Last night at my belly dancing class I couldn’t get out of my own head:
Friday is our belly dance recital and our class is perfoming. I knew going into Annie that I was going to miss 2 rehearsals, because our class falls on Wednesday, which is typically a show night. Then I had to miss a third one because I was stuck at work until 6:30, when my class started a 6:00 the week before Annie started – bummer.
Last Tuesday my beautiful friend Krystle came over and practiced with me for over an hour. She showed me the ending of our routine and gave me the music so I could listen to it and practice before our class this week. I got bogged down with Annie and was unable to practice due to various commitments, so the first time I was really able to think about the choreography again was last night at 5:20 on the streetcar on my way to class. Around 5:35, I called Joey, nearly in tears because I had convinced myself that I shouldn’t do the recital because I didn’t know the choreography, wasn’t prepared and was going to look terrible.
Isn’t it amazing what we can convince ourselves of?
I’ve been reading Byron Katie’s A Thousand Names for Joy lately, and she talks a lot about this concept of getting so caught up in believing our thoughts, that we create stress for ourselves.
Last night I convinced myself that I would fail, even before the class began. By believing that I wasn’t capable or confident, I set myself up for failure. Does this ever happen to you in life?
For over an hour in class we ran the choreography repeatedly. Our teacher gave us some helpful feedback (mostly on poise and ensuring that we were smiling), but allowed us to run it over and over again. In the midst of our rehearsal she told us about one of her teachers. The teacher constantly reminded her students to always be amazed at what they were able to do: an undulation, shimmy, or even a simple hand gesture. By projecting this sense of wonder and amazement, the teacher advised her students that the audience would feel the same sense of amazement – almost like telepathy – and be truly captivated by the performance.
Thinking the thought “I don’t know the choreography” made me believe that I didn’t know the choreography, regardless of the fact that I had learned 90% of the choreography in class and had been able to practice it with everyone for a few weeks. There was nothing to be amazed at. It threw me off my game and caused me a lot of stress and tears. Without the thought, I am free to enjoy myself. I feel more confident. I smile more and I dance better.
This idea of amazement rings true in all aspects of our lives, not just dance or performance. We cause ourselves stress when we start to believe our negative thoughts (or project the negative thoughts of others). We could accomplish so much more if we just stopped believing our own thoughts and let ourselves be free and amazed, and that is exactly what I intend to do.
This week I will be amazing. Tonight I will drill the choreography in anticipation of Friday’s recital. I will be proud of how far I’ve come; 18 months ago, I couldn’t shimmy, let alone walk and shimmy at the same time. Belly dance is the first type of dance that I’ve ever really felt good at, and on Friday I will share that with my audience. Because of my new schedule in January, I probably won’t be able to take class again until the spring, so I will enjoy every minutes of this performance with my beautiful classmates and teacher.
I will smile and I will be amazed.
What negative thought will you rid yourself of today?
How do you feel without that thought?
What amazing thought will you have instead?