I was sitting in the airport one day, waiting for my flight to board. I was going to San Diego to visit some friends I hadn’t seen in a long time. As I sat there, clutching my purse and my yoga mat, I felt a wave of heat completely take over my body. Before I knew it, I was sweating. I took off my sweatshirt and long sleeve — I was only wearing a tank top now. I looked down at my wrist hoping for a hair tie. Thankfully I had one, but it was one of those flimsy, skinny looking hair ties — the ones that when you wrap it around your hair twice, you really have to think about whether or not to wrap it around for a third time because it might just completely break and then you’ll be left with no hair tie.
This day for whatever reason, I was feeling risky and wrapped my hair tie around for a third time (keep in mind, I have fairly thick hair so this was clearly not a good idea ) The hair tie, of course, broke.
I looked at it, pissed off because I knew I wouldn’t have a hair tie to use for the rest of the flight. This only added to my agitation of now being covered in sweat and waiting for my plane to board. I thought about it for a minute and eventually just decided to tie the ends of the hair tie together and use that for the remaining time before I arrived at my friend’s house and could ask her for one of hers. It wasn’t perfect, but it got the job done.
Later that day, I arrived in San Diego. Now with a drink in my hand, sitting at a restaurant, and all of my college friends sitting right in front of me, I felt excited. We talked about everything — our current and past relationships, our plans for the future, travel, careers, the news, politics, life — all of it. It felt so good to catch up.
I could tell everyone was having a great time when one of my friends, Lora, the louder and energetic one of the group, suddenly stood up and made her way to this platform-stage like surface and just broke out in dance.
My first thoughts:
doesn’t she know there are other people here?
what are the waitresses going to say when they see her?
this is embarrassing. are people looking at us?
I noticed my mind running. It kept saying, “Lora, that’s weird, come back to the table where it’s safe”. This happens quite often so I can’t say I was shocked or surprised by this particular thought.
This time was different though because instead of listening to that voice, I just went right up to the “dance” floor and joined her. It felt weird and foolish and uncomfortable, but it also felt freeing and liberating and wild. So here we were, dancing together, in the middle of this Mexican restaurant, completely blissed out.
I realize this isn’t a huge revelation or something to necessarily write home about. It was a simple, and something that for most people, wouldn’t even be a thought in their mind. They would just go up to that platform, join Lora, dance and not second guess themselves or feel weird doing it.
For me, it was and still is intimidating, a lot of the time. I constantly take a moment and check in with myself, “is this okay? is this allowed? can I do this? what now?” — but instead of listening to those thoughts that tell me I should stay in my chair and sit still and that it’ll be over soon, I’ve decided to stop listening and instead, just do the thing, whatever it may be. I stretch myself, just a little bit, so that I’m a little less comfortable and a little more free. The dance wasn’t perfect — at all — but it did the trick, it moved me beyond my “safe zone” and into that place where something new could be created.
I got back to the table and looked down to see the flimsy, skinny, broken looking hair tie still on my wrist — it’s now got a cool and funky new look to it. I’ve decided to keep it — to let it remind me of my spiritual practice — to stretch myself just a little bit further everyday, into this new space where I’m a little less comfortable and little more free.