A little story… Years ago, in the audience sat mom, step-dad and brother. In the spotlight was 9-year old ballet-dancing daughter performing a snowflake-ish waltz with about seven fellow twirling and prancing bodies. They weren’t on a stage per se, but in a staged area in one of the large rooms at Cheri’s dance studio in the Dallas/Ft Worth area.

Things were going great. The confident smile plastered across my daughter’s face gave proof through the routine that her skill was all there (oops, a little “star-spangled” tangent). The other dancers kept eyeing her for their next move as though she was the “ballerina quarterback.”

The audience noticed what was happening, as a few parents next to us nudged us and giggled at the sight of their daughters mimicking my daughter. I couldn’t laugh or comment too much with them as I steadied the camcorder in front of my face.

My daughter wasn’t aware that she was the center of their attention as she focused on the audience the whole time. I quickly surmised that her skill or knowledge of the routine had little to do with it all. Instead, it was her confidence that gave those other little dancers their confidence to keep going. It was funny and flattering all at the same time.

Who knew, though, that it was about to get funnier? To this day, her brother loves to mock and tease her about what happened next. I’m sure today my daughter can take the ribbing, but that day? Oh, she couldn’t take it then.

In fact, she literally couldn’t take it! Midway through the routine (at least I think it was midway), she missed a step and then forgot which way to turn so she hesitated for a moment; then like a trooper kept going. It happened again. For the first time, she noticed that the other dancers were following her lead. She noticed because when she faltered, they faltered. When she stammered in her step; they stammered in their step.

The pressure became too much–after all, she didn’t sign up to be their leader. Her second wrong turn sent little bodies tilting and wobbling and my daughter’s smile started fading. Soon, the smile was completely replaced by a tightly closed mouth with a poked out bottom lip accompanied by a huge frown! “Uh oh,” I said, still rolling the camera.

All of a sudden, my daughter stopped entirely; folded her arms across her chest in total disgust at herself; turned on her heels; and stomped out of the room! LOL!

As though that wasn’t bad enough…

What happened to the little girls following their “quarterback?” Well, some tried to keep dancing. Some stood still. All looked totally confused. After all, stomping off wasn’t in the routine. Within seconds, they ALL ran out of the room as well. O-M-G! The parents busted out laughing, as dance instructor, Cheri, squeezed through the audience and ran out the door after them! I’m still laughing 14 years later just thinking about it.

Most, if not all of us, have been knee-deep in a project, job or heaven forbid a relationship where we realized we needed to retreat, pull out, stomp out of the room. Perhaps nothing’s wrong or it’s no one’s fault; it’s just not the right time for the project. Sometimes–as in the case of my 9-yr old–you find it’s just too soon to be the leader. The reasons why are numerous. Why is not the big issue, though; what is.

What can we do when running out the room is NOT an option?

One option that came to my mind was breathing. Proper breathing is one of the most important and easiest ways to bring your body back to its perfect nature. I remember 23  years ago learning to breath through stress with Lamaze techniques. I don’t know about nowadays, but just about anyone who had babies back in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s like me, went through Lamaze classes–both moms-to-be AND dads-to-be.

I didn’t realize it then but it’s clear to me now how those techniques apply to so much more in life than just giving birth to a baby. Here’s what I mean:

  • Relaxation, patterned (heehee woohwooh) and deep breaths, as well as confidence-building helps to simplify things and create a safe and healthy environment to birth (bring forth) your baby (project).
  • As contractions (life’s challenges) get stronger, your body releases endorphins, which are nature’s narcotic to help you ease through the pain (the process) and cope with the stress.
  • Maintain a visual focus on a special object (goals) or image (dreams) to aid your conscious breathing (your journey).
  • At some point in labor, you’ll “find your rhythm” or “get in a groove,” much like a marathon runner does (to complete your race without giving up).
  • You’ll be doing exactly what you need to do. Even though you won’t look comfortable (that’s an understatement!), you won’t need to be rescued or disturbed. A healthy dose of encouragement and support is all you’ll need from your support team.

Now, that’s some useful information, wouldn’t you agree?

Remember, when you feel like running out on life, take a couple deep breaths, find your rhythm and take the stage again! (heehee woohwooh)

Writefully yours,

T’Eileen

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