This month has been transformative through the eyes of “grace”. While finances have been hard, it seems the universe keeps paving a way for things to still happen that need to which is like witnessing one mini miracle after another. After a weekend trip to visit one of my best friends in Brooklyn, New York, and perhaps during that visit itself, I felt like something was shifting inside of me. It started after I began a quest to heal from some different losses I’ve experienced. Soaking in the sun at Manhattan Beach with my best friends and then watching the sailboats at night felt really peaceful. I miss her and the city already.
For those of you who aren’t religious: don’t run away just yet. I’m not really either. My faith doesn’t fit in a box. But I am spiritually minded and I love learning about different religions and taking powerful lessons from each one. In fact, I was a little nervous when I signed up for the “Intro to Psychology” course through Yale University and the “Healing with the Arts” course through the University of Florida (Both via Coursera).
“I wasn’t sure what to expect from either one. I even told myself I could just stop at any time and never look at them again which was my sign that I needed healing more than ever.”
I hesitantly got the simple art supplies for the art course and dove into the psychology course and found so many “Aha” moments as I started them both. I scribbled so many notes for the psychology course; it was like I couldn’t get enough of it! I loved each lesson and wanted to keep learning more. I had already enrolled at Southern New Hampshire University to begin Fall 2020 and something told me something was about to shift as these online courses continued. I had previously enrolled for their Liberal Arts program.
But one day, as I was sitting and drawing and had my candle lit, it was like I was hit with a storm of understanding. I did some research, got some advice and realized that I didn’t want to be in the Liberal Arts program anymore.
“The more I was learning, the more I realized that I want to become a Recreational Therapist. This was huge! I had never felt more confident in a decision about a career path in my life before.”
During the Healing with the Arts program, one of the modules was on dance and my body froze. “This is it” I thought. This is the moment I drop the course. I can’t dance. I can’t even think about dancing. I panicked and an old memory surfaced from a Valentine’s Day dance many, many years ago of an acquaintance telling me to stop dancing because I was bad at it. So, I did. I just stopped dancing. When this clicked in my head, I had some startling realizations.
A lot of my life has been about feeling stuck. I’ve had medical conditions that suggest my body just slows down and gets stuck: Motility issues in the GI track, my Autonomic Nervous System is stuck because of trauma trapped in the body (resulting in Dysautonomia or Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome) and feeling stuck socially because of my Autism Spectrum Disorder and feeling “stuck” or frozen perseverating. Being unable to dance felt the same. I felt stuck.
So I made a decision. I lit a candle and shut the lights off and I danced. I closed my eyes and pictured that dance floor from all of those years ago and I imagined a spotlight in the center and me everyone watching around me including that younger version of myself. And I danced. I danced and felt something shifting.
Suddenly it didn’t matter that I have terrible coordination or that I was off beat most of the time. Or that I’m out of shape and needed to pause to breathe. It mattered that I was simply laughing and dancing. Movement is so healing and I felt so free. I even started dancing in front of my roommate and didn’t care.
“I wanted to show that girl inside of me that we can’t take our ability to move for granted anymore; to be grateful to dance and to give myself the grace to love and move my body and heal.”
I also felt this spiritual awakening. I feel this incredible sense of belonging and love. Credit that to whatever you wish but I went from being literally terrified of dancing to having a nightly dance routine playlist that I look forward to and dancing with my roommate. It feels a bit like what I would imagine dancing with angels feels like. I feel like confronting my losses and honoring them instead of repressing them is continuing to be tremendously healing and I can’t wait to see where this journey leads.
What kind of art feels therapeutic to you? Do you like to sing in the shower, at church, or with friends? What is one way you can move your body to honor it today? It can be as simple as a walk, a dance, or workout. It even could be gardening. That’s beautiful artwork too. Be gentle with yourself but I challenge you to move. My theme song for this week is Dare You to Move by Switchfoot. What’s your theme song for the week? I dare you to get intentional about your goals this week in a way that makes you smile.