My ballet teacher used to tell us that when we landed too hard on the floor after a jump we sounded like elephants. “You’re not an elephant. You’re a ballerina!” In dance we are taught to embrace the floor—to, in a sense, allow the floor to be a part of the dance itself. Don’t resist it, because resistance will put more strain and produce a harsher impact on your body, raising the chance of injury. As dancers we are not in a conflict with the floor. After all, it is the very thing that supports our form and allows grace and beauty to be seen in our performance.
A dance floor can be likened to the situations in our lives—both expected and unexpected, past, present or future realities. Every moment of every day we are “coming up against” circumstances. It is how we respond or react to the circumstances that determines what our lives will both look like and what we will experience and offer to others. Sometimes resistance to a potential situation can look like worry or fear. Fear will often lead to a greater impact when storms rage against us, because what we believe becomes our experience, despite the truth of the matter. Other times resistance looks more like a reaction. Something happens that we don’t like or didn’t plan on, and we complain, make a scene, blow up the consequences in our mind’s eye so that we can’t experience the potential beauty.
See, there always exists the potential for beauty from every painful or hard situation. And the more resistance we put up, the less grace we’ll experience. In fact, we so often make ourselves suffer more than necessary. Just like in dance, injury can result if the dancer does not land correctly, if he lands too harshly because he is afraid of the floor’s impact or thinks the floor is his enemy. Or grace can result if the dancer lands softly—controlled and purposeful yet not fighting the impact. Executed correctly, a jump will not injure the dancer at all. But in each instance, the floor is the same floor. The floor does not change—cannot change—but the dancer’s relation to it can. And two very different results ensue.
Sometimes in life we “come down hard.” Multiple times in a day our souls make collisions with life realities. We must let these “realities” absorb our weight and produce grace and beauty that we can consequently offer to those around us. Resistance writes a different story—a graceless story filled with needless pain and injury.
Remember that you’re a dancer, not an elephant. The world doesn’t need more noise. It needs grace.