I Hope You Dance

When I had a phone call a few months ago with my friend Andy of Align Coaching to understand more about the coaching process he does, he explained that one of the exercises he guides people through was thinking about five lives you could have. He said, “for example, if you wanted to be a ballerina…”

My mouth dropped open.

My eyes widened.

“Did you know I used to dance?” I (almost) yelled back.

He laughed and said no.

When I was a kid, I’d always wanted to take ballet , but the opportunity and money wasn’t there. When I was in fourth grade, I got a Sweet Valley Twins book that I read over and over, because it had to do with ballet.

After I moved to Albuquerque and got married, for some reason, I started thinking about ballet again, and decided that I’d do it. When I was 23 I walked into a dance studio for my very first class and I fell in love.

It was difficult. I could barely do any of it at first and I felt awkward and uncoordinated. Others with more experience made it look so easy. I was sore the next day. But I showed up again the next week, and the week after that, and the week after that. Eventually I took two classes a week and over time, I learned and improved.

There were times I practically lived at the studio due to classes, rehearsals for recitals or The Nutcracker, and even just hanging out talking before or after those classes and rehearsals.

Ballet class and rehearsal has always been the one thing where I could go and focus on something without any other thoughts creeping into my head. Dance helped me stand taller and be more confident in myself and be more comfortable in my own body.

And I became good at it.

As someone who enjoyed playing sports when I was younger, but didn’t get much playing time on the basketball court or softball field, it felt great to find something that I loved doing and that I did well.

The studio was more than just a place to dance. The people in that studio were a family, with past family members pointe shoes and pictures hung up on the wall. There is a sense of love and belonging that is hard to find when you walk outside the doors. The people there have different backgrounds, different lives, different faiths, different political beliefs.

But in the studio we were all one.

Ballet was one of the most important things in my life, an that studio represents beauty, peace, love, and belonging; four things that are of such importance to me that they really are a part of who I am.



Well That Was Embarrassing…and it was ok

I had an embarrassing moment at church a couple of weeks ago.

I’d been scheduled to be “worship leader” (this is a more traditional service so what that means is doing the call to worship, scripture reading, etc. It does not mean a singer in this context. No way would anyone want me as that.).

I’d also been scheduled to be one of the elders serving at the communion table.

I knew both of these but I compartmentalized them in my head and somehow had not actually connected the fact that they were both on the same day, despite thinking about them both that morning.

We sang our first hymn and as the call to worship popped up on the screen, I was still sitting in my pew. I smacked my head, said “oh geez” and walked up to the podium. I didn’t have the paper everything was on; I hadn’t even bothered to pick it up, but was able to read off of the screen.

There was a time when I would have wanted the floor to swallow me up if something that embarrassing happened to me, but I didn’t feel that way this time and I was able to laugh about it.

The reason is that I found a church where I belong, not just a church where I fit in. The difference between those two concepts were something I read about in Brené Brown’s Daring Greatly. She writes:

“Fitting in and belonging are not the same thing. In fact, fitting in is one of the greatest barriers to belonging. Fitting in is about assessing a situation and becoming who you need to be in order to be accepted. Belonging, on the other hand, doesn’t require us to change who we are; it requires us to be who we are.”

I’ve spent a large portion of my life fitting in instead of belonging, especially in church situations.

It’s a different world when you belong somewhere.

Along those lines, in this video, she talks about the importance of some people’s opinions, and that the opinions of people who actually matter “are the people who love you not despite your vulnerability and imperfections, but because of your vulnerability and imperfections.”

As a recovering perfectionist, I’m glad I can be in a place where I don’t have to be perfect, where I don’t have to fit in, but a place where I truly can belong.