New Year – New You? Don’t kick the Baby!

Welcome 2019! One of my New Year’s resolutions is to invest more time keeping the conversation on our blog site going. I love our Epic Dance Community and love being in dialogue with you!

The New Year is a great time to take stock in all that we have accomplished and set goals for self-improvement based on our perceived imperfections. As a rule, this is not a process humans enjoy, but one of which dancers are well accustomed. Every time a dancer enters the room of mirrors and barres, otherwise known as their dance classroom, they examine their reflection and spend the next hour improving it in some way.

The process can be empowering, as there is always room for growth and focusing on the possibilities of becoming something more is invigorating! However, self reflection can also trigger negative voices: “You look goofy.” “Everyone else has this, why don’t you?” “You might as well quit.” This is the voice of fear, overly concerned with what everyone else may think, desperate to save face.

In the classroom, as in daily life, every moment, we are faced with the decision to choose the voice of Love or the voice of Fear. One leads to the path Life and Creation; the other leads to destruction, yours and everyone around you, because the voice you use on You, is the voice you use on Others.

When my students are learning a new skill (and a New Year’s resolution is just teaching yourself a new skill), I remind them of how a baby learns the skill of walking. First they stand up, and they are shocked! Usually so shocked, they immediately fall. Then with a new confidence in what may be possible, they begin to take steps. First with the aid of props and then on their own. How would you talk to this baby? Would you say, “Yay! That’s it! Keep going!”? Or would you yell at it, “What are you doing? You call that walking? You’re so clumsy! You will never get this?” I call this “Kicking the Baby.”

Now, when I ask my students if they would kick a baby just learning to walk, they laugh. Of course not! They would never dream of talking that way to a baby. Yet, I tell them, isn’t it incredible that many of you would have no problem talking to yourselves that way, while you’re learning a new skill? I love looking at their faces when I say this. Their eyes get big, and they immediately go into a shocked silence, as if I have read their minds!

Of course, I don’t need to read their minds. I have a mind of my own, filled with crazy, negative voices. We can’t always silence the voice but by becoming aware of it, we create a space between our Selves and the voice, which takes away its sting. The voice of destruction, when allowed to go unchecked, keeps us from trying and accomplishing new things, which stunts our growth. And if we are not growing, we are withering because status quo is a myth. Nothing in the physical world stays the same. All that arises, eventually diminishes. Only on the spiritual dimension can we escape impermanence, and kicking the baby knocks the wind out of Spirit too!

How much more we accomplish when we embrace the miracles of the Now! When we become self-actualized, not worried about what others think, we are free to Be, which is ideal because we are human beings, not human doings or human thinkings. And it’s ok to be direct with ourselves, as we attempt growth, as long as we remain positive. “I nailed this! Still have some work to do there but I am so much closer than I was a week ago!”

As we embrace the possibilities of the New Year and continue on our path of being a little bit better, remember to be kind to yourself and others, and “Don’t kick the Baby!”