Please enjoy this excerpt of
Braving It: The gentle art of living boldly
…coming this month!
It’s always amazing to hear about people who brave their lives naturally, effortlessly. I can’t help but wonder what combination of biology and experiences enables them to be true to themselves, regardless of who they’re with or the situation they’re in. To have the courage of their own truth, to listen and live by their inner voice, often in spite of some of the loudest and most insistent voices shouting around them — this amazes me.
If you don’t know the name Isadora Duncan, it’s worth Googling her. Isadora was a choreographer and dancer who performed in the 1920s and 30s. A renegade, she was definitely unconventional, someone we might label rebellious or an instigator. Her interpretive style of dance took on the art of ballet, freed it from its restrictive, tightly prescribed movements and combinations and transformed it into a creative art form that told a story full of personal expression. And in this respect, she is often credited with helping to spark the development of modern dance.
Isadora’s choreography focused on opening every movement from the heart center. There aren’t many, but you can find a few videos of her work being performed. If you watch, right away you’ll be able to sense this openhearted way of dancing.
And Isadora lived the same way — heart first. She just put it out there (sometimes downright misbehaving) and, as the saying goes, “Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!” Her life was out of the box for the time and included multiple relationships and children with different people. Sadly, she passed away at a young age in a tragic accident, but in the world of dance, her legacy endures.
“Don’t let them tame you”
At a vintage shop a few years ago, I found this Isadora Duncan quote painted on a piece of tile:
“You were wild once. Don’t let them tame you.”
It’s hanging in my kitchen where I check in with it literally every day.
Knowing a little about her life now, it’s easy to see that this advice from Isadora is completely in character. (And knowing me, it’s easy to see why I love her!)
But the quote, especially the last part: “Don’t let them tame you”… that just touches a nerve. I don’t ever want to just sit down, be quiet, and fit in. More than that, I don’t want to be told what a happy life looks like when that’s just so different for each of us. I don’t want to be surrounded by people who say things like, “You should be [fill in the blank]” or “That’s so weird that you don’t like…” or “Why don’t you just…” or “How could you possibly feel like that?” or “Why would you ever say something like that?” or “You know how crazy that sounds?” Nor do I want to feel wordless pressure to show up for people or situations that require me to compromise my true self (especially to make it smaller or more vanilla so as not to stand out and make other people comfortable).
I want to create a life that makes me and the people I care about happy and healthy. I want to live and work and play joyfully, never performing or being untrue to myself and the people I love. And through that joy, I want to contribute to the world around me, in all creating a life that’s as unique as my own fingerprints.
So, maybe today beautiful someone, we let ourselves “misbehave” — step outside the box and be honestly, truly, and bravely ourselves.