I was nursing my first breakup and after I had overcome the phases of denial, acute anger, and initial acceptance, I was determined to do whatever I could in my capacity to get back to feeling normal. I had abused my body enough and it was time to tread a sustainable path to dealing with my situation.
One of the common advice I received was to distract myself so that my mind wouldn’t harp on my memories and pull me down. One of my favorite pastimes during work was scouring through the internet for art workshops.
I wanted to attend an event that tipped my system from its routine and didn’t give me any other option but to go with a blank slate!
For someone who was thrown out of his assessment in classical dance with an ‘F’, it was quite gutsy to choose a workshop that surrounded the concept of dance.
Creative movement to be precise.
Creative movement therapy (CMT)is a methodology that leverages the connection between mind and body to release stress or any kind of localized pain through body movement. I was aware of how dancing is therapeutic, but using body movements for specifically addressing trauma and boost wellness was a novel idea.
I was bowled over by the concept and immediately signed up for a 2-day workshop in CMT.
I showed up anxious since my motor skills for dancing was appalling.
The anxiety amplified when I found out I was in a batch of 40 that comprised of 38 women and just 1 guy. The guy came with a group, so his presence didn’t matter. Most of them came from a psychology background and some even from the vocation of dance therapy. Despite the overwhelming feeling, I was experiencing, I knew I had the right kind of people as peers.
Whatever little confidence I had mustered was beginning to leak through the cracks that were created when we were asked to introduce ourselves with a body movement.
I don’t exactly remember how I introduced, but I assure you it was funny and more importantly nobody made fun of me. I instantly respected that gesture and I was beginning to ease into the workshop.
Since this workshop happened 3 years back, I don’t exactly remember every activity, but there are certainly few that stand out even today.
My favorite was the trust-building activity. The entire class was split into pairs, and one person was blindfolded. The only body contact the blindfolded person had with their co-partner was with their fingertips. Music was played, and the partner’s role was to navigate their blindfolded co-partner through the floor without dashing into other pairs. It made me realize how little I trusted people, and how letting go was a requisite for building trust.
I’m someone who believes in coloring outside the boundaries and stretching whatever borders I have been asked to operate within. It is my way of questioning the status quo just to see if I could gain effective perspectives. Most classical dance forms have restrictions in body movements and it demands strict adherence from its practitioners. We were made to participate in an activity that involved moving our body, with eyes closed, based on how we felt with each music.
This activity made me realize two things:
- I was extremely conscious of dancing. When my eyes were closed, since only the instructor witnessed what I was up to, I managed to move my body without the usual rigidity.
- There are no bad dancers. Dancing shouldn’t be defined as an art form that is just about aesthetic body movements. It is a powerful way of expressing oneself and there is a lot that can be understood about mind and body connection by exploring it.
People like me gave up on dance because of the conventional settings in which it was taught. I feel initial lessons of dance should be conveyed in a manner that doesn’t impose any restrictions and just focusses on getting the body moving.
When the workshop ended, more than the marginal boost it gave in my mental wellness, I was grateful for the lessons I learned about the mind and body connection, and about how movement is a great way to start a movement in your life. When your body is set into motion, there is a psychological effect that indicates progress in your head, and it is a great way to move on in life. Not just from a traumatic experience, but to progress to a better plane.
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