In her great book, The Creative Habit, Twyla Tharp talks about her morning ritual which she uses to kick start her day. For her, this starts at 5.30am when she dresses to go to the gym for two hours. She says, “My morning workout ritual is the most basic form of self-reliance; it reminds me that, when all else fails, I can at least depend on myself.”
I am not a gym bunny so I won’t be adding a couple of hours of pumping iron to my routine, but I still have a few morning rituals which get me into the day. My first, I will admit, is making a cup of tea. Come on, I’m British, what else did you expect?!
Another is to play 4 tracks which comprise my Morning Playlist. These are pieces of music deliberately chosen to enhance my mood and get me fully into the day. (And it is no coincidence that 3 of the tracks are related to dance!). They work as pieces of music in themselves, and also for the associated memories they have for me.
1. No 14 Vocalise:
The first track is lyrical, slow and meditative to ease me into the day. Although it is a classical piece, I associate it with the Argentine tango.
One of the Holy Grails we chase when we dance is the “tango moment”. It is that moment when the two dancers are completely in sync, with each other and the music. It is the moment when anything could happen and whatever happens is perfect. In other arenas, it is the concept of being in the flow. I understood this intellectually, but the first time I experienced it was dancing to this track. It is the moment I always strive for both in dance and in coaching.
2. Waterloo Sunset:
My story associated with this song is something I have already written about. I use the song now for any goal I am working towards. It keeps me focussed and reminds me of all the times before when I have had a big vision and have succeeded in reaching it.
3. Desda El Alma:
Back to tango and there is a tradition that if you are at a milonga on your birthday, you have a birthday vals. You stand in the middle of the dance floor and all the people who want to dance with you line up and each of them dances a few bars with you. This is the track which was played on the occasion when I had 4 partners for my birthday vals. One was a professional tango dancer who regularly appears in West End shows; another was a professional contemporary dancer who has appeared with major dance companies in Europe; another was a tango teacher who was also trained at the Royal Ballet; and the fourth was an Argentinean who has choreographed and danced in most of the major tango shows worldwide in the past 30 years. So no pressure then. It was another tango moment and reminds me of the joy of collaboration.
This reminds me of a great evening I once spent dancing with good friends with whom I worked in theatre. It is a great “feel good” track and gives me energy for the day. If I need an added boost to my day, it is also the track I put on to dance around my office!
So what morning rituals do you have / could you begin, to kick start your day?
If this has struck a chord with you and you want to find out if coaching will support you, check out how we could work together and get in touch.