When was the last time someone looked into your face and noticed a change? The kind of change that drew them closer to you and made your connection to them stronger? This is the story of what is behind the important people in my life noticing that change in me.
I am slowly emerging from a month long dance hiatus. I got to the point where the classes and the practice felt more like a burden than anything, so in an effort to keep this important part of my life intact, I decided to take a break. No classes. Minimal practice, and overall forgiving myself for taking a break because it felt like I needed it.
About a week ago, I pulled my zils out from the back of my desk drawer and spent a few minutes just running through some basic patterns. The next day, I did a basic drill pattern a few times, and the day after that, I ran through a video to learn a new combination. That evening, I went to a live music and dancing social event; a monthly event which I had missed for the past several months in a row. I felt a little rusty and creaky, to be honest, but I did dance. And I tried to forgive myself for the sloppy technique.
As this has been creeping back into my life, I have noticed something else. I feel softer. The shifts and changes of every day tend to land on me with more gentle edges, unlike the angularities of chaos I had been feeling for the last little while. It’s not just the lengthening and occasionally warming days, although that is a big part of this growing softness. It is the return of dancing, expression through movement and intention of the body. It sands down the rough places and makes me flexible, in all senses of that word.
As I reflect on the break from and return to dancing, I am grateful to recognize this thing in my life that brings softness. I think we all have something that makes us more open to the world in general. A hobby, a passion, a person — there is something in our lives, that when we allow space for it, makes us soften. I feel like we are too well trained to be hard — suspicious, protective, rigid. There is a time and a place for these things, to be sure, but it is not all the time. Our softness, openness and vulnerability are what connect us to each other.
So I am asking you this week: what makes you soften?