When I talk to people about teaching dance, many people seem to be very worried about their body limitations. “I have this injury,” or “I think I weigh too much,” or “I’m not as young as I used to be,” or “I’ve never been coordinated.” And I usually respond along the theme that you have THIS body on THIS day and we can work with that.
I “went for a run” last night. I put that in quotes only because my definition of going for a run may differ from other people’s definitions. But I want to avoid the negative self-talk that belittles my accomplishments. My own body limitations or habits or achievements are personal. My own fears and reluctance are also personal. And all this adds to my notion of THIS body on THIS day. So when I manage to go out the door to do something, that is still an accomplishment. I do no one any favors by talking down the accomplishment with remarks like, “Well, I ran too slow,” or “I wasn’t out that long,” or “It was just jogging, that doesn’t count as running.”
It most CERTAINLY counts. Because it was THIS body on THIS day. And my ability last night was LAST night’s ability. So it’s completely healthy for me to *claim* that achievement as “running” because for me, on that day, that really WAS going for a run.
And I love to explain that we are not in competition with one another AND I am not in competition with myself from a different day. There’s no need for me to feel bad for no longer being a 15-year-old training for the cross-country team. In fact, there are MANY ways I’m glad I’m no longer that 15-yr-old.
Also, I cannot hold on to last night’s run when it’s time for me to go running again. I wouldn’t say, “I showered yesterday. I don’t need to shower today.” No, I shower every day. I wouldn’t say, “I used deoderant yesterday, I don’t need it today.” Likewise, I have THIS body on THIS day. So what do I plan to do with it today?
Now, not every activity will be a daily activity. I plan to alternate when I focus on running versus other activities. My running muscles need to rest and recover in between increasing my stamina and ability. And I still track my walking mileage every day (with a fitbit) and I still want to see my overall walking, running, dancing, moving mileage total averages grow incrementally. But I can keep my sanity by focusing on THIS body on THIS day.
Likewise, while I’m not going to compare my body today with my body years ago, I’m not in competition with anyone else. I have no knowledge of what other people have for their challenges or their advantages. So their circumstances are not mine. Some of my friends have different medical limitations, family dynamics, employment issues, commuting challenges, obligations, heck even INTERESTS. Many friends of mine have no interest in dancing. Cool. That’s fine. Others have no interest in running. Cool. That’s okay. Others have been running longer than me. Awesome. Good on ya.
But for me, I have THIS body on THIS day. And that’s how I’m going to try to make decisions. Because honestly, I really like having THIS body on THIS day. That’ll work for me. I’ve gotten to know this body over the years, and we’re working well together.