Baby Steps Into Joy

Almost nothing makes me happier than to help people. Don’t get me wrong, not in the saintly way, but quite the opposite actually, in the selfish way. Turning someone on to a face cream, a recipe, teacher, book, exercise regime, etc. gives me so much pleasure that it really is very much motivated by a desire to feel good myself.

Since my stint on Dancing With The Stars, I consistently have women, of a certain age especially, faces aglow, talk to me about how much they loved watching me dance. It gave them a vicarious pleasure seeing someone their age “leaving it all on the floor.”

I think the main reason I said yes to the reality dance contest (something I had never considered doing prior) was the sense that I had relinquished my love of dancing when I got older, and nothing since then had really given me such a direct hit of joy. I had done yoga for years, then of course I did Pilates forever, and before that I had been a devotee of Jane Fonda. I always eventually grew tired of the sameness and drudgery associated with the gym. I was constantly looking for that new thrill that could get me moving so I could feel good, look good, and stay healthy.

My husband, Clark Gregg (one of Flicka’s oldest friends btw), had become obsessed with basketball a few years back, and now lives for his tri-weekly games. It inspired me to consider doing some kind of exercise that made me happy.

Since I was known for being in the movie Dirty Dancing, dancing seemed like a no brainer. But I had long ago decided that, not only was I “too old” to dance, but I had a dirty little secret that I wanted to keep secret: I can’t learn a dance combination. Never could, still can’t. Well, I can, but not until my feet are bleeding. Maybe it’s a “learning difference” of sorts.

Now, the only the difference is: I DON’T CARE! I want the best shortcut to JOY, which is what I experience when my body is in motion, good music is playing, and the noise in my brain is turned off temporarily. I am in FLOW*.

I can’t believe that for all those years, 23 to be exact, my ego, thinking that everybody would see I was an idiot or a fraud, kept me so self conscious that I robbed myself of something that had been one of my favorite things to do as a young person. And if that weren’t enough, I was more attached to my own limiting belief systems about being “too old” or some such crap than I was attached to my own happiness.

Now, I have to ask myself, what else did I used to love? What can I reclaim, that has been sitting in some dusty old cupboard of keepsakes in my brain? What if we regularly took stock of what we needed personally, like we do when we are stocking the fridge, and do something to make our spirit sing? Being a mother and a wife has added so much to my life, but that has had to come out of my pie chart somewhere. So then I ask myself, what other yummy pieces of pie can I take back?

If you made a list of what you miss doing, and decided to take one action this week to rekindle that flame, what would that feel like? If you feel your pulse quicken, or if you find yourself smiling as you Google some key words… you might be on the right track.

Me, I want to dance more.

* Flow is the mental state of operation in which a person in an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and success in the process of the activity…Flow is completely focused motivation. It is a single-minded immersion and represents perhaps the ultimate in harnessing the emotions in the service of performing and learning. In flow, the emotions are not just contained and channeled, but positive, energized, and aligned with the task at hand. To be caught in the ennui of depression or the agitation of anxiety is to be barred from flow. The hallmark of flow is a feeling of spontaneous joy, even rapture, while performing a task although flow is also described as a deep focus on nothing but the activity – not even oneself or one’s emotions.
Source: Wikipedia

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