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The secret reason you need to dance (or get moving!) Hint: it’s not fitness…

Peter Alfred Hess on Flickrr
Peter Alfred Hess on Flickrr

I’m a dancer. Who stopped dancing.

But now I’ve a new reason to move – and it’s not about fitness.

Do you ever feel like just when things are starting to happen ….something comes crashing down. Or when you start getting closer to your partner and things feel GREAT, someone throws in a wrench? Gay and Kathlyn Hendricks, the master team who have written so much about couples and communications, know a lot about this phenomena and offer some great suggestions, including this one: get moving.

I know I should move more and get my heart pumping – good health and all that. But that’s not been enough to get me beyond the inertia of my excuses:

  • I want time with my husband.
  • I have to (had to) finish my dissertation.
  • I feel stiff.
  • I need to ride my horse.
  • The garden is overrun with weeds.
  • My business/social media/the internet is calling.
  • I’m afraid my back will hurt more.
  • I don’t feel like it.
  • I have to write my blog.
  • Our studio floor is too hard.
  • I feel too tired/sad/depressed to dance.

The crazy thing is that I’ve always been a dancer – not professional, or even that trained, but a kid who lived to dance and used to choreograph West Side Story up and down the steps of her split-level home. I folk danced and I have a favorite picture of me at seven in a little Austrian dirndl and skirt, holding my daddy’s hand at Folk Dance House in New York City.

I danced because I had energy – and to express myself when I felt up and happy.

But waiting for the right mood, led to years of dwindling dancing.

Fortunately, I’ve found a new reason to get moving: to increase my capacity to live with increased positive energy no matter what my mood.

The Hendricks have coached thousands of couples and learned what happens to many of us when life begins to feel “too good.” Imagine this: your core relationship is flourishing with more intimacy, passion and connection. Your job or work is going well and the reach of your influence is expanding. You’re feeling really alive.

And then BANG – something happens to screw it up – or, more accurately, you do something – like pick a fight, or get sick, or in my case, get discouraged. They call this the “Upper Limits Problem” (ULP) because you’ve hit the upper limit of the good feelings your internal system can hold.

Sound weird? They provide a lot of evidence for it in their books Conscious Loving and The Big Leap – more than I can cover here. But after reading about the ULP , I’ve started to notice it.

Just this past week, I had a great day. I felt alive, creative and vital and did some of my best work. I even received a piece of good news. But then the next day, BOOM – I felt tired, deflated, and a little depressed. No fair!

The Hendricks offer a new way to think about this.Screen Shot 2015-01-25 at 8.16.07 PM

Here’s the provocative quote from Conscious Loving that has me putting on my dancing shoes:

 “What else can you do when you are so full of positive energy that you’re beginning to slip into negativity? Scatter the ash. The process of transformation seems to move a great deal of energy through the body… When you are evolving quickly by spotting and letting go of old patterns, you will tend to get a certain feeling in your body as a by-product of transformation.  This feeling is a slightly gritty sensation… Along with this sensation comes tiredness and sometimes sleepiness.

This is what we call ash… because it accompanies rapid change and follows the burning of more energy than you likely have experienced before. Although you may want to lie down and rest when you are feeling ashy, this is absolutely the worst thing to do.  The most effective way to scatter ash is through breath and movement. Just a few minutes of deep breathing or fast dancing can move the ashy sensation from your body.”

Maybe I need to re-think some of my habits for self-therapy.

Yes, I may need to meditate. And sitting on the coach can feel awfully good when I need a rest or am feeling blue. But, in addition, if I really want to build my capacity to handle more positive energy, success and love, I better get on my feet and get my heart beating faster.

So I’m dancing again.

If you don’t dance, you can find your own way to get your heart pumping so you can keep filling up on positive energy.

So here we go: week one. I put on some shoes to cushion the impact of a hard floor and queued up some great music – not all fast – but tunes that inspired me to move.

I danced for 15 minutes. And the next day, I danced again.

It was like finding an old friend.

So, as Lee Ann Womack once crooned: “When you get the chance to sit it out or dance,   I hope you dance.”


2 Responses

  1. Thanks for this, Sally. Hope you danced today.

    As I read this I found myself wanting to get up from the table and dance! It would be great if you could include a link to the music when you mention a particular song/s in your blog, in case we want to listen -and dance- to it in that moment!

    Appreciate the reminder of how important it is to move the body to move the energy. My favorite way of dispersing that ash is through swimming. It’s guaranteed to lift my spirits, yet I do it only sporadically. Whenever I get back into the water (like I did today), I vow to myself, I gotta do this more often!

    Enoy your dance everyone!


    1. Like the song says, if you get the chance to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance. Greet daybreak with dance. Give thanks for the day by dancing. Dance in the pale moonlight.

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