Dance: changing roles, giving back

Of all the things I have done in my quarter-of-a-century life, there is nothing quite like the world of dance. Aside from my academic pursuits, dance has been at the forefront of my identity: I have worked as a semiprofessional dancer, founded a successful collegiate dance team, taught students of all ages, and choreographed a ton of pieces. Additionally, I have trained at an advanced level for many years and continue to attend well-known intensive programs (such as Sun King Dance).

It has taught me valuable lessons such as:

  • how to develop resilience, both physical and mental
  • creativity, both in the artistic sense as well as creatively problem-solving
  • the importance of reflecting on your experiences, both positive and negative, and using them to grow
  • the happiness that comes from pursuing your passion, and how one should never forsake work/life balance
  • the incredible importance of keeping your body – your vessel – healthy and fit
  • the camraderie that comes from sharing hundreds of hours of your life with others

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There is no shame in emotions.

“Emotions are, at their core, packets of rapid intelligence.”
Dr. Tori Olds, paraphrased

As I progress through Tori’s Minding the Heart training, I am finding myself latching onto and gravitating towards seemingly simple phrases that are wildly changing my established paradigms. She dropped this little nugget of information at yesterday’s session, and it made me feel both intense relief and excitement.

We’ve been [incorrectly] taught since a young age about the “right” and “left” brains (i.e. the former is more creative, the latter is more analytic). Generally people get thrown into boxes of either “nerdy-smart” or “artsy-creative”, rarely both. Even stereotypes of femininity and masculinity can be separated using this oversimplified dichotomy.

And all too often in our harried, “let’s fill up the calendar until there is no room to breathe” lifestyles, we tend to favour the concept of the “left brain” more and more – praising those who have the steely nerves, the analytical thinking, the rational approach. For some, including myself as a young child, emotions were frowned upon. Emotions meant weakness; emotions meant that you were letting your heart overcome your mind.

As a society, there is pride in being “rational”, and corresponding shame in being “emotional”.

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My journey to true minimalism.

After literally years of pursuing “minimalism” (I started in 2011), I think I’ve finally figured out what it truly means.

The typical minimalism newbie tends to fall into the trap of nothingness. It’s no surprise either; the most popular examples of minimalism certainly emphasize the power of less. Specifially, less physical stuff. That’s how we got the Tiny House Movement, the digital nomads, the 4-Hour Work Week, the Capsule Wardrobe. There are people who believe that the epitome of minimalism is simply owning less stuff.

But that’s just one piece of the puzzle.

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