When to Follow the Dream (and when to give up)

Bloody serious

I lived in fear of having to clap. Flamenco, that passionate, heartbreaking dance was kicking my butt. A dream since I was a teen had been to learn this exotic dance. And here I was — I knew the steps, but the rhythms were an unsolvable mystery. My worst nightmare became being asked to do palmas!

I had started taking flamenco dance classes before a trip to the Andalucía region of Spain, the birth place of flamenco. I figured that if ever there was a right time to have a try, this was it. For years I had been taking all sorts of dance classes, from bellydance, to hip hop, to salsa. I felt READY. And it all started out so well. With my natural aptitude and a brain that was used to learning new choreographies, I had a much easier time learning sequences than others in my class. After a hand full of introductory classes, off I went to Spain where I saw spectacular dancing and found the most gorgeous pair of flamenco shoes (the Menkes shop lady in Sevilla saw into my soul and I left with red suede double-strap beauties!).

My beautiful barely used flamenco shoes

My beautiful barely used flamenco shoes

I had the shoes, I had the dream, and I had a series of flamenco classes bought and paid for. But I didn’t have the rhythm. It didn’t take long before I realized that I’d need to dedicate hours of every week to studying this dance in order to comprehend even a small fraction of what was happening. I’d have to give up all other dancing and become a “serious student.” But that’s not what I was after. I wanted to move and have fun. I wanted to be able to put music on and dance, not put music on and try to figure out the count and the ancient traditional sequences associated with it. So I quit and never looked back (but I do occasionally look at the shoes which I can’t bring myself to sell).

Learning to play

The other big dream was to be an accordionist. I’ve always envied those who can pick up an instrument and play it beautifully. The sound of the accordion, so mysterious and romantic, has had a hold on me all my adult life. I have taken classes and I actually can play the accordion, just not very well or with much ease. Recently, I’ve had to put it aside to deal with health and life’s upheavals. Taking this break frustrates me. But really, I should let go of the dream, abandon the quest for perfection, and just play. I have to remind myself that I can squeak out a little ditty and I should regard that as being quite magical! The Amélie theme can come later… or most likely never. It’s ok.

Accordion selfie

Accordion selfie

Finding the flow

What happens when we do something that is challenging, that we’re good at, and that we enjoy? We get into a zone I’ve heard called “flow.” The surest way into this state of being for me is by doing exactly this — writing my blog. When I was a kid, it was drawing. I stayed in my room for hours listening to music, drawing from real life or from my imagination. Similarly, at present I’m too hot by the fire, I need to pee, and I’m hungry. But none of that matters, I just keep writing. It’s bad for my posture (and bladder), but great for my soul.

Since I merged with Monsieur, everything has been in flux and that means all of my energy goes into adapting to the new way of life, getting into a routine, a new normal. There’s very little left for creation and yet it’s vital. It’s too easy to say that there’s no space now for the activities that take me into flow; I’m prioritizing my family, after all. But creating, moving, meditating — these open up my spirit. No longer can I neglect that.

Dreams are essential, but in my case clinging to an ideal version of a dream can hold me back from the enjoyment of it. Relax and do it; it’s not a contradiction.

Comments

  1. I have noticed that you were posting less. My blogging days will be different now too. After nearly four years of blogging non-stop, I will be cutting down on my posts because it is eating into my personal life! Being a Fiction Librarian is wonderful—I get paid to read—but it is stressful when I have to read something fast because I need to write about it in a post. Posts that I was writing weekly. Now my posts will be less frequent and will join the main library blog. I think this is the best solution for me. I need relax time and do not want to think about my librarian duties constantly. This way, I get to enjoy more time with my husband, family and friends. One of my New Year’s resolutions: I must get rid of things that cause stress! At least you can say you TRIED Flamenco dancing! Good or you 🙂

    • Wow, that’s 52 books per year. Yeah, I’m sure you have responsibilities other than reading all day! I found that HAVING to read something, like for book club, can really put a damper on my pleasure. I’m glad you plan on stressing less! Zen 2105.

Trackbacks

  1. […] Create: I wrote about this last time, about the flow. […]

  2. […] a blog post I wasn’t entirely happy with and cut it down from about 1000 words to 700 (When to Follow the Dream). I now cannot write anything without hearing Stephen King’s creepy whisper in my head asking […]

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