My experiment involves dancing with a full cup of water. I found myself learning a life lesson about living fully.

This was the exercise I led in a recent outdoor dance class. I encourage you to try it yourself with your favorite music. (You will see why it’s advantageous to practice this outside.)

1. Fill a cup full with water.
2. Take a moment to enjoy the fullness of this glass, the surface tension of the water.
3. Begin to dance with this cup of water. How do you need to move so that you support the containment of the water?
4. Check in with your body. Have you become a figurative block of ice as you move with this constraint? Can you still flow? Can you feel and express fully in all your movements?
5. Mindfully drink your cup of water.

Here is some of what I learned:

Wanting fullness in life, I can easily get pulled into the temptation to do everything. It’s a figurative version of wanting to dance wild and free. But if I do that, my glass ends up empty. Sometimes in trying to do everything or have everything in life, I can be puzzled why I also end up feeling empty on the inside, too.


There are times I fight structure and the containment that would keep me from spilling all my water or energy. Sometimes I feel like I am encountering every obstacle that is inhibiting me from being my fullest. Maybe it’s the perfect storm of sick child at home, work deadlines, and leaking roof. Maybe it is a job that is chronically limiting. Maybe it is systematic oppression. On those days I wish I could have a single clear thought or feel a shred of creativity or connection. My shoulders tense and I lose my flow.

How do we conserve our life force in a way that is abundant and liberating? People have used dance for generations to transmit life-giving answers to these questions. I fell in love with the Romani dances because they gave me answers to these questions that I couldn’t find elsewhere.

How are you tapping into the life-wisdom of our ancestors? The life wisdom of water? And what do they have to say to you?