Gratefulness Challenge Day 14

So I had today’s Gratefulness Challenge post half written yesterday. Then I attended a workshop in the afternoon with Canadian dance icon Margie Gillis and I felt the need to scrap everything and start again. I don’t feel necessarily ready to specifically talk about the workshop, still too much to think about, but it did make a few new things jump higher up on the list of things I am grateful for today. How wonderful it is when just a few hours can shake your world that much.

1. Oversaturation: You know that feeling when you are listening to someone talk and what they are saying is either so life changing or so complex that you literally feel your brain swelling from trying to hold all the new thoughts. You sit a pray that you can remember even a smidgen of what you are being told because you just know that the information is that precious. That was me for three hours today. I couldn’t soak up information fast enough.

I feel like in a few hours I was given enough knowledge to keep me busy thinking for the rest of my life. I am like one of those giant dish sponges laying in a pool of my own thoughts. It would be easy to get overwhelmed by the wealth of knowledge that was shared with me yesterday, and there were a few moments that I began to feel like it was all a little too much. What is more useful and enjoyable is to just ride the wave of overstimulation and trust that I will retain whatever I can. There is a great phrase by Deborah Hay passed on to me through Christopher House which goes “What if, where I am is what I need?” It is this sentence which is allowing be to sit back and enjoy the fermenting process going on inside me right now as I attempt to digest everything that was shared with me yesterday.

2. Experiential learning: You can talk about something until you’re blue in the face, but until you actually try and do it, you will never be a master of it. The process of doing something is like moving from a two dimensional space into a three dimensional world. Action gives tasks context and texture.

One of the things that I love so much about dance is the physical component of it. It is impossible to master dancing without actually doing it. I wish more learning involved greater emphasis on actually practicing what you are studying. The neuromuscular impact of having physical memories of attempting something are impossible to forget. They help us not only understand, but also remember things better. I love that so much of the learning I do now is through physical experiences.

3. Physical contact: Because of the kind of work I do it is pretty infrequent that I go through a day without touching someone. Dancers tend to be pretty touchy feely human beings. Giving hugs and rubbing backs have always seemed very natural to me, but I’ve recently come to the shocking realization that this kind of interaction isn’t commonplace in everyone’s lives.

I can’t even imagine going through life without any physical contact. Days where I am stuck at home for whatever reason make me go absolutely crazy. I think it has become a part of social culture to avoid touching one another due to the intimate nature of the act and that makes me really sad. You bump into a stranger and you apologize even though our bodies naturally want to come into contact.

You can gain so much through physical connection. There is significant research to prove the importance of physical contact in the development and growth of new born babies, but personally I think it is true about people at all stages of life. We are social creatures by nature and the intimate connection of touch is something stimulating and nurturing. You can learn so much about someone just by giving them a hug. That level of understanding is something that no amount of conversation will ever bring. You are sharing your personal space and your energy with another human being. You are allowing them to see deep inside you without ever uttering a word.

I am so glad that I spend my time with people that love to hug and kiss and be close. This kind of interaction feeds my soul in ways impossible to replicated. It makes me feel like I am accepted and appreciated. Contact with others gives me energy and most of all makes me feel loved.

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