A Brave New Step

Jessica and me (2nd and 3rd from right) surrounded by our first participants

When you do something for the first time, there’s no telling how it will turn out. Icarus comes to mind. Gutsy cooks might try new recipes out on company while sager chefs practice a time or two. Sometimes you have no choice but step forward, invite people along, and hope for the best.

That’s where I was last year —  looking for someone to co-lead a workshop I’d dreamed up that integrated movement and conversation. My idea was to weave together yoga postures and conversations on three specific topics.  After striking out with yoga teachers — one of whom said, “I can’t imagine anyone showing up for such a thing!” — a friend introduced me to a  young woman she thought would be a good match.  When I told Jessica what I had in mind, she smiled and said, “I’m in!”  Jess was as psyched as I was to be a part of this never-done-before venture.  I’d found my necessary partner to launch this wild idea combining creative movement and conversation.

Born with many internal organs misconnected every which way, Jessica endured multiple surgeries from birth well into childhood. Along the way her doctors told her, “You will never be able to play at recess, participate in gym class or be active. Your body isn’t strong enough. You will be ill the rest of your life.” Instead, Jess became a dance teacher who has dedicated her life to the healing power of creative movement. “The way I understand it,” she says, “is that when you are physically injured you go see a doctor. Well, what happens when your soul is injured? What do you do then?” For Jess the answer is, “You move.”

Just like that the workshop came together. After brief intros, we decided that Jessica would begin with music keyed to the idea of balance. After ten minutes or so, I would lead a conversation about bringing our lives into balance.  Then back to alternating creative movement and conversation on our next two themes — taking life a step at a time and dealing with cranky people. We’d conclude with a short writing exercise and reflections on the experience.  I booked a studio. We put it out there on social media, posted flyers and told all our friends.

I was a ball of nerves encased in doubt. What on earth had I been thinking? What if no one showed up? What if they showed up and it was awful? What if too many people showed up and we lost the sense of intimacy and safety to move and share freely?  Jessica was completely chill.  She’s guided by the philosophy that what will be, will be and what will be, will be just right.  Less than half my age, she possesses twice my confidence and faith. 

How do you deal with cranky people when they cross your path?

The day of the workshop, four women came eager to experience what we had planned for them. Two got lost on the way because the numbers of the street address had been transposed on one of our mailings. A fifth person never showed and I was sick with worry she went home furious with me because she’d been misinformed.  

Despite all my worries, the workshop was terrific.  Jess chose energizing and inspiring music. It was exhilirating to move freely around a spacious room letting our bodies lead the way. How often do we allow ourselves such an experience? Four was the perfect number for that first class. Each woman was able to partner with two others for the three conversations which meant everyone got to know one another. It was gratifying to see how each card prompted easy and enthusiastic conversations. I learned later that the fifth woman had forgotten all about the workshop.  Jess’ prediction was spot on. What was, was; and what was, was just right. 

We have two more workshops planned for next month. If you want to join us, sign up here. But if you can’t, please use this post as encouragement to try something totally new this year. Don’t let doubts and insecurities hold you back. What will be will be. And what will be, will be just right. Here’s to 2018!




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