Dance First. Think Later.
As I enjoy my morning coffee and ponder this past incredible week on the coast of Maine, I note the little paperback on my coffee table: “Dance First. Think Later.” Instantly, I smile. This week was all about dancing first, and thinking later. And as a result, I am forever changed.
I read a quote from my journal on the plane as I made my way to Maine for a business planning retreat. It went something like this: “If your dreams were a place, where would you be standing, what would you be doing, and what would you be looking at?”
Have you ever stopped long enough to ask and answer this question? And then had the courage to sit with your answer and just “be” or imagine “being” in that very place?
Have you challenged yourself to stop doing what you think you should be doing, or what you had planned to do, or what you feel obligated to do, long enough to enjoy the exact moment you’re in, noticing what life is bringing you right now? To notice the moments and experiences that come naturally and how they have the capacity to take your breath away… if you let them? To be fully present, 100% all in, appreciating those moments for everything they are, everything they offer…everything they bring to you and your life?
Deep stuff I know for a Sunday morning! But this exactly what I did this past week in Maine. I danced…and danced, and danced, and danced.
Yep, I allowed myself to experience the gift of being fully present. I practiced shutting off the shoulds, noticing and appreciating absolutely everything around me, and living in the moment and only in the moment. I mustered the courage to quiet my fear, the urge to think ahead, to plan ahead, to move ahead, to let the shoulds or the coulds in.
And what happened was almost indescribable. Personal transformation at the next, deepest level — soulful, sensual, enlightening, peaceful, joyful, and so incredible that I struggle to find the words to write about it here. I had one of the most restorative and best weeks of my life because I was able to listen deeply to my heart in the moment, be still and take it all in. Something I could not seem to do in my old body and my old life where I was out of balance, out of my equation.
On my list of soulful, sensual, happy moments from this past week…
- Appreciating every sunrise and sunset, each in their unique glory. Noticing how the sky changed color and texture for long periods of time, not just fleeting moments. How the crescent moon poked its head out and then disappeared later into the ocean. Observing how it made me feel inside to witness something of such great beauty and magnitude.
- Tackling a long list of firsts and appreciating the joy and adventure of each — challenging new mountain climbs; exploring new sea creatures at low tide, new paths and new vistas/views; Harley rides along the coast; handling and cooking my first live lobster, and more.
- Meeting new people (locals and tourists) and enjoying them for who and what they are
- Listening to live music and dancing with a cute “boy”
- Dancing in the rain!
- Watching the tide roll in and out, in and out; sitting still with the thoughts that come and go with the tide — noticing, appreciating
- Dancing in the kitchen!
- Dancing on the porch!
- Sitting still with another in silence and just breathing, “being”
- Dancing in the kitchen!
- Being close to another human being without my guard up — taking in the compliments, the breathtaking moments, shedding the expectations and the fear of not being enough
I share this personal and rather intimate experience because my wish for each of you reading this — each of you searching for something, transforming yourselves and your lives — is that YOU too find a way to stop and appreciate the moments that take your breath away. To be able to do so without over thinking, over working, over planning, or over doing life. My wish is that you too can dance first, and think later.
In closing, I leave you with one of my favorite blogs titled Peace by Piece, by Chris Assaad. He writes…
“Life is a journey, a process that unfolds one moment at a time. One of the greatest challenges that we as twenty-first-century human beings face is living in this world of doing and striving, while at the same time honoring the here and now, the moment that we’re living in at present…
…And so it will be with you. Seek peace first and then act from there. Be at one with the present moment and enjoy the journey. Take your time and take each step fully, with presence and with purpose. Honor the gift of life as it unfolds one piece at a time and know that the greatest achievement of all will be to maintain a deep sense of peace all along the way.”