“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better”

~Samuel Beckett

 

When I was in College, I learned who Martha Graham was. I watched all the videos I could find, did a ton of research, and immediately (and unnecessarily) signed up for a Modern Dance class. I had never done Modern Dance, and I had very little technical Dance experience. As a result, this class was severely challenging for me.

Some days I felt I did pretty well, other days I couldn’t follow what was happening. I got singled out almost every day to make corrections to what I was doing. When we did our across the floor exercises, two dancers at a time, with everyone watching, I was sometimes so lost that I would make something else up entirely. Sometimes, I was so lost I would simply walk on beat across the floor. For anyone who has taken a dance class, you can understand that this doesn’t typically happen.

Despite being in over my head, I stayed fully committed. I took risks and when I failed, I failed big. You might be surprised to hear this, but I LOVED this class. I loved working hard and being challenged. I loved moving my body. I loved the weird shapes I made with my body. I loved expressing how I felt in this way.

At the end of the semester, each student had a meeting with the instructor. I was preparing myself to convince her that I was trying my best and despite what she might be thinking, I was taking her class seriously (and loving it). However, in the meeting, she told me that my commitment to expression and my “all in-ness” in everything I did was what she spent months trying to teach the other dancers. She told me that I was one of the best students in class, despite my lack of technique. I was shocked and I felt amazing.

What I learned was this:

– When I release the pressure of having to “be good” it feels better, I learn more, and I have fun.

– When I release the fear of judgement (and self judging) I have approximately 10,000% more space in my life to focus on what I am doing, and as a result I am able to enjoy it more and do it better.

– When I release the fear of failure, I surpass my expectations. As Elizabeth Gilbert asks in her book Big Magic, “What do you love doing so much that the words failure and success essentially become irrelevant?”. It sounds backwards, but when I jump into something new I give myself permission to have fun failing. I might not be the best, but I am usually having the most fun.

My Invitation to You:

In the name of our theme of the Moon Cycle: Divine Play, initiated by the New Moon in Leo, take a risk and try something new that is outside of your comfort zone.
I graduated college several years ago, but I still love taking classes at Community Colleges because it feels good to learn something new. If it’s possible, sign up for a class and try something you’ve always wanted to try (you can find one day workshops too). Take this as a nudge to stop saying “I’ve always wanted to try….” and just try!

Give yourself permission to FAIL BIG, to FAIL BETTER, and see what happens. 
(hint: I bet you don’t fail)
See where you can practice this principle in your everyday life. Where can you release attachment to the outcome of success and lean into the process? How does it feel?

Ask yourself: On the deepest level, where can I commit to being in the process of Divine Play?
Maybe you can do this with a job, a relationship, a project? What is it like to dance through every moment (even if you’re just walking to the beat) instead of aiming to achieve a result? This is tough and takes practice, please be patient with yourself.

 

Keep me posted & remember: take risks, play, soar.

 

ON THE HORIZON

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Amanda is the Director of Communications & Creative Development for The Wild Woman Project, Wild Woman Project Circle Leader, and is a member of the Love Crew at the annual WILD WOMAN FEST. She holds a B.A. in Theatre from California State University, Fullerton where she intensively studied Movement for the Stage. She was born and raised in California, is a lover of dogs, craft coffee, R&B and Hip-hop, crystals, pink roses, sisterhood, and watching women embrace their amazing selves! She is particularly passionate about the space where Art, Activism, and Spirit collide.