As I reflect in the limbo space between Christmas and the turn of the year, I‘m digesting lingering pieces of what’s past and listening for the growing rhythm that’s starting to pulse my enthusiasm for a New Year. Randomly I was thinking about the late 80’s and early nineties, particularly the ages of 10-13 and my crazy love of performing… dancing, singing, acting, broom twirling (yes you read that right, no one bought me a baton so I twirled brooms- quite well I might add). At the boys & Girls Club where I went afterschool I remember them having lip-syncing contests, which of course, being the performing lioness I am, I was all over. Inevitably along with the lip-syncing there was always coordinated costumes, high ponytails and a dance routine. I was laughing at this memory and remembering how much I LOVED to dance and bring it all to the stage when I was younger. Don’t get me wrong, I still love to dance- no question- but coordinated routines have been replaced with a free form groove.
I found myself wondering about routines vs. free form grooving and what they offer, both in life and on the dance floor. The past few years resettling back into island living has been pretty free form. There’s certain rhythms and routines that organize my day like teaching, exercising with my dog, and client time, but aside from that I get to make it up. I have the freedom to decide. When I was in California that was by no means the case. School, which consumed much of my time, had a very distinct routine of class and study. Added into that rhythm was a job or two or three that made the paper to pay for the whole grand mind growing adventure. Bay area living to island style life is a radical contrast.
Now you might be thinking life in the tropics is where it’s at. Slow and easy in some place warm and beautiful sounds nice… and it is. Real nice actually. But I’ve been heavily influenced by my 13 years in California. I had a routine and way of being designed to fit my life, who I was, and where I wanted to go in that space and time. When I got here I think I had a big bold backlash against all those years of focused effort and diligent hard work. I was thrilled to be loose and undefined… for awhile anyways. This year held some pretty intense bumps, some places of clearing out, some re-dreaming the vision of my life, some soul filling travel, some eye opening in business, and some humbling moments of all the ways I am responsible for what is not working in my life as much as for what is.
So what am I getting at? I’m working my way towards the words, ideas or concepts that will orient me in 2014 and shape my new year. The words that keep coming are discipline, commitment, presence, and authenticity. But what do these words really mean? How does this connect to the bigger trajectory of what’s evolving in my life? And what on earth does it have to do with a dance routine? I’m so glad you asked…
We humans are always seeking for balance, for that perfect combination of structure and freedom; in yoga I call it rooted expansion. A solid foundation supports our connection to the essentials that enable our growth and the freedom allows for our own authentic self-expression. Like a seed growing into a plant, a tap root drives deep into the soil to anchor the possibilities to come keeping the plant stable as it rises above the soil and moves into the elements expressing itself through fruit or bloom. It requires balance, too much of one with out the other and we are stunted, our potential unfulfilled, our creative pulse denied it’s full groovy rhythm.
As children we require boundaries and routines to help our psyches grow into cultural systems of connection, self-expression and responsibility. We also require play to explore our freedom, to follow our impulses, to explore the edges of our dreams and the possibilities and ideas that may emerge from our willingness to play. As we grow up, we forget how essential play is as a regular practice, but we long for it nonetheless… we crave vacations, or get hungry for a dance floor and a night out on the town with a few glasses of whiskey, we become thrill seekers so we can stretch to our edges again. All so we can reclaim a sense of balance and remember the fullness of who we are as we navigate mundane routines and a ceaseless forward motion that constantly forgets the once inspired destination.
As an adult I have found a great love for this time of year. It’s a powerful soul pause to take stock and assess the journey we’ve been on so far, the influential points of the year we are completing and all that life has given us to make another year possible. And as we digest what has passed we clear space to invite what is new, what seeds want to grow and expand us into the next revolution of our wild and precious lives.
For me, 2014 is calling out a dance routine. It is inviting me to step out onto the dance floor with all the passion I have for body wisdom and movement with a renewed discipline. As the music of the New Year starts I can feel that tingling presence of aliveness like being queued on stage before the curtain opens. And when that curtain does lift I can feel a ripeness, an alignment with spirit to show up in all my authenticity and fully commit to delivering my joy, my depth, my passion and juicy playfulness to life this year. And so, I’m on the look out for some soul rockin, mind shiftin, heart thumpin, booty shakin music to keep bringing me back to this New Years frame of mind, that this life, this year is all mine and if I dare to show up and bring it all to the table… it might just be the best damn show with impact that ripples out for years to come.