This week’s Monday message is coming you a day late, and somehow I feel like that is appropriate. “Hold on to your winning moments a little longer” is actually a parenting/life mantra in our house, one which I was repeating to myself a lot yesterday. First, there was the baby who is very likely cutting his first tooth and wanted to nurse ALL. NIGHT. LONG, then long meeting for one project, a deadline for an article, and the seemingly ever-present pile of laundry that went unfolded…again. No, these are not significant problems when you look at the scope of suffering in the world. I realize that I am incredibly blessed to be doing what I love for a living, raising a healthy baby, and enjoying the support of an awesome husband and his family who live nearby. Nevertheless it is easy to feel caught up in the everyday chaos and societal pressure that constantly leaves us feeling as if we are not enough. Yes, yesterday I attended the meeting, met the deadline, and ended up catching up with both my mother-in-law and my parents. I nurtured my baby and got dinner on the table (leftovers, but it counts!), but I still went to bed feeling disappointed that I didn’t get the #MondayMessage out … not to mention the looming laundry pile!
When I’m feeling this way, my husband will remind me to hold on to the winning moments a little longer. Be proud of what was accomplished, whether it was hitting “send” on the article, savoring the conversation with my mom, or snuggling the baby a little longer. Allow yourself to enjoy the good things without bearing the guilt of what wasn’t done, without feeling like you have to jump right in to the next thing on the to-do list.
This is sage advice for dancers and dance teachers as well. There is so much pressure in the industry to move on and make progress as quickly as possible. Students are being rushed to master complex technical skills and tricks at earlier ages, without giving them time to just savor the fun and joy of movement and develop a true appreciation for the art. We bounce our students – and ourselves – from class to class, 4 or 5 a night at times, without allowing for time to process what they’ve learned, accomplished, or been challenged by in each class. We continually raise the bar(re) for everyone involved: a double pirouette becomes a triple, oversplits become the norm, we eek out one more piece of choreography, we add one more competition or performance to the schedule. Dance – and life – becomes about chasing the next thing, rather than experiencing where we are now. This leads to frustration and burnout, feeling overwhelmed and as if you are always falling just short of where you need to be.
Today, in your dancing and in your every day life, I invite you to break that cycle by holding on to your winning moments a little bit longer. Enjoy them. Celebrate them. Be present for them, rather than constantly focusing on the next thing. Whether it’s making a breakthrough in alignment with a student, getting that double turn, or finally folding the laundry, give yourself permission to slow down, to pat yourself yourself on the back when you’ve done a good job, and to let go of the need to always be moving on to the next. You are enough, just as you are!