We’ve all been to a wedding, party or some type of banquet with a dance floor. If you’re like me, sometimes you feel like dancing when your favorite song is on, but the second “Wake me up before you go go” comes on you make a bee-line for the buffet. I think the best part about these kinds of events is watching how people react to the opportunity to bust a move.
We’ve all spotted the same characters at some point or another:
– The people who will always flat out refuse to get out there and dance, no matter how much fun everyone else is having. Their response to an invitation to dance is usually something like, “I just don’t want to, now leave me alone.” At times is seems painful for them to even entertain the idea that moving to the music could be enjoyable.
– The bridesmaid who is having a great time and then decides to make it her mission in life to get as many people as possible on the dance floor. This girl is usually up against some major resistance, tension and usually ends up managing to drag her boyfriend out for an awkward 8th grade style slow dance.
– The guy you WISH wouldn’t dance because despite evidence to the contrary, he insists that he CAN do the moonwalk just like Michael Jackson.
– The person who just seems to float across the dance floor with ease. They can find a way to move and enjoy every song that comes up, with a smile on her face and an open invitation for others to join her if they wish, but no pressure.
Watching people on the dance floor is a great way to learn about the body and human behavior. Like public speaking, the thought alone of approaching the dance floor can get a person sweating and even bring up so much tension to trigger a full-on fight or flight response. And what’s fascinating is that for most people it’s not a black or white thing. Why do some people sometimes enjoy free flowing to the music but other times fail to feel the beat? And why for some is it never an option to enjoy a lighthearted dance and laugh with good company? Is it shyness? Is it fear of embarrassment? Is it a lack of self-confidence? Could the dance floor be an analogy to life? A place where your past experiences shape your behavior? A person’s willingness to move out onto the dance floor can be multifactorial. It may depend on the song, the time of day, the people sitting at their table, or even what happened to them earlier in the day. Could it even depend on their experiences while still in the womb and on their birth day?
Think now of your child’s birth. Did you feel comfortable on the dance floor? What kind of “music” is playing? Is the DJ switching the discs from a nice easy, “You are my sunshine” to Metallica every few moments? Are you, baby, partner, provider and other companions dancing together in a free-flowing, feel-good way or is someone pulling away to get the heck off this crazy dance floor while another is insisting that everyone do the hokey pokey?
What did your birthing day feel like? A nice slow dance with love and smiles or an out of control mosh pit with people smashing into each other? It is important (and sometimes overwhelming) to recognize and understand that all these kinds of metaphors not only reflect the emotional qualities that colored the day your baby came into the world, but also impact how they will grow, develop and respond to situations in their life.
Now, none of these things are 100% and I don’t mean to make any huge generalizations, but the circumstances surrounding birth matter!
Here’s another way to think about it. Like the people who just won’t dance, have you ever said, “Oh I just don’t like THAT.” Or “ “THAT” really freaks me out. It always has and nothing’s gonna change that.” Anytime you “know” you don’t or won’t like something, it is based on past experiences shaping your expectations. Is it possible those expectations were established before your were born or on your birthday? It is well documented the ways in which pregnancy, birth and postpartum experiences prime the nervous system and determine how genes express shapes how the individual perceives and responds to their environment.
Whether a baby experienced birth as a “You Are My Sunshine” kind of experience or not, birth introduces a significant change into a baby’s environment which takes a lot of energy to adapt to. Many people ask me when this conversation is flowing, “So, what can I do to help my child?” There is not one magic answer, but I suggest beginning with the acknowledgment that you can pay attention to the experiences shared with your child, and move forward in ways that promote integration of new surroundings and support lifelong development and learning.
There is A LOT parents can do to help a child ease into this crazy world. All babies can benefit from Meaningful Moves™ but if any aspect of your pregnancy or birth resembled a mosh pit, you may want to spend some extra time and energy helping your precious little one integrate all of those experiences!
Here are my top 3 techniques…
Even if your birthing day wasn’t a mosh pit these exercises are fantastic ways to enhance bonding between you and your baby.
Hug your baby with intention and purpose. Bringing your baby into a nice fetal position close to you, take a deep belly breath in as your belly comes out into the baby’s body and as you exhale say, “I love you.” You can say the word out loud quietly or just think it and send the loving energy toward your baby. Allow your exhale to melt the two of you together as your hug gets a bit tighter. Allow your hug to loosen as you inhale. On the next breathe say, “I am sorry.” And again feel the two of you melt together. Continue breathing long deep belly breaths and forming messages of love, bonding, healing and acknowledgement toward your baby. You can do this with an older child as well, lying next to them as they fall asleep. The words you choose may be different each time you and your baby do this exercise or they may be the same. Trust yourself and know that the words that come to your mind are the words that you need. Let yourself feel the emotions of the bonding time and if you begin to cry just keep baby close and continue your inhale and exhale with the hugs. You can do this exercise for a few breaths or for several minutes depending on what you and your baby need that day.
Incorporate Meaningful Moves™ into your daily life. The “I Love You Hugs” introduce movements from extension to flexion, helping baby move through difficult experiences by resolving the conditioned tension and fear response to new situations. It helps a person feel, from a deep body knowing level, that they are safe and can experience the world of exciting possibilities with confidence. The “I Love You Hugs” can be done with older children as well and even done by adults either lying on the floor or standing. No matter how big or small, this exercise can help you organize your mind and body in a safe way.
Watch and do “The Squeezes” video below with your baby. This Meaningful Move helps the body organize information from the world and creates a sense of boundary in the body, which teaches the child where they are in space and helps them confidently explore the world around them. This confidence sets the stage for easy exploration and learning as a person grows. This exercise is so calming and soothing and can be done with babies, older children, and adults. Incorporating “The Squeezes” into your daily routine with your family can help create a much calmer and organized environment for you all to grow together as a loving family.
These exercises are all part of the Meaningful Moves™ program designed to help parents and babies develop daily activities that can help enhance development. If you have any concerns or feel that you need guidance consider attending a 2 hour Meaningful Moves™ workshop or scheduling a private session with me. For more information visit http://naturalbeginningsnj.com/nbnj/meaningful-moves/
I hope you enjoy the new video and find new ways to integrate these great exercises into your daily routine with your family.
Please let me know your thoughts on this post in the space below! I would love to know how I can help you and your family…