Ok. I am getting personal.
I have a confession to make. I have spent most of my life as a serial people-pleaser. Now, in some ways over time I have learned to like this about myself because I care. I really do care about other people. And, while I use to think this was a weakness (i.e. not assertive enough, not loud enough, not brave enough to stick up for myself, to get taken advantage of - kept in someone's idea of what I should or shouldn't do/be), I now realize is a quality that I am very grateful for, a softness, an energy. I love people that light others up. I love to spread love! I love to make people smile. I love to make people feel good. Not in a forced way...but, a soul-yearning kinda way.
But, there was a down side to this. And, that is that for many many years I would put people's happiness before my own. I didn't want to make anyone feel uncomfortable around me. Or, the need to compete in an unhealthy way, which sadly - a lot of people resort to when they are driven by fear or ego. I didn't want to hurt people's feelings. I didn't want to seem like a pain or high-maintanence...all even at the expense of my own feelings, my own dreams, my own happiness.
As I began guiding group fitness classes - without my knowledge - became my turning point. The realization that I can be the best version of myself, but I still won't be able to make every single person happy or love me. Don't get me wrong, it took me a LONG time to understand and accept this. I could have a room packed full of happy, positive people and all it took was one comment, one frown, one discourager, to make me feel very very sad.
Full disclosure, I, to this day, still strive to touch every single person I am fortunate enough to meet in these experiences. But, I am much more comfortable with who I am, aware that I can practice kindness while also staying true to myself, craving growth, knowing that we are all going through something and not everyone will jive with my message. And, that is OK!!
Over the years, I thankfully evolved, with the help of all of you!, and with it - these experiences did as well. As if woven together, as I transformed individually, my yearning for these active gatherings became something much more meaningful. We are in this together. Each one of us practicing kindness & growth, connection & play for all aspects of our lives. This became the continuation and the core of the MBK experience.
Like the need for ice cold water on a hot sunny day - we were all welcoming and aspiring an experience that went beyond fads, beyond showing up in a room and going through the motions...beyond extreme structure or any self-imposed boxes
When I started to drop the masks I wore to make other people happy & more comfortable - I became even more authentic. I learned from my previous behavior instead of letting it bring me down. And, it felt liberating. Enthusiastically guiding this community, in my vulnerable/genuine form, along with the help of some awesome beats, brought us all closer, as I have said before - aiding heart break, getting through job changes and creating such a magical deeper connection, reminding ourselves the importance of play. Even, self-proclaimed non-dancers gettin' their groove on!
...not just going through the motions. Not just "pushing through a tough workout", miserable the entire time we are doing it. We all started shedding the invisible layers we wore and cultivated a space that felt safe, like freedom, healing - in a really noisy, awesome, wild celebration kind of way! Because remembering who you are, loving who you are and loving those around you is a HUGE celebration, obvi.
I recently heard a speaker say, "we come into the world hearing & feeling three words, I love you. Often times we leave the world hearing and feeling three words, I love you. But, we spend the rest of our lives forgetting". So powerful.
This is why I cannot refer to what we do together as a "fitness class" or a "workout". It is so much more. And, I hope this helps you understand why this is not business for me. This is personal. This is a journey. This is changing our lives. This is transforming "group fitness" to an "active gathering" that creates connection and community over a scene; that over the course of a few experiences (because it is a process) allows you to remove the masks, remove right or wrong, remove seriousness and practice PLAY authentically; and allows music and dynamic dance/movement to connect us all to something much more profound.
Do I want to feel healthy? abso-frickin-lutely. But, first and foremost, I want to have fun. I want to go through movement that ignites excitement, mental strength/challenge and emphasizes how we truly feel - before how we physically look. After all - how much more fulfilled, empowered and liberated will we feel, in all aspects of our life, when we FEED OUR SOULS, when we embrace our truth, when we dig deep for JOY, KINDNESS, COURAGE, CELEBRATION, SELF-EXPRESSION, LOVE.
...soul-work with a little booty poppin'? Why not!
And, YES, we can change the world one dance at a time, fo real.