Today, I want to share a personal story with you about recommitment and reinvention that I like to remind myself of from time to time.
In college and for several years after, I had the privilege of studying the José Limón dance technique with the venerable Risa Steinberg. There are many reasons I loved her class: for one, she’s another petite package of dance passion, like me. She’s also a native New Yorker, like me. During the days when I’d take her class every morning, I’d go to bed with her voice in my head shouting, “right side of the back!” and other such urgent directives.
There was one piece of advice she often repeated that has stuck with me in so many ways. When we’d hold our arms out in second position (arms stretched out to the side in a T-shape, more or less), sometimes for an entire 2-3min. exercise, our arms would inevitably start to to droop or stiffen.
She’d then implore us to “reinvent the position.” Instead of merely hitting the position and hanging out there, holding on for dear life with a pained or bored look in our eyes, she challenged us to breathe new life in to it every second; to find movement in the stillness, to recommit ourselves to exploring the beauty and purpose of the pose through our action and intention, even when our arms grew tired. To not just find the position and then forget about, grow resentful of, or detached from it.
This took time to understand on a physical level, but over time, it began to influence not only my dancing, but my entire life philosophy.
Let me explain.
I began to see how “reinvent the position” can be applied to anything worth doing, having, or feeling. In our personal relationships that we are most passionate about, for instance, we must (if we want to keep and deepen them) consistently act to show that we care, that we remember, that we’re listening and present. The same can be said of our relationships to our careers, hobbies, and most importantly, our Self.
Reinvent is another way of saying rededicate. And in that, softness can blossom. Expansion can blossom. Self-awareness and purpose and passion can shine forth.
The step beyond is investigation. Show up and investigate. What’s new here? Where can I soften? What am I aware of? What can I do differently? This curiosity and willingness to ask questions and innovate, to challenge the status quo, is what keeps things fresh and alive with purpose.
With this in mind, the internal weight, anxiety, or sometimes even half-heartedness I feel about setting a goal and having to STICK TO IT! begins to ease up. (Btw, if you’re feeling half-hearted about a goal you’ve set, maybe time to take a closer look…). It forces me to remember that I’m part of this process. The goal is me, not something outside myself. And I can continue choosing what is me and what isn’t, continue choosing what’s truly important and how I’d like to feel and be, and how to try getting there.
So, whatever your goals, whether they are to shift some energy around a health issue, spend more time with your loved ones, or time with your passions, I invite you to pause and “reinvent the position” from time to time as February turns to March and so on.
Better yet, choose ONE health related issue in your life, big or small, that you feel the need to reinvent and/or investigate, and take action now.
With love + reinvention,
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