In December of 2016, my beloved cousin Brad passed away from colon & liver cancer at the young age of 40.
You see, the thing about Brad was, that ever since childhood, he had been an extremely gifted and talented artist.
Yet, after he graduated from high school, he spent his entire working life in a factory, in upstate New York, where he was an exemplary employee, an employer's dream. He had near perfect attendance and he always worked holiday shifts that no one else wanted to work. In short, he was awesome. His kind, sweet, gentle spirit touched the heart of anyone who met him.
At the time of his passing, I was devastated and during this tumultuous time, as I began to process this perceived loss and my surmounting grief, I took a good hard look at my life and started examining every last inch of with a fine toothed comb.
AND, I came to ONE very hard conclusion. I was a living, breathing human being who was LOST. In fact, I had been going through the motions BUT, I wasn't really living. I literally felt dead inside, as if I had been hiding for so long that I had totally forgotten who I really was. I had always done the "right" thing, so to speak and yet those things were starting to feel like maybe they were no longer the "right" thing for me. I had filled up my slots & surrounded myself with self imposed & self perceived busyness of an ordinary life.
As I looked at myself in the mirror, FEAR set in like an avalanche of snow voraciously speeding down a very high, high, high mountain AND that mountain had my name on it...
I wondered, if I were to die tomorrow, would I die with all of my very own dreams tucked away, deep, deep, deep down in my heart, never to be seen by the outside world? Would I die hiding away from the world, never really realizing my greatest potential?
Then, I thought to myself, my GOD... if reincarnation exists, which in my book it does, I DON'T want to have to come back and "re-do" this life because I completely missed the lesson I was supposed to learn and my soul's evolution had come to an utter standstill BECAUSE, MAN OH MAN, I've had some pretty devastating blows along the way that I'd rather not relive, if you know what I mean?
So, as this tiny ember of re-ignited passion started to burn inside of me, almost immediately, I found myself in the most precarious of places. Within a month of Brad's passing, I found myself in Puerto Rico jumping into the ocean, dangling in the air while going indoor rock climbing with my friend Jessica, running in my hometown race called the Montcalm mile with my great Aunt Donna AND... YES... WAIT FOR IT..... HERE IT COMES....
Finally teaching my very first LET YOUR YOGA DANCE CLASS.
At the time, it wasn't about striking and holding the right pose with exact precision or encouraging people to master just the right step... I learned that what I was really doing is creating and holding space for women to freely express themselves through the power of movement and dance.
In the second class I ever taught, I had 2 women in my class who changed my life.
During the 5th chakra, we danced to that song "What a Feeling" from Flashdance (I love the 80's, what can I say). Both ladies told me that were very and yet I watched as they fluttered around the room like magnificent butterflies spreading their wings.
Then, during the 6th chakra, which was a dance prayer called "You Raise Me Up," they both started crying.
After that, I was hooked and I realized something very real that day.
That I was teaching those beautiful ladies what I myself (now a recovering shy gal) wanted to learn.
I was teaching them how to feel free.