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  • Writer's pictureLisa Thompson

Metaphors and stretching emotional muscles

I'm pulling stuff together for the online workshop next month and wanted to find a particular picture of myself in a leotard when I was very small.

In fact I tried to find *one* of the photographs of me in that leotard, because apparently I wore it a lot!

I was going to talk about how, even when we're little, we can have very strong ideas about who we are and what we want. And how that might not always match how others see us. I'll keep looking for the photo and write that post another day.

However, I couldn't lay my hands on that photo*, but I did find this one... me, much bigger, in a different dance outfit!

Young woman in yellow and read leotard / catsuit.
Age 16, application for dance / drama colleges.

I'm probably 16 in this photo and it was taken to attach to applications for dance & drama schools. They always wanted a full body shot.

Anyway, it got me thinking about how dance has woven through my life. I was very lucky as a child that my parents encouraged me, and my sister, to take part in classes and activities.

At various points we rode horses, ice skated, did gymnastics, joined the Brownies, swam, learnt instruments and did dance classes.

I really remember getting into dance though as a teenager when I changed schools. I joined a dance group, run by an amazing teacher, Bridget Boast, and got the opportunity to perform in festivals and shows all over the place. We worked hard and had great fun - a tour of Liverpool left a great impression.

I wasn't classically trained and, truthfully, I wasn't good enough to get a dance place at a college but I did carry on while at drama school after leaving school (for a short time, life was difficult at that stage so I didn't stick it out).

I'm afraid I don't do much more than pirouette in my kitchen these days but I do find the metaphor of dance useful in lots of situations.

When working with families I describe the dance between mother and baby that starts in the womb, intensifies during labour and birth, and continues through they breastfeeding journey.

When coaching I often find myself thinking of the dance of relationships - with others and with ourselves.

The subtle shifts of energy and emotion that require constant adjustment to stay balanced - how beautiful that can be when we have ease and flow, and how awkward or jarring things can feel if there's something not quite right.

The sort of 'not quite right' that might benefit from loosening up some emotional 'muscles' or just getting more familiar with new steps and ways of moving / behaving.

Dancer in street clothes with arched back
Feel the stretch!

Is there a metaphor that runs through your life? Your 'go-to' for explaining things metaphorically?

Or do you recognise areas of your life that could do with some flexing and loosening up?

Maybe you'd like to develop new moves for your dance through life?

If so, checkout the workshop next month or have a chat with me...

* Firstly I seriously need to declutter the photos and secondly I saw a spider in the box and put the lid back on!

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