dance is not a luxury. here's why.

Throwback to June of 2011, a bit over 5 years ago. I was living in my parent’s basement temporarily after having to leave my Brooklyn apartment quite suddenly. It was 6 months after my dad’s stroke, 2 months into a new romantic relationship, and I was making dance videos like crazy.

 

Why?

 

Because those precious moments I had alone in the basement for a few minutes were the only times when I felt I had the space to express myself. There often aren’t words to describe the feelings of big life transitions, and so that’s why dance is there.

 

I didn’t have (or make) time to take dance classes. I didn’t want to.

I wasn’t interested in learning choreography or auditioning for a show.

I basically didn’t care to do any of the things I previously did in my past dance life.

 

But I DID want to say something that words couldn’t express.

I DID want to move my body and channel some of the tough emotions.

I DID want a break from the stress and pain of things that were happening in my life.

 

So I danced it out, in my own way, to music that moved me, and I made a video of it. (multiple times. still doing it.)

 

This is not a dance-making act of luxury. This is a dance-making act of necessity. This is dance-making like my life depended on it. Because it did.

 

Who are we without the acts that move our souls?

Who are we without exercising our human ability to create?

Who are we without dance?

 

I’d argue to say we’d be prettttty  boring and dead inside without any of those things.

 

Not the kind of life I want to live.

 

How bout you?

 

If dance is part of YOUR soul, don’t ignore the calling.

 

Go dance in your basement or bedroom or boardroom and unleash the spirit inside of you.

 

I know it’s sometimes easier said than done, so I am here to help. In fact, outside of dancing myself, helping other people to revive dance in their lives is my favorite thing in the world. And I’m really good at it.

 The reason why it's my favorite thing is because I see what happens beyond the dance itself.

When women reclaim their dancer identity IN THEIR OWN WAY - in a way that empowers them, frees them, and unleashes parts of themselves that have been hidden or squelched - they take different actions in their LIFE.

They no longer keep their mouth shut when they really want to speak up. They walk into a room with confidence and knowing their self-worth. They feel a deep sense of belonging and connection to a tribe who understands them, which becomes a foundation for launching their dreams.

Again, this is not a luxury. It is a necessity if we want to create a world where women have the power to change it for the better.

So let’s dance, shall we?

I’m gifting the first 5 people who comment below with a free ticket to one of my Pop Goddess Dance intro classes on Monday 10/17 or 10/24 in NYC.

(There's also an online intro if you can't make it live!)

 

And if you’re not in NYC or Pop-Goddess isn’t your thing, there are other ways I can support your dancing process, so just contact me now with a little bit about your dance story and where you’re feeling stuck and I’ll get back to you asap.

 

to freeing our dancing souls, Jess

just-dance

the bold act of being messy

In a world that demands perfection, it’s a bold act to let yourself be messy. To let yourself express something authentic, versus what you think everyone else wants to see.

 

I could end the post right there, but I’ll share a little story to back it up.

 

In the studio with a private dance client yesterday, I was helping her develop a solo dance piece for our show next week. She had lots of ideas of what she wanted it to look like - there were props, costume pieces, and steps set to the music. But every time she went to dance it, she would stop and think. Something wasn’t flowing.

 

I asked her to think back to a recent dance video she had made - one in which she was moving freely and so like herself.

 

“What compelled you to make that dance video?” I asked.

 

“I was feeling all this sadness and didn’t know where it was coming from... I was craving a space to call home and didn’t know how to find it… so I danced.”

 

And then I asked her to pick a new song, one that spoke to her soul, and to improvise to it from where she was right there in that moment.

 

What happened after was beautiful to watch, vulnerable, and authentic.

 

She decided to scrap the idea of the complicated dance piece because she realized it was mostly driven by her head: by what she THOUGHT would be funny, what she THOUGHT people would want to see.

 

It turns out, what her body and soul wanted to share and express are much different.

 

It takes courage to realize that and even more courage to follow through with it.

 

Because again, there’s so much perfection demanded of us - especially in the dance world. It’s safer to think up something and create calculated movements than it is to move from your truth in the moment, as messy as it might feel.

 

But really, don’t we all want to see what’s real?

 

I know I do.

 

If you do, too, and if you’re in NYC come out to our show next Friday.

 

And if you’re craving support in finding YOUR messy realness in the dance studio, contact me and let’s set up a time to talk to see how I could support you in bringing out your truest self, on and off the dance floor.

 

to the beauty in the mess,

Jess

enough of the mopey energy. we need your creative power.

You can wait for the stars to alignYou can wait for the right kind of sign You can hope and pray for an answer You can tiptoe around like a dancer

But no matter the season or time No matter if you don’t have a dime If there’s something you want to do The power of creation is in YOU.

Because the stars reflect your light The signs show up with your might The answer was in you all along The dancer can choose her song.

- Jess Grippo

.....................

Enough is enough, *|FNAME|*.

It's time to take your power back.

We can't sit around and wait for the answers to appear, for some made-up hero to save us, or for justice to happen by chance.

We need to live by our values.

We need to dance powerfully into our answers.

We need to be clear on who we are and what we desire so that we can start magnetizing dream opportunities, instead of being a victim to things not working out.

Mopey energy attracts mopey things.

You are not the 8th dwarf named Mopey. There are only 7, and they can play happily or grumpily or dope-ily with Snow White in their own fairy tale.

This is your world.

You write the script.

You are a powerful, creative force and we need you to step up your game do what you came here to do.

Create. Dance. Share your gifts. Connect with humanity. Be the change you wish to see in the world. (to quote Ghandi)

If life throws you a crappy situation, or if someone or something doesn't quite work out the way you expected, be angry or upset or whatever you need to be, and then follow it up with gratitude for that lesson. It's there to help you let go of what's not working so that you can hone in on what will work better than you could have ever imagined.

What do you want right now? What do you wish was happening in your life? What's the dream that seems out in the distance?

And the most important question - Who would you need to BE in order to receive all of that?

Be that person now.

..........

If you're ready to reclaim your creative power more fully than ever before and let go of what's been holding you back from your greatness, join me in NYC on July 29th and 30th.

I've created a 2-day experience designed to:

  • strengthen your confidence & self-expression
  • discover the truth & creative solutions inside of you
  • create spontaneous art in community
  • be stretched, challenged, & supported as you move physically, emotionally, & spiritually into higher vibrations and power

Get the details and register here.

with a fire in my belly and a torch in my hand, Jess

Screen Shot 2016-07-08 at 9.55.24 AM

 

p.s. Ever get stuck in wishy-washy energy?  Here's a 2-word mantra to help you get your creative power back:

(I'll be doing more videos like these on Periscope, so be sure to follow me there and on YouTube to catch the recordings.)

don't read this. go dance it out.

JessGrippo_Day1-748-PROOFOn the small chance that you didn't take my advice and you actually did open this blog post, Hello.

 

I'll keep it brief because the main message today is to really get in your body and move - not just talk about it.

 

A slight epiphany occurred yesterday when I realized I had fallen into the mode of talking about dance a lot and facilitating a lot of dance for others, but it had been a loooooong time since I just simply danced it out for myself.

 

The art of “dancing it out” is a practice, just like meditating or writing morning pages. You need to experience it on the regular to get the most benefit from it.

 

I went live on Facebook with an impromptu dance break, and I welcome you to join and watch here if you need some motivation to get moving.

 

(I anticipate more of those coming soon, so friend me on Facebook if we’re not already friendly there!)

 

Go dance and I’ll see you next week!

 

to your movement,

Jess

 

getting back to joy, dance-video style

You’re feeling:

Restless.

Stuck inbetween.

Seeing what needs to change but not quite there yet.

 

So you:

Think about it.

Try to figure it out.

Spend lots of time contemplating what to do next.

 

And then you:

Get frustrated.

Repeat the cycle of feeling restless and stuck.

Get more annoyed with yourself.

 

Does this pattern sound familiar?

I’ve been there in recent weeks and here’s what I had to remember:

 

Making a dance video is more productive than thinking.

 

[Insert your equivalent of dance videos if dance isn’t your thing]

 

Get back to your dance.

Get back to your joy.

Do those things that are just pure silly and fun, and watch it renew your energy.

 

In my experience yesterday, I channeled my restless energy into a going for a run with a mission. A dance video mission:

 

Did the dance video solve all my problems? No. But it did help me constructively move through the pattern I was in that had been making me annoyed and frustrated and suppressing my energy. It got me out of my head, back to my joy, and much more able to handle the other life and work tasks at hand.

 

In short:

The path to feeling renewed, clear and confident is often as simple as making a dance video.

Go do it!

 

To your joy,

Jess

 

p.s. I know it’s not always easy to get back to your joy and your dance alone, which is why I have 2 offerings for you today - 1 is my Dance Into Your Answers workshop, happening next week, all about getting back to your self-expression and physical movement so that you can move into the answers you’ve been craving and feel more purpose in life:danswers

And 2 is Soul Camp happening in August, which I'll be teaching at alongside a roster some of the most amazing and inspiring humans I know. Click through for the details.

soul camp dance

I hope you’ll join me at one or both!

p.p.s. Don’t hesitate to comment below if you have any questions or just want to share something. I like hearing from you. I’m not too busy. You won’t be bothering me. This is my life. Just do it.

run dance video

to a life beyond waiting. (announcing my first book!)

A philosophy I live by, which ties into the founding philosophy of the Creative Fridays blog you’re reading, is this:

Don’t wait for someone to give you permission.

You make your own rules.

You create your life.

(Start with Fridays.)

I started this blog over 4 years ago on a Friday because I was tired of living by someone else’s rules. I wanted to be an artist, a writer. I wanted to dance. I wanted dance to have a more significant role in my life. And I didn’t want to wait until I had saved up money for a 6-month sabbatical, or until I was ready to audition for some kind of dance company, or until I got the stamp of approval of an M.F.A.

 

I wanted to change my life and career.

 

So I started writing and sharing it, as I continued to dance and make dance videos.

 

Fast forward a few years later, and my life had gradually and then fully changed.

But there was still a holding pattern at work beneath the surface.

 

You see, somewhere throughout the last couple of years I pieced together my writing in the form of a book. I knew the title, had the vision of what it would look like, would even tell people about it here and there.

 

But I didn’t do anything with this book for 2 YEARS.

 

I was waiting for the “right” time to release it.

I was waiting til my email list was 5 times the size it is now.

I was waiting til I had the time to create a proper proposal so that I could get a real book deal.

 

All of these reasons are totally valid.

 

But then I stopped waiting.

 

And I decided to put it out there. Self-published. Today. On my 33rd birthday, on a Friday the 13th.

 

I share this with you for 2 reasons.

 

  1. Because you might really love this book - ok, you WILL really love this book - and there’s a way for you get the first chapter for free today AND to pre-order the entire thing.

 

  1. Because I hope you’ll use it as inspiration to stop waiting on whatever YOUR excuses are. Whether it’s a book, a movie script, or a trip to Marrakech, stop waiting and just do it. Take the first step. Be bold. The world needs to hear it if your desire to make it is there.

 

So, back to this book.

 

I wrote this book for the artists trapped inside someone else’s expectations.

 

I wrote this book for the dancers who stopped prematurely or never let themselves start.

 

I wrote this book for you if you want to bring dance back into your life - literally or figuratively.

 

The name of this book is quite simple:

 

DANCE WITH THIS BOOK.

 

Because that’s really what it’s about.

 

It’s not rocket-science. It’s not based on a thesis project or years of research.

 

It is practical, packed with inspirational punch, and designed to get you up off your butt and dancing.

 

It’s designed to be that book that you pick up off the shelf at Barnes & Noble while you’re shopping for a birthday card for your friend’s kid, and it catches your eye and you end up reading it cover to cover as you stand there in the aisle, bursting inside with YES! because it’s exactly what you needed to hear on that day. And you leave Barnes & Noble with a skip in your step, smiling at strangers as you dance with them in your head - or in reality. Because it makes you remember. Who you are. That you are here to dance.

 

You can grab the first chapter and pre-order this book here.

 

$5 gets you the e-book.

$13 gets you the print book.

$33 gets you 3 print books.

 

The prices will go up after today - these are birthday prices on 5/13! - so lock it in if you want it.

 

Bottom line: this book is about reclaiming dance and reclaiming life in YOUR OWN WAY. It’s not about trying to fit into the mold that someone or something else wants you to be.

 

You don’t have to be a “dancer” in the traditional sense to read this and benefit from it. You just have to want something more, a way to express yourself in this world and connect to your body.

 

You might be drawn to specific styles of dance, or you might be drawn to discovering your natural movement.

 

You might want to get back in shape, or maybe you just want to reshape your life and you don’t know where else to start.

 

Perhaps you just want to be more active and feel more joy on a daily basis.

 

Whatever your reasons, you’re here to dance with this book, right?

 

Let’s do it.

 

Get your copy/copies here and I’ll send you your book in August or as soon as it’s ready.

 

to life beyond waiting,

Jess

 

p.s. Although I've been sitting on this book for 2 years, the whole process of deciding to get it out there today happened pretty spontaneously. I don't have a marketing plan, I don't have a fancy new website, I barely even told the people in my life I was doing this until today. If the book excites you, or if you've been getting value from my weekly Creative Fridays notes, please feel free to share this with people in your life and let's spread the love and accessibility of dance to the people who need to hear it.

Link to share: http://eepurl.com/b1xXTP

dance with this book pre order

it’s as simple as making space

Where in your life are you overcomplicating things?  

(or overcomplicanning?)

 

Where are you thinking waaaaaay too much and trying to “figure it out” relentlessly?

 

 

Here's a suggestion -

Just give it some space.

 

The creative process and life and itself is not controlled by you.

 

Your only job is to be the vessel that allows it all to flow through.

 

If you’re feeling stuck, chances are it’s because your overthinking mind is in the way, making it all way too complicated.

 

 

Step away from the struggle.

Look up to the sky.

Make space in your body and in your life.

 

 

It really is that simple.

 

 

Truly and simply,

Jess

 

p.s. This post was inspired by the Dance Your Self class I led last night. I noticed myself quite nervous in the beginning, trying to figure out the best way to lead this group through the experience. Once I let go of those controlling thoughts, I was able to get back to the simplicity of the fact that opening up space for this dance experience was really what it was all about.

Making space for dance. People showing up to be in that space. Some gentle guidance and direction. That’s all. The less I try to control someone else’s experience, the more able they are to create their own experience.

Does this bring up anything for you? Feel free to share in the comment box below. I'd love to hear.

dance yourself

why my program launch failed

So, here’s some honesty:

 

I’ve been planning to start my Thriving Artist’s Program in February with a goal of having 10 people join. You might have seen my emails last week that invited you to apply.

 

Despite doing everything “right” - i.e. writing and sending passion-filled emails, making calls, posting on social media, consulting with my coach, etc, - I had not one person sign up for the program.

 

Zero takers.

 

And honestly, I’m not totally surprised by this outcome.

 

I thought it would be valuable to share with you why the launch “failed,” since I have a feeling it might help you with whatever you might create or contemplate creating this year.

 

(side note: Why did I put “failed” in quotes? Because if I measure success by money or the exact numbers in my goals, it certainly was a failure. But if I look at it through the lens of what I learned from it and how it will shape my future programs and projects, it’s a win. It took me a few days to get past my ego being crushed to come to this conclusion, but it’s true.)

 

Why my program launch failed (and why yours might, too):

 

We could blame it on the seasonal timing - “people are too tapped out after the holidays!”

 

Or we could blame it on Mercury Retrograde - “you’re not supposed to start anything new in Merc Retro!”

 

But regardless of those factors, here’s the bottom line for me:

 

My head wanted it more than my heart.

 

Now, I’m NOT saying that my heart doesn’t love the work I do - because believe me, I wouldn’t be consistently doing it for the last 4 years if that wasn’t the case. It’s just that my heart, my body, and my soul, have all been sending me messages that it’s time to slow down, make a shift and change things up. (If you remember my post from a few weeks ago about throwing out all my 2016 plans, you’ll know what I mean!)

 

My head, though, was like: “Yea, I hear you, but the December Showcase was such a success! You’ve been doing this program for years and it’s already planned so just go with it.”

 

I was fearful that if I didn’t do it, I wouldn’t know what else to do in its place, or that I wouldn’t have another way of bringing in income.

 

Meanwhile, the process felt a bit rushed to me, and when I didn’t get the response I expected, it confirmed that something was out of alignment.

 

So here’s what I learned:

 

  1. Don’t be afraid to be in the darkness for awhile. Or a while longer. Sometimes clarity can only come from that empty space, and if you force something too soon, things will break down. (And that breakdown includes your body. Not a coincidence that I came down with a nasty cough and cold the day after coming to this realization.)

  2. It’s best to take action when you feel in full alignment with the timing and the cause. Your efforts will be so much more successful if you are 100% committed and in it.

  3. And, despite knowing all that, sometimes you gotta mess up anyway. It’s ok if something “fails” because there’s always something new to learn and a new direction you can take.

 

What I’m doing about it (and how you can partake):

 

I’ve decided to put the Thriving Artist’s Program on hold for now. In the meantime, I’m creating shorter, more bite-sized experiences that will allow me to continue to be of service, and also give me spaciousness in the process of reinventing myself and what I’m creating.

 

It’s a win-win!

 

If you can relate or are just digging all this honesty, let’s keep the conversation going!

I invite you to join me for this bite-sized experience of big-time impact:

 

dance answersOn February 3rd at 7:30pm EST, I’m hosting a free “dance-inar” (not a webinar) called,

 

DANCE INTO THE ANSWERS.

 

I’m sensing many of you are also in a place of questioning aspects of your lives.

 

This online event is about saying YES to that part of yourself that craves a paradigm shift, that knows there’s something else out there for you, even if you’re scared or uncertain about the future. I don’t know the exact answers, but I do know that we can create possibilities together.

 

I’ll guide you through some dancing, inner reflection, and a body-based process for accessing your truth.

 

Join here.

 

It’s hosted via video, so you can join from wherever.

It’s recorded in case you can’t make it live.

It gives you an opportunity to dance, do some soul searching, and receive guidance, clarity, and support.

 

[button link="http://eepurl.com/bNKlWP" color="aqua" window="yes"]Sign up here.[/button]

 

I’m really excited to connect with you in new ways this year and I hope you’ll join me for this!

 

Remember:

When all else fails, dance it out.

 

wishing you peace, trust, and power,

Jess

p.s. for all you NYC locals, I also just started up a dance group on Meetup.com! Click here to join the dance meetup and stay updated on the dance-related events I’ll be hosting this year.

wecandance

the most terrifying creative thing I’ve done

Photo Dec 04, 5 42 28 PM

I saw this audition notice for the Dirty Dancing musical on Friday night, right before our You Can Dance Again rehearsal (which, by the way, was at a different location than where we usually are, so I could easily never had seen it).

 

My heart leaped and I said YES in that moment. I was going to go! It was only a few days away on Monday morning, at a time that I could make work.

 

And then hours later I came up with all the reasons why I wouldn’t go:

 

  • It was a cattle call, there will be hundreds of dancers there, and it won’t matter if I show up or not.

  • I’m pre-menstrual and my boobs are too bloated.

  • I’m not prepared enough and won’t have a chance to take jazz class a million times before it.

  • My dance clothes are too schlubby.

  • I have no experience at auditions like this.

  • I’m too old. 32 is “over the hill” in dancer years.

 

I was pretty convinced I wasn’t going to go and “waste” my Monday morning. A couple of close friends encouraged me, but I still wasn’t going to go.

I thought I was being realistic, but actually I was terrified of going. Because deep down, I really wanted to.

 

Then a phone call happened that changed everything. Fred Steinmann, an astrologer and intuitive guide who I had met over a year ago at an artsy networking event, had been reaching out here and there to lend some advice from the stars. He was always really encouraging and supportive of my dancing pursuits, and so I had forwarded him the audition notice photo on Friday.

 

He called me and strongly urged me to go. He sensed that I was doubting myself and about to give up on my “dream.” He shared some pieces of my astrology that made sense. And then he said, “Ya know, I’ve been feeling called to tell you to read The Alchemist…”

 

WHAT?! I stopped him right there and explained that just 2 weeks ago, I picked up a copy that someone was giving away on the street, and re-read it right away. It had re-inspired me and set off a chain of uncanny events (that I’ll share another time, because this post is already long).

 

“Yes,” he continued, “it’s like you’re following your Personal Legend and you’re at the moment that you’re about to give up, and I’m giving you the sign to keep going.”

 

That was all I needed to hear. I changed my mentality from, “I can’t go, because I’m not perfect,” to “I must go because I felt the initial calling and there’s some reason I need to be there.”

 

Maybe the reason had nothing to do with the audition itself. I just needed to make the journey.

 

This shifted everything for me -

 

I drove home on Sunday after a day of family visits in NJ while “I’ve Had the Time of My Life” played on the radio. I made a pact with myself to go to that audition as ME. The me who didn’t spend all weekend preparing, the me with PMS and the same dance clothes I’ve had for years, the me who quit dance as a career when I was 19 but was now 32 and about to step into an audition room anyway.

 

I got back to Brooklyn in time to get into the YMCA in the last hour before they closed. In the empty yoga studio, half-lit with rows of spin bikes to my left, I danced it out to “Stay….just a little bit long-er...” (from the Dirty Dancing soundtrack) and got pumped to show up the next morning.

Audition Day

 

The alarm went off at 6:00am. I turned my head to the right to dismantle it and then quickly turned left to get back to the dream I was having. A few minutes later the same thing happened until I realized that it was time to rise. The day of the Dirty Dancing audition had arrived.

 

[Shit. I’m really doing this.]

 File Dec 11, 11 00 14 AM

I got dressed, finished packing up my dance bag, and walked to the subway before dawn.

 

Pearl Studios doesn’t open til 8, but I got there at 7:30am to sign my name on the Dirty Dancing Open Call list - I was number 7.

 

After eating breakfast in a crowded Starbucks next to a group of chipper young dancers who were obviously regulars to this kind of audition scene (cue all my insecurities), I walked into the waiting area studio and put my stuff down in the corner space.

 

My brain started going into comparison mode…

 

“They are all so young and do this all the time.”

“She has a really cute leotard.”

“Why isn’t anyone warming up yet?”

 

And then I got back to myself. Reminding myself that I deserve a place here just as much as anyone else.

 

The room filled up with more and more dancers as we got closer to 10am. The girl sitting across from me with blonde curls and minimal make-up (like me) was reading Amy Poehler’s book “Yes, Please” and wearing colorful leg warmers. I liked her already. So I let her know “I love your legwarmers.”

 

I then asked her, “So, do you go to these auditions all the time?”

 

“Actually,” she said, “this is my first audition back in 10 years. I just started taking classes again recently because I just really missed dancing.”

 

My heart expanded and my whole body found more ease.

I told her a bit about my story of returning to dance after years away from it and the You Can Dance Again group I created. We smiled, we laughed, we connected. And we walked into that audition room together with the first group of about 30 dancers.

 

The casting director started reading names from the stack of resumes she held, confirming we were in fact in the room.

 

“Jessie Grippo?”

 

“Here!” I said, feeling comforted and surprised when she called me what my family calls me, “Jessie,” instead of “Jess” which is actually printed on the resume.

 

Then David the choreographer introduced himself and took over. He let us know that they really wanted to see our unique expression and flair - it wasn’t about getting the steps perfectly.

 

[!!!]

 

The song we were dancing to was “Stay” from Dirty Dancing - the same song I had danced to the night before, by myself in the YMCA yoga studio.

 

As he guided us through learning the moves, he kept shouting “DANCE IT OUT!” - another moment of comfort and surprise. He was speaking my language.

 

And I did it. I danced my heart out. I danced like I’ve been dancing for years, as if all the practice I had put in, every single dance video, had been preparing me for this moment without realizing it.

 

Once I had finished dancing in the smaller groups of 4 they broke us into, I felt relieved and actually really proud. It was another contrast to how I might have felt years ago - i.e. mad at myself for not nailing every single step or comparing myself to all the other dancers.

 

I didn’t get all the choreography right. I didn’t do it perfectly. But I danced it out fully and showed up as myself, wild hair and all.

 

On the way out of the room, I shook hands with the choreographer and casting director and thanked them deeply.

 

Then something happened that I didn’t expect - The tattooed guy who had been working the music walked by me and said, “I really liked what you did out there.”

 

“Really?!” I asked, totally shocked that someone had noticed me.

 

We conversed a bit in the hallway and I told him how it was my first audition ever of this nature. He shared some of the “inside scoop” with me - apparently the casting director and choreographer had noticed me, too.

 

I was floored and almost started balling crying in that moment.

 

I honestly didn’t need the validation to feel good about myself. I was already in a state of being proud that I had showed up and danced and had made a new friend. But this added piece of info definitely added an extra boost of satisfaction.

After years of “doing my own thing” with dance, I had an experience in the “real” dance world - the dance world that I’ve feared and resented for years - that made me feel like being me was good enough.

 

I’m not sure what will happen from here, but I am so so grateful that I decided to show up for the thing that scared me the most.

 

And I am even more grateful for the people in my life who gave me the nudge to not back away, because without them, I certainly wouldn’t have followed through:

Sometimes we need a metaphorical Patrick Swayze to remind us that Nobody puts Baby in the corner.

 

So, if you don’t have anyone in your life reminding you to step forward, speak your truth, do your dance, or try something new, let me be the one.

 

Dance it out. The world needs you to.

 

You might fail, you might succeed, but what’s most important is that you dare to try.

 

Curious to hear what this brings up for you - so please leave a comment below and let me know.

 

to having the time of your life,

Jess

 

p.s. Thought it was important to mention that a few years ago I did skip an audition. My “dream” and desires were different then, as was my level of confidence and experience. It was more important for me then to really focus on the creative work I was building on my own. I was happy to make the decision to say no. This time it was different.

So all that to say - be true to yourself in what you really want to go for. Don’t go to the Broadway audition if it’s part of an old, stale dream you think you “should” pursue. But by all means, go if it is what most lights you up.

if you're feeling a bit lost...

 “i want to put together a plan, but cant bring myself to do it. whats wrong with me?  

i'm feeling a bit lost. 

i want to share myself with the world but i don't know what to share. 

are the videos i made dumb? 

am i becoming narcissistic?

or was i always and just repressed it?”

 

I wrote that 6 years ago.

 

If I could’ve responded to myself then from the place I’m in now, here’s what I’d say -

(and here’s what I’d say to you, if you have been feeling similar things about your own process) -

 

at soul camp west wonder valleyIf you can’t think of the plan yet, it’s because it’s beyond what you even think is possible.

Stop trying to make it happen in your mind, and instead take one step.

The more you dance through life, the more your path will organically unfold and reveal the answers to all the questions you’ve been struggling with.

 

Share the simplest thing.

Don’t try to share the best thing, or the most creative thing, or the thing that will get you a thousand likes on Facebook. Just share an honest piece of you and trust that your desire to share it is the only excuse you need. Trust that it will reach who it’s meant to. Trust that it’s leading you to something.

 

The videos you made are not dumb. They might not be the best quality or most popular creations ever, but they communicate something. They are stepping stones. They are part of your process. Keep making them. Keep sharing them. Without practice, nothing will happen. The practice of making them is your meditation.

 

Just because you want to share something that happens to involve you and your self-expression, it doesn’t make you narcissistic. You can share yourself and still stay humble. The way you do that is by staying connected to the message behind what you’re sharing and your highest and most sacred intentions.

 

Your boldness, your expression, the joy you share, will inspire someone else to be bold, express something, and feel joy.

That is healing in action. Think about the artists you love and who inspire you - how empty would life be if they chose to keep themselves hidden?

 

The only thing you’re repressing is the possibility for more healing, more joy, more creation. It’s not up to you to stop those things from flowing. Be the vessel, be the channel, and let creativity dance through you.

 

One day you’ll look back at this place and wonder why you worried so much.

Don’t wait til that day to give yourself the love and encouragement that you truly deserve.

 

You got this.

 

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leaving soul camp westI write this from the airplane returning from California, after teaching at Soul Camp West.

 

It’s not that I have it “all figured out” now - in fact, there are still so many questions and unknowns in my life.

 

What inspired me to write this is the perspective I now have.

 

It’s easy to be hard on yourself and think that you should be farther along than you are, or that you should have certain aspects of your life in perfect order. It’s easy to forget how far you’ve actually come.

 

Teaching at Soul Camp was a reminder for me. I got to facilitate dance for groups of people. I got to perform. I got to be seen as who I really am. I got to make connections with amazing humans. I got to live in between mountains for a few days.

 

I don’t know exactly what will come next, but I do know that if I hadn’t been posting my dance videos for the past 6 years, I probably wouldn’t have gotten these opportunities.

 

Ali & Michelle, the founders of Soul Camp, spoke at the closing ceremony when we were all circled up around the bon fire. Ali spoke about how she never imagined she would be standing there (in a unicorn costume!) doing what she was doing. She talked honestly about feeling lost in the past and struggling with what to do, reminding everyone that it’s totally normal and ok to not know. To keep going. To be led.

 

And I pass on the same wisdom to you.

 

Take time today to love your process.

Let go of the mental need to figure it all out right now.

And instead, just be in the now and express something that’s in you.

soul camp dance

 

Step by step, with time, your wildest dreams will be revealed.

 

in love and loving you,

Jess

 

A video posted by jess grippo (@jessgrippo) on