I Hope You Dance
I feel the need to share something with you today.
You may already know that creativity and self-expression are incredibly important to me. I believe in the power they have to transform ourselves and our lives (and our businesses). They are a part of everything that I do and my reason for being here.
In my business, I work with creativity and self-expression by helping people make content pieces. But long before I was a Content Creation Coach, I was a dancer.
Dance Is My Self-Expression
Dance has been an important part of my life for nearly 30 years. Once I discovered it as a child, it was something I had to do. In truth, it is part of who I am.
I arrived at college with a dream of majoring in dance and becoming a choreographer. That dream evolved, and I let go of the idea of having dance as a career. But only because I was convinced that I could keep dance in my life in other ways.
And I did, for a long time.
I danced throughout college, and after graduation I traveled to Italy for a month-long dance intensive. While there, we danced for 6 hours each day, took breaks by the Mediterranean Sea, picked up fresh food at the markets and stopped at the gelaterias on our walk to and from the studio. We traveled and performed on the weekends. It was paradise.
When I returned to the US, I had no money left, no place to live, and had a job lined up in Chicago that didn’t pay much. But my biggest concern was “How will I be able to keep dancing?”
When I got engaged to an amazing man shortly thereafter, my mom threw me a wedding shower in Minnesota. As a gift, she gave me a book and CD called “I Hope You Dance.” It brought tears to my eyes then, and it still does, because it struck a chord deep inside of me.
I continued to figure out ways to keep dancing for the next 5 years, both in Chicago and when we moved to Milwaukee. I even had a cameo appearance in a Wild Space Dance Company performance when I was 9 months pregnant!
Then, in 2005, after my second child was born, I could no longer make it work.
Until a couple of weeks ago, I hadn’t been in a real dance studio for over 10 years. I felt disconnected from it.
I did my best to keep dance in my life by taking Zumba classes and watching dance shows on TV. I love dancing at weddings and other events, dancing in my living room with my kids, dancing pretty much anywhere. But it wasn’t really challenging me as a dancer. I had lost touch with that part of myself.
Three weeks ago, I walked into a dance studio again. It was a powerful experience for me after all this time. I felt like I was home. It was like part of myself was reawakened. I feel like I have been given the opportunity to regain a piece of myself and earn the title of “dancer” back again.
Dance Is My Bliss
Perhaps you’ve heard Joseph Campbell’s idea to “Follow Your Bliss.” I’ve written about it before. He believes that it is the key to finding your path, and growing into the person you are meant to be.
I’ve heard “Your Bliss” described as that thing you can’t not do.
It’s your form of self-expression. Yet, for so many of us, we are not connected to it. We get too busy for it. And the truth is that it doesn’t go away, it stays in us and often eats away at us from within.
The other night at dinner, my husband asked my youngest son, “Did you know your mother is a dancer?” And he said “No.”
It hit me kind of hard. I realized that it is something I really want the people I love most of all to know about me. And I needed you to know it too.
It feels really vulnerable to share something so deeply important to me. But I believe in that too. When we have an experience that moves us or inspires us, there is magic in sharing it with others.
I feel incredibly blessed to have found something that fulfills me deeply at such a young age. And I know how lucky I am to have had the experiences with dance that I’ve had throughout my life.
This is my wish for you today…
That you experience the feeling of bliss in your life. And when you do, that you will share it with others. That it will make you even more of who you are, because that is what the world needs from you.
As the song says…
I hope you never lose your sense of wonder.
You get your fill to eat but always keep that hunger.
May you never take one single breath for granted.
God forbid love ever leave you empty-handed.
I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean.
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens.
Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance,
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance…
I hope you dance.