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  • Writer's pictureAmy Kathleen Lee


Stress is a major factor in all our lives. Doesn’t matter if you dance for a living or part-time, or for recreation. It’s tough to leave off the dance floor. Tough to get off our minds– the things that are stressing us out. Stress can get into our bones, at times making our sanity seem brittle.

Sometimes we don’t even know it’s coming, like a rogue wave. Slam! That’s how pent-up stress, and emotions like to grace us with their presence.

I’ve heard it referred to as a beach ball you’re trying to hold under water, or burying it means burying it alive. It can be you are living in future events, playing things out; conversations, situations. Like a constant mind chatter. Or is it the past you have stuck to the bottom of your shoe.

When I get overwhelmed with life my stress level skyrocket’s and begins to affect all areas of my life. For some reason the now is not a place it want’s to be. Maybe because right now is where the stress is.. Or is it?

“To be identified with your mind is to be trapped in time: the compulsion to live almost exclusively through memory and anticipation. This creates an endless preoccupation with past and future and an unwillingness to honor and acknowledge the present moment and allow it to be.”

He nailed it. In two sentences…

I identify most with “endless preoccupation” and “allow it to be”. I wish I knew that 20 years ago! ( oops, there I go living in the past)

So, if my mind and body are not still processing past stress, or anticipating future stressful events, then I am free right now to just….be. I have mental space, free to enjoy the song on the radio. Or hear absolutely nothing at all.

This leads me to the topic of meditation.

One way for dancers to relieve stress is to practice living in the present moment through meditation. Meditation is a skill used to clear the mind, and is as simple as listening to your self breathe. To feel that breath, not just in your chest, but in your spirit. Closing your eyes turns things inward, we can then begin the process…

I am new to meditation. I have been practicing for about 6 months, and have learned how powerful the mind is, especially when you try to tell it no! Like a spoiled child, it stomps its foot.

No longer dragged around by thoughts, you can steal those moments back. Give yourself the chance to just be.

Guided mediation has helped immensely in learning how to quiet the mind, I have a hard time with hearing nothing. A person’s voice helps me relax. (You can log on to You Tube, and look up guided meditation, there are many meditation phone apps, too.)

It’s that simple. You can do it right now. Or later when you have a few moments between classes, appointments, rehearsals, more classes, and all the stuff that fills your day.

Try it. Let me know how it goes…

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