Dancing like a crazy person to feel more sane…

It’s 2001, I think.  I’m in one of the few nightclubs in Falmouth, where I am at uni.  Friends have brought me here, slightly under protest.

I don’t dance.

I’m in my early twenties at this point, and apart from the occasional wiggle or headbang, I haven’t really danced and meant it since the school disco at primary school.  I am way too self conscious; I simply don’t know what to do and worry about looking like a fool.

My friends seem to be having fun though, and I feel reasonably happy watching them.

Then, Paul breaks away from dancing with his girlfriend Cathy and our friend Jodie to where I am lurking at the edge of the dance floor. I wish I could remember what track was playing.  With a glint in his eye and a huge smile, he dances like a complete weirdo in front of me.  There are a lot of pelvic thrusts, hip wiggles, and terrible moves.  Just terrible.  He is relentless, completely silly, has no care for how cool he looks and I am laughing my head off.  He leads me onto the floor to come and join my friends, and something in me changed forever.  I found my dance!

I am forever grateful to Paul for helping me break free of worrying what I look like when I dance.

I don’t dance for you.  I don’t do it for anyone who might be watching.  I do it because it feels really fun and once the music catches me, I can’t help it.  It’s purely about me being in my body.

One of the incredibly therapeutic practices I’ve discovered in this last year whilst creating Dive Down takes that liberated feeling to a whole other level.  Five Rhythms Dancing is a movement started by Gabrielle Roth, and she’s written a book about it, the title of which sums up the idea perfectly: Sweat Your PrayersYou can find out more at the Five Rhythms website here. There’s a reference to dancing at the end of the Dive Down story – it’s a key tool in my de-stressing toolbox.

Illustration from Dive Down by Sam Goodlet - www.samdrawsthings.com

Five Rhythm groups operate all over the place, and I thoroughly recommend giving it a go.  It’s terrifying, fun, liberating, therapeutic moving meditation.  There is no right or wrong, and you are gently guided through five ‘waves’ of different types of movement, building up to a crescendo of complete letting go in the middle and calming back down again.  In my experience, the other people in the room are incredibly sympathetic and kind, especially to new faces.

Not only has going to the sessions been amazing, I’ve had quite a few of my own moments at home, dancing around like a loon to release stress, anger, sadness, self doubt… all kinds of less than positive feelings that I’ve been able to kick into touch by moving my body.  Nights out that involve dancing have also become little therapy sessions; a chance to let go.

I am so, so grateful to you Paul, and to everyone who has danced with me since.

Have a look at my inspirational YouTube playlist of amazing dance moves here 🙂

Gratitude to everyone who helped me start to notice…

The seals in the Dive Down story appear at a point when inspiration started to find me…

Illustration from Dive Down by Sam Goodlet - www.samdrawsthings.co.uk

 

Along with an amazing book called When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chödrön and a range of music that helped me to get up in the morning (which can be found on the Spotify playlist to accompany the book here) there were lots of other people and organisations who helped me to navigate my way in the depths.  A lot of them can be found in the Further Reading list in the back of the book, and on the Dive Down website here.

This week has been really lovely as I have been writing thank you letters and packaging up copies of Dive Down to send some of those people as a thank you.

I sent and gave the first batch of books to friends and family who were part of my safety net, and now I’ve reached out to some of the people who have been part of my life without realising.

I wanted to complete the loop and let them know that they had touched and helped me.

So some of my favourite writers, musicians, philosophers and organisations will be getting little parcels.  It’s probably not that big a deal to them – I hope that they get letters and things like that all the time. But it was a very therapeutic thing to do, to put into words why and how their work or words had changed my life.

parcels by Sam Goodlet - www.samdrawsthings.co.uk

The map of where the books have gone is looking really exciting at the moment, and includes some of the awesome organisations I have sent copies to.  You can find the map here.

Letting other people know about the people, music and organisations that I found when creating Dive Down is an important part of the sharing – I want to sign post as many people to the brilliant resources that exist to help us all find our way as we swim through our own journeys and adventures.

Please do share any of your own favourites and I can add them to the Further Reading list 🙂 Why not drop me an email?

 

Out of my comfort zone in Zone One

One Friday, I was in a tutu on the Tube in London.  It’s not something I ever really expected to be doing, I will confess, and I can’t *quite* remember why I thought it was a good idea…

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But I decided to dress up as the version of myself in Dive Down and go to some of my favourite places in London to leave some of the 100 free copies of the book.  You can find a map of where the free books have found homes so far here.

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There was a moment in a loo in Camden when I’d just put the tutu on and I thought I might take it straight back off again and go home…

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Hiding in a loo in Camden in a tutu...

Hiding in a loo in Camden in a tutu…

BUT the good thing about starting in Camden was knowing that far more weird and wonderful things have happened there than me getting a bit dressed up.  And I also remembered that I have done far scarier things that that, which is what the book is all about.  So, I took a deep breath and opened the door and stepped out…

And I swiftly realised that the only person who gave two hoots about what I was wearing was me.

In a tutu on the South Bank (thanks to Nathalie Cox for the photo)

I also had a passing thought that everything we wear is a costume, and wearing a tutu for a day is no weirder really than wearing anything else. What we dress ourselves in on a daily basis can have a big impact on how we feel, and after the nerves wore off, I felt awesome and sprightly in my silly outfit.  I sat on the South Bank sketching in the sunshine (thank goodness for the weather last Friday!), and a little boy told me he loved my drawing and my shoes.  It made my day.

This has helped me feel much braver about what I choose to wear, and I may be popping off to the shops in my top hat and tails later… I thoroughly recommend a little trip outside the comfort zone every now and then.

A big thank you to friends Ian and Nathalie for meeting me in my tutu, and to Nathalie for the photo of me above and the ones below 🙂

I’d love to hear from anyone that finds or receives a book.  You can get in touch by emailing info@samdrawsthings.co.uk

My awesome tutu is from The Tutu Store on Etsy

Hiding a book

Hiding a book

Sneaking a free book onto the book stall on the South Bank...

Sneaking a free book onto the book stall on the South Bank…

... and it was gone a few seconds later!

… and it was gone a few seconds later!