[I believe that partner dance is one huge metaphor for life and if I ever get around to writing something more than a blog entry, this would be one of the chapters...]
I once read about this advice somewhere: let go and experience the magic.
Partner dancing as a follower has taught this to me time and time again.
Aside from the obvious characteristics that make up a good dancer: balance, musicality, presence, style, rhythm, poster, etc. a good follow has to have one key trait: the ability to let go and truly connect with the music and the lead.
Partner dancing is not about who has control. Its about connecting with the music and then working together to create movement with one person initiating and the other responding.
While the connection to the music is the key to establishing this wonderful interlude, for me, the true magic of the dance happens when I react to the movement initiated by my lead without having to anticipate what’s coming next. The dance becomes a series of moments that flow so seamlessly, where things just fit together almost as if they were just meant to be.
Not every dance is this way, there are certain styles that can be difficult to dance with. There are certain dance leads who use moves that don't quite fit with the melody and rhythm that defines the song. Regardless, when I dance with a lead that can match the music, no matter what his style of dance or level of dance is, as long as we have that connection, I let go and the rest of the world just fades to the background.
I know I have a great dance when intended moves that don't quite turn out as they were first envisioned do not cause a "bump" in the dance. That moment is not marred by apologies. Instead, the magic continues: there is something new that was just "created" , always a shared smile of accomplice and the dance continues, uninterrupted.
The same is true in life: letting go of the outcome contains the ultimate reward. As with dancing, there less stress, less anxiety and less disappointment from non-existent expectations: things are smooth, joyous and fun.
There is a sense of stability in staying true to yourself, a focus on being independent and owning your own happiness. There is a confidence that comes with being so in tune with the present moment that what to do next just unfolds with ease.
Believe me, I know how hard it is to let go, especially when you want something so very, very much or when you're just learning something new. But, just think back to times when it seemed like something “magical” happened. You might be able to trace it back to moments where you haven’t been as “in control” as you thought you should be. The “pleasant surprise” is a surprise because you had no expectations – you just went along your merry way and "hello!" something nice happened.
When I find myself stuck, its usually because things are not the way I want them to be: I'm too wrapped up in why and the how and the "what the heck happened?" To get un-stuck, I dance ;) or, I breathe, focus instead on enjoying what I have in the present and let go.
There are many other people that have shared this same sentiment in words far more eloquent that I could ever come up with so I’ll end with several quotes that I could've used as titles to this blog:
Loving someone is setting them free, letting them go.
-- Kate Winslet
“Less is more.”
“Don’t force it.”
Breathe. Let go. And remind yourself that this very moment is the only one you know you have for sure.
-- Oprah Winfrey
By letting it go it all gets done. The world is won by those who let it go. But when you try and try. The world is beyond the winning.
-- Lao Tzu
Courage is the power to let go of the familiar.
-- Raymond Lindquist
Creativity can be described as letting go of certainties,
-- Gail Sheehy
When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.
-- Lao Tzu
We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the life that is waiting for us.
-- Joseph Campbell
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