That Tribal Dance

I love some good music and some fun dancing.

Sure, I've been known to do a little jig all by myself in my kitchen while mindlessly cleaning or prepping meals for the upcoming week.

However, that's not exactly the dance I have in mind here, though there are some very similar elements between what it takes for me to jig and jive in my kitchen and what I've found in my years of creating my own TRIBAL DANCE.

Word Nerd

Being a wordsmith (or, likely what you would call a word NERD) I love a little play with words.

When I was teaching high school English, I remember being way too excited creating Vocabulary Tests or finding the hidden meanings within the writings of Dickens, Shakespeare, Voltaire, Dumas and the like.

So, yes, call me a NERD.  Straight up.  I'm ok with it.

Let's Dance

So what do I mean when I say, Tribal Dance?

Put simply, I mean, that DANCE of life with those I consider my TRIBE.  Let's break that down for a second here ....

DANCE:  to move in a way that goes with the rhythm and style of music.  To move and guide someone.  To perform, engage.  To move about in a lively manner.  To bring into a specified condition. To attend in an eager manner.

Dancing requires active participation.

It can come by invitation from another or it can well up within oneself until it bursts forth, requiring a response.

Oh how I have loved my fitness dance throughout the years ... my active participation, sometimes brought about by another's invitation, sometimes bubbling over within me requiring me to MOVE my body.

This dance, for me, has played so many roles in my life.

I've "danced" my way into health and wellness and out of depression.  I've done a jig or two in the midst of stressful times and have come out the other side the better for it as I gave the stress toxins a way of escape.

My fitness dance in life has forced me to perform and engage -- requiring an active role in learning new things and presenting those things to the world around me.

A few fitness "dances" I have learned over the years: 

Kickboxing, Step, Bike Club, Linear Double Step, Horizontal Double Step, Pilates, Aqua Aerobics, Silver Sneakers I, II, III, Indoor Cycling, Y Tri (Triathlon coaching), The BRICK (triathlon classes), Core Conditioning (1 full hour on, under and around a stability ball -- VERY DIFFICULT, by the way), Swim Club, Rep Reebok, Gravity Training System, Run Club,  Fit Photage 12-week transformation program design, Kettlebell Training, TRX, Cross Core 180, Bodybuilding, Cardio Strength, Circuit Training, Bootcamps, Adventure Racing, Personal Training, Small Group Training, Altitude Training (when I lived at sea level and when I moved to altitude), Tempo training for weightlifting, Agility training, NPC competing, Athletic conditioning for athletes in specific sports, Speed training 

and believe it or not .... much more!!

Pleasure and Talent

This fitness dance has given me so much pleasure and has allowed me the ability to use all my God-given talents.  It has forced me to hone my skills, continuing to learn and grow and develop.

This dance has required an active role on my part -- to participate, engage, to guide others along the way, to continuously move about in a "lively manner".

It has become a very real, satisfying, positive part of living this life of fitness.

What about that "TRIBAL" piece?  How does that fit in?  Well, in a word, it has brought COMMUNITY to my dance.  My TRIBE.

TRIBE DEFINED:  a group of people that have the same language, customs, and beliefs.  A large FAMILY.  Synonyms include:  blood kin, kindred, among others.

My fitness dance only goes so far -- if it remains in isolation.

But that TRIBAL DANCE ... well, that changes things completely.  Sharing that dance with others of like mind, like spirit, people who speak the same language -- sharing it with a fitness family makes all the difference in the world.

My TRIBE.  My BLOOD.  My KIN!  That's a powerfully beautiful dance, indeed.

What Does My Tribe Look Like?
Who Are They?

> You, who after open heart surgery, came into my Spin class because you needed to "get back up"; you needed to keep moving, keep striving.  You didn't want to give up.

> The woman who point blank asked, "What's it gonna take for me to be able to work with you.  I want what you have to offer and I'll go to whatever length it takes to secure your services."

> Those who have broken down in front of me because life has dealt them a harsh card.  And they openly expressed to me what was going on (at which point all my energy was focused on them, right then and there.)

> The man who had never run in his life, but who did his first mud run side by side with me (there were nicknames given that weekend, too!)

That Wednesday morning Cycling class in the pitch black, dark room with the black lights -- the ones who understood my connection to intense music, how it drives me, how it moves me, how it gets into my head and produces something heroic.

You Are My Tribe

All of you -- those intense moments, you are my TRIBE.  (We had some very real "come to Jesus" moments, didn't we?)

> The ones whose spouses up and left them high and dry, who experienced a loss of some sort, who understood pain at a very deep level and who used exercise to take them to the other side of their gut-wrenching process

> All the ones who had a 1st with me:  1st race, 1st competition, 1st personal best, 1st time hiring a personal trainer, entering a contest, signing up for something that scared them

> Those who taught me new things to add to my fitness dance:  triathlon swimming, snowshoe running, bodybuilding competing, skate skiing, hiking 14,000 ft mountains.  To you I say thank you for your patience with me and for helping me rise above myself.

> Those who have suffered in life, who have been handed a raw deal and who have overcome, who have risen up, who have not quit, not given excuses, not felt sorry for themselves.

> The men/women who never thought they could ________(fill in the blank)_________ and who proved that YES, THEY COULD!! (despite age, physical limitations, lack of innate abilities, and every other reason that they could've used to not try).

> The ones who have shared with me music that they instinctively know beyond a doubt that I will LOVE.  They understand me and realize they are sharing something with me that connects us.

> All those who have called me "friend" despite our trainer/client relationship.  Those who have wanted to move beyond that initial relationship and get to know what really makes me tick.  They've checked up on me.  They initiate.  They WANT to continue be part of my fitness dance despite the time and space between us.

Oh... That TRIBAL DANCE..!  

I almost have no words for its affect on my life as a whole.

Doing fitness. 

Doing life.

Dancing --> moving in sync, in rhythm to life's music.  There's almost nothing better.  I don't have the desire to be a 1-woman show.  I want MY TRIBE.  I need MY TRIBE.  It is what makes me successful not only professionally, but personally.

My world is made up of each of YOU.  Your input.  Your encouragement.  Your struggles.  Your victories.

And I hope I am stitched into the fabric of YOUR DANCE as well.  That you know that I am your cheerleader.  That I'm not in competition with you but am dancing alongside of you.  That I'm spinning and twirling in your corner.

Oh that TRIBAL DANCE -- may we continue to show up together, do this thing called fitness together, live this crazy life together, dance side by side, move together into the various phases of this journey ... spinning, twirling, shining arm in arm!

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