Guided Meditation for Healing Perfectionism in Dancers
By Erin Pride
“All the things we really want in life are unlimited, and they belong to us at all times!”
-Nicole Theron Parkes
Whether you are seeking growth, joy, expansion in dance, whatever you’re looking for, it’s already yours!
Because the truth is, no matter where you are in your journey through healing, you are enough!
This blog post is inspired by a recent episode of Dance Boss Podcast, where I interviewed and had an empowering conversation with Nicole Theron Parkes of Body Love Dance.
We dove into how she helps dancers connect to the light and heal trauma through dance.
Her energy is bright and magnetic. How cool is that!?
She also guided us through a mini session on how to clear out those mind monsters that drive us crazy! One of my mind monsters is perfectionism…
Perfection is something we all struggle with, but it is something I especially see in dancers. Dancers take years perfecting themselves and their bodies which can take a toll on their psyche, yet is praised in our industry…
This great discipline that is ingrained in dancers isn’t always bad and can be used in several aspects of our life, however, can also be a detriment if we aren’t able to separate our craft, and who we are...
Today, I’m sharing with you Nicole’s amazing guided meditation to tackle our mind monsters in order to break free of perfectionism as dancers and human beings!
Now, depending on your learning style, you can read the meditation below while you work through the steps or listen by going to the Dance Boss Podcast Episode HERE starting at 27:16.
All right, so if you feel comfortable you can close your eyes, or you can keep them open, whatever is best. I like to put my hands on my heart, but you're welcome to put one hand on your heart, one hand on your belly, have your hands hanging, whatever feels best for you. There's no wrong way to do this, so whatever comes up, we're just going to honor it, going to let it be what it is.
We're going to start by taking three really deep breaths, try to breathe really deep into your belly, and have a nice exhale. I like to make some sound when I exhale.
All right, and I'm going to connect us to the light. What you're going to do is you're going to take a minute and come into your body, whatever that means for you. I like to drop my awareness into my belly area, that's where I feel my power and my center and where I feel the most grounded, but you can also feel your feet on the floor, that can be really grounding, or if you want to put your hands on the floor, that can be grounding, too.
And now with your eyes closed, you're going to take your attention up, so it's like you're looking up but your eyes are still closed. So you go up through the ceiling, up through the clouds, past the sun, into the galaxy, past the stars, and you just keep going up and up and up until you connect to what my coach calls the light. That's this realm above us that's full of light, feels really joyful, when you're connected to it you feel really calm and grounded, it's very loving. It's like a cotton candy hug.
So you're going to connect to that light, and then that light flows down through the universe and right into your body. It's going to flow into our brains, washing away any tension we hold, any thoughts of perfectionism, and anyway that thoughts of perfectionism have come up in your life, the places that perfectionism started for you, what keeps it in place, anything about perfectionism, tension, overwhelm, anxiety, we're going to let the light completely wash our brain.
Let this light flow down into your eyebrows, your third eye, your eyes, your jaw. I know I hold a lot of tension in my jaw and in my face. In your ears. Letting this light come in and it loving clears out your vision and your hearing so that when you walk through the world, you hear a lot of love and you know that you're enough, you know that everything that you do is enough. And so you can walk through the world, you can do your work, do your thing, and then you can step away because it's done, it's exactly what it's supposed to be, it's perfect just the way it is, and it's enough.
So let this light flow down into your throat, clearing out your throat, so anywhere that you are scared to say things, scared to do things, scared to try things because you're worried "I'm not going to be able to do it perfectly. It's never going to be perfect, so I might as well not even try." Letting all that wash away. Letting the light wash down into your shoulders, your arms, your hands, your chest cavity, wrapping around your heart, taking away any wounding around perfectionism. Any times that people have told you in the past that your work isn't good enough or that you're not good enough or that you should have done something differently, you should have known better, anywhere you're telling yourself "I should have known better, I should have done this better," anywhere that you're not forgiving yourself and not forgiving others, we're going to let that wash out of our hearts today.
Going to let the light flow down into our solar plexus, into our deep belly, our sacral chakra, washing any perfectionism that we hold in our bellies, any perfectionism that we put in the way of our own power, so any time that you're saying "I am not light enough, my light is not bright enough to shine, I am not perfect enough, I'm not ready to share my light with the world." Any of those excuses that you have, we're going to let the light come in and clear them out of our deep belly space.
Letting the light flow into our root, anything that's in the way of us feeling really grounded, grounded in the knowing that you are perfect, that wherever you are right now is exactly where you're supposed to be in your life, and letting go of any push and pull that we hold on to. "Maybe I should be doing this, maybe I shouldn't have done that." Any jumping into the past or jumping into the future that takes you out of the present moment, we're going to let all that go, too.
Letting the light flow down into your legs, your knees, your calves, your ankles, your feet, and this light flows right into the earth and it flows all the way down to the very center of our mother, of nature, of where we come from, of who we really are and the natural rhythm and flow of our lives and our bodies. And in nature, my coach always likes to say that everything is perfect, so because you are a part of nature, that means that you're perfect too, and your version of perfect, your version of your path, it might not look like anyone else's and that's totally okay. You just get to be where you are and you can always grow and you can always change, but it's a real gift to give yourself to be able to be happy and peaceful and okay with where you are right now.
We're going to connect to the center of the planet, so you might see a certain color might come up, a certain feeling, and if not, you can just connect to mother nature and think about how it feels to have the earth hold you and support you, and we're just going to take a couple of breaths just to breathe into the earth, feeling really rooted and really grounded, coming home to our bodies and to nature. Coming home to the original connection.
Before social media, this is the original connection, right? Connecting to the earth, connecting to humans everywhere, animals, plants, colors, sky. Just be so deeply connected to everything that's around us and to who we are, and coming back to this original source of perfection, which has nothing to do with the types of perfection we've invented in the manmade world. This is just pure, natural perfection from nature.
Now we're going to let the light come up from the earth and down from the heavens and it's going to connect into us, and it makes us glow like a shining star and we get to spread this light all throughout our bodies, through the room we're in, the state, the country, let it wrap around the planet. I like to imagine giving the earth a big hug. And then we let this light travel out even bigger because we're all unlimited energetic beings. So even though sometimes in our lives we choose to play small, our energy fields really are bigger than the planet, so it's nice to be able to try on this unlimited feeling for just a little bit because sometimes it can feel overwhelming, but it's nice to just connect and know how unlimited we are, just like healing is unlimited, dance is unlimited, joy is unlimited, all the things that we really want in life are unlimited and they belong to us at all times.
While you're here, connected to this light, I want you to think about what the word "Perfectionism" means to you. I can be an image, a memory, a color, a feeling in your body. Just connect to what the first image or thought is that comes up for you. You don't have to dissect it or hold it for very long. Just be aware of what it is. And then we're going to find it in our body. Where in your body do you feel perfectionism? And the negative repercussions of perfectionism that hold you back, that make you feel small, that make you feel scared, that make you feel overwhelmed? You're going to find it in your body, for me it's in my upper back, it can be anywhere for you, there's no right way to do this, there's no wrong way to do this. Your body will tell you exactly what you need to know.
Connect to that part of your body, and we're just going to start slowly moving that part of your body in a way that feels good. You might want to do a figure-eight pattern, you might want to circle, do circles. You might want to shake, shake it out. We're just going to work to get the energy loosened up a little bit so that we can work with it. Remember to breathe while you're doing this because sometimes it can feel tension or be a little painful when you're going into a spot in your body that's held something for so long, so just be really gentle with yourself and go slow. And when you find a movement that feels good, see if you can make it even bigger. See if energetically when you move you can touch the four corners of the room that you're in, letting it expand out, so the more we open up this part of our body, the more space there is, and then we can ask the perfectionism and start taking the perfectionism out, and then it can just naturally fall away and then we're left with a lot more space for whatever we would rather have instead because having perfectionism is not very fun. See if you can go even bigger!
And now we're going to start gently shaking this part of our body, you can stand up if that's easier, you can move to a different position, you can lie on the floor and shake, too. Whatever works. We're going to visualize whatever the perfectionism feels like for you, whatever it looks like, you're just shaking it out of your body and it's going to fall into the earth and it's gone. The earth is going to change it into a flower or into more grass or into something really, really wonderful. So it's really nice to know that we can take this wound or this tension and this burden and we can give it back and it gets to be transformed into something really beautiful.
So shake it all out. And you can breathe, you can sound it out. You can use your hands or other parts of your body, too, to imagine pushing it into the earth, shaking it into the earth, dropping it into the earth. You can take your hands, too, and you can scoop it up and drop it down, almost like you're planting a garden like you're dropping soil down to the earth. Sometimes that feels really good, to take your hands and actually feel like you're moving the energy out. So we're going to scoop it, shake it. And even if it doesn't completely clear today, just focusing on it and setting the intention for it to leave, it will leave at some point. If you can just keep going through your day, it's going to process in the background, and one day you'll turn around and be like "Oh, wow, I don't have that anymore, that's so nice.". Finish up dropping it into the earth, shaking it out, scooping it up, and then we're just going to finish with one short dance flow. You can take a minute or two to move. Before we move, I want you to think about what feeling do you want to have instead of perfectionism.
Now we've opened up our bodies, we have all this space, we've just cleared a whole bunch of junk and we get to choose what we want to fill it with. Think about the one word or the feeling that you want to fill it with, so it can be joy, calm, peace, love, bravery, whatever it is that you feel like you need at this moment, I just want you to hold the word or the feeling in your heart and then we're going to move and we're going to dance, and dance is just movement, so it doesn't have to look a certain way or be anything. Just let your body move through and dance this new feeling. If you picked joy, think about having your heart full of joy, and then move how you want to feel joy in your body and how you want your relationship with joy to feel, so you might jump up and down, you might do some turns, you might lie on the floor, you might tug yourself, whatever comes up, I just want you to trust that that's exactly how your body wants to relate to that feeling at this time. And any time you do a movement flow, even if you do the same flow every day for the rest of your life, it's always going to look different, and that doesn't mean anything, it just means that right now, this is what your body needs, and if you were to do this tomorrow, your body might need something totally different. So just trust that whatever feeling pops into your head first is exactly what you need even if you didn't know that that's what you needed, and whatever movement comes up is also exactly what you need.
So we're just going to move here just for another 30, 45 seconds. You can visualize that word, that feeling settling into every single cell in your body, all the spaces between your cells, it's like it radiates out every pore of your skin, it drops into the earth, it might allow you to sit up taller, to open up your chest, to open up your throat. You also might want to make some noise while you're doing this. It's perfectly normal to want to scream or sing or cry or laugh, so it's not just always about movement, it also can be about sound and movement or stillness and then movement. This can look like a lot of different things, and whatever it looks like is always perfect.
All right, we're going to move for just another 10 seconds. Let the feeling really wash over you. Really integrate it into you. And now we're going to finish by we're going to put both hands on our heart, and you can still move while we do this or if you want to come into stillness, that's perfectly fine, too, and I just want you to hold that word, that feeling in your heart, and then we're going to put our hands over it like we're sealing in that new word, that new feeling. And we're just going to take a couple of deep breaths to seal in that word, and I want you to just think about that word as you're breathing in and out and know that this is already a feeling that's inside of you, it's just something that you're asking to connect to more. So it's not something outside of you that you have to get, it's something that already belongs to you. So we're just connecting to this word and calling it forth and letting it be a part of us.
We're going to take a couple of breaths to seal it in. One more. And then I'd love for us to just give ourselves a hug because movement and dance can be really scary and so it's really awesome that you just moved, and I really honor you for doing it, and your body honors you, and yeah, this energy will process in the background, and you'll become more and more of that feeling that you want and less and less of perfectionism and this is something that you can always return to, you can always come into your body, you can always come into taking a deep breath, you can always come back home to yourself, and that's really what the process of healing dance gives you!!
I hope you enjoyed this guided meditation.
Please, remember to be kind and patient with yourself. As dancers, it is so easy to be hard on ourselves in the pursuit of perfectionism. But remember, we are perfectly imperfect and that’s what makes us special.
Feel free to repeat this meditation and use it when you feel called.
Want to listen to the full episode and interview with Nicole? Click Here to listen to episode #103 of the Dance Boss Podcast: Healing Trauma Through Dance with Nicole Theron Parkes.
Erin teaches dancers how to make money using their gifts, embrace entrepreneurship, and build a sustainable online business. She is also the host of the Dance Boss Podcast. Erin is a Jersey girl all the way, graduated from Montclair State University with a B.F.A. in Dance and received her Masters in Dance Education from New York University. She began her coaching journey as a dance education coach, providing resources and training to help dance educators run more successful classrooms. Now, Erin helps dancers niche down, build an online business, and bring in additional revenue for them and their families. To learn more about Erin visit erindpride.com, and you can hang out with Erin on Instagram and Facebook.