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Remembering what you love...

Yesterday I spent the whole day taking part in a contemporary dance class.

As a rule, I'm not really in to contemporary dance. I think it can look beautiful, and I've seen some amazing dance shows, but I'm a spectator never a participant. At university I had the option to take dance as a performance module for my degree and I declined. Never even giving it a second thought. I'm not particularly gifted with co-ordination and I didn't really know what contemporary dance was.

So you might be wondering what suddenly changed yesterday? 

Well in all honesty I hadn't intended to participate. I'd organised the workshop as part of a project at work, and when I arrived at the venue they were low on numbers.

It wasn't that I was dreading taking part. I'm not scared of dancing, and I'm more than use to being in a rehearsal space and making a fool of myself, so while things like that don't phase me, I just wasn't expecting to LOVE it.

But you know what? I kind of did.

It's not that I now want to sign up for a contemporary dance class, or learn to tap, but spending six hours, workshopping, rehearsing and being creative through performance, just felt so familliar, and right, and really really, good.

I'd forgotten just how good that felt.

I'd forgotten how much I love spending a whole day trying things out and flexing my performance muscles. I'd forgotten that actually I enjoy failing time and time again until I finally get something just right. I'd forgotten that I enjoy exercising, and tiring my body and my mind out so much so that both kind of ache the next day.

Why is that? Why do we find it so hard to remember how good something that we love feels?

I've not performed properly in years. I haven't rehearsed, or written, or worked on my own shows for so long, that I actually believed I no longer enjoyed or wanted that. I love organising and promoting and being behind the scenes and I'd convinced myself that this was enough.

And in many ways it is. It's enough for me to be working in an area and job that I love. I don't need to be an actor, or a performer or a writer to be happy on a daily basis. But there's a difference between not needing something and forgetting that you do actually love that thing.

This is probably a much ramblier post than it should be, you can thank the dance exhaustion for that, but yesterday got me thinking, how easy it is to convince ourselves that we no longer enjoy something. 

How many of us put something off for fear that we'll be rusty? Because that is what I've been doing. I've been putting off getting back on stage because I'm scared. I'm scared I'm not good enough, that I'll make a fool of myself, that it will take too much time or energy and that it won't be worth it. I've become so scared of the end result that I've forgotten that what I really love is the process, and actually, that can be enough.

And this isn't just true for my performing, it's true for so many other things. Things where I've let the pressure of the end goal or the effort it takes to just gt started, completely eclipse the fact that this is something I actually enjoy doing.

I've put off running because I'm not as fast or as fit as I used to be. I've stopped journaling because I've messed up my bullet pages or because I got to caught up with the idea that one day a relative would read them, and they would just be full of nonsense. I put netflix on instead of reading a magazine even though I enjoy the latter much more. I get dressed last minute on a morning because I sleep in, even though I actually enjoy getting up early. And god knows I've been known to skip out on blogging because 'nobody reads it anyway.'

Right now there are a lot of things I seem to have neglected or forgotten because the effort it takes to do them, or the pressure to reach an end goal is just "too much," But yesterday, I took part in a dance workshop where I had no end goal, or no pressure or expectation to be good. I did it just because I was there, and one I got into it, all that old love for being in the process came rushing back.

So if there is something you love doing but you've fallen out of recently, whether that's a passion that's become a career, an exercise class that you used to love but haven't been to in a few weeks, or just a hobby you used to do just for fun but for some reason you never make time for any more, my advice would be, to just do it. Just pick up your paint brush, your camera, your trainers and give it a go, without any thought about why you're doing it, because while right now, you might not remember how good just doing that thing feels, I promise you will. You will remember, where that's 5 minutes or 5k in, you'll remember.

I'm going to embrace all that love and energy yesterday gave me, and feed it into other areas of my life. When I'm thinking about whacking netflix on I'm going to pick up a magazine instead, when I'm about to hit snooze one mre time, I'm going to look at my wardrobe and plan an outfit, and when I'm giving myself a 100 reasons not to go for a run, I'm going to counteract every single one of them with 'but you enjoy it.'

I'm not saying I'll have read my magazine pile by the time the week is over, that I will always be out of bed bright and early, or that I'm about to sign up for a 10k, but I'm at least going to try. I'm going to try and remember just how good it feels.

What 'love' have you been putting off or neglecting recently? Let me know in the comments, or if you need a little moral support I'd love for you to send me a tweet! x

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