December 10, 2014

Learning to be Present by Dancing the Hokey Pokey.

put your whole self in

Remember being a little kid and dancing to the song The Hokey Pokey?

Putting different body parts of yourself into it and then being asked to “put your whole self in.”

Remember how good it felt to shake your body and turn around? You were present, alive and awake! Isn’t that what life is all about?

You put your whole self in! This really is what life is all about, but why do so few of us put our whole selves in?

When we are children we innately live in the moment by putting our whole selves in. I remember a number of years ago I visited a friend of mine and a four year old child was there asking me to dance with her. I got on my knees so we could be closer to the same height and we proceeded to dance. We were pretending to be Tom and Sally out for the evening immersed in this beautiful dance.

Each time we completed the song, Kayleigh would say, “Let’s do it again.” Without hesitation she was putting her whole self in. By this point, my knees were having thoughts of their own and were longing for this experience to be behind us.

The next morning I asked Kayleigh if she would like to play the part of Tom and Sally and dance some more and she didn’t connect at all with what I was saying. To her that experience was yesterday. It was not significant any more nor was it relevant. It was an experience which was behind her.

She had put her whole self in the day before and no reason to recall it nor relive it again.

We are naturally destined and designed to be present in our day to day lives. We are literally meant to go from experience to experience and put our whole selves in.

Yet, most of us are walking through life disconnected, drained and rarely present for what is occurring now. We are toting all of the past on our backs and shoulders, recalling all the Toms and Sallys in our lives who have either wronged or shamed us.

We continue dancing through each day with this weight on our hearts and minds while not being truly impassioned and energized in this day and moment.

So what needs to happen for us to make the shift towards being present?

Decide now, today, this moment with every encounter to put your whole self in.

Going to a restaurant with friends put the phone away, going on your first date—be yourself and share who you really are rather than holding back and editing. If you are facing a fear truly face it rather than replacing it and keep moving forward .Put your whole self in. As you get into this practice and it becomes habit three things will occur.

1. Have more energy.

There’s a story of a guy riding a bicycle up hill and he is really struggling. What he doesn’t realize is that he is riding with his brakes on. The energy it takes for him to move forward while at the same time “being locked in place” is likened to a person who wants to move forward yet is holding on to past sorrow, regret, disappointment or the perceived harm others have inflicted.

2. Become empowered.

Putting your whole self in the moment requires a practice of saying who you are and feeling what you feel. If you are committed to being a person who does not carry around yesterday’s luggage, then you will be able to travel lightly as you go from place to place and person to person—you are being true to yourself. Simply being committed to speaking and living authentically will change your energy level dramatically.

3. Freedom is gifted to you and to others.

Your ability to put your whole self improves. When you put your whole self in, allowing your energy to change amazing and incredible thing happens. It will change your life. You’ll feel better—you’ll your thoughts and feelings.

People will say to you all the time, “How do you have so much energy?” The wonder of this, oddly enough, you’ll give the same permission to others in your life. You begin to see them as whole rather than broken, possible instead of impossible. Life becomes a new playing field. You’ll wake up one morning and you’ll be truly free from your own self- bondage.

This inner dialogue moves from being a thought into a feeling and finally a realization. Your whole self – you begin to measure it daily in your work, with your families and loved ones, with the moments of silence and retreat you gave yourself.

Begin this amazing, enlightening practice.

Affirm before every event—I am putting my whole self in.

Then, reflect at the end of the day—did I do it? Did I put my whole self in? If not, how can I make more of an effort tomorrow?

This is your moment—begin now. Put your whole self in! Be Life!


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Author: Temple Hayes

Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock

Photo: flickr, flickr

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