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Experiencing Feelings As They Are – Nerdful Mind #116

April 3, 2022 by Simon Mannes

I recently attended a contemporary dance class.

It was not like I expected, but I wouldn't change it for anything else I could have done in those 90 minutes.

I was at a West Coast Swing festival over that weekend. 3 days of dance classes, competitions, and dancing until the morning hours.

When I entered the ballroom on Sunday afternoon, I expected the class to be like the others. Practicing a dancing routine to improve our technique or to learn new moves. We did that eventually, but first came 45 minutes of the teacher talking, and us dancing freely after his explanations.

At the beginning, he talked about the 6 basic types of movement you can do to music, and gave us time to practice each one. But then he did something I was not prepared for.

He explained that contemporary dancing needs us to embrace the current moment. Dancing well requires us to accept what we are feeling, to expose it to the outside, and to be vulnerable. sDuring the following exercises, I cried.

We should, as he said "remember something that makes you truly happy. Like your first kiss. Let this feeling flow through you. Now dance. Allow yourself to be vulnerable. And everyone out there who doesn't like the way you're dancing? Fuck them."

Through meditation, I've gotten better at being in the current moment. But accepting my feelings has always been difficult for me.

Dancing is a way for me to connect my feelings and my body with the current moment. Accepting and welcoming whatever comes up by expressing it with movement.

That's one learning I took out of that class.

The other is this:

Training mindfulness without training compassion is like learning to recognize wounds without learning how to let them heal.

Reading Recommendations

The Transformative Effects of Mindful Self-Compassion

“Leading experts on mindful self-compassion Drs. Kristin Neff and Christopher Germer share how self-kindness, recognition of our humanity, and mindfulness give us the strength to thrive.”

Neuroscience of Mindfulness Meditation

“In July 2018, twelve Thai boys and their soccer coach were trapped for more than two weeks in a flooded cave during a trip intended to last just an afternoon. The complexity of the rescue attracted global attention and an international team of experts gathered to tackle the predicament. When the first group of British divers finally discovered the victims, they were amazed to find that the boys and their coach were sitting in the dark, meditating. All of them came out alive. According to CNBC, the coach had spent a decade as a Buddhist monk.”

What does compassion have to do with coding?

“You don’t, however, hear a lot about compassion in the tech industry. The term ‘compassion’ might even be off-putting for some. It may be perceived as a sign of weakness or something only relevant in religious contexts. Nothing could be further from the truth. Compassion is a sign of incredible strength, compassion is something everyone can cultivate, and compassion has the power to heal the tech industry.”

Weekly Mindfulness Practice

A short, 10-breath exercise to reconnect with your body. Do it when you sit down at your desk, or when you want to gather your focus for a new task:

Take one deep breath. Close your eyes.

Focus on your body for three breaths. How does it feel?

Then do a body-scan for five breaths. Start at the top of your head and gently scan down towards your feet. Don't try to change anything. Simply note how it feels.

Finally, open your eyes and smile. Take one deep breath before returning to your activity.

End Note

I'm trying my hands at storytelling from time to time. I hope you liked this piece. If not, don't worry. This newsletter won't become my diary. It's a place to share learnings and insights on my journey to live more mindfully and compassionately.

If you liked this issue, send it to someone who you think will enjoy it. You can also always send me an email by replying here. I'll definitely answer (sooner or later).

Have a wonderful week