In My Own Backyard (Greetings from Not-Portland, Part 2)

Well, it’s official: I made it to all of the workshops I mentioned in my not-Portland post! Hooray!

Last weekend I went to yoga and to Barefoot Ecstatic Dance, and they were incredible. And on Saturday I went to a Contact Improv workshop taught by Mocean Dance Interim Artistic Director, Sara Coffin. It was scary and challenging and intriguing, and it brought up a lot of my “stuff.” It could be life-changing.

I’m going to have a lot to say about the workshop soon, I promise. But before I even start, I want to take some time to celebrate the fact that I did these things. It’s a Big Deal! I spent so long (YEARS) staying at home and not exploring the community around me. And then I finally stepped out my front door (instead of driving to Maine) and I discovered new communities, met amazing people, challenged myself, and learned SO MUCH.

I was right. I didn’t need to cross the border or even leave the city to find new experiences and learn new things. In fact, I think I challenged myself more by staying here. I didn’t realize how much I was resisting going out and meeting people in Halifax. People at workshops in other cities or countries? You never (or rarely) see them again. But people in Halifax? Way scarier to me. What if they didn’t like me? Or laughed at me? What if they thought I was too big or weak or awkward or scared?

(Yes, I have these fears too. I didn’t realize how strong they still were until this past weekend). 

But (and here’s the key) I went out and took the classes anyway. And nothing bad happened. Everyone was amazing. I had fun…and even when I didn’t have fun, I learned a LOT.

And, best of all, now that I’ve opened up to the possibility of exploring Halifax’s community, new opportunities keep showing up.

There’s another Barefoot Ecstatic Dance on Saturday, and at least 2 of my friends are going with me. There’s going to be another one at the end of July with live music. Sara Coffin is planning at least one more Contact Improv jam before the end of the summer, and there was even talk of making it a weekly thing. And there is a series of contemporary dance performances scheduled in Halifax in the fall that I am DYING to go to. There’s more out there, too…a lot more.

I’m so glad I stayed in Halifax. It’s like spreading the joy and growth of a $1000 trip to Maine through the whole year…for 1/5th of the price, and with the added bonus of finding my own place in the community and learning about myself through that process. I feel like a kid in a candy store…I can’t wait to see what happens next!

Is there a class or event that you’ve been meaning to get to? Go. Trust me. Go. You never know what will come of it. 

Looking beyond “success” and “failure”

This is the post I dreaded writing…and that ended up practically writing itself in the end.

I held two Dancing Mamas events this month. One last weekend, and one the weekend before. This was my second try…you can read about my first try and the lessons I learned here.

So…how did these ones go?

Just like last time, that depends on how you look at it.

Were they jam-packed money-making name-establishing phenomenons?

Ummm…no.

Did I get to dance with people I love, reconnect with someone I haven’t seen in years, and learn at least a dozen lessons to apply the next time I try?

Oh, yes. Absolutely.

Notebook full of notes. So many lessons!

On July 17 I set up in an absolutely beautiful studio just outside of Halifax. And no mamas came. But (and this is a Big Deal) one old student did come. This month I finally emailed all of my old DansKinetics students from back in 2007, and one of them was so excited to dance with me that she came out to Dancing Mamas. We had an amazing chat and a really great dance together. I played a completely different playlist just for her and me, and it was awesome.

The whole afternoon reminded me how much I loved the classes I offered when I was pregnant and how amazing the people were. It made me want to revisit the classes I offered that time around. It reminded me that you don’t always have to reinvent the wheel, even when you’re revamping your business. Thank you, Martina, for coming out and dancing with me.

On July 23 I set up in a crowded library in a residential area of suburban Halifax. And I ended up dancing with my old ballet studio-mate Omni and my friend Kerry and her small son Jonah. We had a fantastic time boogieing and chasing Jonah around.

I learned so much that afternoon: about how I was experiencing severe (and I do mean severe) resistance to really embracing the possibility of success, how I’m not sure if I have the details of Dancing Mamas quite right, about how the next time I try a library class I think I want to make it either free or as close to free as I can because it feels wrong to do otherwise.

And I also learned about the things I’ll bring next time: dry erase markers and extra business cards and cups for the water fountain. And about how awesome, supportive, and truly loving my friends are.

You can’t put a price on what I learned.

A handful of precious (and unexpected) gifts.

So, was the second round of Dancing Mamas Tribes a success?

I think that might be the wrong question.

It was exactly what I needed at this time and under these circumstances.

And that’s all that matters.