Health & Wellbeing Philosophy

Growth and Transformation is possible…

By Vanessa Marian

What does it mean to grow?
For years I’ve been a slave to the teachings of self-help podcasts and life-hack articles. Trust me, I tried all the hacks on opitmising my cognitive, physical, emotional and mental capabilities as a human.

Unfortunately I’m not Tim Ferriss, so I’d KILL it on the first day, then never touch said hack ever again. 

Then, on this one day, I decided to be a fundamentally flawed human being and, without experiencing a profound Hollywood montage, I went on to quit sugar (4 months and going strong!), become more flexible, start regular meditation and improve wildly as a dancer.

This is how that journey panned out for me…

Leveraging technology

I feel as though there’s a consistent ‘tech is bad’ narrative that we all regurgitate because, I dunno, Vice wrote about it once or something.

In actuality, tech is objectively incredible, we just haven’t developed a social etiquette around how to consume it in balance.

Of the positive attributes on tech, I found that I, a vain human, love being affirmed, and tech is good at doing this. Checking my health app to see how many steps I’d taken that day, downloading a stretch course that cheered me on as I progressed and a meditation app that rewarded me with a star system for maintaining meditation streaks worked wonders!

While it was confronting to realise how simplistic I am, my vanity was overjoyed each time my screen glowed with a new star.

Going for the non-linear growth trajectory

In the past, attempts to grow into my best self were immediately thwarted when I missed one day of implementing whatever habit.

In recent years, I’ve spent a few too many mornings starting at the ‘We’re All Going To Die’ neon sign that hangs in our living room. In doing so I’ve become what I call ‘positive existential’ around the meaning of life, and the importance of enjoying it.

So whilst growth is important to me, I’ve come to realise it’s more fun when it’s messy. At times I’ll miss a day, or three, of stretches, or I’ll abandon my meditation app and its attempts to reengage me.

The difference is I don’t meander off the path with a sense of guilt or failure in having done so. Chilling out, or even enjoying myself, during those moments of straying from the linear allows me to feel as though I’m still in control, which means I feel very much in a position of power to slip back into routine, on my own terms.

Tap into the power of community

Community by definition is a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals. Well that’s what Google says. But I’m with Googs on this.

I decided to take on a stretch journey by hitting up the Groove Therapy teachers in a little chat group and asked who wanted in. It’s been amazing. Over the last few months we’ve regularly checked in on where we’re at with our stretching, meditation streaks and dance training.

Taking on new habits that are fun. Wait what?

Whilst I’ve embarked on a very slow journey towards my flexibility goals, do you know what I’ve gotten exponentially better at? Dancing. I didn’t even realise until I was bored and watching back some freestyle videos the other day in shock.

Upon reflection I realised something: training in New York has never been a chore, but instead a joy. I count down the hours until I can slip on my kicks and run to the subway for training. I spend hours digging for new music and learning about the socio-political & historic roots of different genres. I practise footwork when I’m brushing my teeth. I dance just because I love it.

Somehow, through all this fun, I’ve grown by simply enjoying the journey.

Be in it for the long haul
Many people watch the Groove Therapy teachers online and lament over the discrepancy between their skills and ours.

In response I say this: of course you wont look like us, because dancing like a pro takes hours of practise. Weeks. Months. Years. Decades.

The good news is that if you’d like to choose dance as a skill you hone in on, your homework is to simply start, and then continue dancing. Not the worst homework right?

So what do you say? What kinds of new habits do you want to finally get under your belt? Can dance play a role in that?

Keen to try a beginner adult dance class with us? We run dance classes in Sydney and Melbourne! Can’t make it? We got your back too baby – online classes are here to save your day.

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