A couple of weeks ago my daughter had her first dance competition of the season. We were all very excited as she would be performing her first solo. She would have to take the stage by herself not being able to lean on her fellow dancers for support. As to be expected she was very nervous and began to become stressed out by it. To make things worse she was not scheduled to dance until nine o’clock at night. This meant she had all day to think about it.
I have had discussions in the past with her about the importance of visualization. This is something that she routinely works on. Basically she visualizes herself performing the routine perfectly in front of an audience. This is a skill that all high level performers develop and work on. Visualization allows you to visit a scenario or event whenever you like. In doing so you develop a familiarity with it. As the late Walt Disney once said, “If you can dream it, you can do it.” On a higher level when your subconscious mind accepts your conscious visualization they then become part of your reality.
“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, in the expert’s mind there are few.” Shunryu Suzuki
After breakfast we were in the hotel room and I started to go through my breathing and mobility exercises. I decided to have Anna join me and felt that it would help her to relax. The beauty of a young persons mind is that they do not yet consider themselves an expert. This allows them to be open to learn new things. Anna shadowed me as I coached her through drills to slow her heart rate and relax her body. Drawing her thoughts inward and attempting to exist in the present moment she was able to alleviate the stress in her body. This in turn reduced the tension and allowed her to relax. We then worked through our bodies working out from the spine performing mobility drills to further relax the body. She acknowledged that it helped her and she was feeling better. I explained to her that she could use these drills as she was waiting to dance to help her relax.
She performed her solo beautifully and my wife and I couldn’t have been more proud. After her performance the first thing she said to me was that she went through the drills twice before she danced and she felt it really helped her. I was very proud of her. Not only because of her performance but the fact she took recently gained knowledge and applied it. She choose to not judge what she learned from any personal bias but to apply it. At that moment she became the teacher. She reminded me of the importance of maintaining a beginner’s mind and all of the possibilities that come with it!