Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Take me higher

Photo by John H. Maw

I started fall semester last week, and with it an intermediate contemporary dance class. I was rather intimidated on the first day. It seemed that all of my classmates were Music-Dance-Theater majors and lifelong dancers looked flawless and moved beautifully. That's not who I am. I just dance for fun. But with all this talent around me, I wondered, would the semester be fun?

"We are not going to compare or criticize ourselves," our instructor declared. "We are all artists and beautiful children of God. We each have a story to tell. And the moment we look in the mirror and start thinking negatively about ourselves or others, we prevent our message from being shared. We are NOT going to let that happen."

But when we really got dancing on the second day of class, I did allow that to happen. With every movement, I felt like I was falling behind the other dancers. When they performed, they seemed to glide across the floor with the grace of swans. I felt like all I could do was flail my arms and legs like a beetle stuck on its back, trying in vain to roll over, wishing in vain to dance as beautifully as my swan classmates. And of course there were others in the class who, like me, didn't pick up the moves as quickly or gracefully, but in the midst of my pity-party I did not notice. All I could think of was how horrible I was, how I could never be a real dancer, that I should probably drop the class and stick with beginning dance classes for the rest of my college career.

Friday I came back to class, still discouraged. It didn't take long for me to start criticizing myself again, but then my teacher's wise words popped into my mind: "We are all artists and beautiful children of God. We each have a story to tell." I decided that I would make this a private battle, that I would stop comparing myself to others and focus on my own progression. Sure, I could drop the class and stay where I was comfortable, but how would I be able to grow? How would I learn to tell my story if I stopped here? 

That decision has made all the difference.

(It's funny how we become so much freer once we finally let go and forget ourselves.)

Why do I dance? Not to look better than others, or to even look good at all. I dance to share the story of how Jesus Christ's Atonement has transformed me, and how it continues to change me each day. It is the same reason why I write, why I sing, why I serve, why I live - to testify of my Savior and invite others to come unto Him.

We're learning a combination to the song "Higher" by Cindy Morgan. As I do the spins and arabesques, I wobble, I forget the combination, I am imperfect. But that is part of my story. None of us can walk through this life without stumbling and falling, but what matters is that we look to the Redeemer to help us get back up and continue on the journey. 

Each day that I dance, I learn that Jesus Christ truly does take me higher than I could ever reach on my own.

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” 
-Winston Churchill


  1. Oh I love the quote by Churchill. I love reading about your journey into an amazing person! I am so grateful that all you do you do with a higher purpose than self glorification.

    Another uplifting blog. Thank you! :P

  2. Did I mention that the last line you wrote made me cry a little bit?

  3. This is absolutely beautiful Tasha! As are you. Thank you sweet friend.