Are you a keeper of knowledge or a giver of wisdom?
I felt almost naked on the dance floor…
It didn’t seem liberating but rather humiliating.
From the moment we ask someone to dance we are vulnerable as there is no guarantee that the response will be yes. In partner dances we touch each other’s hands and the largest organ -the skin. The sense of touch expresses without words our inner world and desires.
Our inner world holds vital knowledge. And knowledge is a tool to creating our desires.
I’ve been a collector of knowledge but that does not necessarily make me wise. They say knowledge is power but it is only the beginning of it. I came to realize this recently through words said to me and on the dance floor.
Recently, I was told I was very intelligent and observant. She said “ you are like a lion dressed like a sheep.” At first, I thought “well I am harmless; she probably means I am strong.” My expression must have told her she needed to tell me what she meant. So she said I was quiet and like to observe before making my move just as the lion does before going for its prey. She also said that I tend to acquire knowledge but hold myself back by not applying it. It did resonate for me as she commented that I can get comfortable. Years ago, I would have disagreed but the truth is that I have not been challenging myself consistently.
The Universe further confirmed how I’m a collector of knowledge even on the dance floor.
As I approached the dance floor with trepidation I began to tense. I was feeling tired from a long day and a couple of hours of dancing. I wanted to continue practicing. I was sweaty and after sitting briefly-I was asked to dance. I knew I should accept and try my best. Instantly on the dance floor my mind said “there are not many dancers here so if you mess up it will be noticeable.” With those thoughts and my body tired I became nervous. I began dancing feeling off beat and noticed my dance partner seemed disapproving of my dancing. Perhaps he was not disapproving and my own thoughts were taking over. What I felt seemed strong enough to take me back to being a small child being criticized and disapproved of…
I was nervous and scared of looking bad on the dance floor. I felt like I was freezing up and considered stopping in the middle of the song. The more nervous I felt the more mistakes it seemed I made. Scared to be embarrassed. It seemed like a long dance. I feared being ridiculed or publicly humiliated. It seemed as if every mistake was stripping me. I guess trusting that I wouldn’t be mocked did not seem plausible.
I danced two more times hoping that I would not make mistakes. I continued to struggle on the dance floor. I couldn’t feel a real connection to my dance partners and concluded I was tired and perhaps disconnected from myself. Still, I was proud I had tried again and not given up in the middle of the dances.
Once I left the venue- I reminded myself I had been on the dance floor practicing and trying my best inspite of being tired, nervous, or anything else I could have used as an excuse. It reminded me of the quote by President Theodore Roosevelt: "It's not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the person who is in the arena. Whose face is marred with dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly ... who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly ..."
You’ve probably seen the great TED talk by author and researcher Brene Brown on putting our true self out there rather than hiding behind our fears. (Youtube link at end of this post). She further says in her book "Daring Greatly" that “There is no option. If you want to be brave and show up in your life, you're going to fail. You're going to stumble. You're going to fall. It's part of showing up." Yep, I do stumble on the dance floor and I am working on not freezing when I do. I also know I cannot hide behind the “I am still a newbie,” if I do not practice.
I admit I am guilty of acquiring knowledge and inconsistently applying what I learn. Knowledge for the sake of knowledge is not enough. Knowledge applied is wisdom and it empowers us.
It is much easier to acquire knowledge and less comfortable to apply it. According to Brene Brown, vulnerability is emotional risk, exposure… the most accurate measure of courage. And furthermore vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change. Knowledge alone does not lead to innovation, creativity or change.
So how do we apply knowledge? It begins with the desire to expand ourselves. That desire motivates us and propels us to take action and practice. So we take steps small and big- like buying the apron, trying the recipe, googling resources, etc. Once we apply, practice and integrate what we have learned -enough we may be prompted to teach or share. Learning like teaching both require patience. However, without the willingness to be vulnerable in learning and mastering we do not grow. Vulnerable and aware of any emotional undercurrents influencing us will direct us to our unmet needs. Our courage in addressing our needs demonstrate courage and pave the way to mastering what we doubted we could not do.
I suppose being vulnerable on the dance floor can feel like being stripped by every mistake.
Still, I am willing to be exposed so that overtime I improve and change from a nervous dancer to a confident dancer. The alternative is to remain unchanged as a collector of knowledge.
Do you embody the knowledge you have gained?
Does your wisdom still you or give you peace?
Are you aware of the emotional undercurrents that hold you back?