The Dance: Exercise 1

fire-dance-1189315-1280x1920So after some conversations with friends last night, and feeling good for some reason about today, I thought I might share this with them if they see this and anyone else who might find power in it.  If you are feeling overwhelmed by low or absent self-worth, perhaps use this.

The voice, the idea, the feeling of negativity has a body.  It has a look.  It has a language it uses that is familiar and tailored to be its most effective for each of us.  Mine is not yours and yours is not mine.  This negativity, this fear masquerading as wisdom, steals opportunity, it puts you on pause, it turns you away from what might be because of assumptions you make about your ability to proceed not to an acceptable result, but to the perfect landing pad that has the power to fix not just the issue at hand, but EVERYTHING.

I have such a negativity in my head.  And I’m just now starting to deal with her.  If she thinks she’s got an evolutionary purpose to fulfill, then I have decided she’s got to start paying rent.

When I imagine or experience this negative voice now, I have a visualization…thing I do.

I try and visualize the two of us in what looks like an interrogation room.  I’m seated at the chair, looking confident, as she, the so-called detective, grills me about my intentions – it could be about anything. In her eyes, I am constantly fucking up.  “You really think you’re actually losing weight?  You really think so.  Well, I know you ate ice cream.   And it was probably more than one serving.  You are doomed to a life of diabetes and disease.  I just need you to acknowledge that for me.”

And first of all, if it is this petty, and sometimes it is, and sometimes it isn’t, I am lucky when I am able to laugh and say, “holy shit, I’ve been arrested by the fucking Ice Cream PD?”  Occasionally, she’ll simper and sort of mentally evaporate just at the clarity of how useless she is. Other times she’ll dig in with more cruelty than I’ll be able to approximate here.  “Well, maybe if we caught you sooner, you could get a fucking date.”  And on weak days, or days when I’ve had this sort of mental interaction countless times already, that will be enough to shut me down.  And probably eat more ice cream while she folds her arms in front of her and sneers, throwing all the invectives and belittling comments we both can invent at me, accusing me and shaming me for everything I’ve ever failed at since the beginning of time until the power of the sugar takes over and I don’t think anything whatsoever until the cycle begins anew.

But on REALLY good days, days when I’ve been taking care of myself and accomplishing tasks and balancing ego and id, there’s a second sequence.  It helps if you have good music for this.

She leans back, thinking her potshot has landed, that’s she’s really got me.  She’s put me down and in my place. I close my eyes for a moment until we both hear a laugh. As the interrogation light rises up, the dark room spreads out until we are in an enormous, Mines of Moria-sized gallery ringed with darkness.  The negative force and I turn and see who is laughing.

It’s a warrior woman.  I don’t know her, but I recognize her as personal, mine, a part of me as inextricable as the Negative Detective.  Her eyes are dark but gleam in the single beam of light spilling into the room as though the moon was centered over the opening in the ceiling of the Pantheon. She is painted, a circlet of metal holds back her hair, she is the definition of fierce.  There’s a knife in her hand so sharp that it makes a Ginsu look like a rolling pin.  She scares me in just the right way.

The negativity might respond, might shudder, might try and grow, to fill the room, to throttle me, to in some way insinuate her power.

And then, another, different laugh from another dark corner of this space.  We turn and it’s some romantic hero or interest that matters to me, brooding and comely, maybe smoking a cigarette because there’s no lung disease in imaginary cigarettes.  “Leave her alone, you pointless bitch.”   Maybe at this point he pulls a gun out, just to underline the point that he’s willing to go that far for me, that he’s just that over her bullshit.  I will admit to being a little bit thrilled by this.

We stand up from our seats, the table is gone.  It becomes obvious that we are not a few souls in a giant room, we are surrounded by hundreds if not thousands.  There are warriors, there are friends, there are moments of joy embodied by people I admire, video game characters, heroines of books, Anne Shirley’s there, Mumford, it doesn’t matter.  They are people I find beautiful and powerful.  It is the beauty of my mind, mentally personified. They are all at their most beautiful, most ferocious, most epic and cinematic.   They’ve all got weapons, serious and hilarious, but all of them clearly deadly and drawn.

Everything emanates a single emotion.  A single thought drives them: This girl is ours, she has made us and given us life and force, she has drawn us here and we will defend her against anything.  She had poured her heart into us and we will destroy any threat to her peaceful, joyful existence.

The negativity tries to get meta on me. “They’re just imaginary.  I’m real, I see you, I have been here since the beginning watching you slob and wretch your way through life.”

I can literally hear more laughter.  Voices call out things I typically don’t let myself believe are important – “We have preceded you.  We have seen her in her greatest glories. This is the girl who flew herself to Italy.  This is the girl who gets up every day and strives for the light. This is the girl who is so clever she’s thought to bring us here.  She can do what she needs to do.  We adore her.  We want nothing other than to be near her.  We believe in her.  You are in the house of our spirit and we cannot be destroyed.”

Then, because of who they are and who I am, and if the music’s going…they dance.  This big tribal, happy, stomping dance as they close in on us.  They shriek and holler and spin one another around.

The negativity doesn’t like any of this, but there’s nothing she can do, really.  The power of the beat, of this army of lovers I deserve because I deserve them, because I am strong enough to create them, starts to explode her little pea brain.  Then they whack her with pots and pans and sometimes stab her with knives.  It can get gory like Judge Doom in Who Framed Roger Rabbit? – at the end when his head cartoonifies and acidulates into goop.

But what always happens if we get this far is I feel their strength become mine and I will grab somebody’s weapon, maybe Hotness McLately’s gun and say, with every fiber of myself, all, Gandalf to Wormtongue-infested Theoden, “You have no power here!”   I use the weapon if I have to, joyfully emboldened to wipe her the hell out. I feel the absence of the negativity in my whole body.  It’s been driven back. It doesn’t matter if she returns, we will dance again.

And then, I go about my day.

Give it a go sometime.

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