I don’t get out and do it very often these days, but there’s not a whole lot that makes me as giddy and joyful as dancing. Apparently Bunny feels the same way!
Did you know that habits create physical pathways in your brain? This is why breaking one is so crazy hard — you are literally wired to keep doing it!
The key? To form a new habit to replace the old one. It’s almost impossible to wipe out an existent pathway, but you can use that pathway for something new.
Kind of cool, huh?
When I was sixteen years old, my friend Julie and I would huddle in her family room or mine, giggling about boys, gossiping about what was happening at high school, and fantasizing about someday going to Juilliard.
That was before I’d taken my first “real” dance class, or maybe not long afterwards. And the funny thing is, I totally forgot about those giggly tête-à-têtes.
It wasn’t until a few years later, when I made the crazy decision to audition for Juilliard that it came back to me.
Those conversations planted a seed, and my commitment and conviction kept me persisting, even when my body hurt, when all reason would have had me stop.
A lot of bad things resulted from my obsession with dance, including a vicious eating disorder, and almost losing my friendship with Julie. I don’t know if, given a chance, I’d advise my 16-year-old self to focus so intently on a passion that treated her like an abusive lover.
Yet I’m proud of that younger me for her conviction and grit. You go, girl.
All the cats I’ve had as an adult have been skittish things, until Nika.
Before driving to the house where I would meet her for the first time as a kitten, I remember a conversation on the phone with her “mom.” There were four kittens left from the litter, she said, two of whom would hide under the nearest piece of furniture if she dropped a pan on the floor.
Nika and her brother, on the other hand, bolted right over to see what had happened.
That’s my extroverted kitty to this day — her curiosity is much stronger than her fear.
I can learn a lot from my cat!
When I was a kid, for several summers in a row my family planted a vegetable garden in the side yard.
Carrots, zucchini (they always took over!), tomatoes, peppers. It was always kind of magical to see the sprouts popping up through the tilled soil, and even more magical when we got to harvest our bounty.
My girlfriends and I loved to pretend we were bunnies. We’d pull one or two baby carrots out, and gnaw on them with our bunny teeth.
One year, our hyperactive dog got into the side yard and went wild. He tore up the tomato plants, and for years afterwards we pulled tomato plants like weeds.
I had a transistor radio when I was a kid. It had a plastic strap, so I could dangle it from my wrist, and two round dials, with serrated edges: one for volume, and one for tuning.
It opened up a whole world to me, that radio.
Eventually, I upgraded to the latest technology: a clock radio, with a digital readout. Man, was that the coolest!
My friend down the block, though, she had the best clock radio ever. It had big, bold numbers, composed of dozens of tiny dots, that faded into the next number when the time changed.
I asked for a clock radio like that for my birthday, or maybe it was for Christmas, but just got one with regular variety numbers.
Somehow I still managed to survive my adolescence.
Back in high school, my brother got a copy of Juggling for the Complete Klutz, and learned to juggle.
I borrowed the book and beanbags one day (probably unbeknownst to him), and had a go. I was a disaster. The balls went plop, right onto the floor. Sometimes they bounced off a part of me first, but they always ended up on the floor.
Can you guess what I did?
The same thing I did, many years later, when I thought I’d try my hand at being a writer: I gave up.
The thing about juggling, though — which is the same thing about writing, or anything else worth doing — is it takes persistence. Persistence, patience, and time.
If at first you don’t succeed, if you don’t try again, you’ll never succeed.
How do I know somebody’s home? The banner’s flying, of course!
This word started popping up in my art a few years ago, around the time when it started popping up more in my life.
For way too long I’d said no way too often. No to my art. No to self-compassion.
I thought it was a way to get stuff done, a route to the satisfaction of achievement, which would lead to happiness. Instead I found the opposite.
The route to joy is yes. Which often requires us to say no, but isn’t that the irony of life?
Where can you be a better bodyguard to the big yesses in your life?
My favorite place to be is that giddy, fizzy, bubbly place when my mind is filled with ideas. Things I want to try. Art I want to make. Articles I want to write.
“What if I try this…?” is my favorite question, ever!
Even the insomnia that this place inevitably seems to trigger is worth it.
My cup runneth over.
“Can you come out to play?”
“Aw, I’ve gotta do homework…”
“Oh, come on! Just for a little bit…”
“Gimme twenty minutes to do these algebra problems. Mom says once they’re done, I can play til dinnertime.”
“Cool! Don’t forget to bring your ball!”
If not for my sweet MM’s persistence, he’d be The One Who Got Away, and I wouldn’t even know it. Something kept burning inside him, though, because he came back twice over three years. He quietly kept pursuing me, even when I told him I didn’t think we were meant to be together in the long run.
That’s a loyal heart. And I’m grateful every day for it.