I met a woman in Rhode Island at a seminar who loved to dance. She loved it so much that even when she talked about dancing, her fact lit up with an infectious smile. She had an energy that made your senses perk up and there was a lilt to her voice that suggested a brewing giggle about to emerge - and we all wanted to be around when it bubbled up.
She looked as if she was originally from the Caribbean and she dressed in bright colors: orange, turquoise and red that accentuated bronze skin. She was unique and a hug from her was like getting wrapped in a warm, soft blanket. Oh, and that bodacious smile! It lit up the room.
She revealed to us that she loves to dance. When she dances all the trials and tribulations in her life are put into perspective and she is better able to manage life’s complexities. For her, dance is expression, exercise, connection and beauty.
Over the course of our class we learned this vibrant woman is actually depressed. Being deeply religious she is surrounded by people from church who tell her she shouldn’t go out and move her body, gyrating to hypnotic music. These friends say that God really wouldn’t approve of her “sensual” dancing and they believe it is a sin to continue. To appease these friends and keep in line with the views of her church, she sometimes limits the amount of time spent on this form of art.
When not dancing, she has more time to become mired in her life; challenges with kids, health, work, and helping others with their life’s issues. But, without the ability to express her passion, the quality of her contributions to these people and “responsibilities” diminishes. She becomes tired and depleted.
Eventually it is hard to dance at all ~ she’s too exhausted. It become’s more and more difficult to find her natural rhythm anyway and even the idea of dancing is too much effort. It’s all for the best, she says; her friends have started talking to her again - now that she isn’t dancing.
When she spoke to us of these “responsible” times in her life - the times when she put dancing aside and ignored her passion, denied the freedom to feel deeply and express herself fully, her eyes became dull and her vibrancy muted.
If you asked her how she felt when she wasn’t dancing, she answered as if reading from a script. She said it was easier to focus on the more important things now.
Living on opposite sides of the country, I don’t have much occasion to run into this lovely woman and I often wonder how she is and if she has found balance in her life. Her passion, her love, one of the best expressions of herself was through dance and I wonder how she is coping without this freedom.
I also wonder if she has found friends who are more accepting of her or if she has changed churches. But mostly I wonder if her neighborhood and children continue to be blessed with her smile. I wonder if she eases someone’s burden just by being her warm and caring self or if she has robbed the world of her gaiety just to fit in.
When do we stop expressing ourselves and stifle our uniqueness to mold into someone else’s concept of who we should be? How many times do we adapt ourselves to become just like everyone else? Numbing and dumbing down. Homogenizing ourselves ~ threatening no one.
Your power lies in your distinctness. Do things differently than they have ever been done before. Step out and shake a leg. Find your eccentricities and revel in them. When you see uniqueness in others, celebrate, learn from and enjoy their essence. Marvel at their courage. Although they may have learned to expresses joy now does not mean that they have always been supported for their uniqueness.
Every time you support someone else’s efforts to be authentic especially if it goes against how you think things “should be” you get a little closer to accepting and increasing your own unique traits.
We are here for only a short time. Be an inspiration to others. Live your life with passion! Dare to be unique and have fun. Dance ~ Laugh ~ Breath Deeply ~ Express Joy ~ this is your life. You have the power to bring your self into full view. Be seen.
May your life be filled with lightheartedness and may you be an inspiration to all!

Author's Bio: 

Stacy Kamala Waltman brings a well-rounded blend of experience and personal development skills to her coaching practice. Bridging the spiritual world with the professional arena, Stacy draws from a rich and varied background to enhance her client's personal, spiritual and professional life.

After earning a B.A. in journalism at San Diego State University along with a minor in business administration, Stacy has worked in a variety of business settings including group/team facilitation, public speaking, marketing, promotions, corporate communications, sales, web site design, and public relations. In small, medium, and large companies, she has learned what it takes to succeed.

Stacy Kamala also serves her community as a consultant and volunteer, most recently as a Facilitator on the Bend2030 project and as a commissioner on the Oregon Governor's Commission on Women.

Stacy's real-world experience is a counterpoint to a 20-year history as a student of Swami Satchidananda's Integral Yoga, an ecumenical organization, located in Buckingham Virginia. Stacy Kamala is also a certified Yoga Instructor of Svaroopa Yoga based in La Jolla, CA.

From the postures of Hatha Yoga to breathe control, meditation and chanting, Stacy has developed a deep appreciation for the peace, centering and focus to be found in the world of spiritual studies. By combining these various disciplines with specific coaching training and advanced education at the Coaches Training Institute - accredited by the International Coaching Federation, Stacy provides an integrated approach to her coaching practice.

Her vision is to guide her clients and teams to a life of fulfillment and success by linking their spiritual, material and practical needs. Stacy's clients are those people striving for more in their lives; better communication skills, a healthy relationship with money and increased earning power while maintaining skillful life balance. Clients learn more effective time management skills and find a greater awareness of the world around them.

"In addition to being a wonderful communicator, Stacy is a gifted and powerful coach," says Jim DeLaurentis, CFO, The Andrew Lauren, Inc." She has wonderful energy and commitment."

Whether you participate with her in a teleseminar format, organizational team or individual coaching, Stacy's approach will illuminate blind spots and increase awareness of yourself while enhancing how you interact in the world.

If you are committed to living a life of choice - choosing to serve yourself, your community and the world - then you would be Stacy's ideal client. For additional information, visit client testimonials.

To schedule a sample session at Integration Coaching with Stacy Kamala Waltman, please send an email to ic@integrationcoaching.com