Opening the Door To The Past: When things aren’t working, try something new

A few weeks ago, I wrote about opening the door to the past, and how I finally felt ready to do it. And then…nothing. I couldn’t write a post I felt happy with. It was so frustrating. But now I know why.

We all have memories which stand out, etched in perfect clarity, like video clips that loop in our mind. And every time I tried to write about my mid-teenage years, I would get stuck in this one loop. It goes something like this:

  • Standing in a ballet class in utter misery, feeling nothing but helpless.
  • Dancing through tears, silently begging my mom to come and save me.
  • Slapping myself -HARD- across the face out of sheer self-disgust.
  • Dancing with the flu, with streaming colds, with injuries because I was too scared to say no. Ignoring my body’s screams for rest and care because I was afraid of getting in trouble.
  • Going to auditions for teacher-approved schools that I wasn’t remotely interested in, and being so terrified that I could barely dance at all.
  • Being yelled at. A lot.
  • Pushing everything down. The rage. The pain. The sadness. The self-hatred.

(Just in case you assumed that a person who believes that everyone is a dancer must necessarily have no issues with dance…)

Over and over, around and around these memories went, keeping me from writing, keeping me from moving forward. It’s been this way for years. They’re stories of powerlessness and victimhood and smallness. I didn’t know how to make them into something constructive. And I kept thinking to myself:

I am so very, very tired of this.

So I let it go for a while. And the other day I sat down and did some journalling about these memories, this well of rage and pain and grief that sits in my gut. And I discovered something interesting: in the past month, my reaction to those memories has gone from “Oh, poor, victimized me” to “Yes, it sucked. A lot. But, you know, I could have said no, changed schools, or made my mom understand what was really going on. I know why I didn’t, but technically I could have.”

And I don’t mean it in a self-blaming kind of way. It’s more a realization of the options that were there. Yes, I felt small and helpless and completely victimized by someone who I’d known since I was tiny. Yes, I thought -because I was taught it- that this suffering was Just The Way It Was in Ballet. You Suffered For Your Art.

But I could have escaped from it. Even if ballet had been the right thing for me, this particular path wasn’t the only way.

Look at that list of memories. Those are not things that were done to me (OK, the screaming was, but nothing else was). Those are things I did in reaction to my situation. I mean, did someone else slap me across the face? No. I DID IT TO MYSELF.

All of that pain, all of that rage and frustration and grief and self-loathing and seething resentment? All of those memories? I participated in their formation. And that’s not something I’ve ever thought about before.

I’m realizing that, even though I didn’t use it, and even though I couldn’t see it, I had power in those situations. I had a choice. Something about that knowledge helps. And now I can finally write about it.

Earlier this year, Goddess Leonie posted a video that changed my life. In it, she said “if things aren’t working, try something new.” She was talking about business. But really, that can apply to anything. If things start to suck, you can either 1) keep slogging away at the same old crap and getting more and more frustrated…or 2) you can try something new.

It’s not about giving up when the going gets tough. It’s about knowing the difference between a challenge and a glaring sign that you are not on the right path. Those memories I’ve been cycling through? Those were signs that things weren’t working. And no matter how hard I worked, or how many hours a week I danced, or how many colds I ignored, things still weren’t going to work. I stuck with option #1 for years, and it SUCKED.

But now I can look at those memories and think “You know what? Screw that. From now on, I choose option #2.” Trust me, slapping yourself across the face? It’s about as fun as you think it is. Slamming away at a blog post that’s just not working? Also not fun (though significantly less physically painful).

There are better ways to live.

Is there any part of your life where you’re beating your head against a brick wall instead of walking through the door six feet to the left? Why not try something new instead?


Inspiration Tuesday: beautiful randoms, important questions, big love, and deep emotions

Happy Tuesday! And Happy Summer!

I have a TON of magic to spread around today! YAY! Let’s get right to it!

I came across two sites that have me going back again and again:

The first is Gimme Presence. Every time you click the little present icon, they give you a new tidbit to read. Sometimes it’s inspirational, sometimes it’s silly, sometimes it’s a little sad but full of perspective. It’s fun to see what comes up next. My favourite so far is: “In this moment, you’re perfect. Just the way you are.”

The other site is Poem Postcards, which is a fabulous father-daughter collaboration of photographs and original poetry. The main page is a slide show of postcard images, and they are SO AMAZING! I adore them. I want to buy all of them (and when our postal strike is over, I just might…)

Oh man…OH MAN. Take a look at this heart-wrenchingly lovely post by Darrah Parker. It’s a letter to her baby, and it’s all about her partner and their love story. I adore it. And I can totally relate.

Here is a quick reminder from The Organic Sister that had me going “You know? THAT IS SO TRUE!”

Pace and Kyeli at Connection Revolution have been rocking my world lately. In this post, Kyeli writes about her experience of being in a wheelchair. It’s eye-opening and anger-inducing (in the best possible way). Go read it. You’ll see what I mean.

And here’s a fantastic article from Pace about celebration vs transformation and knowing when something is worth making sacrifices for. Every time I read this post I love it more. Excuse me while I go read it again…

Imagine if you took the time and money you put toward vacations and instead put it toward something transformational, like moving to someplace you love

Oooh. Yes. I want to do that.

Video time!

Mesmerizing amazingness from Het Nationale Ballet (the Dutch National Ballet):

A video from GraceKaya which I adore. I especially love how it looks like she’s going to turn the camera off halfway through and then she changes her mind…and then it gets twice as awesome.

And, finally, I’ve been listening to this song on repeat today. It’s very close to my heart, for reasons I’ll get into someday. And I want to share it (but the video is just lyrics…so feel free to listen to it instead of actually watching it).

Every time I hear it, I have to dance. Or cry. Often both simultaneously.

And that’s the magic that I came across online this week! If you find anything awesome out there, please come back and share it!



Join the Dancing Mamas Tribe!


What is the Dancing Mamas Tribe?

As the mom of a baby, and now of a toddler, I have had an insanely hard time getting out to a dance class. Seriously, even now I keep trying to get to them…and it just doesn’t happen. If there’s a morning class, there’s the childcare issue. If there’s an evening class, there’s transportation and bedtime to deal with. I want to go…but really, I make it out once in a blue moon (or, more specifically, twice in the past 3 years).

I don’t think I’m alone here.

Dancing Mamas Tribe was born out of my frustration. It’s time, space, and permission to show up with your little one(s) in tow and do your own dance with other mamas. No follow-the-leader. No nursery rhymes. No experience necessary. No such thing as “a bad dancer.”

Dancing Mamas Tribe is a totally judgement-free zone where all dance is welcome and all dancers are perfect just as they are. No need to get a babysitter (unless you want to) or worry about bedtime. Babywearing and nursing completely welcome. Pauses for diaper changes/potty breaks expected.

Come get your groove back with other mamas! I hope you’ll join me on the dance floor!

The Juicy Details:

Sunday, JULY 17     2:30-3:45pm*
Prospect Road Community Centre’s Dance Studio
2141 Prospect Rd, Prospect, NS

$10/pay what you can (children dance for free)

Saturday, JULY 23    TWO SESSIONS: 1:30-2:45pm and 3:15-4:30pm*
Thomas Raddall Room, Keshen Goodman Public Library
330 Lacewood Dr, Halifax, NS

$10/pay what you can (children dance for free)

*Studio will be open to dancers 15 minutes before class begins. Come on in, stow your gear, and settle into the space.

You can register for any or all of the sessions by filling out this form, or by calling me at (902) 489-3411


FAQ and important info:

What should I bring?
Bring your usual kid-toting paraphernalia, some water, and your beautiful, shining self!

What should I wear?
Wear whatever makes you feel like dancing, whether that’s a skirt or yoga pants! Anything goes!

Do I have to be a mama to come?
Nope! ALL women are welcome, regardless of mamahood, age, and fitness level. If you want to come, I want you to be there. Just know that there will be kids there…if kids freak you out, this may not work for you.

What if I want to leave my kids at home?
DO IT! Come and dance on your own! It’s the same price whether it’s just you, or you and four kids. Do whatever feels best for you!

So…how does this work exactly?
We’ll start by gathering together in a circle, we will get centred in the space, and I will make encouraging noises (I am very good at encouraging noises). Then we’ll turn on the music and start with a couple of gentle songs to help us warm up. We’ll dance for just over an hour, and we’ll end with another circle. And yes, it’s totally fine if you can’t get your kids to stay in a circle. I know how that can be.

The point is to have a completely awesome and stress-free time. I will not “be mad” if you need to take a break at any point, or if you need to take your kid out for any reason, or if there’s a poop emergency or whatever. This isn’t your normal dance class, and there’s no learning curve or anything. So relax, and do whatever feels right in the moment. Take care of yourself and your body. And don’t forget to breathe!

There is no right or wrong way to do this. All you need to do is show up. It’ll be AWESOME.

Final note:

Please take good care of yourself and your things during the Dancing Mamas Tribe. Listen to your body, be aware of your kids in the space, and feel free to ask for help if you need it. Meg Goodmanson/Spirit Moves Dance is not responsible for any loss, damage, or injury that occurs in association with the Dancing Mamas Tribe.

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