Pushing Progress SI 2016

I decided to start this blog because this summer I’ve been inspired by many people to focus my energy into loving myself, and I want to be able to share my thoughts and feelings to inspire others!

This past week I had an incredible experience at Pushing Progress Contemporary Dance Summer Intensive. This intensive was about so much more than just dancing. The amount of personal growth made by everyone who attended was incredible. In just 7 days, many of us made complete transformations. 

The first day was very difficult for me. I was very hard on myself. I was not fully grasping the combinations we were learning, so I told myself in my head that I wasn’t good enough and that I shouldn’t even bother dancing anymore. I kept that thought in my head for the rest of the day and it made me continually feel worse about myself. I felt like I was a failure. 

However, once this information set in a bit I realized this was an awesome opportunity for me to grow and learn more about myself. The only way we can have growth is by failing. You don’t improve at something by always being good at it. Each day of the intensive we started and ended with a group mentoring session. After the first day, a big theme of mentoring the next morning was how we all needed to “get out of our heads” and stop worrying about “getting the combo” or about doing everything right. What matters more is how we are doing things and what knowledge and tools we are gaining from each experience. We also spoke to a partner about our goals for the day, and I was relieved to find out that someone felt the exact same as I did. I was determined to get out my mindset from the day before and really push myself to embrace positivity and take as much as I could from this experience. 

The third day of the program we had a class with a life coach. This was a very eye opening experience for me. The session started with the coach asking us to raise our hands if we identified with a variety of mental health conditions that she mentioned. Then, she rephrased the conditions in a way that was more accessible for us to understand how they may apply to us, and many more people raised their hands for the various things. Then, we had to pick a traumatic experience for us that was related to dance in our past. Then, we had to differentiate what was the “story” of the situation and what was really happening. 

Then, we had to pinpoint the thought and feeling we had from that experience. A few of us shared our event with the rest of the group. It was a very safe, encouraging space where we all felt we could share without worrying about being judged. 

The next day, I again focused on positivity and seeing the bright side in my struggles. We had another session with Elani, the life coach. In this session, we had to find areas in our life where the thought we had pinpointed shows up often. It was almost startling to see how many aspects of my life one thought could affect. We learned about how changing this thought could drastically improve our mindsets. I once again felt like I had so many people I could relate to, and I felt very safe in the space. I started focusing on learning as many tools as possible that I could implement in my dancing and in my life. All of the teachers were very supportive in helping us all find ourselves and be comfortable with who we are. 

The last life coaching session focused on positives in our life. In the end of the class, we each created a purpose statement. Mine is: “The essence of my purpose is to love myself, be creative, and help others find health, happiness, and self love.” We also learned some words we should take out of our vocabulary, such as “try”, “good”, and “bad.” This activity really empowered me, and I walked back to the train station with a huge smile on my face for the first time in a while. 

The next day was our last class day of the intensive. It felt great to be able to utilize so many new tools and to be able to create and learn with so many inspiring dancers. It was such a warm, energized, happy environment. We began preparing for the performance we were going to have the next day. 

The performance (which was yesterday) went really well, and I was so glad to be able to show everything I learned throughout the week. Pushing Progress provided me with the opportunity to grow so much this week, and I think it was definitely the perfect way to close out my summer and prepare for the coming fall semester! It helped me be more introspective and find out more about my real goals and everything I aspire to (and know I will be!)

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