I'll never forget hopping in Jen's trusty and dependable Ford Edge to drive down to Niles, OH for my first Dancing Mindfulness experience. There I am sitting next to my hip, super credentialed supervisor with a dance degree feeling insecure and quite intimidated. And I'm going to dance with Dr. Jamie Marich, the dynamic woman who developed this art form and is well renowned in the psychology field for her trauma informed expressive arts and other treatment modalities. "This is going to be an embarrassment" and " I don't dance. I gyrate and I haven't gyrated since I last drank about eight years ago." "What am I going to do??? I suppose I could just watch." These were all very important thoughts and questions that I wasn't allowing my ego to reveal to Jen.
My own personal epiphany was that this Dancing Mindfulness wasn't a class measuring your physical ability or talent. In fact, it wasn't anything about me yet it was everything about me at the same time. There were other women attending who were broken, like me. At some point in their lives, ok ok ok: at many points in OUR lives, we had experienced trauma. Ranging from unhealthy relationships with family members, natural disasters or accidents, to severe forms of abuse and neglect. Healing, as we came to learn through Jen, Jamie and other women who decided to embrace this movement: can only happen entirely with help from our God-given (God as you understand he/she, or whatever/whoever you higher power may or may not be) gift of expression in the form of arts.
Keeping in mind the principles of mindfulness: non-judgment, non-striving, acceptance, trust, beginner's mind, patience and letting go. And just like that: with a short guided grounding exercise and stretches, we all got up, supporting each other without expectations. I twirled and twirled and twirled as if to unravel that first layer of hard ego and insecurity.