Writing a New Chapter in Your Story

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Since 2003 I’ve tried to set aside time for at least one retreat, and sometimes more, per year. The time to slow down, be in Nature, recharge my batteries, and tune in to what my body, mind and spirit needs is priceless.

A couple months ago I was driving to Taos for a personal retreat weekend I’d been looking forward to after an unusually full few months.

I stopped along the way at a little café to have lunch, and got out my old, dog-eared copy of Louise Hay’s book “You Can Heal Your Body.” It felt timely this fall to dust it off and begin to work with some of her affirmations and exercises given a health issue I’m currently facing.  

Louise has always inspired me so much. Her unwavering positivity is contagious, and it’s not a “Pollyanna” type of positivity. Rather, it’s grounded in this deep and profound knowing that the Universe is always supporting us when we open up to that support and allow it in.

As I sipped my Americano and flipped through the pages, the postscript caught my eye. In it, Louise relays a story about how she waited until her 70s to learn how to ballroom dance, something she’d always wanted to do.  And how, after she learned, she never missed an opportunity to get out on the dance floor.

This really hit home for me, and I’ll share why. My whole life, since I was a little girl (and I’m about to turn 46), I’ve had a “story” about how I’m not a good dancer.

It began in ballet class when I was 6 or 7, when my teacher scolded me for not begin able to do plies or all of the different positions that require your feet to point and turn outward

You see, when I was born I had a relatively benign condition called tibial torsion that caused my knees to rotate inward (I walked pigeon-toed for years!). With corrective shoes and a brace I wore at night, it mostly corrected but I still could never dance ballet… and, in my mind, because no one every really told me otherwise, I created this story about what a bad dancer I was. It became my reality.

It took alcohol to get me out on the dance floor in high school and college. And at all those weddings in my 20s? Yep, a little liquid courage or else I probably wasn’t out there.

And then, one day, I realized: I am denying myself so much joy and pleasure by sitting on the sidelines and NOT dancing. I would watch how much fun people were having and think “Okay, Mindy, even if you look like Phoebe from Friends out there…  wouldn’t you rather look back at all the times you DID dance vs. sitting it out one more time?”

So, I started with what felt safe: 5 Rhythms, Soul Motion. Free form, conscious dance practice that allowed me to move my body in whatever ways felt good.

And at first, there was a LOT of judgment. But you know where that judgment came from? Me.

So I kept dancing. I kept stretching outside of my comfort zone.  And a few years ago, at a retreat in Taos, I realized something.

That harsh voice in my mind that had always said things like “You’re a horrible dancer.” “You have no rhythm.” “You suck at dancing… don’t subject people to watching how totally uncoordinated you are” had finally taken a backseat. It wasn’t driving the bus anymore.  

It is never too late to begin writing a new chapter in your story.

Each morning at the retreat we did 30-40 minutes of free-form dance and I didn’t miss one single morning.  I savored the way my body moved in ways that felt good to it, often dancing with my eyes closed and not giving a shit what anyone else thought.

This, my friend’s, was BIG progress.

So, when I was sitting in the café that day, reading that passage from Louise Hay, it dawned on me that the next chapter of my dancing journey is yearning to be written now. I want to learn how to salsa and how to ballroom dance… and hopefully, have a few more decades of life to enjoy them!

When you think of the ways you’ve held yourself back from feeling joy or pleasure in your life, what comes to mind?

And, what new story are YOU yearning to write?

As I always tell my clients, it is never too late to begin writing a new chapter in your story. We each have the same 1,440 minutes in a day and seven days a week.

And while my story around not being “good enough” has to do with dancing, yours might relate to managing money or public speaking.

Whatever it is, think right now about how you might take one small step towards creating a new, more positive chapter in the story of your life.

For me? I’m starting salsa dance lessons this week. YIPPEE!

And the same day I signed up I came across this article, which means not only will I be having fun but I could also be slowing down my again process. How cool is that?!

If you have a story to share about facing or overcoming your own limiting belief that you’d like to share, please do so in the comments below. I would love to hear from you.

Jennifer WilsonComment