Over the course of time I have come to realise that I thrive on positivity.  As lots of people do.

I have also come to recognise that some people in life ooze positivity – like blessed rays of sunshine sent down to earth in human form to light the lives of all they come into contact with.

And that some people are sun-suckers.  These people always seem to focus on the bleak and the black.  Without you even realising it, they somehow suck the happy from the very marrow of your bones and leave you weary, weepy and low.

Over the past few years I have been fortunate enough to meet and become friends with some very positive and beautiful people.

Some of the best advice I have been given in recent times, is this:

“If you’re hungry – eat.
If you’re tired – sleep.
If someone else is tired – let them sleep.
If you’re thirsty – drink.
If you have energy – use it, don’t save it.  Go to sleep each night knowing that you have taken and made the best of everything the day has to offer, and that tomorrow will bring you a brand new day.
And if ever you’re sad and you need to smile – call me.  I’ll do whatever it takes to make you laugh, to make you smile, to help you find your happy…”  So much sense and such a big give…”

Another very good friend and I have spent a lot of hours discussing ‘The Big Happy’.
How do you find it?
What is it?
Where do you look for it?
How do you know when you have found it?
Is there some for everyone?

It took me an awful lot of searching, both inside of myself and out in the world, before I realised that I was looking for the wrong thing.  ‘The Big Happy’, for me, isn’t a thing.  It is a collection of teeny tiny, beautiful moments, all strung together and appreciated.  It is an appreciation of so many little things.  It is about finding joy in everything.  It is the realisation that beauty and joy is all around us – if we choose to look.

I woke this morning, as I do most mornings, to find a warm pillow tucked thoughtfully behind me – so I wasn’t left with a cold, empty space.
My fluffy purple dressing gown was placed on the bed ready for me to put on.
Downstairs a fire was waiting to welcome me and there was a teabag ready in my favourite cup.
Sunshine was pouring through the window onto the big purple rug.
When each day starts this way, how could I not smile?  How could I be grumpy or miserable?  How could I not feel full of love and appreciation?  These are the jigsaw pieces that fit together to create today’s Big Happy.

Add to that a walk in the sunshine, capturing beauty with my camera.  Texts, calls and messages from my lovely young adults, boldly making their way and making a difference in this world.   Coffee in my Costa office.  Friends who know just what to say and how to brighten every day just by being there.  Health, time, space and freedom to enjoy all that the day can offer.  And a job that I adore…

Does this mean that I don’t have troubles, or worries, or fears or concerns?  Nope.  But it does mean that I refuse to let them spoil my day if I can…

Dance is fantastic for positivity!  It is almost impossible to feel sad or grumpy when you are lost in the dance.

But that is not always the case when we are learning to dance!

It is amazing how hard we can be on ourselves when we are trying to learn something new…

We all learn in different ways, at different speeds and with varying degrees of perceived success.  We compare ourselves with others.  We criticise ourselves and oftentimes, others.  We get flustered and frustrated.  We allow all kinds of negativity into our hearts and minds as we struggle with a new skill or concept.

As a teacher, I am constantly looking to find the balance.
To give enough in one helping to satisfy – but not so much as to overwhelm.
To correct where necessary so as to avoid consolidation of poor technique or misconception – without quashing enthusiasm, or destroying confidence.
To deliver information in a way that is memorable and retainable – without being boring, or repetitive, or terminally dull.
To build confidence without over-inflation of ego – for the greater good of the dance, as well as the dancer.

An anecdote that helps reinforce a mental memory aid for one, will be a ‘here she goes again’ to another…
A recap and consolidation of basics will be a welcome opportunity to improve for some, and a ‘we’ve already done this’ to another…
An invitation to listen, hear, explore, extract, focus on and uncover more in music will be a light-bulb moment of discovery to some, and a ‘she hasn’t taught me any moves yet’ to another…
An insistence on getting the fundamentals correct and removing bad habits before they become established will be seen as a necessary step to improvement by some, and a ‘frustrating waste of good freestyle time’ to others.

It isn’t always easy to get the balance right.  It is even less easy to know if you are getting the balance right.   One man’s meat is another man’s poison they say…

In a class situation, I thrive on responsiveness, interaction and enthusiasm.  Luckily for me, the majority of dancers are over-flowing with enthusiasm, positivity and fun.

So we feed each other!

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