I’m a little bit nervous about a lot of what I am about to write, even though I have written many times about self-analysis and transformation attempts and steps to help me get moving in the direction I want to go. I’ve just never thought of it as a dance, and I rarely openly admit that dancing is a little bit fun sometimes (or a lot of fun, but I rarely do it anyways).
I’ve also never sought out any activities that could be associated with dancing… except once, when I ordered a book about ballroom dancing because I wanted to have some clue of what to do at the first dance on my wedding day. (We never really used the book at all, except as a reminder that we should maybe listen to our song once or twice and practice moving to it so we don’t fall all over ourselves when people are watching.) (Our first dance went fine, by the way, because my husband has a very good sense of rhythm and grace and I was smart enough to let him lead.)
Anyways, I wanted to write today because I’ve just ordered a starter kit for Shiva Nata, which is something I’ve been eyeing for awhile but hesitating to buy because I didn’t want it to happen on too much of a whim. I may have been hesitating because the description of Shiva Nata sounds almost too good to be true: it’s a fun form of exercise (which is weird enough, right?) dedicated to creating explosive revelations that will help me find ways to get results in things I’m trying to change about myself?! Inconceivable!
Shiva Nata may be part dance and part exercise, but it claims to be more about transformation of one’s own patterns into new and better ones by using physical activity to stimulate mental changes. From a bit of research I did a few times over the past few months of hemming and hawing about making the purchase, it appears to involve flailing arms (and eventually legs too, I guess) and challenging oneself to follow mathematical patterns (yummy!) while constantly stepping up the difficulty so it’s always meant to be more like stumbling than dancing. It is named after Shiva, the Hindu god of dance and destruction, where the destruction is not meant to be a negative thing but rather a way of preparing for new creation, and where the dance is actually enacted for the purpose of this destruction.
I suppose I can see how all this information ties together and has powerful implications, but will it work for me? Are my expectations dangerously high? I don’t really like admitting it, but I’m really hoping this will help me overcome whatever it is that makes me feel like I’m stuck (or think I’m stuck, or behave like I’m stuck, or whatever), because merely analyzing it and attempting to push through it or talk myself out of it keeps feeling like it’s not working.
Sometimes, though, I feel totally fine, like when I’m actually doing the work I’m supposed to be doing. Obviously, since I’m writing here instead of in my thesis document, right now is not one of those times. But I have a new tool to try, and I’m trying very hard not to be terrified that I’ve just tried throwing money at the problem.
At very least, if I find myself sticking to this activity regularly, I’ll be able to (a) feel good about sticking to something (like I did for NaNoWriMo last year, and like I’m still doing with the three Most Important Tasks every day), and (b) feel physically good from the exercise too. I’m also trying to do some walking everyday, partly as a meditative practice and partly as a way to practice having good posture, and apparently Shiva Nata will be good for both of those goals too.
So, all in all, I managed to convince myself to get this today and although there are a lot of good reasons for me to be happy about it, I’m still worried (and I’m sure it’s showing). In fact, part way through reading the introductory material that was emailed when I purchased the Shiva Nata starter kit, the text asked me, “Are you noticing what you are feeling right now?” And I laughed, thinking about how it was a terrible mishmash of good and bad things, and then I decided to take it one step further and make a list of words, just to see what happened. Here’s what I came up with:
So, some of the feelings are probably pretty self-explanatory, but the very first one stands out as begging for more explanation. I don’t quite know why I’ve been feeling sad today, only that there were several times in reading Havi’s words (either on her Fluent Self blog or in the Shiva Nata introductory notes) where tears welled up in my eyes and I wasn’t entirely sure why. Or maybe I wasn’t quite ready to face why. I think, maybe, probably, each little cry was because I haven’t been good about being kind to myself in order to get through things gently. Or something. I think I’m ready to change the subject again now, though, so, shall we return to the dance?
As I was reading the part of the introduction that explained the hand positions (the flailing part comes after knowing what parts I’ll be flailing between), I did try them out (well, half of them anyways, the so-called ‘horizontal’ positions) to see what they felt like. My wrists protested a little bit, like they usually do when I do arm exercises, but afterwords they felt tingly like I had done something good. Tomorrow I’ll try them again, and I’ll keep going in little tiny baby steps to learn the positions so that when the DVD comes in the mail, I’ll be all memorized-up and ready to go!
I intend to document the process here, not on a daily basis or anything strict like that, but I hope I’ll write more often than I have been. The learning involved in this new dance will probably be very beneficial for me to document, and it might even be useful to others who are considering starting Shiva Nata or who are already starting it themselves.
Here’s hoping I find the new paths that I’m seeking for myself, and that it feels as good as I suspect it’s going to feel!
EDIT: I just found something in the reading material that explicitly says that Shiva Nata is not much of a dance after all. However, the concept still involves steps, like a dance does, and since it involves flailing and stumbling around, which is basically how I dance anyways, I’m still going to call it a dance. Besides, the idea of dancing sounds way more fun than the idea of exercise, so there, nya~! :)