A life transformation took place the beginning of Sept 2018 - this is one of my favorite stories. The backstory is I just humbly put down the love of my life, dance, to create space to focus on a year of daily meditation. As you might guess, my mind was in a very different place than a year prior!
as a thought experiment, I wrote the story below and reversed engineered the above mindmap
Burning into Fusion (story)
Sep 05, 2018 10:22 PM (revised)
It was that auspicious time of the year again, the night of the burn - the night the man burns at Burning Man! 🔥
I landed at Mission Fusion - I'd been driving Lyft for 5 hours and it was time to have a break - a dance break. I showed up 30 min before the cover for the event drops to $5 so I decided to watch everyone dance for a bit, there must have been 70-80 people at the event.
Now before I continue, fusion dance is an interesting beast - normally when one goes salsa dancing, everyone is dancing salsa (more or less) and there are some predetermined rules so dancing isn't so awkward. Well in fusion dance, when you meet your partner, you have no idea what you're gonna get... you could get someone who's style is inspired by [[salsa]], swing, or everything in-between. Fusion Dance very much derived from Blues Dancing but the most amazing experiences I've had just get created in the moment - the ability to BE with your partner, sense them out and just FUSE (yes, it's prolly the most intense blind date situation you could imagine but with your bodies! lol)
As great as this sounds, unfortunately the cost of not just "jumping in" and watching everyone fuse together so beautifully is I fell in the danger zone - that zone full of [[dance anxiety]] where one concludes "[[I’m not good enough]]" because you've convinced yourself everyone dances better than you (it doesn't matter if it's true or not). The last thing I want to do is ask someone to dance and feel rejected or dance and feel like I suck. I felt like I was at my 7th grade dance all over again!
So I'm actually about to sneak out and get motioned by the person working the door it's 11:30 and begins to put a bracelet on me and I guess it's yet another one of these times where one just surrenders and goes with flow!
As we'll soon see, this was the best $5 bucks of my LIFE! It was like a "micro admission" onto the playa...but instead of a dusty desert in the middle of Nevada, here I was in [[San Francisco]] in my own neighborhood in [[Potrero Hill]] - it makes me think about The Alchemist - what I've been looking for has always been close to home! 🏠
I enter the room and wander towards the back to have a look around and inevitably find myself at the snack table (isn't it so easy in any party situation to just hang out at the food table or the kitchen?). I catch myself doing this so I don't hang too long and head back towards the dance floor...
A sweet, older, silver-haired woman asks me to dance... "I guess it's showtime" I say to myself.. (now what I really ended up saying to her is "I don't know where to start!") - the dance went well - not as I feared (it never is) - she helped me regain [[confidence]] in my dancing.
I'm asked by a 2nd woman to dance and wow did I have a hard time with it - I don't know how to describe it other than my partner felt like she expected me to put all the energy into leading her around - it made for a very awkward (and quite frankly, she probably got quite bored) - not good for a second dance. It definitely made me feel a bit incompetent and feeling useless.
I sat down next to woman I did manage to connect well with & we chatted a bit... turns out she used to dance ballet & jazz and then did competition ballroom (which didn't last long due to her feet...) - she said she didn't really need lessons to learn fusion dance because emotion was 2nd nature to her due to her classical training and ballroom gave her partnership - it was nice to hear a professional dancer articulate what basic skills they already have.
She was asked to dance by a guy I saw dance earlier and wanted to ask him to dance - I quickly interjected "you're a really good dancer!" He said "thanks" and whisked her away...
I wandered to the front and got asked by two women at the same time... I went with the one who was clearly first & even playful me invited the other woman to dance w my other hand (i love Merengue!) - I don't think she got the signal so i just let her be. This 3rd dance wasn't much fun either - it just made me feel like I wasn't going to connect with anyone else!
If you know me well, I'm sensitive to people who are kind to make requests of me - I do whatever I can to help (even if it kills me, something I'm working on!) So the spirit in me went to find the girl with pink hair & she was still standing where I last saw her..
And BAM! We fused like no tomorrow - she made my night (and told her that and she either didn't hear me (or I was mumbling) or chose not to react) It felt great - it was so intuitive- no direct eye contact - we were purely just feeling and sensing each other while flowing with the music- it was "our song" - she had her own spunk - she knew how to complement my style of dance - I could play off of her - it was heaven!
Funny thing is I even caught myself "not present" the moment I went into "do we look good? Do we look cool?" and snapped out of it and returned my 100% self to the dance. It's amazing how much partner dancing forces you to be PRESENT - just about every other aspect of life just DISAPPEARS.
I disengaged and felt winded - losing myself inside a dance can take a lot out of me if I'm not careful. The sweet silver-haired woman saw me again & asked me to another dance. My immediate reaction was "I just had a really amazing dance" and she goes "uh oh..." - her inner wisdom knew I wasn't grounded and she said "breathe..." "follow the melody not the beat..." we proceed to have a really great dance that was a lot more chill and relaxed and by the end of the song, just a few minutes later, I felt much better and more grounded. I couldn't be happier to be with someone who was sensitive enough to get where I was and she was like an angel who brought me back to earth!
I don't even get a chance to leave the dance floor and standing in front of me is the Asian girl I saw at the very beginning of the event that I convinced myself after watching her dance with others I couldn't meet their skill level. However, when you're in the moment, feeling grounded and empowered, what else is there to do if you make eye contact but to ask them to dance? So that's what I did and it was a very different kind of fusion - it was very nicely structured, almost ballroom like and I enjoyed making her laugh and smile a lot. I honestly think my spirit is one that is wild and crazy but this time, being able to improvise and not overly exert energy was really nice - it was closer to where I was energetically. I didn't feel like I needed someone else to ground me afterwards :D
I sat down & admired the beauty of the environment...I was really moved - I felt like I found "home"... it's the same kind of feeling you get when you arrive at Burning Man and the environment clicks for you... As I'm sitting there, I decide to breathe deeply and keep my eyes open - it was one of the most beautiful meditations I've had in quite some time.
It dawned on me that this community is a reason for me to return to SF, a community I care about and wish to connect with further...
Amazed all that happened - I went to the car at 1a feeling great - I even hollered "goodbye!" to a guy walking along the street... I was in a very great mood :)
I hold the space of Burning Man whether or not I am at the actual event. To me, it felt like my Burning Man spirit flew from the playa (what we call the land the city sits upon) to [[San Francisco]] to share its wisdom and make Saturday night a special night. I had to go through a lot emotionally to break through my anxiety and accept the nurturance of others and conclude Mission Fusion was a safe place to explore partnership and push my boundaries without feeling I'm going to leave the event feeling rejected, hurt, resigned or especially in my case, spent.
For the first time in a long time, I felt energized by a dance floor. I'm reminded, yet again, that the dance floor is a place for growth - a place to witness myself - and in particular, gain deep insight into the nature of my energy in my social interactions.
If any of this sounds the least bit entertaining, please don't hesitate to give me a holler so we can create a [[dance connection]]! But more importantly, don't feel like you need to wait for me - just get out there and [[dance]]! =)
In the process of inquiring into What is a tool? , I decided, just for fun, to analyze the above experience and extract a set of “tools” (defined very differently) that I feel contributed to this specific transformational experience (see mindmap above).