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opening portals to joy and self-love

On Sunday I went dancing.

This isn’t a big revelation. And it doesn’t need to be. I am simply here writing about going dancing, without the pressure or expectations to send you a beautiful revelatory missive. 

On Sunday, I went dancing and I felt my body come alive. For the past six months I have been struggling with health issues that have left me tired and deflated. In November, I went to the doctor. In January, I got some medicine. In February, I am dancing. 

My friend invited me to go to her weekly conscious movement event. In conscious movement, you listen to your body and how it wants to move. I smiled the whole time as I wiggled and swayed and stomped. Dance has always been my place to express myself. Growing up, dance was the only activity I did that wasn’t measured or judged or competitive. 

I was a straight A student, I competed in band competitions and softball tournaments, I joined all of the clubs. I even turned reading into a challenge, assigning myself a summer booklist and winning the library prize for most books read in a summer. I was always looking at the next thing that I could excel at. But twice a week for 10 years, I got to go to dance class, learn steps, move my body and laugh. I forgot what that freedom feels like.

So often when I am working with clients, I ask them what they enjoy and they feel so disconnected from this freedom that they don’t know the answer. When work feels all-consuming, it can be hard to feel joy in the simple things. Heck, it can be hard to find time for the simple things. 

I have worked supporting people with burnout and chronic stress for years, and yet I still fell into the mindset of work above all else in my health recovery. I thought, “finally, I will have motivation and energy to do my administration work again.”. And while this is important (hello capitalism, I do need to work to live), I forgot that it also means that I can go dancing again

If I can go dancing again, what else can I do? I started learning to play the ukulele and I just re-downloaded Sims 4 on my computer (now that’s a slippery slope). I made chocolate peanut butter rice krispie treats and today I am going to create Valentine’s cards to mail to my friends.

When I add small intentional moments of joy and savouring into my life, more joy appears. Sure, I will be able to do more work now, but more work always appears. Work never ends. 

I want to get to a place where I notice that joy always appears. That there is room and energy for it. That I am seeking out the things that bring me serenity and joy and love and gentleness. 

I'm writing this letter to you but really it is a reminder to me to seek out those freeing and joyful moments. And when I feel lost, I always have a way back. My way is dancing - how do you find your way back to joy?



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