Today I left my clothes on the floor, the bed unmade and I drank from the milk carton. I burnt supper too.
I’m learning that ‘starting,’ does not simply involve pressing the ‘green button’ and moving forward. Instead it’s a dance. A dance that I’m still learning; one with some rather complex maneuvers and a dance in which I am wearing a pair of heels for the first time. It’s a dance that I move back and forth, I sidestep, I fall, I nosedive without a hint of grace and I twist my ankle, I kick my big toe and fall to the dusty dance floor in a great heap of self-pity.
But this is the difference. In my mind, there is no choice. I don’t get to stay on the floor like I once did. I must get up and do it again, and dance some more.
It’s easier said than done. This month I have fallen many times. I’ve felt the paralyzing heaviness of frustration, doubt, anxiety and overwhelm weigh me down, my thoughts pinning me to the floor and locking me in a place that I don’t want to be. The music that usually brings life to my soul, that makes me not only want to be upright and dancing to a melody, is barely audible. All I can hear are the loud and disruptive voices I don’t want to hear and that keep me stuck and from progressing with the process of starting.
Starting something new is a process. Before I can dance, I must learn ‘how to’ first. I must accept that learning to dance is most likely going to be an inelegant, imperfect process of ‘stopping and starting’ and of course, because I’m wearing heels while doing it! It’s a constant ‘to and fro’ between falling back on old habits and mindfully embracing new ways. It’s about recognising when the old narrative is at play and getting better at stopping it sooner than later. It also involves sparing some space for the ‘fall,’ being ‘okay’ with a clumsy and imperfect start, being patient with myself, being kind and learning to dance in a new pair of shoes!
It’s been a tough month and I have been a wreck! I’m going through a divorce and with that comes adjusting to a new way of life and stepping into a world I know little about. This month has been particularly challenging, mostly because it’s the end of year tax month and it’s been a very steep learning curve! It’s a strange dance; dancing between grand business plans, feeling passionate and motivated about what will come and then in the midst of being positively pumped up about ‘kick starting’ my future plans, I receive an email that states ‘it’s time to pay SARS the moolah’….and I put my pen down. My question is this? How on earth do I get creative when I am feeling so anxious?
This is something that I want to learn more about. How to manage anxiety? I have been so damn anxious this month and it’s crippling. All I know is that I cannot stay here. I must get better at this. I must continue to ‘start.’
The journey of Rosie Goes is all about ‘learning and understanding our humanity and how it connects us,’ and right now I am at the very beginning of this journey. It’s ‘real’ and I know in my heart it is going to be one heck of a dance of ‘To and Fro.’ But in the build up to starting Rosie Goes, I have learned many things and I realise that part of my own personal challenge while on this journey, is to apply what I have learned to my life. And this I know will require mindfulness and discipline.
I have good days and bad days. I think it has been important for me to recognize ‘what’ pulls me out of a dark space. To give whatever that is my attention.
Sometimes the best thing for me to do is simply to have an early good night sleep and to put the day behind me, knowing that tomorrow is a blank page. It always seems to be better the next day. A break in the wave of anxiety, a deep breath…perspective again.
Having support has been crucial for me while ‘starting.’ I have a group of people in my in my life who have pulled me up many times, and often unknowingly, simply because they are there. And with this support that I have had and belief in what I want to do, I have learned the most powerful and uplifting lesson I could hope for, to feel gratitude.
I am often filled with a deep sense of gratitude – for what I do have, for the unconditional love and support from friends and family and importantly how I believe with all my heart, ‘that life is on my side’ and that I can trust it. Focusing on all this ‘positivity’ in my life does 2 things; firstly it helps me regain my perspective when I have temporarily lost it and secondly I believe that when I focus on ‘appreciating,’ it gains momentum, attracting more of whatever I am feeling and thinking. The trick, I think, is to surrender to what I am feeling; accept it and name it. Then unpack that fear or deconstruct it and identify how it is holding me back. That way, it loses its power over me and again, helps me regain perspective and pulls me back on track.
Part of my Rosie Goes journey has involved a series of extraordinary synchronicities, hence me believing that life is on my side. I pay careful attention to these synchronicities and treat them as confirmation and also a ‘clue’ as what to do next.
A few days ago I was explaining to my neighbour over a cup of morning coffee over the fence how I am writing about ‘starting again,’ and that I wanted to use ‘a dance’ as a metaphor for ‘starting something new’ in the way of photography. And it turned out that her client, a dancer and teacher of a dance school, was coming for a pedicure at 9am! When Chelsea agreed to do the dance photography shoot, I knew that the timing couldn’t be more perfect, and I took it as a synchronicity, as something that I should pay attention to and follow up on.
I believe that ‘life’ is listening. That day I needed to play loud jazz music on the third storey of an old maize mill and immerse myself in a creative shoot that embraced energy, passion for what we love to do, creativity and of course a metaphor for starting again. It was also the day Chelsea came for a pedicure!
This is Chelsea, teacher and owner of ‘Chelsea’s school of dance.’
For me it is exactly what I needed to do to help me regain my perspective.
‘Starting’ is a dance of To and Fro. We’re probably going to fall at some point and it won’t be pretty! But the question is, how long do you stay on the floor boards before you get up again and dance some more?
Photography shoot location: Kings Grant Country Retreat, Ixopo, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Dancer: Chelsea Hayter, Owner of Chelsea’s school of Dance