We had the incredible honor of having Tonia Nifong from Flourish Arts join us for our “Dance” Super Soul. A huge thank you to her as well as Jeaneen for providing the perfect space for reconnecting with ourselves, each other and to nature.
The Elements of Joy
Tonia so beautifully wove Elements of Joy throughout the class.
1) Choice – Do I want to be a person of joy, regardless of what is going on in my life?
2) Connection – True joy first begins with connection, with ourselves, others, our faith, the hard things in our lives. To connect, we must be willing to embrace vulnerability.
3) Honesty – We must be honest with ourselves and others about our hearts, willing to honor who we, and others were made to be. We need to take off false identities that we’ve constructed for ourselves and others.
4) Abandon – As we are honest with ourselves and others, sometimes we need to let go of harmful thoughts and behaviors, past traumas, etc. We need to align ourselves with the truth, thoughts, and behaviors that nourish our bodies, spirits, and souls.
5) Breathe – All of this is a journey – breathing and embracing your path to experiencing joy is important. In fact, you might experience unpleasant emotions, sensations, etc., in your path to joy. These unpleasant things are indicators of areas to go back and revisit, and “press into,” in order to “metabolize” them and ultimately let them go. Letting them go does not diminish the intensity of what happened to you, nor does it make light of that aspect of your story. Rather, letting go of the negative emotions associated with things that steal our joy serves to free us, so that we can only be made better for what we went through, ultimately allowing us to connect with others in their path to joy. Also, letting go of the things that rob us of joy also allows us to replace them with things that we were looking for all along. For example, have you felt unloved, unaccepted, or unappreciated? The negative emotions tied to these experiences try to fill that void in your life. When you let it go, genuine love, genuine acceptance, and genuine appreciation have room to settle in your life. This is just one example of many. Breathing through all of this is a must.
In teaching us these elements through dance movement, we each felt the presence and power of her words.
- We have the “choice” in our lives to “choose joy”.
- We felt the power of connection when she paired us up. The moment when you feel a true sense of connection. The peace and steadiness it gives us but also how fleeting and fluid it can be when thrown off balance.
- To Dance Like No One is Watching. Throwing caution to the wind. It didn’t matter who was watching or where we were. We were unabashed and in the moment.
- We had to let go of any preconceived notions of what kind of dance we would be doing. We were beautifully lead and shown a new way to literally open up our hearts to the many possibilities of life.
- The bumps and hiccups of life make joy all the more sweeter.
Take a look at the fun we had learning a choreographed routine to Whitney Houston’s “Higher Love”:
POEM BY TONIA NIFONG
Tonia ended the evening with all of us circled up, lying on our backs in the grass with our eyes closed listening to these beautiful words that came to her in the early months of preparing for this evening.
The last song of the evening that filled the air was Emmy Rossum’s Slow Me Down. This song perfectly captured what Tonia did for us…”Somebody take my hand and lead me.” Tonia “slowed us down” from the frantic race of life and had us all appreciating the joy and connection we are surrounded with each and every day.
What a blessing it was to have Tonia sharing her gifts of movement and words with all of us. If nothing else, I hope all of you who weren’t able to join us get a sense of the power of movement and dance and its magical way of making us and those around us…all out joyful and joy-filled!