I’m on week 2 of training and I still have not been able to ease and relax into the run. I’ve also been feeling a little heavy on the right side of my body. So it is so apt that I listen to a podcast where a 60 year old dancer talks about how she has been unable to dance from the heart and just flow into her movements because she has been dancing from her shoulders. She speaks of her dance as a painful art. She is a struggling artist whose life was mostly marked by hardships. She uses the word hard eight times within the first ten minutes of the interview. She carries with her the burden of her art, with all the notion that comes with it- what a dancer’s body should look like, how graceful she should be, how she should make it seem so effortless.
So yes, I too have been running from my shoulder. Perhaps burdened that I should already find it easy, know the form, perfect the breathing, clock in the fast times. I constantly remind myself to take it easy but I guess my intensity is channeled towards my running as this is my outlet. Consequently it is marked by the deeply ingrained worldview that for it to be worthwhile, it has to be hard. That is why when she spoke about how she is trying to choose the opposite of hard instead, I was curious about what it meant. The opposite of hard is not easy. Otherwise our life’s work it will lose its meaning and value. Instead she chooses to dance from a space of lightness, with a soft and gentle heart.
The gentleness is more for the self who keeps on trying. It is giving ourselves a break from our expectations and that of everyone else’s. It is failing and having fun as you fall. It is knowing that you are crazy and broken and being okay with that. It is asking “why do I do this to myself even if it ain’t easy” and answering “why not”. And believing that it is not about doing it to ourselves but about doing it FOR ourselves. It is accepting that although it takes sacrifice, it is worth it as you choose to lean into the difficulty, stumbling into a flow. It is about opening your heart to your own heart that beats as it shows up everyday.