Try This Dream Shortcut to Getting Unstuck: Dancing

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Lisa is a freelance writer, consultant and life coach. She has her BA in English and Creative Writing from Princeton and her MPA from Harvard. Lisa recently finished the first draft of her book manuscript, Burning Down the House. Her dream is to publish this first book and teach the world how to discover their hidden joy. Her post day is Tuesday.
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Dancing is my Dream Shortcut to getting unstuck

If you ask me if heaven is where we go after we die, I will say no, heaven is now, it is where I have been this past weekend, gliding across an open expanse of hardwood floor, blues music reverberating throughout the room, lights turned down low, feeling the soul groove, dancing in the arms of a handsome man.

Writing my book is a lifelong dream. I’m enjoying the process and making it through the challenging days. The patience and perseverance required are teaching me a lot. Yet there is simply not that sense of “instant gratification” that we are taught to crave in our society while working on a book. I simply have the satisfaction of another scene written, more research done, a growing manuscript, knowing that I am moving ever closer to completing something that will touch, move and inspire readers.

Of Course, We Always Have to Start at the Beginning…
I do have to remember of course that with the dance, as with the book, as with anything, I did once have to start…at the beginning. I am now considered to be an “advanced level” dancer but that’s after years of workshops and dance camps. I had to go through my awkward phases.

I had to struggle in the beginning with learning to flow in the dance, to make my body move the way I wanted it to move, to learn how to just LET GO and follow — flowing in the moment, not anticipating my leader’s next move.

Honestly, for a go-getting women like myself, who likes to be out there making things happen in the world, that was one of the biggest challenges initially. Learning to “follow” someone’s lead on the dance floor meant completely surrendering into the moment, not thinking, letting go of being in control.

As a new follow, I did a lot of “anticipating” what I thought the next move might be, and jumping the gun. Really for me the biggest challenge of the dance over the years, as paradoxical as it may sound, was simply learning to relax into it.

One Moment At A Time
On the dance floor, I just have to focus on this one moment of this one song, this one movement, this one touch. My momentum, flowing in the direction my lead sends me in, until he sends me in another direction. This spin, this dip, this body roll. This little patch of dance floor.

Grounding myself here in this one little square of hardwood floor, feeling the earth and my partner support me as I dance to this music, in this moment, right here, right now. Gliding across the floor in his arms. Moving as one. For these three to four minutes, nothing else matters, and there is nowhere else on earth I’d rather be.

I’ve always loved these two quotes:

  • “Work is love made visible.” ~ Kahlil Gibran
  • “Dance is music made visible.” ~ George Balanchine

I’d like to combine those quotes into one: “Dance is love made visible.” ~ Lisa Powell Graham

Love for ourselves, our bodies, our partners, the music. Love for life itself. I am going to practice finding the joy in my writing again this week, and flowing when the inspiration comes. Let my work be love made visible. Show up to the blank page and simply write until I feel in the flow again.

Let life unfold.

What can you do this week to flow with the moment in life? What can you do to shake up your energy and get “unstuck”?

Anyone care to dance?


  • This blog is very nice. I’m impressed by the quality of the writing. It’s hard to sort the good from the bad sometimes, but I believe if we have faith any situation can change for the better! – Franky

  • H

    Great post Lisa. I miss dancing too.


  • Emily Elzea

    mmm…beautiful. Dance is lifestyle. It’s a way of living that asks you to be completely in the moment, down to the second and asking for nothing more than honest communication, beauty and connection.

  • Veronica

    thank you so much for sharing yourself in such a wonderful way, lisa.

  • WOW thanks Allen! Honored that you shared and would love to be in touch! Congrats on your 8,000+ hours of dancing :) AND your 4 millionth word… Awe-inspiring. :)

  • Allen Hall

    Errata: I have been dancing 18 years (not 22 years).

    Allen Hall

  • Allen Hall

    I admire your goal. I have been retired 23 years, and have been writing almost every day, mostly about what is going on between my ears, but I took up swing dancing 22 years ago, and have written extensively about it ever since. I have no inclinations and, now, not enough time for a large work, but, you go Girl. and do your book.

    If you want to ask me questions and pick my mind, I wlll be glad to give you opinions based on having spent over 8,000 hours swing dancing (mostly Lindy Hop), as I head toward my 4 millionth written word.

    Allen Hall

  • and of course thanks too to Damon for letting me share the pic here! And for the dances, and friendship, and ongoing support of my dreams. :)

    Thanks also to all the other men who whirl me around the dance floor. Oh, and the beautiful women who lead too. ;)

    Y’all make me VERY happy.

  • Awww thanks Andrea!!! Means a lot coming from an amazing goddess like yourself! ;)

    Andie YES to the autographed copy, YES to the book-signing at Blessed Be – can see it, feel it, sense it and cannot wait! We will have to have Pete drumming for the Fire Women :) and Zaida dancing…

    Oh and for everyone who’d like to see more gorgeous dance pics like the one of Damon Stone and me :) check out Ben Hejkal’s Website – he’s the talented photographer:

    Thanks Ben for letting me share the photo here! :)

  • You go, Lisa! Still awaiting my autographed copy of your book, and looking forward to your book-signing to be held in my Blessed Be shop/healing clinic! <3

  • Andrea DiLorenzo

    beautifully written! you are such an inspiration!

  • Cath, your feedback helps me a lot right now too – I am definitely in “the Dip” and loved Remy’s quote and Laurie’s and this from you: “Being open to change and trying new angles is how I have continued to blog, and how I get unstuck. You just keep taking steps forward – even is some days you only move an inch.”

    Amen to that! That’s how I’m making progress on the book right now – looking at it from different angles, seeking feedback when I need it, and always “inching along.” I think what can be challenging for me sometimes is sitting with the roughness of my first draft manuscript since part of what I love about the writing process is polishing my work, shaping each sentence until it feels lyrical to me, until it sings. (The perfectionist is me loves this right? and the poet in me. Making every word matter).

    For me, right now, I still have to get the story down – pour it all out – and then I can polish to my heart’s content. All the successful published authors I have talked to, and my writing coach, stress this. You can’t try to make the manuscript “perfect” while taking the first crack at it because first you need to let the story unfold, figure out the shape of the book, find the structure, THEN you can shine it up and make the words ring with truth and beauty. First draft, first. Everything is a process…

    Soooo glad and lucky to have this site to share my thoughts and to learn from all of you… Keep on dreaming and stay in action everyone!


  • Catherine

    Wow this is timely.

    I like what Remy said to me, “There is a great line in A League of Their Own where Geena Davis is trying to quit the baseball team right before their World Series starts. Tom Hanks is trying to get her to see that she needs to stay in, not just for the team, but for herself as well. She says It just got too hard. He says, It’s supposed to be hard. (Being) Hard is what makes it great. If it were easy, everyone would do it.”

    And then what Laurie said, “Don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly.”

    Whenever I want things to move along, I think of Malcom Gladwell’s theory in Tipping Point that “becoming a superstar takes about 10,000 hours of hard work.”

    This weekend I counted up the number of hours I have been blogging (approximately) and I gave myself 3 hours a day since 2003 (of course some days were more, some less) which puts me at about 7665 hours, so I am drawing nearer each day to that tipping point.

    And my favorite Seth Godin says, “You win when you become the best in the world, however ‘best’ and ‘world’ are defined by your market. In many mature markets, it takes 10,000 hours of preparation to win because most people give up after 5,000 hours. That’s the only magic thing about 10k… it’s a hard number to reach, so most people bail.

    Yo Yo Ma isn’t perfect… he’s just better than everyone else. He pushed through the Dip that others chose not to. I’m guessing that there are endeavors (like being CEO of a Fortune 500 company or partner at a big law firm) where the rewards are so huge that the number is closer to 20,000 hours or more to get through the Dip.

    But, ready for this? The Dip is much closer in niche areas, new areas, unexplored areas. You can get through the Dip in an online network or with a new kind of music because being seen as the best in that area is easier (at least for now). You can get through the Dip as a real estate broker in a new, growing town a lot quicker than someone in midtown Manhattan. The competition is thinner and probably less motivated.”

    Being open to change and trying new angles is how I have continued to blog, and how I get unstuck. You just keep taking steps forward – even is some days you only move an inch.

    Great post.