She asked us to dance what it feels like not to have gone after a dream we’ve held really dear to our hearts.
I felt an immediate rush of heartache. Regret welled up. Tears started flowing freely.
I thought about myself at 13 when I quit going to dance class. I said I didn’t like it, but really I thought I didn’t have the right body for it. So I stopped pursuing the very thing that made me the happiest.
I thought about myself at 22 after having gone back to dance.
I was on the verge of graduating from college. I’d just completed a final performance for our spring showcase, and I had loved every moment of working on and performing that piece.
I grieved for the young woman who never even attended a dance class in New York City (where I moved very shortly after graduation), let alone an audition, because I was too scared and thought I didn’t look the right way to be a dancer. College was one thing, but this was the real world.
Rochelle Schieck, my dear friend and founder of Qoya, a movement practice for women to remember their wise, wild, and free essence, reminded us all week at the retreat that it didn’t matter how it looked. The way we knew we were doing it right was that it felt good – good meaning true and honest.
With my eyes closed and my back facing the other 30 or so women in the room, I relived how bad it felt to give up on a dream that a part of me had wanted so badly.
In the pause between songs, Rochelle asked us to go through a simple yoga sequence as though it were a prayer.
“How would you move if your movement were a prayer?” she asked.
A solitary guitar playing a simple melody wafted into the room as we all took our spots at the top of our mats in a giant circle. As we inhaled, lifting our arms to the sky, the song began, “Old pirates, yes they rob I, Sold I to the merchant ships, Minutes after they took I, from the bottomless pit.”
Redemption Song. How apropos.
Rochelle said something about redemption and dreams, the specifics of which I cannot recall, as we cycled our breath through sun salutations, moving as prayer.
And on a final step forward after a downward dog it occurred to me:
“I am dancing.”
My dream had always been to dance. And I was dancing.
I realized the likelihood was that, even if I’d pursued dance auditions in NYC and some sort of professional career in dance, I likely would have ended up in the very same place.
Rochelle shared about competing in dance competitions all throughout her childhood and then pursuing a dance degree at the university level. She shared how freeing it was to dance Qoya, knowing that it doesn’t matter how it looks, it matters how it feels.
I knew that even if I’d gone on to do pirouettes for a living, I would have wanted to come back to how it feels eventually. I’ve always come back to how it feels. And there I would have been, standing in a circle of 30 women, sweating out our grief, moving our prayers through our bodies, and dancing our hearts out.
There was this crystallizing moment where I knew that no matter what I had chosen to do with the previous ten years of my life, I would have ended up right here, dancing.
And dancing was what I had wanted to do all along.
My granny, Edna Northrup, was interviewed about her lifelong dream of going to Everest and actually making that dream a reality at the age of 84 by climbing the 100 miles and thousands of feet to Base Camp. (You can see the interview below.)
“Sometimes people have a dream and they don’t pursue it at all. But there’s always time to pursue it in some form,” she said.
I’d seen this interview many times, but somehow I’d never heard the wisdom in those words so clearly before.
We make all kinds of decisions about why we can’t do certain things and start dropping dreams off the possibility list.
We’re too fat. We’re too old. We’re not smart enough. We’re not creative enough. We don’t have enough talent. We don’t want other people to feel bad.
Granny redeemed her dream of going to the top of the world when she was in her eighties. I decided to redeem my dream and be a dancer from here on out.
As I let my movement be my prayer, I felt an erupting joy that my dream to dance was not only still very much possible, it was actually happening.
With the cloak of regret pulled outside my line of vision I could see clearly that while I hadn’t pursued my dream exactly as I might have imagined it, I had pursued it nonetheless.
All that mattered was that I was there, dancing, living the dream.
OVER TO YOU:
What dreams have you let fall to the wayside? Which ones still burn in your heart? How can you live those dreams in some form right now?
P.S. The Annual Hay House World Summit starts on May 9th. Designed to empower, heal and transform, this summit bring together over 100 leading experts, authors and spiritual teachers. I’ll be sharing some new insights about money and worth that you won’t want to miss during the summit. For more information, click HERE.