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TIPS FOR GUYS WHO WANT TO BELLYDANCE (AND GALS, TOO)
4. Be consistent and always do your best
Yes, I realize the irony of recommending consistency the week after I skipped this blog. I may have made the wrong choice, taking the week off sharing my belly dance thoughts, but I felt it was my best choice to stay consistent with all my creative projects. Let me explain.
After moving Starbelly’s dance studio somewhat unexpectedly the week before, I was exhausted, but needing to prepare for our first week of Fall classes and our Art in the Park performance the following weekend. It was difficult to find time to rest. I still planned to post a blog I had written in advance, it just needed some work before it was ready to post. Before I found the chance for that work, though, Duke, my usually pushy and talkative 13-year-old husky suddenly started falling down, unable to get up by himself. Exhausted physically and emotionally, I couldn’t get my planned blog (Think About What You Eat) to sound anything but preachy. That’s not what I wanted to share, so instead I conserved my energy to make sure our classes and performances didn’t suffer and that I would be in the best frame of mind to make decisions about my dog’s health.
As a dancer, it is important to train consistently. Sometimes it is simply impossible, however, to put in the dance time that feels necessary for my personal growth. Life often has a way of demanding that I make difficult choices about how I spend my time. Committing to a training schedule isn’t easy, but it is always rewarding. When I have to miss class or rehearsal, I always plan on making up that time as best I can. It is impossible to duplicate the benefit of practicing with a group by myself, but if listening to the music and visualizing the dance is all I can find time for, I make sure I find that time! And that is where I want to bring up one of Miguel Ruiz’s Four Agreements, “Always Do Your Best”. My best doesn’t always look exactly how I would like. Sometimes my best has been sitting in the back of class only moving my arms, or just watching. I am not talking about the “give me 110%”, “leave it on the field” competitive sports best, because in my experience that usually leads to injuries. Doing my best involves having the self-awareness of knowing my own limitations so that I can push those limits in healthy ways that build me up rather than break me down. And those limits do need to be pushed if I hope to continue to grow as an artist.
The delicate balance that needs to be struck is not beating myself up when my best isn’t as impressive as I would like, but also not letting myself settle for less than my personal best. The best way I can find that balance is to regularly check in and remind myself what my priorities are and what I hope to accomplish. With those personal priorities in mind, it is a bit easier to stop feeling disappointed in myself and instead start making a plan for how my best can get better.
4. Be consistent and always do your best
By the way, Duke had some kind of infection that made his back leg swell up, don’t know what caused it, but it was treated with anti-biotics and laser therapy and he is back to his wonderfully bossy, underfoot self.