I think I’m good at processing, but horrible at reflection. I love thinking through things that have to do with acts of the past and choices in front me (processing). However, thinking and talking only about what has happened (reflecting) for any extended time makes me anxious about whether what has happened was good or not. Did I do my best? Where did I fail? These kinds of questions flood my mind. Reflecting on my own actions can bring up all the high-achieving, self-condemning, perfectionist tendencies that I’ve been working to interrupt these past few years.
On the other side of this coin is a personal desire to not become self-important. I do a lot of work, but don’t count it any more important than someone else’s. I try not to give my work any more importance than is actually warranted. Admittedly, I may not be the best judge of what is warranted.
All of this is difficult in a world that requires folks working in the public sphere to keep telling people about what they are doing, or be relegated to the dark corners of public consciousness. However, for the sake of sharing some amazing moments with you, I am endeavoring to reflect upon 2021…and not sound too self-important.
To do this well, I must begin a little further back. Since hitting my wall in the fall of 2019 I’ve been on a very conscious journey towards something new. Something I can’t see completely, but is different than what was before. There has been inquiry, pain, and healing in the process. I have not been in control of the healing itself, but have made concentrated choices to attempt to aid the process. Looking back on the year, it has been amazing to see what has happened.
It began with God.
This past year has seen amazing renewals in all the relationships in my life – everything that broke when I hit my wall. The renewals began with my relationship with God. As many of you know, I’ve been a professing Christian for a very long time. My relationship with God has been central to my life. However, I’ve learned that, in the past, this central and personal relationship has been mediated through other things – work, family, and friendships for example. This has been changing. My relationship with God feels completely different – much more personal. We spend time, speak, and interact together in very different ways than before. We keep each other’s company and share about the mundane and the extravagant with equal awe and wonder. I have new language and activities with which to explore and experience this central relationship.
It continued with people.
I found new communities! This was huge for me – having almost every prior relationship connected to my work/career in some way. To find people that I enjoy and trust who are not related to work has been amazing. In a rather short time, we have committed to sharing our lives with one another, and have seen the fruits of that commitment. I’ve connected with the new artists in meaningful ways as well. I am part of a small collective of artists that meets regularly to discuss our respective journeys. While sharing our lives is the core purpose of these gatherings, we are already buzzing with collaboration ideas. I guess artists can’t but help thinking about making things.
I have also found myself in an amazing personal relationship. I don’t often talk about this area of my life publicly. I’ve had my fair share of challenges. But, for the sake of those similarly challenged, I’m sharing this here. After all but giving up, I have found myself in a relationship that feels healthy for all aspects of my inner person. She is a gift that I am very grateful for. Maybe one day I’ll post a picture of the two of us on social media…maybe.
Finally, my folks and I are reunited. After spending more than 3 years essentially apart, my parents and I are back within consistent hugging distance of each other. It is wonderful. My parents have always been an integral and supportive part of my journey. We’ve had our share of challenges, but I’m excited to have them close again. We’re all settling into new rhythms of life, and those rhythms are quite funky! (That’s a good thing)
It is finishing with the work.
The past year has been an interesting journey as I worked to reinvent my work life. I’ve been pulling from my multitude of interests and pursuits in an ever-changing landscape. Since graduating college, I’ve always been involved in many projects. But I always had a primary focus – Savion Glover’s TiDii, Cats Paying Dues, Graffiti Church, or the Vancouver Tap Dance Society, for example. For the first time in 20 years I was completely free to experiment, and I did.
The year began with two residencies – InBreak and The Dream Forum – both rooted in envisioning the future, both challenging my thinking and encouraging my growth. What We Leave Behind, a project exploring the ideas of choice, impact, and change came out of the InBreak residency, while the Dream Forum gave form to the dream of Nuach.
I continued work on the development of my tap dance teaching and coaching work, launching a series of online courses – Tap Roots, Tap Dance Freedom, The Method, and PlayTime. I tested the material out at in-person workshops, teaching for Riff Dallas, Dance Life Teachers Conference, and the Idaho Dance Education Organization. I had the opportunity to work with some amazing professional and pre-professional dancers through one-on-one coaching as well. As I continue to focus on my teaching work, I’m excited to announce that I have joined the National Dance Educators Organization as a professional member!
New to my work has been partnering with organizations to host screenings of my documentary short film, Identity. I was excited to partner with Regent College, Brentwood Presbyterian Church, Forefront Festival, and local small groups to use the film as a catalyst for conversations around identity formation.
Lastly, after a few false starts, I have locked into a good and sustainable writing practice. Thanks in large part to your support, I’ve been able to commit to writing one article a week for Andrew’s Notes. For the month of December I also began recording the notes for a podcast series entitled Talking Notes. These notes have been at the heart of my own formation process – articulating, reflecting, and sharing ideas at the intersection of what we believe, how we express ourselves, and who we become.
As the year draws to a close, I am thankful for all that has transpired in 2021, and have much to look forward to! In the works are preparations for the Seeds Fellowship, collaborations with Rhee Gold’s Dance Life and Forefront Festival, and more! If you’d like to follow along with my work, click here.
There you have it. A year in reflection. I’ve survived the process of looking back without any major episode of perfectionism, and I hope you’ve found this recap informative and enjoyable to read. I wish you and your loved ones many blessings this season and for the year to come. May peace, joy, and love fueled by an undying hope permeate your hearts.