In the most recent Food & Love Hack Fridays, we have been talking a lot about deep, abstract notions. How much does fear rule our lives? What is the true nature of anxiety? How might we relate to the external voices in our heads? That’s a lot of important stuff.
But today’s hack is my favorite of all!
The Hack: Dance!
The reasoning behind this hack lies in several things: joy, freedom, embodiment, exercise, distraction, sex appeal, physical pleasure, catharsis, and self-love.
When we dance, we become embodied. This is in an act that is inherently human, that is playful, that is sensual, that is ecstatic… whatever emotion we need it to be at the time. We move these emotions into and through our bodies, and in doing so enable ourselves to be much more at one with our bodies. Being in touch with ourselves, and in a way that our bodies are responsive and expressive, enables us to really love them, and to feel as one, and joyfully.
Dance gets us out of our heads, and into simple existence. Out of thinking, so long as we are capable of letting go, and into intuition. Out of fear, and into embodied freedom. That isn’t to say that we are not permitted to fear rejection when we dance, but no, it’s not encouraged. Nor necessary. And, in fact, it is my opinion that the number one basic of tenant of dance is to let go, to move with the music rather than with the brain, and to forget the hang-ups of the outside world as much as possible. To tell thinking to fuck off. And just be. That is the number one tenant. Forget everything else. Forget looking good or impressing anyone or weight loss. Let go, and be.
Dance proves to us that our bodies are us, and in a way that is fun and powerful and alive.
I mentioned several other themes:
Distraction, because dance takes our mind off of our worries.
Sex appeal, because anyone who is confident and embodied and free is sexy, period. And sex appeal, because dance can make us love, be in touch with, and feel sexy in our own skin.
Exercise, because the chemicals our brain secretes when we exercise are pleasurable.
Catharsis, because life is hard, or scary, or triumphant, but in all cases sometimes we need to just push it out of us. Movement is one of the most powerful ways to do that.
Pride, because we learn to be in love with the profound abilities of our bodies.
Freedom, because dance is doing and being and expressing whoever you want to be. Freedom, because dance liberates us from thought. Freedom, because dance whips off the binding chains of expectations and norms.
Self-love, because we get to be that person when we dance, and powerfully. Self-love, because dance helps us develop positive relationships with our bodies. Self-love, because dance teaches us to work with and listen to our own bodies, rather than the hateful voices of the outside world. Self-love, for all of these very many reasons.
Dancing might not be as easy nor as easily all of those big things– empowering, liberating, loving– for some of us as it is for others. That’s okay. Dance can still be powerful for you.
If you do not like to go to the studio or to a club and just go wild, start in your kitchen. Put on whatever music suits your mood while you’re making breakfast or dinner and sort of sway. Feel it out. Do what you need to do in the moment. Do not plan it; do not think it. Just do it, with the music. No one is watching. Shut off your brain, and move!
It might be helpful to start with something slow and familiar. Just to try out the shape of the dancing space, and convince yourself it’s not scary.
On the other hand, my personal preference is to start with something joyful and silly, and to leap into dance head first. I particularly enjoy Katy Perry, One Direction, and Justin Bieber for these reasons. I have zero shame over this fact. Go wild. Don’t knock over your furniture, but come close. Trust me.
The most difficult part of dancing for people is feeling stupid or unattractive. This is why you start in your kitchen. It removes any pressure you might feel from the outside world. And it is so, so very important to remember if you are out and about, too: the sexiest dancer is the most embodied, the most free, the most exultant. The one having the most fun. It isn’t the one with the most technique. So use your time in your kitchen to practice those things and to get cozy in your skin. And to let your movement take you wherever you need.
Yep, that’s me in the cover photo! Dancing is my favorite thing to do in the whole world. My Favorite.
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