Recently I’ve set out to achieve some new goals in dance. There’s one routine in particular I’m working to master. My goal is to “hit the moves harder” and “look cool on video.” I have a certain idea of what “cool” looks like, and the challenge is in getting my body to do what my mind is envisioning.
I’ve moved past the mental challenge of memorizing and retaining the moves – and now it’s more about hitting each move as hard as possible without hurting myself or dying of exhaustion.
Hip hop dance is a very intensive, high-energy activity. When you give it your all, even just a 30-second routine can leave you completely out of breath. This gives a whole new meaning to the phrase “being in shape.” It’s not about the bare minimum, it’s about exploring the maximum of what you can do.
After studying myself on video recently I’ve observed this weird effect that on video, it doesn’t look like I’m trying very hard. Yet in person, I feel like I’m working extremely hard, throwing my whole body into it, enough that I’m out of breath and feeling sore the next day.
“Why do I FEEL like I’m hitting the moves hard, but video indicates otherwise?” is the question I’m exploring.
I’m sure this has to do, in part, with the fact that I’m still building up muscle memory in my body – I’ve only been doing hip hop dance for about 5 months – and it’s largely a matter of physical conditioning. Some of the more seasoned dancers who “hit hard” have years or even decades of experience on me. It’s not that I’m striving to dance like them – but rather, I’m striving to reach a level that represents my own personal best.
However, it’s not just the physical conditioning at play. My mental programming also plays a huge role in how I’m dancing.
Recently an experienced dancer suggested that I take up more space, that I stomp the ground harder and louder, that I imagine bolts of lightning shooting out of my feet when I kick. (Literally, we are trying to “murder that dance floor.”)
His advice was perfect – but it brought up some resistance in me.
It brought me back to childhood. As a kid growing up, I continually had to suppress my “noisiness” as well as the noisiness of my three younger brothers, in order to appease our parents. We were told to be quiet so that our dad could sleep. He worked early in the morning and went to bed early…which meant all forms of noise were disapproved of big-time. So as not to get in trouble with my parents, I became a master at suppressing my own self-expression. (My brothers DIDN’T – and they always got in trouble.)
For me, dancing “louder” and taking up more space would require me to come face-to-face with my old programming that told me repeatedly, “Be quiet.” And “Be small.”
Honesty, this is one of the scariest things I’ve faced in a while.
…This programming is precisely why video indicates I’m not hitting my moves very hard. Subconsciously, I dance as if I’m trying not to wake someone up.
Even today as an adult, I’m letting the voice of my parents remain stuck in my head, dictating how I dance.
I’m being more gentle with the moves than I need to be. I’m holding back. This is why there’s a discrepancy between what my mind envisions, and what my body is actually doing.
I share this story because I know, based on talking to people who are trying to increase sales in their business, that they too have a voice in their head that’s causing them to hold back somewhere. They, too, have some piece of mental programming that’s causing them not to go full out.
Maybe they were told as a child that they were “bothersome,” so now they’re afraid to bother people. They’re afraid to ask for the sale. They’re afraid to communicate their message loudly, boldly, and clearly. (Who in your life told you you were bothering them? Do you still believe it today?)
This kind of stuff is insidious and can seep into our daily thinking and behaviors, even today as adults. It can prevent or at least delay us from reaching the goals we want to reach.
In my last post I talked about the Law of Sacrifice – how we must sacrifice something of a lower nature in order to get something of a higher nature. That includes sacrificing beliefs, stories, or fears that are no longer serving us. It could also mean sacrificing a voice in your head, or a piece of information someone gave you (that was quite possibly based on their own dysfunction) that is now holding you back: “You can’t do that.” “You shouldn’t do that.” “Be quiet.” “You’ll hurt my feelings if you do that.”
Whatever the message was, somebody else gave it to you, it got stuck in your consciousness, and it’s now holding you back. You can either sacrifice it or keep it. Either way, you are sacrificing something.
What would be possible for you, if you stopped listening to the voice that says “You can’t do that” – and you did it anyway?
P.S. Here’s a snippet of the routine I’m practicing!