Cha-cha-chaing thru ....back to school
Change is happening continually around us, constantly.......it is the essence of life.... essence meaning the lifeforce or energy that gives life. Yet change is also very uncomfortable for many ( me included). With my youngest son heading to kindergarten tommorow for his first day of school with his older brother, I'm filled with a mix of many emotions. It's a goodbye of my baby and a hello to supporting him in being the young boy he's growing into. It's a very big step for us both. I know from his older brother the changes that kids go through once they start school and especially once they leave behind the innocence of toddler-hood. I'm finding myself in a position of being strong and positive for him, and yet also feeling the loss of letting go of our lovely days of napping, cuddling, being together.....Nurturing him so much physically which also fed me back emotionally. This transition is a big one for us both...
In movement or dance "transitions" are those things we physically do to get from point A to point B. For instance, we may step across with one foot and want to step across with the other foot, yet we have to pay attention to how we are going to get to the other side. Often for people new to dance it's these transitions that are tricky. If we are working to also stay connected with the music there are a number of parameters that have to be considered as "in between" movements that prepare the body to move to the other side and work within the timing of the music. Paying attention to these "in between" movements are a great metaphor for "in between" movements we make in life while moving thru transitions. A typical move that integrates the hip joints is called a "cha-cha-cha" and has routes in Salsa , Jazz as well as Belly Dance. Based on a 3 count measurement it's a common transition to get to the other leg. Cha-Cha-cha-ing is like the bridge to get from "here to there" and can be a refined movement to explore for change of any kind.
Step 1: SHIFT WEIGHT onto the non-weight bearing hip. This is moment where we let go of the old. Let go of the summer, let go of the past and prepare for the new. I have found rituals extremely effective in letting go of old. Rituals can be anything you do that is done with purpose and intention. For instance, I set up a special table containing gifts that my son made for me in pre-school, objects from nature he found, cards he gave me etc. Included on this table is a picture of a little girl in Africa watching an elder learning to pull back a bow. It reminds me of the warrior spirit I see in my sons and the potential within.
Step 2: SHIFT BACK TO ORIGINAL hip. This is where you begin to set your body up for the rhythm of change. It's the "2" count of a "3". This is a great time to explore more into what is making the transition challenging. Knowing and honoring the gift of what was -gives some momentum and release to flow into what is possible. This is like closing the door to the old so the new open door will appear. I once heard a poem that spoke of this as letting go of the "monkey bar" so you can reach for the new one. It's a place "in between" here and there. For me, this is where I recognize my attachment to Julian needing me and wanting to be there for him . I see how this is a beautiful system for babies that need their mama's and yet can hinder a young ones strength to bump around and find his way into the world. ACK......This is a tender one for me so I'll be gentle with myself the only way I know how....and this through paying deep attention to my emotions, staying present to my breath, and affirming to myself that everything is going to turn out amazing and better than I could even expect.
Step 3: SHIFT INTO the new direction on the opposite hip. This is the third "cha" at the end of the "1, 2, 3". From a sacred geometry point 1 is the mono, 2 is the relationship or exchange, and 3 is the triad. The stability of the 2 ( or the rhythm of the 2....) create a pulse of movement into the "3". This is the completion of feeling freedom in the end and "new-ness". Celebrating by being fully present to the new. For me to truly be in the moment with my growing son, I have to make sure I'm not seeing him through my own filters of grief, or longing, and celebrate the changing of growth right before my eyes. I don't miss this miracle, especially not out of a self serving need that holds both him and I back from living fully. As part of my "cha-cha-chaing" thru transition I plan to spend some time alone today reflecting on the last 6 years I've enjoyed with my little guy and write him a note from my perspective. A note that I hope he'll enjoy later in his life as he goes thru other big changes. This can be a note you write to YOURSELF as a note to your FUTURE self if you are transitioning into inner change. The three is a celebration.....a "yes" to moving along with the changes life brings us, and a sense of the potential of goodness, fun , excitement, beauty, happiness and wonder that lies ahead.
Cha-cha-chaing through any transition is a dance step that can make sense when nothing makes sense. As you practice this movement slowly, add in different speeds, accent different numbers ( like 1, 2, THREEEEEE holding the 3 longer), play with it in the hands or head instead of the hips all the time, practice going backwards with it, sideways, and try keeping it close to your core to tighten abdominal muscles. The more ways we can "cha-cha" the more we can compare it to the many ways we've developed confidence that change isn't always bad...in fact, many times really great things are awaiting for us to dance into. Cha-cha helps to "order" the chaos of change. It's a recipe I am following as I dance into the first days of school tommorow. When life is good, there is a natural tendency to want to keep things the same, however that's just not the way it works. Change is natural, healthy, and you can't stop it. Cha-Cha-Cha is a way to lighten it up, put it into your body, and move thru it.