7 years ago, I experienced a life-hack that led to the past 7 years of dancing–with hundreds of women (men & children) from Southern Vermont & beyond. I share it now as testimony to risk and vulnerability and community and remembrance:
This spring my career path was seriously derailed when I found myself training to become a dance teacher.
This is absurd for so many reasons–not the least of which is that I’m 43 and that my genetic package includes gravity defying hamstrings.
Then there’s the family history of being yanked out of ballet class at age 5; and the elementary school performances where it took weeks to learn what others learned in moments; or the highschool musicals, where I was the one who could be seen “counting” out my steps.
Determined to find a new avenue of self-expression and contribution, I read a host of great books on the subject of passion and purpose, taking all kinds of personality tests, and really getting a handle on what makes me tick; But unfortunately never finding a “job” that matched that beat.
In one last act of desperation (and courage), I took a position in the world of business–of strategic plans and bottom lines, hoping to force new growth, if nothing else.
All I can say is that I love to move to music. I always have. I just forgot. And at my age, there aren’t enough parties or weddings to go around (and forget bars, they aren’t the best match for the married, financially challenged, and easily hungover.)
The other part is that Kripalu DansKinetics (KDK), despite its complicated name (they’ve since renamed it), is really quite simple, designed for everyBODY, offering an incredible workout that’s fun and easy and most importantly: healing.
My class of teacher trainees range in age from 20 to 60, and they come from all walks of life, hailing as far away as Italy, Japan, and even Wisconsin!
So here I am, “career-less-ly”, offering dance classes to those of us who aren’t “dancers”–just because I’m pretty sure we ALL like to move to music, we just forgot.
“Don’t be afraid to go where you’ve never gone and do what you’ve never done because both are necessary to have what you’ve never had and be who you’ve never been.” (Tut.com)
I fall asleep in sweet surrender–despite the fear that my life could be dramatically altered in the morning.
When thoughts of inadequacy appear, something revolutionary occurs. Rather than attempt to chase my fears away or figure them out, I simply surrender them.
I find myself turning them over to whomever it is who cares for me–the ancestors, the angels, the common consciousness.
Instead of finding fault with myself for either being inadequate or feeling it, I allow it. I soften into it. And I fall asleep, dreaming of women. Marrying them.
These dreams have recurred of late–which my husband blames on the episodes of The L Word, a series that I incessantly consumed while sick. (Beware of Netflix streaming!) Given my obvious sexual preferences however, we both know that there is something more going on.
I am softening.
After a lifetime relying on the strong masculine aspects of my particular makeup, I have allowed myself to be vulnerable.
It was her kindness or curiosity or mirroring slip of sanity which set this into motion. On this particular day, I was faced with refusing or accepting a new position, and I was deeply conflicted. My mind said that it was a mighty fine fit. My insides had something else to say.
Given my family’s financial needs and how long it was taking me to find “aligned” work, I was about tip the scale toward practicalities. In a last ditch effort to stay true to myself, I scouted the classifieds, and found hers. I sent out a quick email, requesting a full job description, to which she promptly followed up: “Let me know if you’re still interested.”
Her response took me by surprise. I had expected the standard, “Please send your resume, cover letter and three references if you’re interested,” and given the discernment facing me on this day, I didn’t have the energy for that.
After reading the very long and thorough job description, I replied that I LOVED the organization, but found the responsibilities “scary.” I wished her luck filling the position and thanked her for the ease of our exchange.
Once again, I was taken aback by her quick and easy reply. “What about it scares you?”
Amused, I delved deeper into the requirements to answer that question for myself; and in the process discovered that I had done pretty much all of what was asked in some way or another.
Inspired by our playful volley of emails, I took a risk and sent her a full response: highlighting my experience and interests–and even going so far as to candidly share where I would be challenged and where I would be bored. I had nothing to loose.
Her reply was dismaying. She needed to get back to me later in the day because she had some work to finish.
Now, I wasn’t sure what to do. Do I let go of the sure thing (the job that was on the table) for something that was a big maybe? Do I tell her that I had something on the line? Hadn’t I already trespassed her kindness?
In an act of even greater vulnerability, I apologized for taking advantage of the casualness of our email exchange and offered a brief explanation of my urgency.
I didn’t expect to hear from her before the end of the day so I enrolled my husband and my sisters in the quandary, out of which came this resounding message, “A bird in hand is better than two in the bush.”
But did I want that bird in hand, even if I didn’t have another?
But was that okay?
A prompt reply from the kind and curious woman ensued, assuring me that she had welcomed each of my emails, and that she would like to offer me an interview. (She added that she would understand if I wanted to take the “bird in hand.”)
Bird in hand? Was it a sign?
In a delirious response to this tidal wave of movement, I drafted two emails–one refusing the job that had been offered, and the other accepting the interview.
Perched on a precipice of insanity, I resisted hitting “send” on either.
While my fingers dangled above the keys, the phone rang.
It was a friend offering some temporary work in the upcoming weeks. As she went on to describe her needs at great length, I kept thinking that I wasn’t capable of thinking about anything else at this moment, though I didn’t have the strength to interrupt her.
When I hung up, I realized that I had just been granted a reprieve. I could turn down the bird in hand and have some income to tide me over until another wave of possibility appeared.
48 hours later, I arrived with my resume and cover letter and three references to formally meet the woman who may have conspired to redirect “the current” of my life.