Updated: Dec 22, 2021
Eight months ago, while recovering from the emotional stress of prolonged and exhausting conflict in my professional life, as I moved faithlessly, somewhat hollowed of promise, through the routines of my life, I awoke on the morning of March 15th, yawned and stretched my ears open to receive the auroral tones of the universe speaking to me, unwaveringly, in words I had heard before but never truly fathomed. "Give up!” the universe bellowed with a resounding wham,"Stop!” it clanged repeatedly and thinking I didn't get it the first time, it moved right up beside me, took a sharp breath in and screamed, "QUIT IT DAMMIT!!!!"
And...since I didn’t really have a choice as the play I'd been contracted to perform in Calgary was cancelled, the yoga studio I taught at was closing (temporarily) and the dance studios and arts spaces I frequented were shutting down or folding altogether (including my own company of 16 years!) I listened to the call of the universe and... I quit.
I quit trying. I quit measuring and weighing my options, I quit scrambling to piece together a career from overstated, overwritten grants and other competitions of worthiness. I stopped the struggle to keep producing, to make a mark, to fight my way thru a life in the arts as a soldier in the war against small mindedness.
So a few days into the first Covid-19 lockdown, when the social structures and organizations built on western ideals of progress and productivity, which had marched on unendingly (despite some of our best efforts to stop it), were coming to a screeching halt, and the good the bad and ugly of the world as we knew it, was well — pausing, I found myself, while others were suffering unimaginable stress, loss and illness due to Covid-19, riding high on a crest of possibility.
I have the privilege of residing in the beautiful, unceded, Coast Salish territory, aka BC, in Canada where self-employed people, such as myself, had access to an emergency response benefit. So for me, the lockdown afforded me the time and space to turn inward, listen to my body, follow tangents, cultivate new skills, and most importantly, consider a new course for my life. And over the subsequent weeks and months, I did just that. For the first time in my life, I began to envision another path for myself, I began to trust that turning away from the life I‘d built as a committed, impassioned dance artist, choreographer and director, toward a life of service in the healing arts was not only possible for me but would be good for me. So in a rush of excitement, I created my new business Facebook and Instagram pages, built my own website, and a few months later, I bought and started a year long business course and online software for wellness professionals so I could begin laying down the foundation to launch my own online movement medicine practice.
Little did I know it at the time, but the universe had even bigger plans for me. About a 1.5 months ago, when I was revving up to take off down the 3-week runway toward my first beta launch, the universe sent me another, subtler and more urgent message. This time it didn't come conveniently placed during bountiful springtime in BC, amidst of a global lock down equipped with emergency relief benefits. This time, the universe was screeching like a trip wire around the walls of my ribcage shouting, "Stop everything! Turn around. Go back. Way back. Dig Deeper!" So instead of the spacecraft launch metaphor I was gearing to become, I became more like a corkscrew spiralling into the stopper of my own heart.
You are probably wondering about the details of the event I'm referring to. Without disclosing too much personal information, I'll just tell you that there was a crisis in my family of origin that left me and my family feeling shocked, vulnerable and scrambling for answers.
And so I found myself, like every human going through a crisis, shocked awake to a deeper reality. Whether it's losing a loved one, going through a divorce, moving countries, transitioning jobs, caring for a sick child or aging parent, crisis can unearth a cornucopia of messy and chaotic feelings that can render life as usual, at best, uncomfortable and at worst, down right unbearable. Yet sometimes with a crisis call, if we open our ears, we can hear the delicate overtones of the universe, vibrating loose all the machinations of our 'ordinariness', inciting us to open to its extraordinary song.
So, without diminishing the insight and inspiration those early months of Covid-19 gave me, I realize now, in full reception of the universe's message, that I was still acting and reacting from within a paradigm of "productivity". It's very curious when I reflect on it, I had no one telling me "I needed to get my sh*t together," or start 'bringing home the bacon' but I still felt a pressure to pivot, turn, adapt quickly, make myself useful and prove myself 'worthy' by external measures. After all, pivoting, turning, as an improvising dance artist was my specialty — right? I should be able to figure this "life transition" stuff out by the end of the year — right?
You see, just like all of us raised within a western, consumeristic culture which feeds upon our fears of not having enough or being enough, in the face of setbacks, I was conditioned to respond by looking outside myself, comparing, strategizing, setting goals and well... pressing on. And I would add that through my years in the arts, I also had a powerful inner clock shouting "the show must go on!" "the show must always go on!" and I was so entrained to that clock that, even as I was indulging in hikes with friends, bike rides to the beach with my beloved, training in esoteric breath practices, jumping in the cold water and feeling more alive than I had in years, I was still ticking to its incessant tock.
As I reflect on the 'second wave' of crisis/awakening I experienced, we have just begun our first day of the 'second wave' lock down here in BC and I can't help but notice how synchronistic this year has been, for so many of us. My heart goes out to any and all of you who are grieving, struggling or navigating life transitions during this time. This year has pressed and pushed us to the edges. So many things have been lost and I hope that for all of you, no matter where you are in your journey, that many things have also been gained. Myself, I gained an invaluable insight into the inner structure of my family identity and discovered that the biggest pivot I needed to make at this time was within myself.
Crisis asks you to drop everything and hold on and in my case, with the support of my siblings, I held the tired hands of my parents, looked into the eyes of the very people who gave me life and, as the muck covered roots of fear, scarcity and lack were unearthed from within me, I discovered that the value of ALL of life, is inherent, organic, encoded within us and I don't need a 'reason' to love it. The miracle of my existence is reason enough.
If you are looking for tools, techniques and guidance negotiating the stresses of life during Covid, below is a list of links, in no particular order, to some of the resources I've been relying heavily on for the past few months.
I hope it proves to be a helpful way to keep your dance alive in the coming winter months.
If you make use of them, please let me know what you think!
And in case you missed my dance classes above, here's the link again: https://edamdance.square.site/#YxZuiR
Ooo, ooo! Also....
Now that I'm through the other side of my 'second wave' I will be gearing up again soon to launch my online yoga classes. If that's something you are interested in, if you aren't already on my mailing list, please stay in the loop by hitting the connect button!