Dancing Blind Taught Me To Be Present

Posted November 20, 2013 by Rebecca Niziol in Life After Five
dance blind

A few years ago I had this hilarious moment right before a show. I was in the dressing room getting ready, and the eye-lash curler decided to attack my contact lens. My contact lost the fight, which meant it was 10 minutes to the curtain call and I was without vision in my left eye. And I’m not one of those people who sort of/kind of needs contacts. No, I’m pretty much blind.

I had two choices:

  1. I could freak out. (This probably wouldn’t have done much good, since I was in every single piece. And there’s no way in 10 minutes my solos and duets could be re-choreographed. Therefore this option was vetoed.)
  2. I could dance blind. (This is what I decided to go with.)

Since wearing one contact made me dizzy, I ditched the other… and boldly walked on stage with the vision of a Texas Blind Salamander (which are born with no eyes).

It was one of the most interesting experiences of my life. It required me to be totally present, all other senses heightened to an extreme. Sure, I was afraid that I was going to leap right off the front of the stage. I had to stay in the moment. And it produced something wonderful, something that could never be repeated.

And isn’t that what each moment is like? An instance, a blip of life that we never get back. We don’t always get a dress rehearsal or repeat performance. We get right here right now. Life is just going to keep happening, whether or not you’ve got your vision quite straight.

It requires you to be present to whatever is happening, and to accept it as a perfect challenge. Did I really want to dance a 50-minute performance blind? Of course not! I felt like a fool. It was tough, and I’m pretty sure I whacked my partners in the face at least a couple times. At some point about half way through the performance I let go, embraced my compromised vision, and flowed and lived my way into the rest of the show.

Funny enough, I got rave reviews for that performance:

“You were so raw!”

“I’ve never seen you dance that soulfully.”

“You had this sense of freedom that was captivating.”

In life, it’s not often as literal as a contact falling out. Yet, we do struggle with being in the present moment and seeing things with clarity. We’re dragged down by the past, busied with the tasks of every day life, and fearful of what the future holds for us. And somewhere in the middle of that we stop being in the moment. We lose sight of what we’re here for.

If we’re not existing in the present, we’re not really here. When you need to get back into the moment, use these 3 simple tools. They work every single time.

  1. Slow down. When we’re rushing around, racing from accomplishment to accomplishment we miss out on enjoying the moment. It’s easy to get focused on the future, and everything that needs to be done. But if you’re constantly living in that state, when will you ever get to the point where you are present or it’s good enough? You won’t… so choose to slow down and be present now.
  2. Breathe. There’s a whole faction (or limb) of yoga dedicated to it… Pranayama. Taking just 3 slow breathes in and out through your nose, can have a dramatic effect on your nervous system and stress response. When you focus on your breath, you are always present, feeling the breath flow in and out in that very moment.
  3. Observe. When you move into the role of observing everything around you, you’ll tune in on a deeper level. You’ll start to notice the things that you missed while running on auto-pilot. Open your eyes, ears, and heart to what’s happening inside and all around you.

About the Author

Rebecca Niziol

Rebecca Niziol, ELI-MP, is many things: a life coach, yoga teacher, dancer, event planner, connection catalyst, and your new best friend. Her mission is to empower others to live the authentic life of their dreams. After years of traveling North America and Europe, she is happy to have found a home and community in Chicago.