Do That Thing
“Caution not spirit, let it roam wild; for in that natural state dance embraces divine frequency.” Shah Asad Rizvi
Call me crazy, but I’m in my late 40s and still dance around at home like I’m 14. I throw on headphones, put on music I’m in to and let rip. This may be nothing out of the ordinary in many cultures, but I’m German, live in Germany’s northern port city Hamburg and I reckon it’s safe to say: sadly, for people my age in our culture, this is not normal. But my parents met dancing and so I guess it was in my bones from day one.
I remember as a 6 year old dancing around our living room to Abba and The Beatles with my friend Anette. Boogieing down to Chic Le Freak’s „Freak Out“ when I was 8 with my friend Birgit. From around age ten I used to borrow my brother’s Sony Walk Man when he wasn’t around and rock out in my room to Carlos Santana, ACDC or „Upside Down“ from Diana Ross (it was the late 70s)… It was fun! It felt so GOOD. I felt cool. Made me feel happy.
As a teenager I let rip to Led Zeppelin, Chaka Khan, Prince, David Bowie, Earth, Wind & Fire. A party wasn’t a party without dance floor action. (Again, see German culture: I was distraught and annoyed to realize not everyone shared this belief). Like most people, throughout my teens, 20s and 30s, I danced in clubs, at concerts, festivals, by myself and of course with others. Dancing with a friend or group of people – or with one cute guy – bears its own special kind of magic. Dance is expression, communication, it cultivates connection.
In my early/mid 20s, I lived in London for 3+ years where I became friends with Beverly D. aka Princess B. The two of us and her two small kids spent many days boogieing down in her living room. For ’B’, this was normal too; I felt at home. Finally a friend who „got“ that part of me; it’s one of the reasons we became sisters. She introduced me to Mary J. Blige, UK HipHop, Dancehall Reggae and London’s vibrant Carribbean Notting Hill Carnival and its awesome dance culture, a festival celebrated on the streets of West London. (And here the men were awesome on the dance floor!) Musically and in terms of dance moves, new levels opened up.
But to this day I also boogie around at home: throw on some headphones, put on music I’m in to – and let rip. In my living room, the kitchen, whatever. Feet stomping, hands clapping, singing along, swinging hips, thrusting pelvis, rough arm action or just subtle moves; really getting into the music and moving to it. Someone looking into my apartment seeing me rock out like that might think: „That’s embarrassing…!“ Who cares? I can’t help it: put on the right rhythm and my body goes into autopilot. I don’t dance around every day, just when I’m up for it. Or when I need it.
Shake it off!
At some point I realized: this is the easiest, fastest and most direct way into feeling free, grounded, and intensely ALIVE. Wide open. It’s powerful medicine for me. Sometimes, when I’m listening to a pushy rhythm, I stomp my feet on the ground to let Mother Earth know: „I’m still here! Thank you, I love you!“ And like anyone over 40 who’s done some real living, I’ve experienced my fair share of heart break, failure and shame. Boogieing down at home is that one thing that ALWAYS gets me back to feeling alive, happy, in my raw and authentic power and willing to keep on stepping. Yes, I’ve danced and cried simultaneously.
Letting loose to music helps me process. De-clutter energetically, clear the channel, relieve tension. Help shake out and shake off our tough emotional energy during or after experiencing hard emotional stuff. It feels so good to get it out of the body or at least to get it moving.
The craziness that’s been happening with Trump, Brexit and German politics lately has felt like a rough ride too, so something free and easy that helps me stay even-keeled mentally – yes, please. Any type of rigorous movement will trigger the release of endorphins, dopamine and serotonin in our bodies and make us feel good physically. Moving to music that we love also feeds our soul.
I’ve incorporated dancing for upliftment and joy into into my circle work with women and added literal and deliberate shaking of arms, legs, feet, hands, the whole body as a „letting go“ exercise.
Try it. I highly recommend it. Let rip. Let go. Feel free. It’s awesome.
What’s YOUR thing?
But in case music and dancing just don’t do it for you, what is that „thing“ for you? What’s that activity you love doing just because? Because it’s fun. Because it makes you feel good and leaves you feeling a warm contentedness, more alive? If you know what that thing is, I’d say do it often. If you don’t know what it is yet, be open to trying different things, experiment, figure it out.
Knowing what we can do to directly access a source of aliveness and joy can be an essential contributor to a happy, balanced life, it can be vital self-care for our mental health. I believe it also contributes to the body of joyful, peaceful energy we need more of on this planet to help elevate the crazy destructive shit that’s happening. Every contribution matters.
As adults, there’s so much stuff we „have to do“ in terms of work, finances, if we have kids. But what do we choose to do in the time that we do have? As social scientist and author Dr. Brene Brown references in her work and this blog: „Researcher Stuart Brown describes play as time spent without purpose. Play — doing things just because they’re fun and not because they’ll help achieve a goal — is vital to human development. Brown believes that play is at the core of creativity and innovation. (…) Anything that makes us lose track of time and self-consciousness, creating the clearing where ideas are born.“
So, it’s official: „play“ is good for us, regardless of age. It’s part of what makes life juicy. For me it’s moving and expressing myself to music. I hold with James Howe who wrote: “Life is short and there will always be dirty dishes, so let’s dance.”
Ulrike Krahnert, 2019
Modern Madness, Written Medicine is my blog where I write about life: the crazy great, the crazy awful that happens in our world; personal growth and transformation.
Born in Hamburg, Germany, I grew up in South Korea and Hong Kong, lived in London in the early to mid 90s; I identify as a world citizen. In the past 25 years, I’ve worked as a freelance journalist, night life editor and DJ, and in corporate and internal communication.
Deeply inspired by self-development books and healing work since my early 20s, I was first introduced to earth-based spirituality and circle work with women in the early 2000s. In 2015-2016 I did the Medicine Woman Training with MiraMichelle. I live and work in Hamburg, Germany.