How do you approach the world when you’re operating at a deficit? How do you put on a professional and happy face and keep forging ahead? These last few months have crystallized a feeling I’ve had for over a year now; that my well is emptying.
I take my dance commitments very seriously, not only because I love what I do, and I feel blessed to be able to pursue my purpose, but because this is the job I’ve always wanted and now I have it. Yet, as of late, sticking with these commitments has left me feeling dry.
The sum parts that add up to the total of the traveling-dance-teacher experience can be on their own, fulfilling: leading a class of 15 or 150, teaching a string of private lessons all day, meals with fellow staff and friends, a string of wonderful dances to my favorite DJs and artists, an evening cozied up with an old friend or new lover, time spent watching a colleague’s class and observing teaching & learning styles, a planning session with new ideas… each of these is like a delicious bite of the most amazing meal I can imagine, and I savor each moment, truly I do. I know this life is better than one I could have had, in an office, behind a counter, or someplace worse. Yet the meal goes right through me, undigested, barely assimilated. I’m left hungry, but for what?
When I finally make it home, I don’t want to speak. Don’t care to dance. Don’t envy the other parties. Can’t bring myself to organize and create the reality for all the ideas I have… retreats, parties, events, workshop ideas, happenings.
The thing is, the sum parts don’t add up to the total. The gaps are growing wider and even though I’m capable of fully being present, of totally delivering in the moment, and of giving my all, I’m left feeling emptier and emptier each time I step away from the fray.
I know I’m not alone in this. I see it on the faces of my colleagues in their private moments, I feel it in their dancing, I hear it in their voices during those non-public conversations. The work we do, bringing the party, over and over again, takes its toll. The sleepless nights, the drinking we do to reward ourselves for a hard day, the food that doesn’t quite nourish, the temporary relationships that float away as we board yet another plane. How do we make it add up?
I love this work, but I have to find another way, another route to fulfillment. Because no matter how much I have to give, and no matter my capacity to deliver, again, and again, and again, I don’t do this work for you. I do it for me.
Thank you for listening.