I have always LOVED to dance! It’s one of my absolute favorite things to do ever! I started off dancing more in my life in the Fall of 2017 when I decided to stop waiting for people who would be open to going and seeing live music with me. So, I just decided to start going solo. That began with short trips to Santa Cruz when I saw that a funk band would be playing. One of my best days over there was in early 2018 when I combined my first time surfing with a night out dancing (you can read about it HERE). When I was in my 20’s, I was never afraid to be the first one on the dance floor if I liked the music. Then along the way, because of the people I began to hang out with, I was made aware of the fact that there are people who will sit on the sidelines and make fun of the people dancing. It surprised me. So I became more shy about dancing. I could literally hear what was being said about the people dancing, and if I did dance, I worried that people were talking badly about me. In college, I went to an amazing school where I didn’t feel like I had to be any certain way. All bands that came to campus, all music being played were opportunities for ecstatic dance for me, because I danced however I felt the urge and truly danced like no one was watching. In that case, people weren’t watching, because they were also dancing however they wanted and were too busy having fun to focus on me. It was FANTASTIC! I think that’s where I learned to dance and be free in my skin. I am so grateful for that experience even more now that I realize that not everyone has experienced a truly safe space to freely express themselves.
I have been so blessed in the last few months to get to go dancing a lot, solo, with friends, and on a few dates even! It has given me so much joy! I’ve decided that I am going to make even more dancing a priority in 2019! I had started ecstatic dance in my town last Fall, and it was so much fun! People enjoyed having a place to go to dance however they felt moved to, away from people constantly invading their space, and free from spectators with cameras and snide remarks. When that project dissolved for reasons not in my control, I sought other ways to add more dancing to my life. I visited a yoga studio holding ecstatic dance and I began to seek out more live music again. I’m not too proud to say that I also dance a lot around my house, alone. But there is definitely a unique energy that comes from a crowd of people dancing to a band, or even a DJ that doesn’t compare to doing it alone at home. I get so energized by crowds of people coming together for the sole purpose of having fun and dancing. I have been a part of full dance floors of people, and I have been to shows where no one was dancing. In 2018 to present, in the times when the dance floor has been empty, I have thought back to the person I used to be who didn’t care what people thought of her when she was the first one on the dance floor, and in those moments, I have pushed myself out of my comfort zone and DANCED! You know what always happens when I do that? Other people eventually join me and start dancing too! It has been an especially fun challenge to force myself to be the first one dancing since I decided to stop drinking alcohol entirely last summer. Having a few drinks to build up ‘liquid courage’ and getting on the dance floor first is one thing, but doing it after only chugging water is quite another. Try it! I find that I sweat so much while dancing that even if I drink water all night, I still wake up feeling dehydrated!
One thing I’ve realized is that until recently, I hadn’t dated someone who liked to dance as much as me. Granted, my relationships have generally looked like this: start dating, stay together for years, and then break up or get divorced. I haven’t really done the “dating lots of people to figure out what I like” thing. I find someone I like, and I go with it. But wow, what a game changer it was to go out with someone who also loves to dance like no one is watching!! We ended up dancing for most of 5 or 6 hours of our first date, and I can guarantee you that no one around us would have ever guessed that we had only just met! I had a ridiculous amount of fun that I want to have more of in my life! Similar to the energy of dancing as part of a crowd, there’s an amazing energy created when two people dance their faces off and act goofy and carefree together for that many hours! I am so grateful for that connection and that time!
Last night, I went out solo to see my friend, Edward Hernandez, play ukulele with a friend of his. You can check him out HERE. The dance floor was completely clear without so much as a person standing on it for the entire show. I stood on the sidelines bobbing my head and tapping my hands and feet for most of it. A lot of the songs were on the slower side. Then, he got to his last song, and said that it was a dance song and invited people to come dance. No one moved a muscle. I thought about it, then I figured why the hell not?! So I pushed past my comfort zone (yes, even now after all of these times, I STILL have that nervousness that I have to ignore), and made my way to the dance floor. You know what happened? I had a lot of fun, and eventually some other people joined me. A DJ played after my friend, and I stayed to dance. I find that every time I get on the dance floor and do my thing in all of my joyful glory, other people want to join in. So even if you intend to dance alone, know that it won’t be long before someone or a whole group of people tries to join you.
If you find yourself staying inside your comfort zone, but not experiencing as much joy as you want to be, then I encourage you to ditch the comfort zone that is holding you prisoner in the camp of ‘I am worried about what other people will think of me’! When are you going to start living life on your terms?! When are you going to understand that this life is a fleeting gift meant to be LIVED?! How can I get you to believe that your purpose is the thing that brings you the most joy in life? Your purpose is not elusive, it’s your ability to prioritize your joy that prevents you from finding your purpose. Do the things that light you up more often, because they will connect you with your soul, and then you will be guided to new people, situations, and opportunities that will enrich your life in ways you’ve never dreamed. What will you be leaving your comfort zone for in 2019? What experiences are you hoping to attract into your life this year that are worth taking some leaps?
If you’d like some extra encouragement and support as you work to find or add more joy to your life, reach out to me at peacefuljellyfish@gmailcom for more information about a combination of Intuitive Reiki Healing and Joy Coaching! I am very passionate about helping others find more joy, peace, and happiness in their lives! It’s a big part of my soul’s purpose.
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Listen to my friend, Edward Hernandez, covering “Dream On” by Aerosmith HERE