Most days I get up several hours before anyone else in my family. It is often dark, now that it’s fall here in Vermont. It’s also cold. I hate getting up in the dark, and I hate the cold. I’d prefer to sleep in every morning until it is sunny and warm. But I get up. I don’t like it–but I like myself better when I do it.
I wash up, make some coffee and toast, and take my vitamins. Then I open the file of my book. And then I write. I like to put in at least an hour or 1K words. I often go more and sometimes less. (For a while I was reading every morning, but now I am focused on the writing). After I write, I put in my headphones and pick a dance song on my phone. Once I’m moving, I usually dance for my whole 20 minutes. And then I feel like I accomplished something, all day long, even if the rest of it goes completely to heck.
It’s hard, because when I feel sorry for myself, I tend to get self-indulgent. I slack on things I know are important. I eat crap food. I don’t write–or dance. Then I feel guilty (another big time-waster). Then I feel even sorrier for myself–and the cycle of Resistance continues.
It’s taken me a long time to get to this point of relative consistency. And I don’t always defend my time well. Yesterday I overslept and my Mom got up early. I just stepped back. I wasn’t happy with myself, but I am done beating myself up over the occasional slip. NGAMO, right? No Guilt And Move On.
Today I got up earlier and wrote–but I didn’t fully close the book part of my morning and formally move on to the next task in the chain, the headphones and song. So somehow I didn’t dance.
Little by little, progress comes. I narrow the focus of my intentions and determination, things get done, and they become habits. Accomplishments then become more reliable, and my skills improve, because I get consistent practice, so I feel better about myself. You get the picture, right?
It’s so seductive to let our creativity slip down the back of the sofa. We put ourselves last and swallow our frustration, turning it against ourselves. We waste our lives hating ourselves for our weakness. Hating ourselves is just another trap.
Why do we do this? Some of it is what we learned to do. Some of it is our own fear. Where does the fear come from? Often it’s left over from times we got shamed. Wherever it came form, it’s corrosive to our creativity. Art requires us to take a stand and make something–to move, to put words or ink or paint on the page.
Instead we believe the lies we tell ourselves. It’s no good, I’m no good,. It doesn’t matter. It’s too hard. I don’t care. It’s just…
How do we protect our creative spaces? Our dance habits? Our self-confidence and joy, which are so tied to our creativity?
It starts with showing up. Showing up to do the work. This is a big reason I like taking classes (besides the learning). I have a reason to show up. Someone besides me notices. They’re on my side. I started teaching so I would practice. I still do. Little by little, I grow my habits.
Every day, I learn to show up. When the Muse comes looking, I want to be there.
So do you.
Just show up.
Want some classes to help?
All of these start within the next week.
Rosa Noreen’s teaching one on arms
Nadira Jamal’s teaching one of developing a sustainable practice
And I’m teaching one on Effortless Improvisation. Daily assignment, accountability, and a great community that has your back. https://aliathabit.com/effortless
Plus, you can double up and win with the Compassionate Critique Salon.
Do you crave honest, objective dance feedback?
(Wish it didn’t hurt so much?)
Announcing: The Compassionate Critique Salon!
The Compassionate Critique Salon. Honest, empowering feedback in a safe environment so dancers can develop the confidence to grow their artistry.
Plus (since one size does not fit all), you get great feedback from *three* professional dance coaches: Nadira Jamal, Rosa Noreen, and Alia Thabit.
Each coach will provide you with encouragement, observations on what to cultivate, and one idea to work on. So you feel good about what you’ve accomplished and have a manageable set of goals.
How do we sign up?
Registration opens October 25th.
Get notified the minute it opens!
Special treat for anyone who takes 2 or more of the above classes, too.