This doesn’t feel good.
My ankles wobble.
My calves are seizing.
My toes are literally gripping the floor for dear life.
And I’m supposed to look graceful right now?
I can feel the tension making it’s way up my body, from the clenched toes squeezing together. My abdominals are hard, my shoulders are making their way into my ears, and my fingers are sticking out at an odd angle.
How am I supposed to balance like this?
I think I’ve stopped breathing. The veins are starting to protrude from my neck. Maybe if I hold my breath long enough, I will actually be able to stay here.
Nope….I fall forward, and stare at the dancer next to me balancing so squarely and effortlessly on her leg. How can I be so close and yet completely separated from this one thing?
Why can’t I balance?
Can you relate?
What does this mean to you?
To a dancer, it comes down to one word,
Relevé: a rising up onto full point or half point from the flat of the feet.
For me, I was convinced for years that in order to rise, I had to tip my weight forward. I would be on the balls of my feet literally piked forward at an angle, and then contort my body to somehow balance.
I fell out of turns, I gripped the ballet barre, and I had a hard time in the center of the room.
I would hear the teacher saying over and over,
Rise straight up!
But, I couldn’t do it. My body and mind just didn’t seem to know how. My quads would take the weight and I would pitch forward first to rise. I was convinced this was for other people, not me.
So, I fell.
Can you relate?
I started working with an amazing ballet teacher named Christine Wright a few years ago who approached her class more from an energetic place and performance. She zeroed in on me very quickly and asked me to put my focus on my fingertips and the top of my head when I was dancing.
She would ask me:
Where is your energy?
After years of feeling so contracted, I started to experience a very different feeling as I moved.
A feeling of expansion.
We began every class with a body scan and meditation, and ended with a lovely cool down. I realized I had been cutting myself off from my full body as I was dancing. I was so concerned with holding my positions, that I was literally gripping everywhere.
No wonder I was falling.
I started to reach past my fingers, reach out through my head, and realized I had been holding a ton of tension in my upper body. Then, one day, we were doing a simple relevé exercise in the middle of the room, and I pushed down.
I rose without pitching forward first.
And a flood of new thoughts arose:
This is what it feels like!
I’m on top of my legs!
I CAN do it!
By releasing the tension in my upper body, listening to my teacher, and allowing the energy to flow throughout my whole instrument, I was able to do one thing,
I guess it had been that simple all along, I just didn’t believe it.
Can you relate?
Where are you holding tension in your Creative Process?
What beliefs are holding you back from the simple act of rising to your success?
Have you embodied a habit because it’s safe and all you know?
It can be so scary to release what we feel has served us and contort our expression for the sake of just putting it out there.
We hold our breath and grip the floor, just hoping we can make it through.
We will make it through the writing, speaking, performing……creating.
But, in this contortion, what is the response you are getting to your work? When you create from tension, your audience feels that. So, how is your audience reacting?
When we are locked in the external judgment of perfectionism, we cut ourselves off from our creative flow.
So, what if we used our whole instrument?
What if we expanded our energy, threw away our old limiting habits, and put our focus on one simple action:
What if we found the right teacher to reflect back HOW?
Imagine creating without all that held tension…..
Yesterday I opened my email to this message from one of my private clients who just started a new online course, an area of deep creative passion for her and something she wants to teach others and share. She wrote:
I am confident that I will be able to successfully complete and pass this program. I haven’t felt this optimistic and confident in a very long time. My future looks bright.
A rising up from the flat of the foot.
Now you dance.
Are you ready to relate?