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  • Kelly King

Life by the Seasons

I didn't count on the season of chaos.



I made this handy graphic in 2018. (click image to enlarge). Full of optimism and hope, I thought I was on to something powerful. I was thinking about my Daily Joy - the handful of things that when I do them, my day is good... regardless of the shit-storm life may throw at me.


I expanded that thinking to encompass the seasons. When was I productive? Creative? Reflective? Resting?


Mapping my own patterns and cycles was helpful. I accepted myself for where I was in my cycle and adjusted my expectations and plans accordingly.


I didn't count on the season of chaos.


Welp. Here we are.


By now you've probably lost jobs, yelled at your kids, alienated at least one good friend, made up, screwed up, cried (a lot), protested for Black Lives Matter, laughed for no reason, started several solid routines for self improvement, had an existential crisis or three, and landed somewhere near a large bottle of adult beverages. No? Just me? Damn. Ya'll are hearty folx.


On the off-chance any of the previous paragraph rang true, I'll offer some thoughts in the form of questions. I hope they help us all.

  1. What have you noticed?

  2. Where is the creativity around your current hurdles?

  3. What are the opportunities to do it all differently/better/healthier?

  4. What does your best life look like in 20 years?

  5. How do your choices today lead you there?

Fair's fair. I'll play, too.

1. I've noticed that I am no longer willing to do too much. I can't. I can do three solid, big events in a day... showing up for meetings with people, teaching, writing, etc. More than that and I start to turn into jello. Melting jello. It's not pretty. It's not good for anyone.


2. Distance learning. Holy hot sauce. This is not a thing. A more accurate term is crisis schooling. It's here to say. So, we're making a learning pod. I've reached out to several families that are geographically close with kids that roughly match the ages of mine. We're going to pod together so that our kids are distance learning with each other. Each family will be in charge of instruction (based on materials sent from the school) one day/week. We'll all get a solid four day work-week in exchange. We're working on the details, but this is my creativity around the biggest challenge in our lives right now: how to parent/educate and work all at the same damn time. Pardon my french.


3. What are the opportunities to do it all differently/better/healthier? This virus is ebbing and flowing in different parts of the world. It very well may do that for years. Or, there may be another chaos causing virus/climate change event/who knows what that changes "normal" again. And again. We are incredibly adaptive creatures. We know how to adapt to new conditions. We are simply out of practice.

Time to flex our hustle muscles and embrace our adaptability. Author/Activist Glennon Doyle shared this excerpt from her recent book, Untamed.


This applies to humans in general. We need to trust ourselves to adapt and stop trying to go back to "normal". Was normal great for you? Maybe. But it sure wasn't great for all Americans.


Writing this is part of my action plan for now and the future. I'm continuing my work as a dance-based artist, writer, and educator. Activism has long been at the root of my performance work; now, I share it explicitly in my written work, and teach through a lens of transformational justice. I encourage you to dive in and use the tools at your disposal for the greater good.


4. 20 years from now I hope I live by water, still get hot and bothered every time I look at #hothubby, continue to marvel at my kids, and get to travel internationally doing work I believe in so much that I still get nervous before entering "the room". I hope I am living from a mindset of abundance, not scarcity and sharing the bounty of my life with others in tangible, transformative ways. I'll be a better cook. I'll still dance on stages, at the club, and in my living room. Maybe there will be a dog.


5. Today, I booked my first Anti-racist Moving Dialogues Workshops. Tomorrow, I will set about planning the precious 5.5 hours I will have with high school arts teachers. And, I will be sharing these ideas with colleagues near and far. Today, I walked three miles to clear the Covid cobwebs from my mind and body. I am writing this. I am loving my kids and husband with my actions, attention, words, and spirit. I will give myself class before the day is over. I don't want another dog, yet.


Your turn.

Try This


Root, Rise, Fold, Recover

Sitting or standing, work with your body.

  1. Root: Wrap yourself up in a big hug, elbows on top of elbows, reaching for your own shoulder blades. Take at least one deep breath in this shape.

  2. Rise: Lift your elbows overhead, unfurling wrists and expanding until arms are wide open. Heart is lifting skyward, focus follows.

  3. Fold: Fold in half at the waist. Let your head hang heavy, gently shake it "yes" and "no". Take at least one deep breath in this shape.

  4. Recover: Roll up through the spine, shoulders and head arrive last. You may walk the hands up the legs for extra support, bend knees as needed. Stand/sit tall, peripheral vision wide, chin and jaw relaxed, upper arms engaged back slightly with palms forward, belly engaged, sitz bones reaching toward the heels. Breathe.

  5. Repeat with the opposite arm on top in the hug.

Play with this sequence. How does it feel to curve your spine and wriggle as you hug yourself? Try rotating as you rise or walking somewhere else in your space. As you fold, sway gently side to side for a deeper lower back release. How many ways can you roll up? Speeds? How does the sequence feel differently to music? In silence?


Now, revisit your answers from above. Did engaging with your dancing body shift your thinking?


In this season of chaos:

  1. What have you noticed?

  2. Where is the creativity around your current hurdles?

  3. What are the opportunities to do it all differently/better/healthier?

  4. What does your best life look like in 20 years?

  5. How do your choices today lead you there?

#walkwithjoy #whatmovesyou #pandemic #chaos #movingdialogues

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