Thursday, July 26, 2012

How to Get a Brand New Life


Blurring that photo seemed like the right thing to do because sometimes my current life feels like a dream.

This is what I spend my days doing -- dancing, working with courageous, powerful, seeking women. Day in, day out. When I'm not doing that, I am writing, looking for music, planning programs, scheming big beautiful goals, reading, and playing.

This weekend, I head to Kripalu for more training...something I try to do at least once every year.

Every year...as if I have been at this forever.

Which it feels like.

But it's not. I have been at this for only three years.

Three years since I awoke to Grace & Possibility in the form of what seemed a rather simple act -- walking onto the dance floor of a friend's wedding reception.

I have to think hard to remember my life before that moment.

I have to think hard to recall the decades of chronic depression and the day to day of just getting by.  I don't spend too much time thinking too hard about those times.  It would make me too sad. I focus on the here and the now and a little bit on tomorrow (for dreaming sake).

How does this happen, though...how do you get a new life?

I think there are a few basic steps.  Basic.  Not easy.

1.  Never stop.  Never give up hope.  Period.  Despair is the enemy and it will eat your life until you are at the end of it and wondering where it all went.  If there is a real devil, despair is his name.

2.  Know that it is up to you. No pill, no person, no book will do the work for you.

3.  Stay awake. I laid a lot of ground work before that moment that changed my life. When I got to that moment, I was awake enough to notice it and to act on it.  The opportunity to change will be a moment in your life that is small and whispering. It will not be like an opera; there will not be fireworks. 

4.  Act immediately.  Do not wait.  Do not put anything on a to-do list.  DO IT NOW.  Whatever it takes.  The day after that momentous wedding, I ordered ballet slippers.  A seemingly silly act for a woman of 40, but those shoes acted as a talisman for me...reminding me every time I put them on, every time I looked at them...This is who I am now.

5. Act again. And again. And again.  I signed up for the first training I could find.  Then another.  Then I started teaching before I thought I was "ready" and I taught more. And another training. And then finally my studio and now more training and more ideas coming...

There is no stopping.

You do not get a gold star or a ribbon at the end and then you retire.  This is not the Olympics.  This is your whole life.

6.  Do not look back. Okay, occasionally look back so you remember how damn lucky you are.  But do not spend any time looking back...you WILL turn to stone or worse...you will walk back there. You will start to think that your new life is the dream and that the old life was/is real.

The new life looks dreamy but it is not a dream. The old life was a nightmare.

Keep dreaming.  But stay awake.