What The Body Remembers by Kelly McClain

I found myself with some totally unspoken for quiet time the other night. So I lit some candles, asked Alexa to turn on some “cello music for relaxation”, and sat down to meditate. Then a strange thing happened. I was up, and arranging my dining room chair (which is a perfect back height for this as it turns out) and found myself doing ballet barre exercises. It was happening without much thought on my part, and I observed myself in fascination for a few moments. The round arms in low 5th, the tight 1st position, the perfectly straight posture were all happening like breathing. I found myself making minor adjustments to my hips and my feet and my fingers until my body slipped into the well worn groove of resting 1st position, as though I did it just yesterday. 

It wasn’t just yesterday…

My relationship with dance began in 4th grade. I was required to take ballet, and I mostly hated it. I disliked the ballet pink. I didn’t have a “ballet body”, even in the 4th grade. It was rigorous. My teacher was in her 70’s, probably weighed 85 lbs and stood 5’7” in her day. Her hip bones entered a room several seconds before she did. She walked with her feet turned out like a duck, her hips thrust forward, and with a cigarette in a Hollywood style holder in one hand. In the other hand, a cane. It wasn’t a walking aid, it was a “ballet aid”. She would smack bent knees and erring bottoms with mild to moderate “encouragement” with it. (We actually all adored her, for what it’s worth.) This was ballet. I tolerated it as a stepping stone to other things.

Around the same time I was eligible to begin other styles of dance, like Jazz, I was also recommended for Pointe, as well as tap. Jazz was my jam, I declined tap, and got fitted for pointe shoes. For the next few years my poor feet took a beating. (The movies about dance that show the bloody and mangled feet of ballet dancers...all true.) But with blistered and busted up feet, several times a week I put on a pair of jazz shoes and then it was like life truly began. 

I really believe when you meet something or someone meant for you in life, it is a sacred thing. In those early years, I met up with part of my soul. Alas, I had to retire my dance shoes early for a number of reasons and didn’t pick them back up until college. When I did pick it back up, it was as if no time had really passed. I began teaching, and one thing led to another until I was directing the entire recital, taking “my girls” to competitions, and painting my story on the stage with choreography. It was some of the most fulfilling “work” I ever did. Once again, life intervened and I had to walk away. It felt like the chapter was ready to close, so I let it. 

That was years ago. So in my living room the other night, moving through barre exercises like a possessed person, something long-sleeping woke up. 

I was doing very simple exercises - the most basic things: plié, élevé, rond de jambe. My arms remembered everything perfectly. Then something happened as I lowered my 2nd position arms with head following...tears. 

There I was, crying and doing ballet by candle light. Nothing to see here folks. Ordinary day. 
I kept going. I did a port de bras and was in full cry-mode. I started unconsciously mumbling the Ho'oponopono prayer (I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you. I love you). This is only something I’ve actively prayed a few times. But I didn’t stop. I cried all the way through my floor stretches (while my cat licked my hands) and into a révérence (a series of movements ending a routine). 

It was a dance of forgiveness. You see, your body remembers all of your emotions, even when your conscious mind chooses to set them aside because they are difficult or painful... Your body knows. Your cells recall every pain and trauma. I’ve told the story before of how, years after my miscarriage, I started crying one day without knowing why. The next day I looked at my records and realized it had been the anniversary date...my body knew. Likewise, sometimes I feel angry for “no reason” and I have to check in with myself. One time, as it turned out, I was remembering anger on the birthday of someone who hurt me badly. 

The movements of ballet triggered some deep feelings that I had never processed. Pain, hurt, betrayal...some things that were directly related to the dance studio, and some things that happened in my life during that time. But the movements themselves facilitated the movement of the emotions. 

The reason I think ballet is particularly brilliant for this is the memorization of movement. Ballet is incredibly technical! In much the same way that memorized responsive readings in a church service can facilitate a meditative prayer state, the memorized movements of ballet can do the same!

If this was Star Trek, and we could all meet on the Holodeck, I would be teaching this to you there instead of you reading it here. The thing I want you to take away from this is to listen to your body! If it tells you to do ballet at 9pm, do it. If it tells you to go for a walk or a run, do it. If it tells you to eat broccoli, do it. If it tells you to sleep more, do it. Your physical self and emotional self have no disconnect. We are like pieces of paper glued together. Energy that passes into one sheet, passes into all the sheets. You can not tear the sheets apart (death does this). What you experience emotionally is stored in your physical body and what you experience in your body affects you emotionally. I believe sometimes we even carry this energy with us into the next life. What needs to be processed will not diminish until it is processed. Or, as Jung said “What you resist persists”. So start listening, and start moving. Frustration is only energy that is stuck. Move your body and watch what happens. You don’t have to take up hot yoga or Tae Bo or Jung Fu or Marathon running. You can just turn on some music and sway. 

Coming soon to a studio near you...Meditative Ballet, no pink tights, no shoes or pants required.


Kelly McClain

Kelly McClain, Priestess of Sweary Spirituality™, and The Badass Whisperer is serving up smart ass-trology and ascerbic wit to bring laughter and wholeness to the world, one person at a time.

Kelly covers the deep issues with compassion and levity. She tackles real life topics with a unique and sometimes irreverent humor, in the spirit of unlocking the love all around us. Called “The Love Guru” by many friends, she is not only the village go-to for romantic love advice, she is a dynamo on a mission to help others love themselves! She is an intuitive coach, healer, and inspirational speaker.

As a powerful empath, she has a particular ability to draw emotions out of others and then clear the emotional energy.She has been called a ''powerhouse'' when it comes to motivating and encouraging change. Her toolbox is uniquely equipped with a variety of healing modalities, which includes humor, to guide people through a process of shedding deeply programmed limiting beliefs that hamper their ability to thrive. She has a deep love for humanity, which shines through her light heart and compassionate approach.

She is an empowerment and relationship coach, intuitive healer, artist, as well as a truth teller. She is gifted at coaching people through difficult emotions such as grief, betrayal, lack of worthiness, and fear and shifting those emotions into personal power and self love. She is a psychic advisor, and author of BitchScopes at 12Listen.

She loves essential oils, rocks, glitter, the chakras, colorful everything, flip flops, humanity, her children and her tribe, and bringing joy to others.