Dance, especially if you hate the song

The song was all wrong. It felt like a brillo pad on my flesh. I wanted to get the hell out of the room. I wanted to run away from the awful noise coming out of the speakers.

An hour earlier, in the welcoming circle, I had encouraged everyone to try to stay in the room and keep moving, even if their monkey mind was telling them something different. The monkey mind is a tricky bastard. It will do almost anything to avoid discomfort.

I took my own teaching into my body and kept moving. My hatred for the song got stronger. The voice echoing in my head was, “I hate this. I hate this. I hate this.” I kept dancing. The song sounded like a train wreck to my ears. I danced on.

From nearly two decades of dance experience, I knew the only way to get beyond the hate is through it. Avoidance never works. I realized the hate was in me, not the song. I loosened my grip as I furiously punched the air, hair flying, hips pumping to the awful rhythm.

When the song was over, I collapsed on the floor, empty. A nothingness enveloped me. I was moving gently, feeling into a new spaciousness in my shoulders, hips, breath, mind. Two dancers started dancing around me in a circle. I stayed on the ground, but started interacting with them, rising and falling as they held me in focus. Their attention felt like a salve to my broken open heart. I rose and swirled about them like a fairy for the rest of the dance, eventually finding a playfulness I hadn’t felt in a long time. 

On the other side of discomfort that evening was what I always yearn for - joy and connection. What a miraculous experience.

When you hate a song, dance the hate. Move with your displeasure and discomfort. Give yourself permission to move however you need to move. 

When a song feels like sandpaper on your skin, it’s a sign that something needs catharsis. It won’t feel good. It will probably feel horrible. Don’t stop moving for the entire song, which is usually only about 3 minutes. Find the courage to stay with it. Do not distract yourself. This is an opportunity to move stuck energy out of your body that’s probably been there for a long time. This is an opportunity to become a little more free in your body. Stay with it. Breathe and keep moving. And let it change you.