Dancing with Care (pt. 2)
I absolutely loved our explorations of care last week. Thank you so much for all of the beautiful thoughts, experiences, and insights you shared.
This week, we’ll keep exploring care, but we’ll zoom in a bit more specifically on self-care. However, the version of self-care I’d like to explore might be different than the type of self-care often talked about...
What kind of self-care?
Sometimes self-care is talked about in terms of doing things. For example, we can exercise, eat nutritious foods, get enough sleep, drink enough water, etc… We can do it. We can plan it out, maybe even measure it, or check it off a list. Yes. Absolutely. There are a lot of great things we can do to take care of ourselves. And…
Sometimes self-care is talked about in terms of not doing things. We can set rules, limits, or boundaries around things like snacks, screen-time, social media, TV, spending, work hours, alcohol, etc…We can track it or time it. We can limit ourselves. Absolutely. We can take great care of ourself in that sort of way too. Yes...
However, the way I’d really like for us to explore self-care this week, is a bit more of a subjective, less quantifiable approach…
This week's practice is inspired by something that I noticed last Wednesday, toward the end of class. While we were dancing to Deya Dova’s Valley of the Ancients, I began to sense a bit of pain in my knees. It was during a movement that I’ve done plenty of times before without any pain, but for some reason my knees didn't like how I was doing it on Wednesday. I listened to the pain, and then altered the way I was moving until the movement felt good. Now this is not anything new— it’s a totally ordinary Aya approach to dancing. No big deal. We do this all the time. But thanks to our focus on care, it was in that moment that I realized that I was in a state of being both the care giver and receiver at the same time. I was simultaneously the baby crying out and the responsive mama. My knee was crying out, and I was listening to and being responsive to my knee’s needs. It was one of those little semantic aha moments. I was taking care of my self.
Soon afterward, I wondered: "Hmmm… Might this way of being in relationship with oneself (being a person with needs and the nurturing, loving caregiver responding to those needs) be what the term self-care is really be all about? Or at least a really helpful way of approaching it?"
Being attentive. Tuning in. Responding. Being responsible. Response-able. Able to respond. Present.
So it is this kind of self-care that I'd really love for us to highlight and experiment with this week:
Self-care as being present, attentive, listening to, and responding to our needs with curiosity, kindness, and care. Moment to moment...
We’ll dance and explore things like:
Listening to and trusting our body’s sensations
Responding to pain with curiosity (“What do you need, baby? How can I help?”)
Staying present with, and adapting to our needs moment-to-moment
What does this kind of practice of self-care feel like? When is it easy? Challenging?
How can we be present and attentive, without slipping into hyper-vigilant and anxious?
How might we extend this practice beyond the dance floor?
And then, how might we apply this same sort of approach beyond the self?
As always, I can’t wait to see what we sense, notice, and discover.
See you soon, friends!