Last Friday night I stepped into a time machine.
I went to the reunion of a dance club that my friends and I frequented in college. We spent (or maybe wasted) two or three nights a week there, for many years. It was one of those places where we could stop in on any given Thursday or Sunday night confident that someone we knew would probably be there. It was dark. It was crowded. It smelled like patchouli and a public restroom. The music was loud. And we danced. We danced to almost every song. We danced like the cool goth kids we thought we were. Like the mad punk rockers we thought we were. Like we knew how to dance. Like we had rhythm.
The place burned down ten years ago, so the reunion was at a local theater. Different place, but the same music, DJs, bartenders, and the same (old) crowd that we hadn’t seen in over ten years.
Unlike a high school reunion, this was a reunion I was looking forward to. This would be all about the music. I knew that as soon as I got on the dance floor, I would be transported, right back to a time when I was younger and freer. A time before kids, and mortgages, and wrinkles, and reading glasses. A time when there was nothing to do but have a few drinks and dance until we headed to the diner at 3am.
And it happened. As soon as I stepped onto the crowded dance floor. I closed my eyes and I started to jump around to the same songs I danced to (many) years ago. I got to the place I had been looking forward to. The place where I knew I would feel like me. The me that I love to be the most. The no nonsense, no worries, who-gives-a-shit-what-anyone-else-thinks-I am-dancing-like-a-maniac-because-this-feels-freakin-awesome me. I love that me! I feel best when I am that me!
And I know my friends felt it too. The night ended with so many “We should do this more oftens”, but not the kind you say when you really only half mean it. The kind you say when you know that this is something that needs to be done. More often.
All day Saturday my muscles reminded me that I really should do it more often. But maybe in more comfortable shoes.
I was in desperate need of a good stretch, so I went to a yoga class on Sunday. It took me a little while, but once I got warmed up and started flowing through the poses and connecting with my breath, I got there. To that same place. The place where there is no nonsense, no worries. The I-don’t-give-a-shit-what-my-fat-ass-looks-like-in-this-pose-because-it-feels-freakin-awesome place.
I feel it in a mosh-pit. I feel it on my yoga mat. These are the places where I let it all go. No pretense. No inhibition. Just the me I really want to be.
We often take the lessons we learn on the yoga mat and bring them into real life. There have been so many for me. I can’t begin to remember them all. But just to name a few of the simplest lessons:
I can breathe through discomfort.
Everything is temporary.
I can do a lot of things that my monkey tells me I can’t do.
Surrender is actually easier than I thought.
And now this lesson from the mat and the mosh pit: This is the me I really want to be. All of the time. I want to feel this way on the inside all of the time.
We all have those moments when we feel most like our true selves. We have those activities, places or people that turn the light on inside of us.
What is it for you? Exercising? Having a conversation with your best friend? Closing a deal? Helping someone? Belting out power ballads in your car?
Can you harness that feeling and carry it with you through your days? Can you try to be that person all of the time?
I’m going to try to be that person all of the time. And even if it only works for a few moments of each day, it’s better than once every ten years.
The whole world is my yoga mat if I’m ready to step on it.
The whole world is my mosh pit if I’m ready to dive in.
Slowdive by Siouxsie and the Banshees