New Year 2020.
Last year was filled with the empty promise of more regular blogs, it started smoothly with great intention, mindfulness challenge posts and a letter to myself about audition season.
Well, this year, I’m not making any promises but to be authentically me. Whether I post one blog, or a few, I can promise they will be real.
I know I have a lot to update people on, 2019 brought a lot of firsts and many cherished moments. Eventually I do hope to update the internet world that really might not care and give a glimpse of 2019 in review but first I start with outlooks for the new year... new decade.
This year started off more low key than previous years, all you can eat sushi and wishing Happy New Years to loved ones and falling asleep around 12:10 with Surfs Up on in the background. No rowdiness this year, that I admittedly missed doing this year but if Mack Rawls is sleeping, that is a mini-grown up moment in and of itself and something to celebrate.
Intentions set for this year aren’t big bold empty promises, they are big, challenging, unnoticeable to the eye. They are internal. This year and with time going forward, I’m really hoping to focus more on gratitude and attempting to minimize complaints and whining. I’d like to focus on me. Sounds selfish but through a trying end of 2019, I came to learn some things about myself and my relationships with others as well as what fuels me, what inspires me, what I want, don't want, and need.
Having moved to NYC, (2019 update spoiler) I learned that I do not do well mentally, physically or spiritually without purpose/work. I started with a part time nanny gig that made my transition seemingly effortless... which very quickly shifted when that job ended. I was a train wreck, filled with doubts, gaining a lot weight, unmotivated and feeling lost and maybe that I had made a mistake. I knew in the past that feeling faded when I had something to do, so I knew it’d get better. I can write more about that another time, as this is forward thinking today!
So 2020 has intention driven focus. To dance. To work. To leave it all on the table. I currently have one job, Trader Joe’s, and it’s amazing. I’ve been a long time customer and I’m proud and happy to be working there. I have taken the opportunity to “become a morning person” (hahah I know Mom, shocking). Well now I wake up on work days at 4:30am and so far this new year I have made it a priority to get back in shape without overriding judgement, self hate, and negativity. (Which honestly so far, so good).
This is also the first time I’ve had only one job, either by necessity or not. That probably won’t last, but for now I can get by this way and get prioritize my time and energy where it needs to be! It’s a little hard habit speaking to be done after one job commitment, like the only places I’m running after work are to things I love, not the next job! What!? Crazy sauce. Though if I could add some teaching both of yoga and dance, I’d be pretty happy to do so.
I’ve set myself on a path where I can hit the gym, go to one, two or even three classes in a day whether dance, yoga or some other kind of fitness. And it’s amazing. I haven't explored much beyond what is offered on ClassPass for financial purposes but I feel very fulfilled with what I have found and am doing.
I will Focus on my love of dance. Honestly speaking, I feel so stable and so happy. I mean I literally leave certain classes on dancers high, energized. Smiling on the subway (which according to personal experience, attention up from a phone or book while smiling is in public on the subway is weird.). Cool I can dig it! I’ll soon go more into this as well because there’s just too much to say in my initial year's post.
This January I decided to do whole30, having done it in March I felt very prepared. Yeahhhhh well let me just tell you, that’s a negative in actual practice. I mean I was prepared food wise but mentally less so. It’s only week one for me and I’m very tired, bloated and all around CRABBY. Not at work, not in class but pretty much at all other hours, I want alone time. I want pure solitude. It isn’t uncommon for me to need to reset by being alone, but this is totally “kill all things” time added onto my usual pulling away during this time of year has surprised and hurt some people. Not dramatic, not out of anything more than a need. This is the time of year my focus becomes solely about me and other things get put on the back burner. All that said, if I thought Whole30 was level “hard” before well now it’s level “expert” - not because I know so much more or that I’ve done it once and I'm giving myself points. It’s on expert level now because I work at my favorite store with literally ALL my emotional foods, all my favorite snacks. I mean like BREAD, flatbreads... I’m craving crunchy salty yums and I literally stand at register watching the Scandinavian Swimmers, frozen meals (mac n cheese, pizza, chicken fried rice,) bread and cheese go by for hours at a time. Having a demo stand and really awesome mates (managers) that give us free snacks would be incredible minus the fact that I typically can’t touch anything... woof my willpower is being TESTED! I was very close to giving up last night and the night before. But I didn’t!!! Mark that as my NSV of the day. hahah
Today is day 8, only 22 more to go 😅🙃.
I also decided to join dear friend Jeramie Vaine in Wim Hof's (known for his work in ice water conditions and breath work) #feelgood14 challenge combining timed cold showers, no sugar (already a given with whole30) and meditation and 30min a day of exercise. Every few days the length of time of your cold shower extends by 15 seconds. I always like ending my showers cold but... I guess I should now rephrase to say I like a splash of colder than room temp water... training myself to breath through the fight or flight has been interesting, some moments I have it and feel great and then it’s as if I forgot how to breathe and don’t know what hit me and I get anxious and begin to hyperventilate and panic. I don’t really know what to expect from the cold showers personally but I know it has its benefits. I guess combining this with whole30 feels a tad aggressive and don’t know what reactions are from what so I foresee myself doing this one again.
The meditation every night before bed has been good. For Christmas, I bought myself a Komuso necklace, not knowing what to expect but knowing it was breath and grounding work, it’s beautiful piece of jewelry and if it worked, I knew it’d be well used. I know it’s early but I will say this, I was on my rest day Wednesday, I was calm and in a chill mood. I was on the phone, found myself getting impatient, then looking at my schedule while planning Mom’s visit, I noted I got scheduled to work the weekend of Smushman (my nephew’s) first birthday which had me totally stressed, emotional, and very quickly became a foul mood. I didn’t want to shower, I didn’t want to make myself go to bed, I wanted salty chips, pizza, and wine... how quickly my headspace shifted (thank you whole30, thank you lack of mindfulness...) but I still had things to accomplish and it ws later than I wanted it to be.
I hopped in the shower, stood in the cold, in a really anxious mood and was forced to breathe. In order to be able to stand still and refocus, I did dramatic, audible exhales at first to warm my body and it definitely momentarily took my mind off things. I am looking forward to actually incorporating the Wim Hof breath work going forward to see how it changes the cold shower practice. I hopped out and I got ready for bed. I thought about starting a new book, as I had just finished the Jodi Picoult book I had been reading on my way to work that morning... but I just decided to shut things down. Grabbed my Komuso necklace and tried it first laying down, but couldn’t quite get it, sat up in the darkness, closed my eyes and just did the breathing. Strangely enough, but not surprising with all I’ve learned through YYT and my own personal practices and work that I would resettle but it was dramatic. It wasn’t that it cleared my head... it just took some of the anxious and emotional pull out and allowed me to be a little more clear headed. Enough so that I fell asleep. I went into work asking around for trades and ended up asking our Captain John and he was like, no problem I’ll just take you off since it’s so far out, but normally you’d want to put your shift up for trade and wait for that, but being it is three weeks out... I got you. It was that simple. So now the anxiety of missing it, was a nonissue! So SMUSHMAN, Auntie Gaja wouldn’t miss your first birthday for the world munchkin man! 🥰. But I recognize how quickly and encompassing I was to react and panic and hope I can remember how it worked out next time I’m in a pickle.
Anywho, so that is some of my own personal work for 2020. I feel quite stable currently. Really happy. Focused. Thankful. Ready and open.
For the first time, I don’t feel (granted it may be too early to say) that I have to have a company job, a paid dancing gig or performance to define my success. That was a weird transition that happened at the end of 2019 once I finally could afford to get back to class. My definition wasn't based on what society and my peers and even myself but on how I felt leaving class. How I felt because of the dancing I was doing. There was a new found layer and development to what I was feeling and thinking. Now that is not to say AT ALL that I’m not ferociously going after auditions this year, that I’m slowing down, giving up, or anything remotely close. I’ve just found a new love for dancing. Or reignited/reimagined maybe. I’m not sure I’ve felt THIS good about just dancing for me and because I love it since my college days. I'm more at peace. For the first time in years, I actually have a quite a few choreographic inspirations and plans to begin pursuing. I hope 2020 will also be a year of creation.
I believe this headspace comes from a lot of things, one of them is much in part from stepping away from a toxic mindset seeing myself in front of a mirror (constant work in progress, BIG INTENTION FOR 2020 is to fall in love with my body). I think beginning to release the unwritten rules of “making it” and walk away from what wasn’t serving me. Releasing the small narrow minded ideas of success and allowing my creativity and openness to see and experience different forms. When I first moved here, I felt like I was failing, couldn’t get a regular hostess job even... my ability to think and see clearly didn’t exist without a job. Then just moving, dancing, returning to something I was kept from against my will... at my age and knowing how much my body had shifted “in a negative way” I wasn’t very forgiving at first but then between wise words of a favorite teacher here in the city, my therapist, and some internal soul searching, I softened. Obviously some days are better than others. But when I moved here, when I finally got into dancing again, I didn’t actually (shockingly) compare myself to anyone in the mirror, I didn’t look at my body, I just danced. I let me body feel the music and go.
For gods sakes, Nick Palmquist said somethings about "why are you here?" And talking about the pursuit of perfection and how if it interferes with our love or enjoyment it’s not helping us, it was like a veil lifted. I remember vividly almost crying I was just so happy to be moving. In fact, since then, it has happened a few times where I’m just so happy I want to cry. THAT is what a I love about dance, something I’m embarrassed to admit that I completely lost sight of.
One thing my therapist and I talked about is how this time of year is my “playoffs”. After some reflection, I realized how I shut out, I remove myself a bit and really zero in on me. It’s a particularly hard time of year for my loved ones, I hit extreme highs and lows, I get distant, I’m happy and irritable and vulnerable 24/7 and it gets exhausting. We referred to it as playoffs because anyone who watches sports, cares about sports or is/was an athlete respects that terminology. Dancers are “in regular season” most of the year, but “Stanley cup playoff season” is a different level. It was nice to be given another way to express this to people because it is has been widely misunderstood and typically has been a point that people take my actions and my distance with offense. And unfortunately, so far, using that terminology, "playoffs" people become more forgiving. If that doesn't so obviously show the difference in respect and interest for what artists and dancers do to people, well they are choosing to turn a blind eye honestly. I love watching hockey, I love playing sports. No one would say half the things they do about professional football, baseball, hockey or even soccer players that they do about artists. And THAT is another personal mission, by teaching non-dancers and continuing to learn and be present and speak up, will people begin to take art seriously.
That is a movement and rant for another time.
Anyway, happy 2020, Happy New Years and I hope you all had a wonderful and safe holiday season! What are some of your intentions for the new year? Maybe if you don't have any specific pursuit, maybe pick a couple words to try to work, strive and live by. Here are some examples: forgiving, patience, energy, happiness, adventurous, risk-taking, peaceful, present, challenge.
Can you tell I've kicked this year off with un-bounding energy and focus? I'm so ready and I'm so happy. 2020, let's go for a ride!
'Til next time,