So many of us tend to make sweeping resolutions at the beginning of each year, only to stumble a few days or weeks into the grand scheme. How often do you chastise yourself for those stumbles – feeding a downward spiral of sensation? There are ways to reverse that process – by being kinder and gentler with your Self – really! Read on to find out how …
I was given this great sign that now hangs in my studio … and nags me to lighten up with myself. And in spite of my penchant for the pursuit of perfection, I’m appreciating that there is value in a stumble, and yes, it’s all part of my life dance.
When I watch dancers perform I love the pauses or awkward shifts and angles that are part of the choreography. Those moments add contrast, complexity, surprise, and thrill me – when I see it happening in a way that I know is intentional. Hmmm.
So can I take that appreciation and enjoyment of the complexity of a choreographed dance and apply it to my dance, my life passages as they unfold on the improv stage of my life? Truthfully? Sometimes yes and sometimes no. But I’ve been noticing that I’ve been shifting to more yesses recently. So my dance is growing in complexity and I am growing in my appreciation of how I grow.
The great gift in this little vignette is that as I let go of judgement and come to appreciate my own quirkiness more, I’m less stressed. Less stress means less cortisol floating around in my systems, which in turn means I sleep better, which allows me to focus with greater intensity and clarity – which is way fun. I’m dancing in an upwardly mobile spiral of self-care that starts with being awake to each moment as I’m living it. And me being me – I’ve figured out ways to magnify and simplify the process so that you too can enjoy this dance without taking years to figure it all out.
How to Choreograph Your Dance:
Step 1. Pay Attention You can start by setting “Pay Attention” reminder notices to come up on your computer or phone every hour. Or for the less technically minded, write yourself notes and place them where you’ll see them a lot (bathroom, fridge door, front dash of car etc) Or if you’re really up for change – do both.
Step 2. Notice your Body When you see these reminders you know to bring your attention to your body. Take a breath and as you exhale consciously relax your shoulders. As you notice how your shoulders lower, you will shift out of your head and into your body. And while you’re there you might as well notice what else is going on: the muscles holding the expression on your face, how your feet touch the ground, what your spine is doing. The whole process takes less time than it does to type out this description.
Step 3. Catch the Negative Zingers Did you notice anything like … oh, I’m slouching, that’s bad, I’m going to get dowagers hump, and it makes my belly pouch out – omg I’m fat … or the infinite variety of nasty things you can be saying to yourself under the surface. It’s often only when we snap to attention in the moment that we notice those negative conversations.
Step 4. Choose Your Thoughts Once you notice the zingers, you have the choice to change those energy-suckers to ‘better feeling thoughts’ (Abraham-Hicks) A better feeling thought would be something like … oh, I’m slouching, I think I’ll shift into a more vertical alignment, oh that feels better. Hey I like it better when my feet are on the floor. Okay – now I feel revitalized. What’s next?
Step 5. Act Now
* Allow what wants to move to do so. As soon as you notice tension, for example, your body will want to do something to feel better.
* Shift control from your mind to your body just for a moment and allow the physical shifts to follow. All of these steps happen very quickly (you’ll notice that I was already talking about acting now in step 4).
The actions don’t have to be big, in fact it’s better to be small or quick. Instant gratification is a great motivator. When you move your body just enough to feel better it tends to shift the direction of your thoughts as well. It’s a minor shift in the choreography that changes the whole tenor of the dance.
Repeat as often as you want.
Instead of your cortisol ever rising through your days, it fluctuates in a much healthier way. Imagine lovely waves rolling into shore instead of a monster tsunami destroying everything in its path. Does that make you want to try these steps? I know that over time, these small daily steps can create massive change with amazing ease.
AND did you know that we do all of this in a Nia class? AND I’m back from Mexico on Feb 5!
Come dance with me at Nia classes in Davis Bay, Mon/Wed 5:30 pm or Sechelt Aquatic Centre, Tues/Thurs 9 am or Sat 9:15 am … new sessions are starting next week.