for it. Bring it on! Those people seem to take pleasure in making you doubtful and miserable because that’s the path that they’ve chosen and will do whatever it takes to pull you down with them.

Surround yourself with people who look at life in a more positive way. It’s infectious.  They can show you all of the possibilities that life has to offer. And let me tell you, there is a whole world of possibility out there just waiting for you.. You will begin to get a new sense of yourself and notice that things can become less cloudy, less uncertain.  You will find that things actually get easier when you believe in yourself.  Like attracts like, so if you are around negativity, you will become more negative and vice versa.  Seek out the good things that life has to offer but know that not everyone is happy to see you prosper.  Some people rejoice in another’s misery, but you can’t let that stop you from trying to attain your goals or step into new territory. Sometimes, you have to let go of friends you’ve outgrown and find other like-minded souls who share a love of the same things that motivate and inspire you.

So start doing whatever it is that you’ve always wanted to do.  Whether it’s changing careers, moving, traveling, or taking singing lessons, dancing, hiking, yoga, learning a new language.. Whatever it may be, do it. Don’t be afraid, don't let fear run your life. If it’s big enough to dream about it’s realistic enough to go after it.  For me personally, that is the one common thread through every social media post, every conversation and every action in my life. One life, live it completely. Leaving my long-term career two and a half years ago was the catalyst to everything I am doing in life today and to inspire you to do the same. Not every step has been rainbows and unicorns, in fact it’s been among the most challenging times of my life, but I wouldn’t change any of it to be the person I am in this moment and to be one who takes life head on.  

Life is too short to be spent waiting for permission to get started.