I was hesitant going into the Empowerment Weekend because I was not sure it was “for me.” While I love going to Oula class and had been attending regularly, a series of events had interrupted this. Plus, I am not interested in becoming an instructor. Most of the people attending were planning to at least consider becoming an instructor. Despite several people telling me that the weekend was not just for those interested in instructing, I was surprised to learn we were all assigned to lead a dance. This is when I gulped and wondered what I had gotten myself into!?!!
I reached out to the training team to ask if I perhaps could skip the part where I led my own song. To quote the eloquent training team, "the exercise of leading a song on Sunday is much less about practicing teaching, and much more about stepping out of one's comfort zone and into your power. It's about taking up space and using your voice. And while we would never force someone to participate in this if they did not want to, we have seen time and again how powerful and beneficial this is and how it can be applied to other areas of our lives.” Well, geez, how could I say no to growing and changing? How could I say no to facing something hard and scary with a group of people who are also facing something? We all know that facing something challenging individually, while with a group, bonds you with that group and allows for discussion of the shared experience. Who am I to say no to this?
So, I said yes. I figured that saying yes and being open to a new and somewhat scary experience would provide me with an opportunity to grow and share with the group. Nearly three weeks later, I am still feeling empowered by the incredible weekend. I feel empowered not just because I stood in front of people and danced, but because of what doing that meant for me. I am someone who works hard and has high expectations for myself, often avoiding things that I am not good at. I love coming to Oula class because I love being free of my perfectionist side. I love dancing freely, and, well, badly—going the wrong way, forgetting the moves, freestyling. :) I was afraid that learning the dance and working hard to “make it right” would change the feeling that Oula gives me. I did not want Oula to be another place where I had to be perfect. Oula is where I go to be free.
Well, nearly three weeks later, I now feel free in a lot more places. It has taken some time and reflection to put into words what empowerment means to me. It means feeling settled in a way such that I can feel and believe in my strength. It means trusting myself and my decisions. It means having the ability to exist in the present, even when things are unsettled. Life has ups and downs, times that are harder than other times, but now I am living every day in the empowered space that I grew into during my Oula weekend.
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