I am a writer. I am a storyteller. I am a lover of words.
Now, I am also a dancer.
In discovering and developing this latest character of mine, I have learned something that seems blasphemous. I have learned, words aren’t the answer.
Life has so many pressures. It has so much angst. It has so much strangeness, discomfort, and confusion.
To help myself make sense of deep and complex concepts, I describe them. I used words to better understand my position and how I “feel”. I strive to capture the perfect description. I had this sense that if I could define how I felt, I would understand how to move forward.
The problem is words add unnecessary complexity. I don’t need to describe anger to have it. I don’t need to know why to feel sad.
Words create a mental structure to your feeling. They do nothing to help you experience it. They give you a “logical” path to interrupt your emotions. This path creates an additional layer of thought to a feeling as you sidestep around it.
It creates a mental block.
When I describe a feeling in words, I condense my emotion into a string of sentences. I have a mental connection tied to that emotion. Each time I revisit my words, I add more to the story. The voice in my head keeps replaying the narrative, leading me to feel stuck. These are words I created to help me…only…they don’t help me feel better. They raise questions.
How do I let out anger without causing hurt? How do I release sadness without being too vulnerable? Why do I feel anxious if I know what’s causing me angst?
Then I discovered a new form of storytelling. The answer to all these questions was simple.
I move with my emotions so that I can experience them.
I don’t add layers of definitions and explanations. I don’t hold my feelings back for logistical reasons.
I move into my anxiety. I feel discomfort, so I move gently at first. I sway one movement into the next. I use my movements to remind me that anxiety means I feel alive. I flow, taking my time, as the feeling of angst moves right through me.
I rage into my anger. I stomp. I chop. I use quick, sharp, intense movements to release the anger and energy trapped in me. I shake off my armor.
I fall into my sadness. I give in. I let go. I trust my body knows how it wants to move, and I let my movements overtake me. I understand the emptiness is just room to grow.
I find myself in joy. I move fully present to the story I need to tell.
I give myself to compassion. I feel my body. I feel my breath. I shift into peace, and I am thankful for all the movements that led me here.
Dancing creates muscle memory that connects my body to my mind. It grounds me in this physical form.
In dance, I create energy channels within me. I feel the energy of my physical form, and I start to feel more confident in my physical body. I am no longer impatient or uncomfortable feeling anxiety, anger, or sadness. I am able to remain present as I feel these heavier emotions.
The more I dance, the more comfortable I feel. The more comfortable I feel, the more confident I am. The more confident I am, the deeper I dance into my emotions, and the more I allow myself to feel.
I am no longer trapped by mental blocks but empowered by physical freedom.
So the next time you feel stuck, and that your words fail you…try dancing and experience how you feel.
Header Image: Google Search Results Pickett Signs Clip Art
Inspiration: Allan Watts
Inspiration: Gabriel Roth & the 5 Rhythms