Many productivity experts advise against checking your emails first thing in the morning.
And I usually don’t. I get up, stretch, meditate, journal, and make my way to the kitchen for my morning coffee. But that morning, I couldn’t help myself. See, it was a week since I sent my application to speak on a TEDx event, and that morning I was supposed to get the results.
So, the alarms go off and I reach for my phone resting calmly by my nightstand. I check my emails. Nothing. I refresh, just to make sure. Nothing. My body felt heavy and my mood was grey. I dragged myself to the kitchen and started the coffee, feeling like a failure.
I already had made the scenario in my head that my idea was stupid, who did I think I was to speak at a TEDx event, I wasn’t good enough, and why on earth would they pick my idea? And then my phone makes the “blink” sound. It was an email with the subject line: “Congratulations you will be a TEDx Speaker.”
Have you ever been in a situation where you receive really, really good news, but you can’t fully be happy because there is a part of you wondering: “Where is the catch?”
After I realized that the email was legit, I decided to sip my coffee while working on my TEDx talk.
I sat at my desk, made sure I had my favorite pen to write, my coffee was at the right temperature, there was enough light coming through the window. Five hours later, I was still sitting by my desk, with my favorite pen in hand, staring at a blank page. I had nothing. No inspiration, no ideas on how to begin, nothing.
There was the catch I thought.
I had to write my TED talk, and I had nothing. I realized that sitting there, staring at a blank page isn’t helping so I decided to move. I put on music and began moving to it. A couple of hours later I had the outline of my talk. What happened?
What had changed? I became curious and started looking for answers.
I found the ancient practice of Trance Dance.
It’s practiced by Shamans who use it as a healing tool, and its tools are found within a variety of ancient cultures, such as the Minoans, a civilization that flourished in 2000 BC on the island of Crete, Greece. The Minoans made a significant contribution to the development of Western European civilization as it is known today.
Okay with the myths and the mysticism, is there any science behind trance dance? What I found is that the combination of drum, breath, and movement, alters our brainwaves from Beta, which is the cycle of our daily activity and cognitive thought, into a relaxed Alpha and eventually into the trance state of Theta.
The repetitive drum beat covers all the other stimulus and sensory input, it blocks out the usual brain chatter and causes the emotional and intuitive processes of the mid-brain to come to the foreground. This induces trance and awakens non-linear creativity.
After I had the theory down, I began practicing trance dance with others.
I mean, it worked on me, but will other people experience similar results? I started using it with my clients who wanted to find their authentic voice: Public speakers, writers, and other creatives. The results were mind-blowing!
What is unique about this approach is that it helps you connect with who you truly are and by doing that you automatically have access to your creativity. Consider this practice as your meditation in motion that leads you back home to yourself. I recommend finding a class in your area if you’re trying it for the first time. Then you can follow the process described below, by yourself at home.
It is important to listen to your body and be aware of any medical conditions that could make trance dance not ideal for you. Please consult your physician if you have any of the following: epilepsy, cardiovascular problems, psychotic disorders, motion sickness, acute inner ear sensitivity, or if you are taking medication that makes you dizzy or nauseous.
Now, if you want to try it on your own:
- Find a quiet place where you can be alone for 30 minutes undisturbed.
- Put on loose clothes, light a candle, and find tribal drumming music (on YouTube).
- Set your intention for your practice and write it down on a piece of paper (keep it handy for later).
- Allow your body to guide you, don’t force movement, just let it happen.
- After about 20 minutes of trance dancing, take a deep breath through the nose and exhale through the mouth. Take the paper from earlier and write everything that comes to mind.
The most important thing I can tell you about how to trance dance is that it is a matter of trusting the process, of just doing it and allowing your intuition to move your body, causing you to awaken a full and whole sense of who you truly are.
Consider this practice as your meditation in motion that leads you back home to yourself, which will inevitably lead to even more authentic public speaking.