Recreating Myself

Hello dancing community,

I’ve been hiding out.  I’ve been feeling like there wasn’t much to write about or share.  I have my reasons, like I’m not competing so it’s not exciting.  Or that I don’t know what I’m doing, I’m screwing it all up, I’m gaining weight, I’ve stopped working out, and I can’t live up to the persona that I created as who I am online.  I have been ashamed.

But you know what, that doesn’t work.  It doesn’t work for me, and it doesn’t work for our community when I’m stingy with sharing myself.  I’m absolutely flabbergasted that I still see traffic both on WordPress and on Facebook.  I’ve been practically inactive for months, and even when I have been active, in the past, it’s always been inconsistent, sporadic.  Ha!  The way you do anything is the way you do everything, at least in some measure, and boy oh boy one of my favorite fixed ways to be is to be inconsistent.  So it’s no surprise it’s showing up on the blog, in my diet, in my life….

In some ways, life is going swimmingly!  I have an incredible job I value and where I am valued and appreciated.  I recently got a raise and I continue to get opportunities to contribute to the team with trainings and pilot programs.  My marriage is a miracle.  I am married 13 years and I learned the county where I live has the highest divorce rate in the country, something like over 78% so that, in and of itself, is amazing.  I live close to family and see them regularly.  I’m in this amazing transformational education that’s impacting my life such that I have more freedom, more ease, more joy and happiness, and more friends and social connections than I’ve previously had in my life.  In so many ways my life is working and expanding.

And yet, there is an area of my life that is not working.  It’s the same area that hasn’t worked since I was a child.  It basically comes down to a lack of integrity.  I have not maintained an empowering context of health and wellbeing in the living of this life.

I recently heard a wise person say, “Organize your life around what works if you want power and freedom” as opposed to organizing it around what you want, think, don’t want, wish for, or want to avoid as a personality.

Something has shifted and I’m declaring that I’m done with the struggle.  I’m letting it go.  I’m done searching for the answer, out there.  I’ve finally surrendered the idea that there is the one right coach, or trainer, or diet, or exercise plan that is going to give me the results I want.  It’s just not going to happen that way.  The answer isn’t out there, it’s in here.

I discovered today that I have spent the last 30 years of my life proving myself right that it shouldn’t matter what I look like, that people should love me anyways.  I have been pretending that how I present myself doesn’t impact those I love and my community, but what’s true is that it does have an impact. I’ve also been pretending that I’m not a dancer…but that’s just bull.

I’m clear that my external world is a reflection of my internal world, the belief systems I’ve chosen to buy into.  So wearing clothes with holes in them, maybe not even in public, but still, to keep such clothing, for a long time, to tolerate an obese body, one that is more and more difficult to move, to care so little about my appearance that since I’m alone and can work from home showering and brushing my teeth are optional.  There is nothing wrong with any of these things, and yet, I’m curious, what kind of thinking mind is okay with this way of living?

So anyways, I’ve been participating in this transformational education and last night I completed on a 3 month seminar called Beyond Fitness.  The results did not look like what I thought they should.  In fact, I gained weight so of course it totally didn’t work….or did it?  Actually, it did.  I was able to get complete around some stuff.  Suddenly there is a new level of aliveness and vitality present.  New actions call to me that didn’t before.

And one new action was to go to my dance lesson and post live the routine I’m working on.  I haven’t danced publicly in almost a year.  My body has changed.  My fitness capacity is diminished.  I’m bigger.  I’ve been dancing less.  And yet, the thing to do was to share myself, my dancing, exactly where I am right now in this moment, exactly as I am not and to let go of looking good and saving face.  This is me, here, now, imperfect, flawed, fat, beautiful, graceful, in progress, and wonderful.  So I did it.

And then I got in my car and I cried.  It was emotional to share that.  And it was emotional to read comments….my one friend mentioned that she loved seeing me dance, and my mother-in-law mentioned seeing me dance always made her smile.  And I got that me sharing my dancing has an impact.  I was pretending like it didn’t matter if I danced or didn’t dance, if I shared or didn’t share, if I showed up or don’t show up.  On one level it is quite inconsequential.  On another level it matters greatly.  I mean, there have been quite a few people who have reached out to me when they have wanted to dance but felt they couldn’t.  With a little encouragement, they did and had amazing experiences.  Maybe part of that was only possible because I dared to share myself and be available.

And now another miracle discovery.  In conversation I was sharing about posting the dancing tonight and how it was emotional for me.  Across the table from me were two fitness experts and one of them asked me….”so are you living as a dancer would live?”

My goodness!  No!  The clouds parted.  I can see clearly now another aspect why all the training didn’t ever work.  I never enjoyed going to the gym other than lifting weights.  Why am I not simply dancing more, dancing every moment I possibly can?  My life is not designed around being a dancer no wonder it’s not working.  My friend shared with me how he used to go to the gym and run and all this stuff thinking that it would make him a better jujitsu fighter.  What he discovered by talking with people he respected and looked up to as champions in that field was that they spent all their time on the mat, not the gym. Aha!  So simple and obvious, right?  But it seems like when bodies hold extra weight the priority is to get it off, and the world says the way to do that is diet and exercise, and exercise a lot and eat a very little.

And the other thing in giving up the struggle is that I want this fitness to be an integrated part of my life, a natural expression of who I am in the world.  No more of making it a project, or putting it in place for a particular event.  No!  I get to have it all the time as a balanced, healthy, wholesome aspect of life. It is no longer something to fix and change.  This was the most damaging and debilitating way to hold this entire experience.  Actually, there is nothing wrong over here.  I’m perfect, whole and complete.  And standing in that place, solidly, powerfully, I get to create what it looks like to live as a dancer, even as I hold the job I do, the reality of the physicality I currently embody.  Starting from this space generates a whole new realm, an entirely new undiscovered country…what on earth would it look like to live my life 24/7 as if I were a dancer.  That context informs all sorts of choices, like bedtime, activity, food, beverage, what I do with my spare time….all the things.

Well friends, it’s been messy lately.  I’m finally emerging from my cocoon.  I’m a phoenix reborn of her ashes ready to soar.  I will most likely have many breakthroughs and breakdowns in the future, and my promise is to bring fun, resilancy, and follow-through to what doesn’t work from here on out. I’m recreating myself as a dancer and as a human being. It’s kind of exciting, isn’t it?

18 thoughts on “Recreating Myself

  1. bgballroom says:

    Watching you do that rhumba makes me wish we did Latin. So silky!

  2. P2P says:

    Good for you!!!

  3. Debra A Lein says:

    You are loved by all! And don’t forget to embrace how very healthy you are. We support you and think you are doing a wonderful job on your “journey”. Keep up the great spirit and dance like no one is watching. (Even though we are and love seeing your routines on line). Your smiling Mother-in-law!

  4. BCBallroomdancer says:

    Thank you for sharing your rumba–it looks amazing!! It is interesting how your world and mine tend to parallel each other some–I am also going through a bit of rediscovery and reset, and one of the things I noticed was that the biggest difference for my fitness is that I am dancing differently now–and trying to make up for it in the gym. I realize I have to remember that focusing on dance and making it a priority for my fitness is what worked for me getting healthier. That is what I have to rediscover.

    I hope to hear more from you and want to see more videos!!

    • loveablestef says:

      Thanks for the request for more videos. I still have a love/hate relationship with putting them out for the world to see. I would love to hear what you discover as you play with how much to dance, how long to dance, what practice looks like and the results you get from different ways of showing up! I would love to see videos of you as well 🙂

      • BCBallroomdancer says:

        I will definitely keep you in the loop. I am away overseas until the 24th, but after that it should be a bit of a refresh for me. My videos are on facebook, but perhaps we can share just with each other to help keep us both motivated. Message me some time 🙂

      • loveablestef says:

        Have a great trip! I will message you when you are back.

  5. Mary McClaren says:

    Your post was so timely for what I’m going through now. Growing up as a fat kid I always was picked last, part of the loser crowd because I wasn’t the norm. I definitely did not think of myself as good enough or even worthy of anything. But now, at age 64, I discovered dance. I’ve realized I am a dancer and like you need to change my life to focus on that. Thanks so much for sharing what is going on in your life!

  6. loveablestef says:

    Better late than never! I love that you have discovered yourself as a dancer – how inspiring! You are welcome for the sharing – do you know, actually, I get my life from sharing. It’s when I withhold that I begin to whither. It’s when I share that I come alive, even when I’m sharing what’s not working. Who can you share with about dancing in your life?

  7. I love your video. You have great posture, movement, and feeling. The rumba is a big challenge for me. What really woke me up was when you posted the question, “are you living as a dancer would live?” I need to spend more time on the dance floor. I workout, I stretch, and I practice dance, but I am not living as a dancer. I am living as someone who wants to dance. That is the difference. Thank you for posing the question.

  8. Susan Westfahl says:

    I am so glad I found your blog!!!!

    I am a plus size ballroom dancer as well! You are beautiful! You move so well!! Inspiring!

    I’ve struggled to find others like me and now I found this…you!!!

  9. Love your rumba – I am a plus size ballroom dancer as well – I thought you moved incredibly well – so light and so controlled.

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