US Open of Swing Recap

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As I sit here watching Sunday football on a cold afternoon, it’s hard to believe that just over a week ago, Andy and I were primping and stretching in preparation for our US Open debut. It’s crazy how quickly months of prep can go into just 2.5 minutes of performing. I’m sure anyone who’s ever planned a wedding or a big event has felt the same way… so much thought goes into executing every detail—only to have it all end in one day.

That said, I’ve loved using this week to really reflect on the experience and glean as much learning as I can from it. I’m sure, though, that the lessons from this will continue to roll in as time moves forward.

The morning of the big performance…

We’d practiced together the night before, and had finally gotten the chance to rehearse for the first time on the big floor only just that morning.

For all the worrying, stressing, and ruminating I’d done the weeks and months prior, I was happy to find that on the day of the actual performance, I was calm and excited to get out on the floor. After our early morning rehearsal, I had spent the remainder of the morning pressing our costumes, gluing on more rhinestones (there’s no such thing as too many), getting my thought ready for the day, and even taking a nap before I beginning the primping process.

We had to report to the green room at 2:10pm, even though our position as 15th in the lineup made us perform closer to 4pm. In that back room, there was a piece of ballroom floor about 10 feet by 8 feet for all 22 couples to use to warm up (aka NOT a lot of space). But we made due.

Andy and I took our turn on the floor to run our routine, and for me personally, it wasn’t going so well. We kept running into the other couple on the floor, my spins weren’t coming out cleanly, and at one point I stepped off the edge of the floor and my shoe twisted off—causing my heel a lot of discomfort. All this within minutes of going out to perform. Grrreat.

I thought to myself, “This is the moment where mental training is key.” I knew that I was perfectly capable of dancing though the pain—but I also knew that if Andy and I weren’t connecting well here, it would show up in our performance. And at that moment, things weren’t looking too good. Right then, we were called to get “on deck,” meaning we were up next.

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Oh dang. That’s us. It’s now. It’s really happening.

I knew I had to shift my thought and get into game mode. As any athlete, speaker, or performer knows…it’s so much more about the mental game than the actual physical game. Get the mind right, and the rest falls in place. And, confession, “getting into game mode” for both of us looked more like some bad dancing from the “shake it off” music video. Once we’d gotten that out of our systems, I took Andy’s arm and we walked up the stairs to make our entrance. We decided to really enjoy the next 3 minutes, focusing on soaking in as much of the experience as possible. The music ended from the couple before us, and before we knew it, it was our turn. We took a deep breath together and stepped out onto the floor.

Time seemed to move so slowly out there, and as we hit our final pose, I felt nothing but satisfaction for the performance we’d just given. Because of our diligence in practicing, I felt like it was another practice run—except that we got to share it with all our friends that day. And I realized only later, that I hadn't felt any pain while dancing either. 

Earlier that morning, I’d found this stanza in a poem by Richard C. Trench to be quite helpful: “For we must share, if we would keep that blessing from above; they cease to have who cease to give: such is the law of love.” I knew that ultimately, this couldn’t be a selfish endeavor for it to be truly successful. I’ve learned that the secret to living is giving—and what a better way than to share a gift than to dance it out?

Once backstage again, hugs from friends and texts and messages started coming in right away from friends who were watching online from all over… it was incredible to feel so much support from our community (and a shout out to all those who have sent texts, messages, comments, or emails over the last week—it’s been such fun to share this journey with you!).

Post-performance emotions:

— Exhausted: after not sleeping well for over a week before the Open, I’m definitely grateful for the time to just breathe again. I’m also enjoying the fact that I now have about 50% more space available in my mental hard drive, now that it’s no longer occupied with ruminating over the US Open prep. Which also means that I can also focus on all my upcoming projects! So many fun things(and books) to come…this is only the beginning. :)

— Deep satisfaction with our performance: with only one minor error, I’m still so proud of us for holding ourselves well out there (and not choking under the pressure), and for beating the fear that tried to impede our progress and following through with this big goal. I can hardly describe how rewarding it is to take a vision like we had, and to have worked hard to make it happen. It truly was a victory over fear and the resistance that came up so strongly throughout the process.

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— Humble and inspired: I’ve shared with a few people that this experience was like playing in a D1 game as a D3 player. And while we were as prepared as we could’ve been, we knew that this would be more about the opportunity to “play” with the D1’s in the Classic Division. And although we didn’t make it into the Finals, it was equally enjoyable to cheer on our friends who did make it—and it was an incredible show of talent and hard work that evening.

Results: We received 22nd place out of 22nd couples. However, what I love about the entire experience is that the placement hasn’t affected how I feel about our performance at all! I felt (and still feel) honored and humbled to be out on the same floor as our fellow competitors that day. Sure, I’ve been tempted to feel embarrassed or ashamed of getting “last place,” hesitant to share that with people when they ask. But when I go back to the root of the experience—we knew that we’d be going up against some of the best west coast swing dancers in the world. We knew from the get go that it was more about envisioning and going after a goal that would push us into becoming better dancers and more resilient people in general. I keep going back to the fact that this experience was largely a practice in taking a vision, figuring out a way to make it a reality, and then working our butts off to make it happen. And we did! That, right there, is the victory. And thankfully, getting last place hasn’t overshadowed that fact. And ultimately, I know that this is just the first step of many in continuing to take ideas and bring them to fruition throughout my life and in my life’s work as well.

Thank you all for your support, encouragement, and interest as we’ve gone through this experience. And cheers to all of us, Living our Dance this year! Onward!

The night before the Classic Division at the US Open of Swing

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After watching the Showcase Division (think West Coast Swing + lifts and aerials) tonight, I found myself practically moved to tears after almost every single performance. I think it finally hit me hard: that to be out on the US Open Swing Dance Championship floor is an incredible honor. And to perform with the likes of the great legends of the dance leaves me incredibly humbled, inspired and let's be honest, PUMPED (and pee-my-pants-nervous) to get out there and be able to join them tomorrow! (side note: thank you, Showcase dancers for taking the first night like champs--that was truly inspiring.)

So tonight, as I sit here attempting to bring my thoughts and feelings into order, I realize that it feels to me just like Christmas Eve... except with a great deal more pressure to deliver a "gift" tomorrow. Though, I imagine this might be 1/7-billionth of what Santa must feel like each year on the 24th. :)

That said, the energy in the ballroom tonight, and then later on in the side ballroom afterwards--with couples scattered around a working floor, each in their own zone...the focus, the passion, the tweaking towards perfection...it was a sight and a feeling to behold. I felt awed and inspired just to share that space with my fellow dancers. And, not gonna lie, pretty darn proud of both myself and proud of all of us for traveling our various roads to be there together.

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One thing that I love about this whole thing is that for most of us, there's no coach like there was in high school or college sports, telling us when practice is; no mom or dad asking if we've finished our "dance practice homework" for that day. This is a self-driven, self-motivated pursuit, and I don't mean that in an egotistic way. But instead, it's because each of us has been so strongly compelled from within to take the seed of an idea and bring it to life through this dance, that has brought us here together this weekend.

I was talking briefly with my friend Warren as we were both admiring the palpable energy of work ethic in that side ballroom tonight--watching each couple in sweats and t-shirts, rehearsing sans rhinestones--and we talked about the metaphor that these routines represent.

Like we saw tonight in the Showcase Division, errors and missteps happen. They do. Even at the highest level.  But instead of seeing those and worrying about them or about how we'll perform tomorrow, you know what I lessons I took away from seeing those tonight?

I learned that the routines on the floor out there are not so unlike the dance of life: we can practice and prepare all we want, but sometimes, it just doesn't unfold the way we think it will or the way we think it "should." And as much as that could make me want to dive into bed and sleep through the day tomorrow instead of perform, I also know that deep down I'd rather be out on the floor, messing up and dancing, than in the stands wishing I were out there. But even with all the little imperfections or moments of being off-balance, I clearly saw the beauty of expression. Boiled down, no matter how the dance comes out, it's still art. And no matter how the dance of our lives turns out, it's still a work of art.  And therein lies that elusive idea of perfection--it's found within the dance, including (and perhaps sometimes because of) the errors and the "missteps."

How amazing it is, then, to be able to witness each couple on the floor, each in their own way, allowing themselves to put their dance, their art, out on the floor, and yet still be vulnerable to whatever the moment throws at them... working it out in the arena, in front of all those people. And if/when an error happens--the grace and poise they possess to refocus and carry on.

Tomorrow is the day that Andy and I (and all our fellow Classic Division competitors dancers) have been preparing, rehearsing, sweating, dreaming, worrying, praying, stressing, and giddy-nervous-laughing about all year.

[deep breath] 

And at this point, all I want to do tomorrow is to be able to walk off that floor with my head held high, knowing that I left it ALL out on the field. Mess-ups or not...I know that the dance we dance tomorrow will be perfect, even in its potential imperfections. Though, please don't mistake me for copping out here, and saying that we should expect to have errors.

Rather, my thought for all of us tonight is that we can know and trust that each moment is a new moment, unattached to what we've done before or what's to come next; that the work we've put in all year long to our routines will shine forth; that our visions will come to life out there; and that our passion (cue visual of Robert Royston's face from his routine tonight) on the floor will inspire, move, and ignite others with the same flame of love that we have for the dance. That is true art, and that is what I aim to express tomorrow on that US Open floor.

And if ever in doubt... add more rhinestones!!

#LiveYourDance

The US Open Swing Dance Championships: a training ground for the mind

After a full week of being completely immersed in the fear and anxiety of anticipation for this week’s US Open Swing Dance Championships… I’ve come to realize that this state of mind will not help me in any fashion. This entire week, I’ve felt so scared, I’ve put so much pressure on myself to do well, feeling already disappointed in myself for not losing enough weight for this event, feeling hopeless, and silly for even thinking that I could belong on the floor with the likes of my fellow amazingly talented competitors—even to the point of not wanting to go compete at all anymore; fearful that this will define me; fearful that it won’t—and it’ll be just another one of those things that I did once… even crying while gluing on rhinestones to our costumes yesterday (note to self: tears obstruct view for detailed costume work. I do not recommend this.).

But tonight, I meekly turn towards gratitude. During lunch yesterday, a good friend of mine reminded me that this performance/competition is actually all about love: love of the dance, love of expression, love for the audience, and sharing this gift with them.

Another friend of mine brought up the idea that this isn’t even about what “place” we get. “There is no place to attain,” he said. How is that even possible, I wondered? Because, he explained, it’s all about expressing this love for and through the dance.

As I sit here tonight journaling out my gratitude, I’m overwhelmed with how much there truly is to be thankful for:

  •  I’m grateful to be able to go out there well-practiced and well-dressed.
  • I’d much rather be the “man in the arena,” than the man on the sidelines—no matter how the results turn out: unlike so many others, at least I’m doing it…starting somewhere—as low as I may feel on the totem pole.
  • I’m grateful for the opportunity to dance out on the US Open floor, for my talented partner, for the support from all my family and friends along the way, for the means to travel and do this in the first place, for a body that functions and with which I can rejoice and express my exploding joy for life and this dance.
  • I’m also grateful for the (almost-debilitating) fear that has been trying to stop me all week: for the chance to see (1) how much I really do care about this, (2) for the chance to overcome it, move through it, and to continue on despite its attempts to impede my progress, (3) for the growth it’s caused in me, (4) for the chance it’s allowed me in sharing my fears, to become vulnerable and ask for support, (5) and to feel ALIVE!! I see now that the fear, sadness, and frustration are all the dark moments that make those stars of good moments shine even brighter.

the_man_in_the_arenaI have no idea how this weekend will pan out. None of us do. But instead of worrying so much about how I’ll do competitively, I’m deciding now to flood my heart, my intentions, and my week ahead with gratitude, and to celebrate this amazing event that I’ve looked forward to and been preparing directly and indirectly for, over the last five years.

My commitment to myself for this next week is that whenever I feel the fear or anxiety of anticipation seeping in… to stop. Take a deep breath. And reconnect with this solid state of gratitude.

Gratitude is a muscle. And this event—or any chance I have to travel outside my comfort zone—is just another opportunity to build up my mental fortitude. And I have a feeling that I’ll get a good mental workout this upcoming week. :) I’ve learned that a mind filled with gratitude can’t also dwell simultaneously in fear. So I get to choose now. Do I choose fear or gratitude?

And a closing note to my fellow competitors this weekend: My vision is that we go out there as cheerleaders for each other—each of us bringing our best game in order to call out a higher level of excellence in each other. As John Wooden says,

We don’t have to be superstars or win championships…All we have to do is learn to rise to every occasion, give our best effort, and make those around us better as we do it.

And then, as we each leave the floor after our event(s), we can individually know that we’ve already “won,” not by the placement we do or do not receive. But by the knowledge that we “left it all out on the field.” And that’s truly all any of us can hope to accomplish out there.

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Success is piece of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing that you did your best to become the best you are capable of becoming. -John Wooden _______________________________________________________________________

 

All the best to each of us! May our every step on that floor be infused with the fruits of our labor, our joy, and our love for the dance. Cheers to a truly successful weekend at the US Open!

"Perfectionism is just fear... in really good shoes."

"Perfectionism is just fear...in really good shoes." as the wise Elizabeth Gilbert said in her interview with Oprah not too long ago. 

As I work on editing my book today, I'm realizing this: while I so urgently want to put excellent work out there, if the work is held back because "it's not perfect yet," or "it's not good enough yet," then that's just resistance disguised as 'perfectionism.' It's time to let go of this attachment to my book(s) as being a representative of me--it's not me. It's just a vehicle for ideas.

And if I'm holding back something that could potentially help someone, solely to assuage my ego--and not let it go until it's 'perfect' (which will be *ahem* never)--than that's the real enemy here. Instead I'm working on getting 'self' out of the way, and letting the work get done.

Today's assignment, really then, isn't to edit. It's to 'un-self.' [Click the image for her clip on perfectionism.]

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A Poem for my Unknown Love

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"A Poem to my Unknown Love" by me 

Sometimes, words float to me, and it's all I can do to scramble to catch them as fast as I can. Today this poem came out of no where, and I ran to my phone to record it as it fell from my mouth and onto the page.

On a personal note, my heart's been in healing recently--so that may be where this sprouted. But regardless, writing letters to my future husband is something I've been doing intentionally since 2010, so this will be added to them. But it's the first time I've shared one of them publicly. #treadlightlyplease #heartspace 

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Oh love, oh love I wish you knew that you could be right here with me you already are, and still I know that you’re so far from me.

I know we’d gaze into the stars together in the night And you’d hold my hand, and I’d hold yours and we’d both breathe a sigh,

And let it go and feel our hearts entangled like our legs You’d hold me tight and squeeze me so, and breathe into the night.

Oh, how I wish that you’d be here and I’d be here with you. You’d kiss me like the morning sun, gently like the dew.

I know you not but you should know your heart is real to me It’s like you’re here, I feel you near, but still I want you be...

so close to me, I breathe your scent from years of miles away to see your smile, your laughing eyes, perhaps you might just stay.

Come bound with me, take both my hands, and kiss me on my cheek, I’ll look at you, and smile so true, and hear you say to me:

My dear, I’ve waited my whole life to wrap you in my arms, and here you sit, right close to me, and I can feel your heart.

If you could know the passion, aching love I have for you, perhaps you’d hurry, run, and sprint your way to hold me too.

You may be far, but I can hear you whisper in my ear: I love you so, You barely know, I want you oh so near.

Your finger swipes my lips and then you look into my eyes, I’m lost with you, the world shrinks back, and I start to realize:

This love I feel for you is one I hold within myself The closeness that I wish for me is right here upon the shelf.

I’ll take it down, grab a piece, and savor it bite by bite. This love I hold for you is one that I have deep inside.

And that’s ok, that’s great for now. I can feel it in this space. But please know that if you’d care to join me, you’re welcome in this place.

I see you, hear you, feel you, though far you still seem to me perhaps you’re nearer than I know, perhaps you’re here with me.

With arms held open and tear-streaked eyes, I’ve journeyed the ups and downs. My heart aches to share this love and to hand you my precious crown.

You’ll be my king, I trust you so, to lead me down this road called life. And hand in hand we’ll stride, our hearts in one abode.

How to Jump Into the Unknown

I talked to a friend today who’d been offered a new job in a position--and he asked me, “How do you jump into the unknown without knowing if I’ll fail or not?” He told me about his fear of failure being bigger than his desire to win, and the idea that things are too good to be true when there aren’t enough con’s to the pro’s...well that’s a great way to live life--always looking for the “cons” to reaffirm your notion that something is too good to be true (note the sarcasm). I also asked him how his life will be if he continues to choose only the situations where he knows he can’t lose...

I then invited him to put how it looks on his resume to the side, put the big paycheck aside, look away from “how does this help me and my career”--and instead into the amazing impact he could have on not just a select number of people on a small team, but on an entire team... When we’re called into a higher level, focusing inward truncates our potential for impact, while focusing outward on opportunities to serve then opens up limitless opportunities for growth and contribution. With that first step, we have to know and trust that we have within ourselves everything we need, or at least we have access to people who have all the resources we’ll need in order to follow through on our commitments.

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Here are a few more ideas when embarking on a new and unknown path: 

  • You won’t do it perfectly.

“Oh great, thanks for that nugget of wisdom,” you say. Well, let’s face it, you won’t. And we need to acknowledge that as well as the fact that that’s ok. It’s like becoming a parent (so I hear)--you’ll never be truly “ready” or fully prepped for all that’s about to come your way, no matter what you do or read beforehand. And no parent has ever raised a kid “perfectly.” But somehow, year after year, children keep coming along and first-time parents make it through. You’ll make it through too. 

  • Get yourself around people playing a higher game. 

Business and life speaker Jim Rohn astutely said that we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with. So as you embark on your journey, whatever it may be, grab a few friends who are playing the game you want to be playing (whether it be in career, finance, fitness, romance, or spirituality), and talk with them, ask them questions, and then... try this, listen. Like, really listen. Take what resonates and start experimenting with it in your life. And make sure one of those people is someone you can call late at night when you’re having a meltdown of “I can’t do this!” My brother Johnny was my go-to for many a day/night when I was in transition from quitting my 9-5 career into crafting my next steps. His wisdom, humor, encouragement, living example, and support was absolutely essential to my progress. Go find yourself a Johnny. :)  

  • Write out your vision for yourself in that new position. 

I do this a lot, and it’s not restricted to just taking a new job. I even did that when I moved to Dallas--I wrote out the impact I wanted to have in the community, how I wanted to engage with my new community of friends I hadn’t even met yet, and what role I wanted to play in that new city. 

  • Your lack of belief in yourself is the only thing holding you back. 

The idea that you’re not ready is only that...an idea, a belief. 

                             /bi ‘lef/ : an acceptance that a statement is true or that something exists.

So a belief is just the “acceptance” that something is true, not a fact that it is. So any belief that “I’m not good enough,” “I don’t know enough yet,” “I’m not a leader of (fill in the blank),” is just a story that you tell yourself about yourself. That doesn’t mean it’s true. Like the wise woman Marie Forleo says, “Everything is figure-out-able.” Just google it, and figure it out along the way. :) 

My friend was very afraid of failing. Guess what, so am I. But there’s great power in the quote, “Feel the fear and do it anyway.” Sure, feel that fear. Swim in it for heaven’s sake. But don’t let it keep you from doing what you’re made to be doing. That’s exactly what the “Resistance” (as Steven Pressfield discusses in his book, The War of Art)  wants is to keep us scared, complacent, just satisfied enough to stay in the area of “good” when we are so incredibly capable of something truly Great.

And I’ll leave you with this idea: you can drive from New York to California in the dark, with just being able to see the 200 feet in front of you. Just take that first step, and then...figure out the next one. 

The Next Chapter...

I think I've only been home a total of four weeks this year, and it doesn't look like that'll change in the near future. So it's with a heavy heart that I say a "goodbye" to my Dallas family for the time being. In the next couple days, I'll move my things into storage, and hit the road officially for the remainder of the year. It's full-time writing, dancing, entrepreneuring, and traveling now. #werk #liveyourdance #allin #noturningbacknow #writingabook#dallasinmyheart #nextchapter  

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"Wakin' up is the hardest part..."

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Tonight I'm performing a piece at Wild Wild Westie (a dance event in Dallas, TX) that means a lot to me. It's about my mom, and specifically--about that moment when I found out that she had passed on. 

Personally, this has been a stretch to not only choreograph and perform my first solo piece, but to also open up and connect with anyone else who's lost someone close--and to use dance as a vehicle to express that feeling, when words sometimes can't do it justice (and we all know how much I love the written word...  ) mom-and-molly At some point, we'll all have to confront that moment (or perhaps we already have, and some of us have faced that moment many times--myself included), and this is a piece to touch that moment: the morning after, as I woke up and tried to remember if it was just a dream... Only to realize that it was real. And that moment that I feared most actually. did. happen.

"...and waking up is the hardest part... For the moment, you can hardly breathe...wonderin' was she really here? ...no she's not, cause she's gone gone gone gone gone.." (-John Mayer, and words from the song I'll be performing to)

But ultimately, the piece is designed to remind us that at some point, as we all have or will have that moment--we can remember that we're not alone. We're never truly alone, even though it can feel like it. Sometimes all it takes is a smile, or taking someone's hand and looking them in the eye to tell them that you love them, or even a hug--just to let them know that it's going to be ok...

So as nervous as I am to go out there tonight, I'm reminding myself to just focus on BEING. It's not actually about me at all. It's about conveying an experience, a moment...and no, it doesn't have to be pretty, and no it doesn't have to be perfect. It's about taking off the mask, connecting, and letting others in--cause that's where the real healing takes place.

Thank you mom for the inspiration, and for allowing me to see how much I care for you by how much it hurt to see you go. I'm grateful to know that our relationship continues to this day, and will continue to grow as I become increasingly grateful for the foundation you've laid in my life. I love you mom!

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Update:

I just finished putting my "mom" piece on the floor for the first time tonight. I was "in it" and genuinely cried at the end. Barely remember it, actually--just the feeling of being out there and afterwards. And I must say, I'm so grateful for my Dallas family for their encouragement and support. I wouldn't want to perform it in front of any other group first. Tears all around, lots of "I love you's." I'm feeling so grateful, peaceful, and filled up full. Thank you guys from the bottom of my tear-streaked heart.

 

My Fiji Story (that I just decided to publish)

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I’d arrived! 5 hours of driving to Palm Springs after 9 months of anticipation had brought me to “Date with Destiny”, a 6-day conference led by none other than the famed teacher and life-coaching guru, Tony Robbins. The woman at the registration desk handed me a ping pong ball, where I was instructed to write my name and team number with a black sharpie on its side (I added an exclamation point after my team number, because, hey, why not?). 

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“Take your ball over there and she’ll take care of you.” 

The woman ‘over there’ had me stand in the middle of the hallway and visualize Tony picking my particular ball out of the 1800 ping pong balls for a chance at winning some nebulous grand prize. I humored her, and visualized it (why not?), and tossed my ball into the sea of ping pong balls that had already started to accumulate.

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The next few days were filled with new people everywhere, loud music, high fives, being introspective, journaling, dancing on chairs, and very enthusiastic “GOOD MORNING’s!” I, of course, felt quite at home. Only three days in, and I had already uncovered huge chasms in my beliefs and patterns that I was excited to breakdown and work on. I had an amazing buddy by my side each day, Vince, a 50-year-old gay man from Canada, whose silliness was equally matched with his perceptive and compassionate heart. 

He’d leave the room in the middle of the lecture, only to come back with a chicken wrap for me, since, as he’d say, “you haven’t eaten yet today.” (He’s the giver in his relationships. :)

Each morning, we’d enter the expansive ballroom, starting our day with an 1,800-person dance party to Flo Rida, at 10am. If there was a profession where I could start each day like this, I would like to nominate myself for the CEO. Our dancing continued until we found our teams with each member standing on top of our chairs, and eventually spilling out into the aisles. 

It was the kind of dancing that left you chilled a half-hour after settling down, when your sweat-soaked shirt finally picked up on the a/c blasting in the room. 

The third morning of the event, we were well acquainted with our daily warm up, and I found my team in the middle section at the back of the room. 

High fives all around,

bags down, 

let the dancing commence. 

(cue “We Found Love in a Hopeless Place” by Rihanna)

Fully warm 20 minutes later, our hailed leader, Tony Robbins finally graced us with his energy and enthusiasm. An infectious spirit unlike I’ve ever seen--1,800 of us went wild with cheers, and arms up in the air. The lights swirled, the music blared and

[I still can’t believe it was only 10:30am at this point in our day. If my addiction to dancing were alcohol, I’d have a serious problem on my hands.]

we ate it up. Tony gave us our cue to settle down, but not before we all had our our thumbs and pointer fingers in a “W” while chanting “the wheel! the wheel!” and not unsurprisingly, Tony obliged us by bringing out the wheel and the clear barrel filled with all our signed ping pong balls.

This particular morning, he started us off with “the first pick... from team 20!” Every other team’s cheering dropped a decibel when we realized it wasn’t our team number that he called out. Team 20, on the other hand, made up for the decibel difference with their rousing shouts of excitement.  

Their teammate ran up on stage, correctly answered his two questions taken from yesterday’s course material, and got to spin the wheel. One-hundred-and-fifty dollars might have been his prize, I think. He seemed quite happy about whatever it was, though, and left the stage. 

All wheel-ed out, though, Tony and his crew started removing the wheel and its components from the stage. 

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“Wait!”  “Not yet!”  “We still want a chance!” we were all thinking to ourselves. 

And then it started...  slowly and quietly from one team up in the front left of the room...

“one more time!”

“one more time!”  until everyone joined in... 1,800 strong: 

“ONE MORE TIME! ONE MORE TIME!” Hands in the air in the shape of W’s pulsing along with the rhythm of our chant.  It was hard to argue with such an energetic mob, such as we were. 

“Alright, fine!” retorted our leader with his grin stretched across his face (I’m sure this is the *first* time he’s heard this request from his constituents). And out came the wheel paraphernalia once again, to our extreme delight. 

He fished around in the barrel of ping pong balls and selected one: “This one,” he paused for effect, “is from... team 13!” Again the levels of cheering adjusted as the majority of the room realized he didn’t call our team. 

Supportive cheering from the 99% ensued. 

“Come on up here, Emma ____!”

The two large screens on either side of the massive stage up front revealed the camera team scanning the crowd for this “Emma.” Standing on our chairs in the back, we stretched our necks to see the excited girl screaming and leaping down the aisle. But to no avail. 30-some-seconds with no Emma left us to believe that she wasn’t in the room. 

Where’s Emma? Bathroom break? Sleeping in? A quick phone call outside? 

Team 13 came forward and said this “Emma _____” wasn’t even on their team. Fate called, and she wasn’t here to answer. 

All eyes back on Tony now. Surely this has never happened before. The one ping pong ball he chose and that person decided that this particular moment was perfect for a ham and cheese breakfast sandwich-- and there’s a glitch in the matrix. 

We all looked to Tony, now doubly-projected on the two big screens on either side of the stage, as he bent down and placed her ping pong ball on the stage, slowly lifted his leg, and crushed the ping pong ball with his size 17 foot. 

“Gotta show up for life, folks,” he said. And the audible sigh of heavy heartbreak hung heavily in the air for Emma. 

Tony’s crew members started removing the barrel and wheel once again. 

At this point, you could almost hear the cumulative mental whisperings sifting through the crowd, “wait, it can’t end like that!” “We’re all here! Let’s just give it one more go!”  And the same cluster up front started it, but this time it rapidly picked up speed and energy: 

“One more time!” “ONE MORE TIME! ONE MORE TIME!” We were relentless. We were on a mission, and we wouldn’t stop until Tony submitted. 

“Alright, guys. I’ll only do it again, IF you can raise the level of energy TEN TIMES what it was before!” 

Anyone who wasn’t standing on their chair was instantaneously atop theirs. 1,800 pairs of arms in the air, a sea of hands bobbing up and down, as Ricky Martin’s “GO! GO! GO! OLE! OLE! OLE!” blasted from the speakers. 

We all wanted a chance to win the Harley, or even the chance to spend a glorious stolen moment up on stage with the giant man, himself. 

“ONE MORE TIME! ONE MORE TIME!” we insisted.

His large hand plunged into the barrel once again. Fishing around for the next fated ping pong ball that he plucked from the multitude. “This one... is from... [audible intake of breath from us all] ...TEAM 7!”

My team went absolutely nuts.  

I couldn’t believe we had actually been picked! Now I get to cheer full out for our team! Team 7, that’s us!  And the small voice in the disbelieving part of my mind thought, “and that means, it could be you.” 

Not two seconds later, but I heard my name coming out of Tony Robbins’ mouth: “and the winner is... MOLLY KING!!”

“WHAT? WHAAAATT?? HOLY __[insert expletives here]___!” 

Hands patted me on the back as I jumped down off my chair and shuffled to the end of my aisle. The flashing lights in the dark darted all around me as my legs desperately tried sprinting up the aisle, which had since been filled with other attendees. I had to apologize for my body knocking into so many people as I yearned to show that I was, in fact, there in the room, unlike others, who shall remain nameless [*cough* Emma *cough*].

photo 4I jump/ran/sprinted to the front of the conference room, knocking into peoples’ backs and squealing “excuse me’s!” my entire way down. At the front center of the stage, I found the steps leading up to Tony. But not before the security guard stopped me to check my badge. Upon inspection that my tag read the correct name, he looked at me with a matching excited smile and said, “You can go see Tony now!” 

I looked up the steps to see Mr. 6-foot-7 crouching down, arms wide open, waiting for a hug. Throwing caution to the wind, I sprinted up the steps and leapt into his arms, somewhat surprising him (and myself), though he caught me and picked me up in his hug. His long arms wrapped completely around me as my little legs kicked behind me in my squealing delight. I felt his large head on the side of my face, my disbelief still overwhelming me. 

When he lowered me back to Earth, I was too excited to stand still. So naturally, I begin to dance. “Highway to Hell” was playing loudly as I let my body start rocking out to the music, not too unlike the way it does when I’m home alone, dancing in my kitchen. The rocking guitar lead us through the song and the crowd joined in the serenade when it came to the chorus, “we’re on the highway to hell!” 

I ran down to the edge of the stage to high five Taunya and Steve and some of my other teammates who had, by that time, rushed the stage. A full blown rock-out song, the sea of 1,799 people sang with me and even humored me as I cued them for a “hey! Oh!”-type dance move, in an effort to get everyone moving their arms to the right, then to the left.*

*Side note: Rewind two years to 2010 at my first Tony Robbins conference I attended. Tony asked for anyone who wanted to dance up on stage, to come on up. I hesitated and ended up missing my chance by just a few people at the cutoff. After that, I spent some good time kicking myself for missing that opportunity. Later, when I signed up for Date with Destiny in March of 2011, and during the 9 months of anticipation that followed--I would picture myself back up on that stage dancing, and it’d make me hit that excitement high each time. I had the moment of realization right then, in front of those 1,799 people, that that dream had come true. And any outcome at that point would have still resulted in the happy-for-life feeling that resides with me still today.

I felt so at ease. So comfortable and uninhibited--like it was a crowd of my closest funniest friends, singing and dancing right along with me. I could have gone home at that moment, with enough happy to fuel me for a decade. But it wasn’t over yet...

...well the song was; so I had to stop dancing.Tony-dancing

When cheering subsided, and a crew member handed me a mic, I gathered my wits and Tony remarked, “Well, I think you just raised the level of energy in this entire room, just with your dancing!” The cheering crowd concurred with a happy roar. I don’t think my smile could’ve stretched any wider at that moment. 

Now, on to the questions. If I didn’t answer the next two questions correctly, it would be game over for this spring chicken (thankfully, we all know it’s rigged and the answer is always C).

“Question number one,” says Tony in his best Regis Philbin voice. “What are the seven elements of a story? Is it A) Sneezy, Sleepy, Dopey, Doc, Happy, Bashful, and Grumpy? Or is it B) Something, something, something, ....[I can’t remember] OR is it C) Desire, Problem/Need, Opponent, Plan, Battle, and Self-Revelation?” Not wanting him to think I was overly confident, I turned to my trusty audience and asked their opinion, “Whaddya think guys?”  The resounding screams of “C!!!” confirmed my guess. And Tony replied, “Good idea, way to ask the crowd!”  “C is correct!” and the crowd cheered. 

“Question number two,” says the slightly taller version of Regis next to me, as the lights drop in true Who Wants to be a Millionaire style. Tony speaks each word slowly and deliberately, “What   is,   an   incantation?”  

“Is it A) a stupid positive phrase you tell yourself to make yourself feel better? or is it B) the sound you make during an orgasm? [did he really just say that?] or is it C) affirmations, repeated with emotional energy, intensity, and conviction, such that the meanings and intentions of the words you’re uttering become locked into the nervous system, and sink deeply into the subconscious mind, bringing about lasting and powerful life-changes?” 

I start to answer, “I--” and he cuts me off: “OR! is it D) the sound you make during an orgasm AND affirmations, repeated with emotional energy, intensity, and conviction, such that the meanings and intentions of the words you’re uttering become locking into the nervous system, and sink deeply into the subconscious mind, bringing about lasting and powerful life-changes?” 

Oh no. One side of me wants to be funny, take the risk, and go with D. But my need for certainty wins out and I answer C, just so there’s no question that I got this in the bag. But to my surprise he responds with a big smile and somewhat-repeats me with a, “She said D!!”

Everyone cheered and Tony’s assuring look told me it would be ok and I could still advance and spin the wheel now. *sigh of relief* I passed the test! Re-commence smiling now. Tony invited me to stage left so I could officially meet “the wheel.” 

As we transition, the theme from Mission Impossible began to play. So what do most normal, well-adjusted and mild-mannered people do, but dance their way over to stage left with their hand-made prop gun, pretending to be a spy. You too?!  [At this point, Tony’s wide eyes and raised eyebrows made me wonder if he thought I was a bit too comfortable up on stage... though not enough to cause me to abort my “gun dance” as someone later called it. 

Hey, if you’re going to call me up on stage out of 1,800 people to hang with TR, please know I can’t be responsible for sudden out bursts of inexplicable excitement or absurdity. But I digress.]

Before I got to spin the wheel, Tony asked me, “Alright, Molly. If you could have any prize on the wheel, what would you want?”  “Well, I’ll be happy with anything,” I answered immediately, because I honestly could’ve gone home already and still have been higher than a kite in orbit. But I started trying to read the prizes listed all around the wheel so I could make a selection.

“Ok, well let’s pick one,” and he started to prompt me: “How about a free coaching session with one of our coaches? or a free night’s stay here at the resort? or one of our relationship programs on DVD? or the Harley Davidson? or the Business Mastery course in Fiji--

At “Fiji,” my ears perked up: “Well, yeah! I mean, Fiji would be kinda awesome!”  “Great! Well, go ahead then and spin the wheel!” motioning to his right. 

So let me pause here. Unlike Price Is Right, there’s no gaming this one. This is no hefty wheel that takes a tippy-toe pull down to get going. This is literally a wheel on a peg, the kind that will spin for days if you flick your wrist quick enough. No strategy available, so we’ll just see how this goes.

So, I flicked, and it spun. Tick-tick-tick-tick-tick-tick-tick its flap went with each hit of the pegs. I remember dancing beside  the wheel while it spun itself dizzy. Five minutes later, when it finally started slowing down enough for me to read what was coming up, I was almost certain it would land on the tile that read “One more spin” thus giving me another chance at some awesome prize [though, let’s face it, they were all awesome prizes]

But as “One more spin” slowly approached the target area, and passed it by one or two “ticks,” Tony looked at what it had actually landed on, and turned to the audience to announce, 

“BUSINESS MASTERY LEVEL 2 IN FIJI!!!!!

The crowd went absolutely bonkers. My mouth uttered some explatives as I dropped to the ground, meanwhile Tony Robbins, THE Tony Robbins, has gotten down on. his. knees. and is bowing to me repeatedly. When I stood up, he came over to me and scooped me up in a twirling hug, my arms around his neck, and when my legs continued spinning, and he caught my knees with his free arm. (side note: as I looked out over the audience, I could see on the big screens that my white underwear was peaking out from the waist of my jeans. I decided that, given the circumstances, I wouldn’t let it bother me in that moment.) 

I had won a trip to Fiji. I’m being held in Tony Robbins’ arms. 6 feet off the ground. One-thousand, seven-hundred and ninety-nine people cheering for me--

If I had been capable of jubilant spontaneous combustion, it would have happened right then. 

My smile was stretched to the max. My legs could barely stabilize me, and my eyes clearly showed that I didn’t actually believe any of this had actually happened yet, at all. Once again, Tony lowered me to the ground and directed me to the nice lady who led my still-in-awe self, down the stairs and off the stage. I received hugs from an old man I didn’t know and some others, while one of his crew members gathered my information for the prize. 

In my happy daze, I walked down the side aisle and back to my seat with my team. Hugs and pats on the back welcomed me all the way back to my chair until I sat next to my awesome-buddy Vince who gave me a great big hug. And somehow, down the aisle, hand passing to hand, came my little ping pong ball with my name and team number (with the exclamation point!), back to me. 

How do you just pick up your journal and turn your attention to listening to Tony in a moment like that? I tried. To no avail.

5 minutes later I had my phone and proceeded to go outside for the next hour and excitedly call family and friends and recount [and most likely very incoherently] this entire story to them. 

For the remainder of the conference, people would see me in the hall and shout, ‘FIJI!’ as my new nickname had become, and I would to smile and celebrate that winningest moment all over again.

My buddy Vince and me posing with Tony and his wife, Sage:

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Kickstarter Update: Chuggin Along...

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Hey team!

So, it’s been just over two weeks since the project was officially funded, and I’ve already competed in Kansas City, spent some time with my dance partner in Seattle, competed in Oregon, and am now on an island off the coast of Vancouver, Canada, working as head cook for a couple weeks at a beautiful summer camp. The campers just arrived today (little girls, ages 7-12), and they couldn’t be cuter. :)

With my crazy schedule recently, and being under the weather for a good part of that time, I would be lying if I said it hasn’t been a challenge to keep up with all that needs to be done here. I acknowledge that I haven’t been as communicative as I would’ve liked, post-funding. But please know that regardless of the circumstances, I’ll be sending out weekly updates along the way, so y’all will be in the loop.

What to look forward to:

  • Personal thank yous will be sent to those who donated more than $35 (look for a survey asking for your addresses soon!)
  • Updates from working on our routine with my Seattle-ite dance partner, Andy
  • Video of my debut performance of my solo piece about my mom, to be performed at the Wild Wild Westie event in Dallas over 4th of July weekend (super nervous-excited!!)
  • Video from more upcoming competitions
  • And the online release of my first book, Don’t Settle: Start Living a Life You Love (to those who donated more than $5)... estimated delivery--July 2014!!

So, let’s just say there’s no lack of things to do between the menu planning/cooking, thank you note writing, choreographing, and book editing. ;) #IthinkIcanIthinkIcan!

And there’ve been many times this week where I’ve found myself exhausted from being in the kitchen 10+ hours a day, looking over my insanely long to-do list, and feeling very separated from real life, without a chance to sit and catch my breath--wondering if I’ll be able to actually do what I’ve set out to do here.

But sometimes I feel that exact same way when looking at the clock with only 90 minutes until dinner, and 50 mouths to feed--wondering if I’ll be able to pull it all together in time...and we always do! So thankfully, each day I’m reminded of what’s possible when I have support and when I just keep chugging along towards the vision.

That said, I should hit the hay myself--I’ll be up before I know it to crack eggs and get the bacon sizzlin for the girls tomorrow.

Thank you again for all your support along this journey!

Lots of love,

 Molly

P.S. Go Team USA!!!

Kickstarter Update: WE DID IT!!

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Wow.

Well that was incredible!

It’s been a whirlwind week since my project funded, and I am still blown away by the immense amount of encouragement and generosity that bubbled up from all of you kind-hearted supporters. I spent much of last Friday afternoon with tears of gratitude, relief, and disbelief streaming down my face. And it’s because of you that my next book Live Your Dance and my upcoming year of living my dance are now possible. Words sincerely cannot express my thanks. But still, thank you so so much.

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As a friend so aptly put it on my Facebook wall last week,

“Surpassing your funding is a testament to you and the continuous effort you put in, but it also speaks to the magic that occurs when we get behind a common goal for something bigger than ourselves! In a way, the funding process is a little example of everyone letting you know how important we think it is to live your dance! Thanks for inspiring that in each of us...274 funders!”


And the inspiration goes both ways! Throughout the entire campaign, I was so impressed by the support that came from not only family and friends, but from friends I haven’t connected with in years and from some friends I’ve never even met yet! I recently heard the phrase that “life is a team sport,” and in the final hours of the campaign, I truly felt like I had a team on my right and left flank, believing in me and supporting me all the way across the finish line.

The question I’m getting recently is, “Now that you’re funded, what’s next?” Well, now the real work begins! I’m currently working on the edits for my first book, Don’t Settle: Start Living a Life You Love. For those who donated more than $5, I’ll be sending you a link to download it once it’s completed. And at that point, it will also be available online for everyone else to purchase.

Meanwhile, I’m also continuing to work on living and writing Live Your Dance. Much of my actual process will be documented on my blog as I travel, train and compete over the upcoming five months for the US Open Swing Dance Championships and beyond. And I'll be featuring inspirational interviews with others who are currently "living their dance," on my blog as well. Get pumped. :)

Stay tuned on my blog at mollyking.com and “like” my Facebook Page for updates along the way.

I have no doubt that there will be challenges and many unknowns as I venture down this path; but I’m embracing that fact, and I’m ready for what lies ahead. No matter how I may feel or what circumstances present themselves, I’m committed to my vision of living my dance and inspiring others to do the same. It may get messy or disheveled and yet, but I’m going all in--and there is nothing that will keep me from creating my vision and sharing my journey with you.

Last Friday afternoon, I landed in Kansas City to compete at Midwest Westie Fest, a regional West Coast Swing competition and social dancing event. And while in the shuttle to the hotel, I found out that we’d hit the goal (thankfully my fellow passengers obliged me with some celebratory high fives and cheers)!! And to top off the success of the Kickstarter, I also came away with a 1st place in the All-Star/Advanced Strictly Swing, and a 3rd place in the Intermediate Jack and Jill competitions.

After several events recently where I didn’t even progress to the semi-finals or the finals in the Intermediate category, this was a personal victory on many levels. And I’m confident that the success in funding was connected with my success on the dance floor--so thank you all for contributing to many “wins” this weekend!

Here’s a video to the 1st place dance, too:

Again, from the depths of my heart, thank you. This obviously wouldn’t be possible without you. I acknowledge the courage and risk it takes to put down money on any investment, and I don’t take that lightly. I’m so blessed to be backed by such a strong team of supporters. This is just the beginning of an incredible process, and I’m so honored and excited to share it together.

With much love + gratitude,

Molly

There’s going to be a lot going on over the next few months, so be sure to follow the journey on mollyking.com and “like” my Facebook Page for updates along the way.

Kickstarter Update: Vision for my Project

I was recently asked what my vision for myself and my life's work is. And after thinking about it, here’s my answer... photo 2For my life's work and for those who read my book/writings, I see career breakthroughs, coming alive, getting out of the routine, spicing up life, living full out, ignoring the fear and going after what you really love...no matter what it takes. I see people’s visions coming alive. I see laughter, music, movement--people unified and letting go of limiting beliefs about themselves and others. I see lots more dancing in public places. I see women being more comfortable in their bodies and with their partners. I see improved relationships. I see healing through dance. I see stories of people finally stepping into their “dance,” and getting lost in the love of their craft. I see people rejoicing even in the face of turmoil, because they see that it’s still a part of their “dance.”

For myself I also see blog posts (many many of them), I see several more books, I see a podcast, I see a book tour, I see speaking engagements (already have one brewing in Austin, TX!!), I see inspiring dance-talks, I see retreats, I see leading teenagers through leadership training, I see traveling abroad, I see thousands of people unified by music and movement--and the realization that we are all part of the same whole, and when one person wins, we all win. I see the ripple affect of lives lived boldly, inspiring others to do the same.

And it all starts with choosing to  Live Your Dance.

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Holy cow, it's already June. How did that happen?! As you know, I've been spreading the word about my Kickstarter project, and I'm in the last few days of it now.  It's been quite the roller coaster of emotions to run this campaign over the last month, and while there's still a ways to go, I know that with the support of an incredible community, it's definitely still possible :)

I only receive the full funding if it reaches its goal of $26,800 by Friday. So to that point--I'm requesting your support today, either financially or in spreading the word about my project and my vision for the world, so this project can come to life. 

Click here to check my project out and pledge today.

Hope you're already enjoying juicy watermelons and some long summer nights!

Much love, m

Kickstarter Update #2: 4 Days to Go!

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There’s only 4 days left to completely fund this project, and while there’s still a ways to go, I’m confident we can make this happen. And as it’s the last few days of the project, I’d love your teamwork in spreading the word far and wide.

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Life is most definitely a team sport, and I’m so honored to be able to reach out to such an incredibly supportive community to join me in changing lives with my books and with this project.

These past five days, I staffed a transformational workshop on leadership, and one idea that stuck out was this: life is a gift, and our contribution is our gift back to Life. I truly believe we each have a unique gift to give while we’re here. And this project is my gift back to you and what I hope will be part of my legacy when I’m gone.

That said, I am truly blessed to even be able to do this in the first place: to connect and join forces with people who are also passionate about creating more in their lives. There’s so much more to life when we’re truly living it, dancing it, and not just surviving it.

BONUS! As soon as it hits the $10,000 mark, I’ll be sending out a sneak peek of Chapter 1 of my first book, Don’t Settle: Start Living a Life You Love to all my Backers as a thank you and a preview of what’s to come. Get pumped!

Let's do this! Thank you all so much!

xoxo,


Molly

Kickstarter Update #1!

HAPPY FRIDAY!! 


Wow. What a whirlwind, you guys. First of all, thank you to the first 75 backers who’ve taken the time to pledge money to the project. I’m overwhelmed by the support so far and love seeing the link to the project being shared all over the place on the Facebooks.

The book itself is chugging along. Even the process of running a Kickstarter campaign has revealed much to me, and I’m documenting the entire process as a metaphor for what it takes to go “all in” in any endeavor. Throughout the upcoming 188 days until the US Open Swing Dance Championships, I’ll be documenting the process of training on my blog--drawing parallels between the training process and similar aspects in risk-taking: whether it be in starting a business, asking someone out, or going after a dream job.

Already, I’ve realized that asking for support is something that I’ve really never done in my life. So choosing to do this Kickstarter is definitely a stretch for me. For the longest time, I’ve thought (mistakenly so) that I can handle everything on my own. Maybe I’m the only one, but my hunch is that this is a lesson worth investigating for others too (psst...foreshadowing for a future blog post).

As for other updates, my dance partner and I have successfully completed the choreography for our routine (done in by one of the top legends in West Coast Swing--Mario Robau), and we’ve finished learning the first 30 seconds of our 2:30 routine. It’s amazing to see the idea of a routine finally take shape into its actual movement--and begin to visualize how it’ll look on the floor. It's so exciting, and we can’t wait to polish it up and put it out there!

Words can’t express my gratitude for your willingness to take action and be a part of my journey in this way. I sincerely appreciate it. Currently, we’re at $4,625 and there’s a $22,175 gap to close in the next two weeks. So tell your friends, tell your mom, spread the word. And please remember, every.little.bit.counts. Keep it up. You all are amazing.

Lots of love, scribbles + shimmies,

molly

We are not alone

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It late, and this post finds me a bit more vulnerable than normal. But I just wanted to share my breakthrough tonight: I've grown so accustomed to doing everything alone--navigating both my struggles and my victories on my own--preferring to be in control and keep my distance rather than open up to others and allow them to really touch and affect me. alone

Tonight I was in breakdown, both physically and mentally. And I realized that not only have I kept people at arms length, but I've also resisted God (at least from my perspective...though I know He/She hasn't gone anywhere)--thinking I got this by myself.

Not true.

Tonight I acknowledge that not only should I not do everything by myself, but that I *cannot* do it by myself. And that we're made to be in relation to each other and support each other through this journey of life that we're in together.

So from now on, you can count on me to ask for support (even when my pride/ego tells me I got this), and to give support wherever it's needed. I'm leaving the "Lone Ranger" self in the dust.

And in that vein, thank you to all those who supported me tonight. I found that there's a gift in being able to receive, not just in being able to give all the time.

Alright, over and out, y'all.

Live Your Dance

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photo 1 It was my first night of our family vacation. Amazing dinner with my brothers, sister, niece and nephew, grilling out on the beach. Fresh air, waves in the distance, stars above, Christmas music playing, and all of us reaching around the table for the salsa and the guac, as only good friends or families can. LOVED that dinner, so much.

I had a long chat with my brother and his wife afterwards about a leadership/emotional intelligence course I had just finished, debriefing all my insights and new ways of being that I am committed to. What also came up was this idea that my sister shared--that maybe it’s time to “put my book (that I’m writing) down...” and demonstrate what I’m writing about first...aka pursue my love of dance first, then publish my book from the standpoint of having lived what I’ve been studying for so many years.

I went to bed that night, ruminating on all we’d discussed. But out of it all stuck that idea that perhaps I should put my book on hold. This is the book that I’ve been writing since I quit my corporate job back in 2012, sold everything, and started my 17,700-mile solo road trip around the country for six months: the same book that I had planned on helping finance my passion-projects and pursuits for 2014, and also serve as a springboard for other opportunities.

And now, here I was being asked to put that all aside. To do what? Dance. Yeahhhhhh, ok. Riiiiight.

Here’s an excerpt from my journal that night, after tossing and turning about this proposed new path (It’s 1/2 spill-my-guts onto the page, and 1/2 self-coaching, talking myself through limiting beliefs and what I can choose to believe):

 

I’m so scared to actually consider this. It’s not that I don’t think I’m talented or at least coachable--I know I am to some extent, but I still have a lot of work to do and a lot to learn, too. But it scares me to put away the metrics with which I measure myself and the world around me (job, status, clients, etc.)...and go after what my soul truly aches for...and not know the outcome.

I honestly have no idea how I’m going to make this work right now. Money, training, lessons, comps, politics, travel... But I keep going back to this idea to just pursue it first. Put that intention out there, live it honestly, and the work/money/creativity will coalesce to make it happen. And I’ll get to say Yes to opportunities along the way.

I also wonder...Is this just a selfish pursuit? Well...is it selfish to come into my fullest self, or to continue living as only 1/2 of me in a dead end job?

I have a feeling I could contribute a lot to the dance with my unique perspective and style, just as I see everyone else’s expression and flavor come alive in the dance. Why is my expression any less valued than anyone else’s? (maybe because it’s not, mol...) 

This really is my time to go after it...if not now, I know I will wish I had later on. I know it. I’m so scared to actually go after it. But I know I need to, for my soul’s sake.

What about my publishing my book (which is all about not settling for a job that’s just “meh”)?

This is what living it first will look like. This is living my dance. How will I pay for comps, training, routines, costumes, travel...??? I don’t know, but I can already feel my heart opening up in this idea (cue *tears*), like when I hadn’t danced for a while when I was living in Santa Barbara, CA. And I couldn’t figure out for the life of me why I was so unhappy underneath it all... I was missing dance. My dance. and Me, my full Self.

I can foresee my writing opening up and coming from such a deeper place when it starts from this place. It’s ALL heart here. It’s me here.

What I do know for sure, is that I come alive on the dance floor. It’s where I’m my most happy. Where I’m my soul’s best and fullest self. Time disappears, food doesn’t matter, sleep doesn’t matter. On the floor, I can be all shades of me: playful, sexy, sorrowful, passionate, cute, sharp, intense... I’m proud of the woman out there, and would love anyone and everyone to see her, meet her, and get to know who she is, as she is out there. As long as I’m dancing, I’m happy. I’ve always joked that someone could ask me for a dance, and even if I were in a deep sleep, I’d still wake up immediately to accept.

It’s challenging, it’s rewarding, I’ve already loved it for five solid years already, and everyone but me (apparently) can see the light in my eyes when I talk about it. It seriously feels like I’m in love. Dance has helped me come into my own and deepen who I am. I’ve made incredible friends because of this community, and now feel like I have a piece of “home” wherever I travel and find a dance. And in every lesson I take, I learn more not just about dance, but it serves as an incredible metaphor for so many life lessons too.

My heart is pounding so hard right now. short breaths. ugh...I think I might turn my life inside out this year...and it scares me to no end. But I suppose I’ll figure it out somehow...

Beeee Connected

beeee-connected_molly-king_live-your-dance1

[Please excuse me while I nerd out a bit here on French philosophers and biology.]  

Last week, while on a flight from Dallas to LA, I had an awesome conversation with the man next to me. We covered so many subjects during the space of our trip, but one topic stood out to me in particular. He introduced me to the French philosopher, paleontologist, and Jesuit priest Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955). And what he briefly told me about Teilhard’s concepts simmered in my brain so much that I could barely sleep on the plane later, before I had to finally just get my thoughts down on paper.

 

Much of his work emphasizes the power of linking and the greater connection between all beings: how one person connects to another and another, and as a larger unit we adapt. Being a philosopher and a paleontologist, he also linked his philosophy into the natural world and found powerful intelligence in the world of social insects (i.e. ants, bees, termites). (1)

 

...which led me to think more about the power of connection. I haven’t read any of his work yet (definitely want to now), but I did some initial research online to better understand his basis of philosophy and thought I’d share a bit with you.

 

Lets look at ants and their amazing ability to link together and create a complex yet crazy-organized system of trade, tunnels, and the transmission of goods throughout an entire underground network. It’s as if they almost move as one giant organism. Teilhard also goes on to explain how “a collective identity begins to develop as trade and the transmission of ideas increases.” (2)

 Anyone else finding this fascinating!? Just me? Alright then, onward.

 

He also mentions bees, and I love looking deeper into the life of bees as a metaphor for us as individuals. Not only do they each have their own stinger--which to me symbolizes our unique point of power/our gift/influence/ability to affect--but together, as a swarm, they are undoubtedly a force to be reckoned with. Have you ever seen a swarm of bees? They move as one body, and together they create a very intimidating force. One bee, as we know is only a little frightening--but a swarm? Talk about synergy--where their momentum/impact is greater than the sum of the parts--simply because they are so incredibly intertwined and connected, moving as one unit.

 

I recently joined a leadership group for adults, and I was sharing this idea with them this past weekend. I see us (LP 113) as a swarm of bees--each of us with our own “stinger,” or unique gift and innate power. And together, the more we move as one unit and keep the network linked, adding more and more connections (which is not unlike each phone call, text, message, conference call, and weekend we spend together)--the more powerfully we move as one, and the more our “swarm” of leaders can go out and powerfully impact the world.

 

Bzzzzzzz

 

 

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More fun tidbits from Teilhard if you want to continue geeking out with me...

 

In Teilhard's conception of the evolution of the species, a collective identity begins to develop as trade and the transmission of ideas increases.[6] Knowledge accumulates and is transmitted in increasing levels of depth and complexity.[7] This leads to a further augmentation of consciousness and the emergence of a thinking layer that envelops the earth.[8] Teilhard calls the new membrane the “noosphere” (from the Greek “nous,” meaning mind), a term first coined by Vladimir Vernadsky. The noosphere is the Collective consciousness of humanity, the networks of thought and emotion in which all are immersed. (3)

 

The second comprehensive work of Teilhard de Chardin is The Divine Milieu, in which he attempted to do two things. First, in the 19th and early 20th centuries there was a belief among some Catholics and other Christians that in order to be “holy” one had to devote himself or herself to purely religious activity and that secular work had no lasting value. Teilhard de Chardin, consistent with the Jesuit motto of “finding God in all things”, wanted to demonstrate that secular work (including his own scientific work) was an integral element of creation and the Incarnation, so that for religious reasons, Christians should be committed to whatever work they were doing and offering it up for the service of God. Teilhard wants to show how all human activities and efforts toward personal growth and human progress can be used to help the growth and development of the Body of Christ. Not only are human efforts useful in this regard, but they are also somehow necessary. Even though people perform these actions as ordinary human beings, and they look like ordinary human actions, they are simultaneously being transformed in the divine milieu and become actions done in, with, and through Christ. (4)

 

1 http://jetpress.org/v20/steinhart.htm

2 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Phenomenon_of_Man#cite_note-6

3 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Phenomenon_of_Man#cite_note-6

4 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierre_Teilhard_de_Chardin