“If I had the chance I’d ask the world to dance, but I’d be dancing with myself.” ~Billy idol
Spending long periods of time alone—as I’ve done while traveling solo over the past year—is an eye-opening experience.
Without the distractions of my normal routine and relationships, I’ve been able to take a good look around inside my very own head. The more I practice this, I see that my perception of the world around me is a reflection my inner self. In reality, I’m dancing with myself all the time.
This critical awareness is typically hidden by the simple fact that people don’t understand it. It seemsTo be the reason for my experience.
Most of us think that we’re dancing with others: friends, lovers, colleagues, family. But watching myself now I see that—all on my own—my emotions and moods still wax and wane.
I still have long conversations in my head about the past, present, and future, what should and shouldn’t be happening, and how I should and shouldn’t be feeling about it. My dance cards are full even without supporting cast members.
The truth is, whether we know it or not, we’re always dancing with ourselves.
Even if you’re physically in the presence of others all day long, your real dance partners are your own projections: memories of past hurts, worries about the future, thoughts and guesses about what is happening (and what other people are thinking) right now.
It’s impossible to see the other person clearly, let alone have a real relationship with them, when all these other projections are crowding the dance floor.
What’s more, everyone around you is doing the same. A projection can cause many seemingly unimaginable events in relationships.
You treat the other person as if that projection were true, even though they have no idea that the real reason you’re upset is because of something your last girlfriend said three years ago.
Remember the old expression “he was Besides himself with anger?” Even when we sincerely believe that our relationships are open and honest, how can they be if we don’t actually know the cast of characters we’re relating to?
The only thing we can do about this is to remember that it’s happening.
As we become more conscious of our projections and are more able to recognize them, we can begin to see beyond them to the real world of another person or ourselves.
It’s harder to do this when we’re always busy. It’s scary, too—life seems simpler when we can just look outside of ourselves for the causes of our emotions, and blame others, or change something “out there” instead of inside of ourselves.
As I have spent so much of my time alone, this is exactly what has happened to me. Although I feel the need to escape into bustle-ness or company just for the sake, I attempt to keep myself present in this space that fluctuates between bliss and panic. This allows me to be my true partner.
I’m learning that the vacillations are just a part of life, not something that requires a reaction.
With other people, it’s all too easy to miss this lesson in the rush to react. I’m learning how much the way I perceive other people is dictated by my own expectations and prior experience. This unacknowledged veil obscures how little I really see. It is amazing how little I know about myself, when I substitute external perceptions for my inner reality.
I’m learning that reality can always (and only) be found on the inside.
Dancing with myself is a skill that I’m slowly and purposefully developing. To be able to adjust my steps and rhythm when music changes or the mood is changing, I need to get to know me intimately.
Even when I feel overwhelmed, I try to keep my eyes open and balance.
I want to become so familiar with my own projections that I never mistake them for someone else’s reality again. This will allow me to dance with more grace, less kindly and more love with my life as well as with other people.
Even though it is possible to master these skills in a short time, many people don’t have the desire or ability.
Because the dance floor can be so busy, it will take more attention and vigilance to learn how to dance with your own body while you are still living everyday life. You will bump into more things—other people’s projections as well as your own. Keep coming back to what you know.
- Do you ever feel calm or centered when you are stressed?
- When do you feel “beside” yourself, being pushed or pulled by circumstances and reactions rather than directing your own steps?
- You may feel overwhelmed by your emotions. Can you look away and not be sucked in?
- When it’s someone else’s emotion, can you let them have it without needing to rush in and fix everything?
It’s beautifully simplifying to do this. Instead of trying to control the steps of others, and keeping tabs on them all throughout the dance, it’s much easier to just listen and find your internal rhythm.
When you lose the thread—and you will—just go back to listening inwardly. It doesn’t go away, we just lose track of it when we don’t pay attention. Gradually (I think) we’ll know it so well that we can track it even when the dance gets hectic.
Though dancing alone can feel strange and lonely at first, the loneliness comes with a peace I rarely felt when I was constantly trying to fit myself into someone else’s steps.
If I have people joining me, I remind myself that they are also in my dances, interfacing with their projections. If we’re really lucky we’ll find people (or teach the people we love) to dance with themselves alongside of us. The ones who can’t will find other partners, and that’s all right too.
You will be your first, last and most important partner in dance.
About Amaya Pryce
Amaya Pryce, a Life Coach and Writer, lives in the Pacific Northwest. Her books, 5 Simple Practices for a Lifetime of Joy and How to Develop Your Soul are available on Amazon. For coaching or to follow her blog, please visit www.amayapryce.com.
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