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Gracefully Challenged

She was reaching her arms high above her head when she felt that familiar buzz on her wrist, she dropped her elbow, and brought her forearm close to her chest so that she could read the message on her watch.  We were in rehearsal for our upcoming production, and she was a member of my cast and one of my students.   She called me over and began to read the email.  The email stated that due to Coronavirus the university was changing the format of all classes, social distancing needed to be observed and more information was to come.  Immediately, the mood changed; and I could see the physical makers of their emotional states: shoulders pressed down a little more in the socket, some eyes were red and some faces were wet with tears.  I tried to press on…   We were called to a meeting and as we walked out, two dancers stopped me.   

Mya, what does this mean?   

Mya, I won’t get this chance again!

 Mya, I‘ve been waiting for this moment and this show!

My heart was heavy and I consciously decided to be a listening ear rather than to offer words out of obligation. The decision was both logical and emotional because I had no words of comfort to offer.

 Depression, anxiety, and fear became all too familiar as my students, my colleagues and I began to navigate this new reality. I pride myself on being a good mother and provider for my biological children and those who fall under my temporary care (like my students), but at times this experience left me feeling like a successful failure.  I did my best to paint them a picture of the brighter day that included graduations, dance, performances, and careers as I tried to imagine that same world in my head, but honestly, I was being triggered and taken back to a time when I was unable to do the very thing that mean more than the world to me.

I was taken back to 2017 , March 2017 to be exact. In a matter of a few days, I went from a sharp pain in my left foot to having to crawl around my apartment and the use of a wheelchair at work. Now, I’ve given birth naturally a few times, but this mess hurt!!!!

There were a few prognoses from my podiatrist: plantar fasciitis and tendinosis, I remember her mentioning the swelling of the vessels that carry synovial fluid and surgery.  As a professional dancer, I needed to avoid this surgery at all costs.  The podiatrist put me on prednisone to “jump-start the healing process” and told me not to dance. It had already been two weeks since I danced and I was further depressed by the daily medication requirement. I cried on the way home.  If dance is my medium for healing how could I heal myself without dance.  Dance, especially movement of the African Diaspora done to live music has a long history of being used as a modality for diagnosing and healing ailments.  By definition, dance is an art form that uses the body as a medium for conveying ideas concepts.  Simply put movement can and does convey ideas that words fail to express.  Are there any words that truly express the feeling of being hugged by a loved one?

In the absence of dance, how would I communicate?   The  Alchemist (Paulo Cheulo) came to mind; when you decide to follow your personal legend initially the universe conspires with you for your success and then comes the test of your knowledge, loyalty, and dedication. 

These may be dark times, but I encourage you to remember so is the womb.  I urge you to shift focus to thinking of this time as being pregnant with possibilities of how you want to live in this world.  Several things have to lead us to the place where we stand but ask yourself what joy can find at this time?  I encourage you to reflect and find out/ remember what’s truly important.  I encourage you to take of you so you can be strong enough to take care of others.   Use this time to read/ write that book.  Use this time to learn a new skill.  Use this time to catch up on that sleep. Use this time to start a healthy habit.  Use this time to connect/ reconnect with the universe, nature or spiritual practice. Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world, take this time to take care of the inner you,

Feel free to share how and what you did to make it through in the comments

Dance is my medium for sharing knowledge and I would love to share with you

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