Personal Stories: Jill Savage

“…. learning to dance in the rain”

I have always loved dance ever since I was a small child. I was the youngest child to be enrolled on Miss Wade’s ballet class, held under the beautiful dome of the iconic Spanish City in Whitley Bay. As a child, ballet spoke to me of grace, beauty and poise and through it I found expression.  As an adult, dance is a place where I can access a flow state, where it feels as if I burn out muscle memory and become all consumed by its rhythm pulsing through me. 

Sometimes the words from a track burn into me viscerally and resonate at a deep energetic level. I remember when dancing the performance track from my dance class called “Body Jam,” how these words deeply connected:-

“It’s been too long

Living in the shadows here

Are you ready for

The darkness to fade?”

Then Will K’s track builds to an earth shattering crescendo with the title words “Here Comes the Sun” being sung out loudly as I pirouette, as best I can, one way and then the other. The endorphins in my body are on overload as the rhythm and movement awakens every bit of my essential nature. 

I know why this track has such resonance through my own childhood story work with Sarah as this “living in the shadows” has been an old internal narrative. Subsuming my voice and at moments of stress, not stepping out into the light, has on occasions, thwarted me.  In those moments, it could be a scene from Harry Potter. My invisibility cloak of my much younger self, who is definitely in the room even though you can’t see her, sees the situation as pressurised and both small me and big me are shrinking in the shadows. We aren’t able to dance in the moment, as our body energy is utterly frozen. 

So, I set about “daring to look” at my childhood story and to see how this early weave has been spun, with the intention of re-patterning the cloth. I re-connected with the small child living in the shadows, when hot temper was in the room and feeling inadequate as she couldn’t make everything okay. And yet it wasn’t her place and neither did she have the grown up capacity to do this. I felt a softening, sadness and compassion for her and the other players in this early scene. Through re-connecting with these shadowy sketches of the past it has allowed the weave to be looser, feel more spacious and with less tension in the stitch. 

Childhood story work for me, is like a dance. As I embroider my own new internal narrative and loosen the hold of the old one, I notice the twists and turns of this dance. The staccato steps, the chaotic steps, the moving forward and backwards steps, the side-step and the spinning around in circles steps. There are also those moments of dancing to pure lyrical music and then the wonderful stillness and clarity.  As I go inside and do this work, I also notice how I can more easily dance to the beat of my own heart.

I sense childhood story work is underscored by the powerful quote from Carl Jung, “Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.” It is a dance between the past intruding on the present and whilst our shadow self can show up, it is through awareness that we can have more choice in those moments. I feel deeply honoured to integrate childhood story work into my own coaching practice and be a guide to clients who might too “dare to look” and travel uncertainly across this terrain of shadow and light. 

We are in a turbulent world at the moment and it is very easy to feel a wobble from the past.  I keep this quote from Vivian Greene nearby to spur me on in this work. She says:-

“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain” 

And this is the new choreography I’m embracing!

Jill Savage, Story Guide, Coach and Mindfulness Teacher shares her story with us.