Today, I’m so pleased to be sharing space with Meg Goodmanson! Read on & learn how movement facilitates creativity and the writing process. I don’t know about you, but I’m inspired to take a dance break right about now. -JM
Hi! I’m Meg Goodmanson. I’m a dancer and movement facilitator with training in Kripalu DansKinetics and Reiki Healing Dance (TM)…which is a fancy way of saying that I help people discover their inner dancer and use dance as a tool for healing, meditation, and self-expression. I live in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada with my husband and our son. I offer local classes in Halifax, run online telecircles, and blog about meditative/ecstatic dance, creativity, self-care, and appreciating the beauty of life on my blog at http://spiritmovesdance.com. I would so love to dance with you!
Contact info: Twitter: @SpiritMovesMeg; Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/?q=#/spiritmovesdance
Dancing Out of Your Head, Into Your Body, and Onto the Page
I step up to my keyboard, ready to write this post. Fingers on the keys, I stare at the white expanse of screen. But my head is a tangled jumble of sound: worries and to-do lists and random thoughts. It’s crowded up there, and I can’t hear my story for the noise.
My head feels like a giant (and crowded) balloon, a disembodied thing. Is it even attached to my hands? How am I supposed to write, to access my deeper self and find the words when I’m not even in my body?
The answer comes in a flash.
I step back from the keyboard.
And I start to dance.
Dance is my first love. It’s the lens through which I view the world. Over time, I’ve come to see it as one of the ultimate healing tools—meditative, healing, grounding, and expressive.
Dance isn’t just ballet classes, ballroom, or TV competition shows. Dance is so much more. It’s universal and ancient, a freeform expression of physicality that anyone can engage in (all infants and toddlers dance instinctively). It’s also a darn good way to get your creative juices flowing.
I step back from my keyboard and turn on the music. I dance. And when I’m done, I know just what to write.
When I’m feeling stuck, I turn to my collection of dancing tools. They’re tools that I love, and that I love to share.
Some take only a minute, one you can do while you write, while others take a little longer and require some room to move. But they can all help you to achieve the same goal: to get out of your head and into your body, to shake things up, clear things out, and help the words flow.
Here’s a peek at my dancing tools:
1. Wiggle your toes.
I know that sounds completely insane, but just give it a try. I do this all the time when I’m feeling off-balance or stuck. I’ve done it while writing (I did it just now!), at bedtime, and when I’m playing with my son. You can pretty much do it anywhere (although I wouldn’t recommend doing it while driving…at least not with your right foot).
Barefoot is best, but you can do it in shoes as well. I’ve had major epiphanies as a result of some simple toe-wiggling!
2. Get grounded.
The way I see it, the essence of dance is being fully present in your body. That means that many meditation techniques are dances of stillness (how cool is that?!). Grounding is absolutely no exception. There are SO many ways to get grounded, but here’s my favourite visualization:
Stand straight and tall. Take a few deep breaths to settle into your body. Shift your focus down to the soles of your feet. Feel them pressing against the floor, supported by the earth. Visualize roots sprouting from the soles of your feet and growing down…down through the foundations of the building and into the ground. Continue visualizing your roots growing until you feel completely anchored, connected to the earth.
3. Shake your sillies out
I’m serious! Put on your favourite song and wiggle for a few minutes. It never ceases to make me smile when I do this, and it somehow shakes up the energy and helps me settle back into my body. Here’s my favourite track for wiggling.
4. Follow your breath
Of all the meditation techniques I’ve tried, following my breath is one of the most effective for me. It can be as simple as sitting or lying down and breathing deeply and slowly for a count of 30-100 breaths.
But, to be honest, I usually end up taking the exploration further, and doing a moving meditation that I call The Dance of Breath. I love this practice so much that I made a meditation track to share. It takes 15 minutes, requires absolutely no “dance experience” whatsoever, and all you need is some clear space to move. Right click here to download.
I’ve been known to use this when I’m particularly head-y and ungrounded…I highly recommend it.
5. Have a dance party
Stepping back, letting go, and just boogieing can be as effective as any of the more meditative movements on this list (and it’s the one I used to get this post written!). Here’s a song I love to dance to, and, if you’ve 20 minutes to spare, here’s a playlist that I made just for you!
Dance is more than steps in a studio. It’s an incredibly versatile tool for healing and creativity, and you can do it pretty much anywhere. Next time you’re feeling stuck, step back from the keyboard, dance, and see what magic happens.
I step up to my keyboard, a smile on my face. The dance has left me grounded, present, and joyful. Every cell in my body feels alive. I put my hands to the keys, and I type this story…