Originally posted 01/07/2019
When was the last time you danced?
Or played outside?
A is for Acknowledge
What are you NOT doing?
Dad dancing, bad dancing, just dancing?
The A in my CARE model is about acknowledging what goes well and what you’re good at. The science tells us that helps you to feel confident, competent and resilient.
However, when it comes to things like dancing and singing, we often worry about not being good enough, or feeling silly, so we don’t do it.
Once a month I do a little voluntary job, DJing and MCing for a social dancing event called ‘Still Dancing’. It’s for people with Alzheimer’s and their friends and carers. And anyone else who wants to come. Some folks come just because they’re local. They used to enjoy dancing every week, in the Derbyshire dance-halls, and really miss it.
The lady in the top photo is Sylvia. Her smile makes me cry happy tears.
She came for the first time last month and said that she’d only be able to sit and enjoy the music but that she was happy with that. She told me how much she’d loved to dance, in fact her late husband had been a well respected dancing instructor, but lately she’d lost all feeling in her feet and her confidence along with it.
Having a go
Bouyed up by the music and my MC habit of reminding all of us that it’s not how you dance that matters but that you’re moving and enjoying it, Sylvia danced in her seat with a big grin.
And then she found herself suddenly determined to give it a go. Using her walking frame, she gingerly headed for the edge of the dance floor. With a little help, she gradually let go of her zimmer and danced.
That was the first time she made me cry.
The second time was the smile she gave me at the end, when I asked her if she would come again. “You try and stop me”, she said “I feel like I’m living again, I can’t wait for next month!”
The bus driver
A number of our dancers arrive by community transport from a day centre nearby. The bus driver, Pete, is always lovely and last month he stayed a little while for a cuppa and a chat.
This month, bitten by the big, he came, changed into his best shirt and took Sylvia for a spin round the dance-floor.
Cue more happy tears. You can see in the photo how happy it made Sylvia. And Pete the bus driver.
In fact it made everybody happy!
Drop the hammer
If you’re busy criticising yourself for not being brilliant at everything, this can stop you from just doing it anyway.
Maybe you’ve forgotten how good it feels to move your body, sing along, play a game or do something silly.
Sylvia probably won’t win the next edition of Strictly, or even a local dance competition for amateurs. But she didn’t believe she’d dance again. Winning, looking good or doing it ‘properly’ isn’t the point. The point is feeling the joy of it.
A for Acknowledge
When Sylvia came last month she was resigned to sitting and watching. This month she came in with a determined air. She knew she’d get on the floor once more, not focusing on what she couldn’t do (whizz around the floor like a pro) but rather acknowledging what she could do (dance carefully with a supportive friend).
She knew she could enjoy dancing again.
Off to the Big Smoke!
So the next day I headed off with a scratchy throat and a happy heart ‘Darn Sarf’, to do some People Boosting, this time with less dancing involved though.
I’d been invited to do a morning and afternoon keynote for Lewisham and Croyden School Business Managers conference and, wow! what a fabulous event and gorgeous folks! I smiled the whole day through with the comments, participation and shifts that people were making. I look forward to hearing what happens next! Here’s a little pic taken by the event organiser, the incredible Beverley Chambers. If you need an event organiser in the south, look up her company ‘Client Focused’, she’s excellent. Along with Loretta and the fabulous SBM committee, it was a life-affirming event.
So, my darling, over to you; what’s your focus this week?
What can you do more of that brings you joy? What joyful activities have you given up or avoided because you don’t think you’re good enough at it? What lights you up?
I hope you find many pockets of joy this week, even if it’s just a little toe tap while you’re in the supermarket queue, it’s all good for the soul.
All my love,