The Water

A few weeks ago, a friend was describing a teaching residency themed about water dances in which she and a collaborator worked with three classes. Two of the three classes flowed through the project and the curriculum as planned. The third class resisted, wanting to return repeatedly to their personal (and social) definitions of dance with social dances I don’t know how to spell.

As she disclosed the turning point in which the adults eased into relaxation and allowed that class to function differently than the others, our conversation turned to the brilliance of the learning for the adults and the value of that brilliance for the students.

I said something along the lines of:

You became the water. Turn that into an intentional conversation with students about perspective, resistance, flow, obstruction, and all else- and you have still nailed your learning outcomes but in a more meaningful way.

Since that conversation, “become the water” has been a running mantra in my head. I have been teaching the difference between “flow” and “fluidity” in several of my classes. I am riding the waves of transition and taking note of movement (read: change, transition, growth, expansion…) being the only constant in life.

Just as I think I have a plan and a trajectory, a carved path- life seems to put me back into the water. Over the last 18 months, I have made several clear-ish decisions to move away from the path I have known. Interestingly, I find myself being brought back in. This time the known path is putting me closer to my goals outside the familiar landscape. That has been a surprise.

With it comes the usual vulnerabilities- am I selling out and choosing strengths out of safety, am I giving up, blah blah blah. I have to redirect my thinking- be the water. The path is shifting but the truths are not. My opportunities to do The Work I want are surfacing they just look different than I had predicted. That is not a surprise.

When I get anxious, I tell myself to become of the water.

Here’s to a return of documenting this dancer’s life in movement. Through text.

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