How Dancing Taught Me Not to Be a Victim

If you ever doubted that your thoughts can affect your experience, or your vibe can affect what’s around you, consider this story about dancing…

DancingMany years ago, long before I knew that thoughts are creative, or about owning your space, or Aikido, I had a minor life-changing experience while out dancing in the dark to live music one night.

Back in the days when I could stay up that late, I loved dancing barefoot or in socks. In my area in those days, it was the norm to dance solo; what my friend Nita calls “wiggle dancing”. Shoes were always optional in my favorite spot, so it was completely safe to go barefoot – that is, if you don’t count the grunge you accumulates on your socks, leading to the inevitable decision of whether to get that grunge in your shoes when you put them back on, or to go home sockless. But I digress.

What The Heck?

Stiletto dancingSo there I was on the dancing in my socks, having a great time for about a half hour, until a number of couples joined me on the tiny dance floor. No big deal, that was normal. But this time – maybe it was the choice of band that carried a different crowd? – I was getting elbowed in the chest by people taller than me, and I looked around to notice an uncharacteristic sea of cowboy boots and stilettos stomping the floor around me.

What the heck? This is ‘70s Cotati, the post-hippie mecca full of flower children and burnt-out longhairs. Why are there people dancing in cowboy boots and high heels on my barefoot hippie dance-floor? I was there to have a good time swimming in the music, and these couples were bulls in my china shop. I was outnumbered. My rumination was interrupted by a sharp pain in my right foot as a stiletto heel came down on my instep. The pain was intense. Shoes would not have helped much. I wondered if it was broken. I stopped dancing, waiting for the pain to subside.

And I noticed that the more perturbed I became, the more collisions I experienced. So I made a decision: I am going to have fun anyway. I am just going to close my eyes and enjoy dancing as I always do.

And I did.

Near the end of the next song, I realized that no one had bumped into me since I had closed my eyes and let go. I opened my eyes, and was pleasantly surprised to see a two-foot clearance all around me!

I Wonder What Would Happen

dancing freeDelighted at this, I decided to experiment. I kept my eyes open and went back to scrutinizing the elbows and dangerous shoes around me. I didn’t say a word or look anyone in the eye, just this one internal shift.

Within a minute, I was being bumped and jostled again.

Fascinating! So being all Spock about it, I again closed my eyes and went back to dancing in my own rhythm, abandoning myself to the music and forgetting that anyone else was there.

Once again, my space cleared in less than a minute. Magic, I thought! This is amazing. I tested it once more with the same results.
This is fantastic news! When I shrink back from seeming insult – whether intentional or not – the world literally crowded in on me. When I refused to let it bother me, and stayed in my own Joy and space, that space was given to me.

My Mindset Actually Affects What Happens

dancing mind waves

So it is with interactions off the dance floor. And in everything.

The mindset I bring with me into a situation can actually affect what happens.

Not just what I see, but how people interact with me, whether or not they see me.

This was proof for me that if I don’t occupy my own space, others will. It’s a physical example of how claiming our space and filling it will give us the space we want, while shrinking back to accomodate a situation will create a snese of being crowded.

When we aren’t accepting that we have a right to be here, that this is our designated space in the world, and fully living in it and enjoying it, we can be invisible to other people. Because I wasn’t filling my physical space, I was simply invisible to them. I mean, they weren’t THAT much taller than me. It was my mindset – or maybe my heart vibration – that was affecting my surroundings, like that science experiment where the sub-atomic particles change their behavior depending on what the observer thinks, does, or expects.

Still Practicing

I wish I could say that this was the last time I felt invisible, but I’m still practicing decades later. After a second degree Black Belt in Aikido, lots of work, and Practitioner studies, this first lesson stays with me. And when I get grumpy about my surroundings being less than my self-made expectations, I know I have another option: To relax and just Be.

Ahh… That’s much better.

How About You?

Do you find that things are smoother and easier in your life when you are in your own rhythm and enjoying life?

If you would like a mentor-guide to work with in uncovering these types of limiting beliefs, schedule a free 30-minute consultation with me to find out more.