Dentists, Dancing, Desire And Getting Called Out By Martha Beck

What's Happening- surviving the cold,  and epiphanies at the dentist 

How are you?  If you're somewhere cold and snowy, I hope you're staying cozy.  We survived the snowpocalypse of late January here in NOLA.  We had the tiniest bit of icy accumulation and plenty of cold and schools were closed for two days! I went to the wetlands with an out of town client coming for a coaching intensive and there were sheets of ice on the water amidst the cypress knees - something I've never seen before! 

In more recent news, I had a long appointment at the dentist this week. Somehow regular dental check ups fell by the wayside in the past couple of years and now I am paying the price.  I feel ridiculous about allowing preventable issues to get so bad.  Nevertheless, there I was, numbed to kingdom come and waiting for the dentist to return.  With nothing to do.  My phone and book out of reach.  Just sitting there, being.  Seemed like a good time to reflect. And to really feel my body.   

I noticed I was already tensed up. So I consciously breathed and relaxed my whole body.  And when the dentist returned and practically climbed inside my mouth to get to my back tooth that had a rather tremendous cavity, I did my best to keep breathing and relaxing while drills and motors whirred and my teeth were subjected to much poking, prodding and excavating. It wasn't easy.  My body kept wanting to tense and stop breathing.  I had to keep consciously returning to calm as best I could.   

When the first round of Novocaine (or whatever they use these days) wore off, oh my goodness, there was some pain.  I really had a hard time breathing.  I wanted to hold my breath through the pain.  Again I had to remind myself to breathe. That tensing up wasn't helping.   

That's my tendency - to stop breathing when I'm stressed, in pain, or anxious.  And it's easy to be anxious about something all the time, if you're not careful.   

Try it right now.  Is your body tense? Are you breathing deeply and calmly, no matter what the circumstances are? If not, give yourself the gift of three relaxing deep breaths. Right now.  I feel better - I hope you do too!  This is such a simple fix but I need to remind myself to do it so I thought you'd appreciate the reminder too. 

What's inspiring me - The NOLA Chorus Girls! 

When I mapped out my own Happiness Project for the year, January was for rest, and February was for desire and dancing.  But I decided to start early with the dancing so I could finally join the NOLA Chorus Girl Project! This fantastic dancing group welcomes everyone. You need no previous dance experience (I had virtually none), but it's amazing how quickly you can learn! 

The instructors choose a different dance each session from the golden age of the 20s and 30s and teach it to everyone so we can perform it live. It's fun, welcoming and there's never any reprimanding or singling out.  The teachers are exceptional.  This felt like a risk and a big leap for me, but it has been sooo rewarding!  I may still look like Olive Oyl when I'm dancing - all arms and legs akimbo, but I'm learning fast! And it's one more way I can truly inhabit my body and breathe!  If you're in NOLA and looking for a wonderful dance opportunity, check out the