I was late. 

I had forgotten something before the Nia class and had to return home. When I finally got to class, the room was full and I could just slide into a space near the door. I mumbled my apologies to those around me as everyone adjusted to fit me in the room.

In front of me was a dancer I had seen in class before, but we usually were on opposite ends of the room. I always admired her energy and commitment and was excited to get the chance to feel that energy.

As class got started, we warmed up and I observed the dancer in front me. She was fully committed to the movement and the thought hit me, 

“She owns the space she’s in.”

She wasn’t taking up more space than anyone else. She wasn’t shirking from her space. She was commanding the space and bringing her full energy to it.

It was such a simple revelation, but so powerful.

My entire life, I have essentially apologized for taking up space.

I always thought in terms of someone else being the better friend, the better student, the better dancer, the better athlete, the better… and then I feel I need to apologize for even trying.

But, there is no perfect, or right way. It is just about shining brighter so that everyone else could shine brighter too.

What struck me about the dancer that day was how much her energy lifted me.

That moment was a huge paradigm shift.

I used to think that only one person could shine and that one wasn’t me. If I did, that meant I was taking it away from someone else.

As this revelation washed over me, I thought,

 “Yes! Let’s do this.”

I brought my full energy to class that day. I made my arms fly in the air, I smiled, I laughed, shook my hips like I was 18. And you know what? It was the MOST FUN I’ve had in class in a long time. Maybe ever.

I let go of the, ‘what if I look stupid’, “what if I’m not doing it right” and I realized that was completely beside the point. The point is to be present, bring my energy and in turn, help lift everyone around by just being fully THERE.

The energy in the room was powerful that day. Not because of one person, but because of many. I know the saying that we are all here for a reason, but that day I felt it. When we all own the space we are in, everyone benefits.

“A rising tide lifts all boats.”

I get it now.