I am still buzzing about a story my dear friend, Megan, shared with me last week. In fact, I am on fire about the experience she had, because it was real, honest and a brave act of authenticity. Although, I have been laser focused on feeling more free in my life and being authentic in each experience, there are times I still hold myself back out of fear. So, her story resonated with my current experiences in a big way.
A few years ago Megan was in San Francisco and found herself at an art studio at Haight and Ashbury. The studio belonged to an artist by the name of Sami Sunchild and her work left a huge impression on Megan and inspired her in many ways. In fact, Megan gives credit to Sunchild’s art, as one of the biggest influences in her choice to attend UC Berkeley.
So now, four years later, as she is nearing her graduation and feeling a strong desire to meet and thank the artist who inspired her in a significant way, she hopped onto Bart and travelled into San Francisco in hopes of doing just that. Sadly upon her arrival, she learned that Sunchild died one year earlier. As you can imagine, she was heartbroken and confused. Megan moves on instinct and she was feeling such a strong pull to meet Sunchild at this time in her life, she was sure she was going to be greeted by her when she walked in the art studio she visited four years prior. She felt a huge loss upon discovering this news.
Gathering her thoughts as she left the studio and realizing she was hungry, she headed in the direction of food before returning home to Berkeley. En route, she recognized the beating of drums, instantly the mellifluous sound soothed her spirits, so she let the music guide her to its source. — I know! Doesn’t that sound amazing, to live in such a way that we allow ourselves to be led by the things that soothe us, bring us peace and joy.– Megan found herself at a park standing in front of a drumming circle. They began playing an African song she had recently learned to dance to. Megan’s minor is Dance.
She felt an instant and strong pull to dance for them, but her immediate response was to hold back. You know how these moments and the conversations that take place in our head go, when we are feeling a desire to do something that takes us outside of our comfort zone. Dancing in a group or in front of an audience is not new to her, but inviting herself to be a solo dancer in the middle of an unknown drum circle, was a new and different experience.
So she stood there for a moment. Her mind telling her it wasn’t safe, she might embarrass herself. Her heart saying, “Dance girl! Dance like there is no tomorrow!”, and her body aching to move. She realized this entire experience was a gift to her and that her dancing would be a gift to them. She felt strongly that she couldn’t pass this up.
Here is Megan’s description of the moment and the dance in her words, from our phone call, as best as I can remember; “I stepped into the circle, made eye contact with the drummers, bowed my head with a slow dip of my chin and began to dance. At first I moved softly, with the intensity escalating to the level that forced the air, I moved in, to blow my hair-tie off. I could feel a huge smile spread across my face that stayed there for the duration of the dance. It was a fleeting thought, but at one moment I had this image of a dancer who I encountered dancing, one late night on the streets of Mexico. I remember how beautifully she danced and how happy she looked, and in that moment I also knew how she felt. We were one. When the song was over, I looked toward one drummer, made eye contact and bowed my head once again in recognition of our mutuality, to show respect and to say thank you. He bowed his in return. The experience was revealing while simultaneously soul-healing. I walked away. I was no longer hungry. I was completely filled up, nourished in every way possible.”
How many of us and how many times, have we said NO to some experience we longed for because we were afraid. Afraid of appearing stupid, silly or weird, afraid of not being accepted. Life gives us the exact experience we need to grow and evolve. It is always recognizable because it comes with such a strong desire to engage in it, and an even stronger sense of disappointment when we do not. These experiences shift and change as we do and lately mine is dancing. Not dancing with others, or in a group, but dancing alone. Music and movement have always made me happy, however, I am the girl who attended her one and only Prom and would not dance for fear that I would be looked at and fear that someone might think I did not dance well enough.
Today I dance in a group and with a partner when the opportunity presents itself, but I have had a few experiences recently when I felt a strong desire to get up and move to music when no one else was and I did not. Each time this happened I felt a huge loss for not letting the inspiration inside me be expressed. I have this recurring thought during these moments and it is “I want to be free”. So when I heard Megan’s story, it was such a gift for me. I don’t know why I am suppose to dance alone, I just trust that doing so will grow me, and free me from some of the inhibitions I still have.
Tonight I am heading to a ceremony that will have music and not necessarily dancing, but if the spirit moves me I will dance! I will dance for me, for you, and I will dance to thank Megan for being so brave and modeling how its done. When we live in our authentic truth and share it with others, it inspires, lifts and give permission for them to do the same. There is this ripple effect of goodness and inspiration that reaches far beyond what the eye can see.
So right now, what are you being called to do, that brings you outside of your comfort zone and scares you? Go do that thing! Then come back and share it with us.
Much love to you and may we always recognize the infinite blessings that surround us,