Fellowship, Adversity and Taming Gremlins on the Dance Floor

The fellowship experienced in dance is a thing of beauty and of strength.  In my Values of Dancing post I noted Community/Fellowship as a value reflected in ballroom dancing. When you dance you have something in common with others, a shared experience, even if in only one area of life. You are connected and contribute to that shared bond of belonging to a community. People in a community celebrate together and pull together in times of need.

Last Sunday’s 10th Windy City Dancesport Showcase also reflected the French Proverb “Adversity is the touchstone of friendship.“ Adversity at its core is something that is unfavorable, causes trouble or misfortune.  Our own perceptions and “story” about ourselves can be a cunning and therefore worthy adversary. The fellowship inherent in friendship reinforces our innate abilities and strength to best our most worthy adversaries- the dreaded Gremlins. Those self-saboteurs, that whisper, shout and repeat negative stories about you and me. Gremlins manifest from our insecurities and self doubts. Slanderous ratfinks that can just mess with your mind and focus.

Several days after the Showcase I was reflecting on my own jitters and joys related to the event with several other women I know who dance, despite serious jitters of their own.  Sunny’s remarks are a perfect reflection of what the stories our Gremlins tell can do and what we can do to counter those tall tales. “My insecurity is destructive but I do surround myself with quality people. Regardless of my performance, Sunday was an interesting experience and enjoyable.”

The jitters I am sure she was feeling inside did not show in her performance. Sunny, I, and many others, are hypercritical of our dancing when the amygdala takes over. All the “What if you fall and make a fool of yourself? Don’t make a spectacle of yourself. You’re not good at this… blah, blah, blah” stories that are spoken by Gremlins are like a warped oral history.  And when the fear center of the brain shoots into overdrive- Whammy! jitters galore and out goes the our ability to see things for what they are really.  Damn primal brain! I am pretty good judge of dancing and I can tell you Sunny performed much better she might have felt she did- I know the same was true for me because my friends told me to get over myself I did just fine.  What excellent friends I have who looked at me saw the Gremlin peeking out and put it firmly and in no uncertain terms back in check- just what I needed.

Looking deep into the mirror of our friends and seeing what is in others is also reflected in us is a gift – it is not always pretty to see those reflections but it is interesting, illustrative and instructive. I hope Sunny continues to dance and knows that the fellowship she shares with other dancers can be a touchstone for her too. We all draw from the wellspring of support in friendships to courageously face our adversaries and big challenges.

So I am reminding myself  “don’t-let-your-amygdala-over rule-your-abilities-and-sharing-these-with-others-that-is-not-the-path-to-true-happiness” when my Gremlin peeks out. I am now in a place where I figure if I could get past my paralyzing fear of public speaking and I can with performing. Thank you Sunny and all my excellent honest and sincere friends.

Now go tame your Gremlin and tell us your story of  how adversity is the touchstone of friendship.


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