The Dancers and The Nerve (Part 2)

“Don’t say, “Yes!”
Just take my hand and dance with me”

~  Oriah Mountain Dreamer – The Dance ~

Leap

I will now turn my focus to “the dancers who had all the nerve”, and what it really means:

“Oh, when you were young,
did you question all the answers?
Did you envy all the dancers who had all the nerve?
Look around you now,
you must go for what you wanted
look at all my friends who did and got what they deserved.

So much time to make up everywhere you turn
time we have wasted on the way;
So much water moving underneath the bridge
let the water come and carry us away.

So much love to make up everywhere you turn
love we have wasted on the way;
So much water moving underneath the bridge
let the water come and carry us away
let the water come and carry us away.”

Wasted on the Way – Crosby, Stills & Nash
(words & music by Graham Nash)

The only way to know what is there is to find out.  We have seen in our lives dancers who have done amazing things (and I’m not talking about those who throw down a few drinks and act a fool on the club dance floor, although that takes nerve too!!).  To some degree, there is an innate ability that allows a person to learn how to excel and perform those amazing feats, but we are not born with the muscle memory that allows someone to throw themselves in the air and land successfully…all to the timing of music.
That is the nerve part.

Think about someone who takes a running leap and allows themselves to be caught by their partner.  Think about the first time that happens.  There is very little likelihood of success that first time.  What allows the person to take that first leap so they can learn to do it successfully?  I think the answer, the nerve part, is through letting go of the outcome in advance so they can focus on the action and not the result.  By focusing on the action, the “now”, they are able through repetition to train their muscles to respond in the right way to successfully complete the leap.
That is the athletic part.

But sometimes, the most beautiful part of a dance is not from the wildly explosive part, but from a single well-timed step.
That is the artistry part.

It comes from learning to trust their partner, and to learn to read their subtle cues so the timing can be just right.  No one is psychic.  No one can read the mind of another to know when to leap. And no one can see the future to know how each leap will turn out.
That is the true meaning of nerve.

What Do You Say?

“Remember what you are and let this knowing
take you home to the Beloved with every breath.
Hold tenderly who you are and let a deeper knowing
colour the shape of your humanness”

~  Oriah Mountain Dreamer – The Call  ~

I hurt my colleague’s feelings on Friday.  It wasn’t intentional, although I must admit that I am not beating myself up over it.  It has however led to another moment of introspection.

I am loathe to talk about (I am going to call her) Sue at length, because she reads my blog from time to time, and I know that talking about her on here will most probably throw more salt on the wound.  But at the same time, there was something of value that I was reminded of,  and I would like to share it with you.

Our company attended an awards luncheon and Sue was seated beside me at the table.  I can’t remember what brought it on, but our conversation eventually led to this:

Sue:  “David, do you think that I am beautiful?”

Me:  “What do you say?  Do you think that you are beautiful?”

Hurt flashed across her eyes like lightning flashes across the sky – swift but intense, while illuminating everything in its path.  She paused and responded timidly, “I am beautiful, David.”  I could swear that I detected a hint of shame in her voice.

I then made the conscious decision to allow her to sit with what had taken place, so I ensured that our discussion died sudden death by changing the subject.

Now, before you decide to throw a Ming vase at me or call me, ‘Dracula’s Aunty,’ let me explain why I handled things in the way that I did.

You see, in the midst of what took place, lies a woman suffering from low self esteem, and she truly is suffering because of the way that she allows herself to be a doormat to everyone.  She has led a very sheltered life and found herself being flung out into the real world overnight, which I believe is part of why she relies so heavily on the affirmation on others.  I can relate with all of this because I see a lot of myself and where I used to be, in her.

I refuse to demean her by petting her on the head.  Over and above this, my choice not to affirm her beauty on Friday came from a place of, “don’t give me your power!”  She has been with our company for a month and a half, so why should my opinion be of any consequence to her?  It is ultimately her right (and responsibility) to define herself and determine that she is a beautiful human being.  And I certainly have no need to take that right away from her.

What saddens me about that experience is not so much that I had hurt her, but that there was no conviction in her voice when she said that she is a beautiful person.

It raises the questions:

Why are we willing to place more value on the opinion of others than on our own, most especially when it comes to things concerning ourselves?  Why are we so afraid (and possibly ashamed) of admitting that we believe that we are beautiful people?  Could it be that we don’t know who we are, so we allow others to define who we are for us?

“Never let someone’s opinion become your reality.
Never sacrifice who you are, or who you aspire to be,
because someone else has a problem with it.
Love who you are inside and out, and keep pushing forward.
No one else has the power to make you feel small unless you give them that power.
You are the only one who can create your dreams and happiness”

~  Marc Chernoff  ~