This summer the kids have turned our living room into a dance studio. It’s been a while since they’ve done this so I’ve been enjoying the show. This time around they are focusing on their version of ballet and a mix of other techniques which brings them before a panel of judges Show You Think You Can Dance style.
Needless to say it has been a comedy of errors and fun as they battle it out and take turns judging the next.
Yesterday I heard my eldest daughter tell her youngest sister “You’ve Got to Go Full Out.” I had to pause and take note of it and it reminded me of another moment when another dancer said the same thing.
May 2011, and my YES Caribbean conference is wrapping up. My friend and one of the most remarkable dancers I knew Susan Barnes (now deceased) and I were discussing the dance performances we’d seen over the evening.
“Something is missing,” I said. “But I don’t know what it is.”
“They are not completing their lines,” she responded. Flashback to my first YES conference in 2006 on St Maarten, where Susan taught a dance course and I can remember being all confused about these invisible lines running through our bodies. Dancer/choreographer Clara Reyes of St Maarten had said a similar thing to me another time too but I was no clearer then.
Now, watching my children dance and hearing them give guidance to each other, it was beginning to make sense.
I can only recount what I got from Susan’s comments this way. The dancers were not executing the move fully by not extending their hands, legs, body all the way so you could see and feel the fullness of the move and the line that is created when done right. So lines that were to be straight were bent in the middle or at the end. Even when you didn’t see them physically you felt the incompleteness.
When a dancer doesn’t go full out the audience is left not merely wanting more, but unable to fully connect with the story the dancer wanted to tell. I literally get frustrated and bored and wish for them to hurry up as I am not motivated to give them my time and commitment to watch what is clearly unfinished.
Over time I’ve come to see that dancers can only ever go as far as their teachers can take them. If the teacher has limitations then he/she can only give the student what they know. It is not so much that the teacher must know all but they must encourage the student to be forever seeking knowledge, finding other teachers who can add new dimensions to the art of dance or whatever the subject.
In life it is the same. We have to decide to go full out into our journey. Choosing to love just enough to meet our needs but never fulfilling our partner is not love. Choosing to shine just bright enough to light your own path but not that of those behind you waiting for direction, is not living full out. Choosing to do only good enough to meet your daily needs but never enough to help others is not living full out.
When a dancer has captured my attention I literally feel a part of the dance. As if, I become an extension of that arm reaching toward me. I feel the pain expressed in the frustrated moves of her legs, arms, head, and body. I feel the dancer is me and I am them.
In life, when we live full out it will draw others to us. Living full out in love surrounds you with more people who can pour into your more of the love you release to others. You are emptied and refilled in one fluid moment. Turning your light way up illuminates your path and emits beams that transcend time and space. Long after you are gone, light waves are showing others where to go and how to get to the place of joy, peace and purpose which you found. Making it a life’s purpose to accomplish more than just enough enables us to support others who without our help won’t make it.
It is a daily choice to do this. I watch the kids get bumps and bruises from dancing around the living room but they keep coming back every day. I’m on hand to give cheers as they finally execute the move the way they wanted to and I’m none the wiser as to whether it should be better or not. You and I get to assess each day if we are living full out. We know inside whether we’ve given our best. Not because someone else said we have but when we know we can be at peace with what we’ve accomplished and we can see a new day or courage ahead to allow us to do it again tomorrow.
I hope you chose to live every area of your life full out. Love is waiting.