30 Dec Ep. #53 2020: Lessons Learned
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Vulfpeck Christmas in LA: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d5K3UgrPdbQ
Raspberry Sumac Snickerdoodles: https://mynameisyeh.com/mynameisyeh/2019/11/sumac-snickerdoodles
Get The New Jim Crow, White Fragility, How to be Anti-Racist, and Changing the Conversation from one of these independent black owned bookstores: https://lithub.com/you-can-order-today-from-these-black-owned-independent-bookstores
Favorite Dana Caspersen Talks:
James Baldwin on Dick Cavett: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hzH5IDnLaBA
James Baldwin Debates William F Buckley: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oFeoS41xe7w&t=937s
James Baldwin and NIkki Giovanni: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZmBy7C9gHQ
Misting bottle: https://www.mcmaster.com/spray-bottles/fine-mist-spray-bottles/
How to teach dance on Zoom: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rW3U2Fv2CY8&t=401s
Sonya Renee Taylor:https://www.sonyareneetaylor.com
Intro: This is words that move me, the podcast where movers and shakers, like you get the information and inspiration. You need to navigate your creative career with clarity and confidence. I am your host master mover, Dana Wilson. And if you’re someone that loves to learn, laugh and is looking to rewrite the starving artist story, then sit tight, but don’t stop moving because you’re in the right place.
Dana: Hello, Hello, my friend. How are you feeling today? Checking in on you here at the end of 2020. If you’re listening to this on its release, this is the last episode of 2020 everybody. This is the last episode of the year. Whoa. And what a year, it was a very good year to know how to be alone with yourself. It was a very good year to know how to talk to yourself and love yourself a very good year to learn how to connect with people without physically making contact with them. So, yeah, I would say it was a good year for podcasting. I started the podcast in the last week of December of 2019 actually. Well, before the COVID-19 pandemic knocked out “normal” (in quotes) and I believe, and I plan on continuing my new weekly tradition long after we find our “new normal” (also in quotes), because in doing this podcast, I have found a new favorite way to connect a favorite way to share and yes, a new way to be creative, I suppose. And I have learned a lot in 2020. Um, the podcast was both my teacher and my notebook for all of my lessons learned. And in this episode, I am going to recap all the good, all the good goods, all the bad bads, the goods, the bads, and the uglies, um, and the funs I think. I should mention also that this episode is being brought to you by Purell and Clorox and homemade masks and shields. Okay, kidding. Um, podcast is still totally ad-free, which I am super proud of, but Hey, who knows? Maybe in 2021, I will learn more about advertising, but also maybe not. Okay. You know the deal, before we get into it, we’re going to start with wins. Today I am celebrating my first Christmas in Los Angeles, que Vulfpeck Christmas in LA, which is such the gem, by the way, if you have not heard, heard that song, Holy smokes, I’m linking to it in the show notes. Okay. Just to recap, it was 70 degrees on Christmas day in the Valley and not a cloud in the sky. I ate food. I drink drinks, not too much of either. I want to point out very proud of that. Um, I took a nap and I felt love. I felt like my insides were the actual cotton candy machine, warm and wispy and windy and sweet all day long top to bottom. So incredible. Oh man. Speaking of sweet, actually I think the real undercover win of this whole holiday thing is that I successfully baked delicious cookies. And that is saying a lot because I do not have a ton of confidence in the kitchen. And I’m proud of these cookies. Also a Testament to these cookies. My husband does not so much love the sweet things. And he said that these were good cookies. He has no reason to lie. Although he has sworn to be the protector of my happiness. Anyways, I’m proud. I made the cookies. I’m becoming a person that has some confidence in the kitchen. Um, so I will definitely be doing that again and again. Um, the recipe, by the way, for the said raspberry sumac, snickerdoodle cookies will be in the show notes of this episode also. Oh, by the way, the quick links to this episode, the show notes of this episode are a gift like an actual gift. You might want to print this out or select all and save absolutely download this episode because there is a lot of goodness going on here. Um, okay, so let’s get, Oh, sorry, sorry. Sorry. Almost forgot your turn. What’s going well in your world. What gifts are you celebrating? Go.
I can not wait for our new wins music coming soon. 2021 get ready. The podcast is getting a makeover. Um, both visually and audio auditorially auditorily, right? Okay. Lessons learned from 2020 and a year of weekly podcasts. Holy smokes. Um, do you mind if I start heavy? Do you mind if I don’t provide you with a warmup here in this episode, do you mind if we don’t even run it with counts? Do you mind if we go straight to groups? Um, yeah, that’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to do today. 2020 has taught me, that COVID-19 cannot kill racism. In fact, disproportionate COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths in communities of color, the court ruling of Brianna Taylor’s case and the murder of George Floyd have shown substantial evidence that racism is indeed alive and well in America. I am not excited to report this lesson learned. This year I learned how much I still have to learn about systemic racism in America. One of my lessons this year was to not just share the spotlight, but to shine the spotlight, like step out of the spotlight, climb up the truss, look at the big picture and shine light on the most important things. The things that need to be seen. Thank you, Dominique Kelly for that super teachable moment in Episode 25. Thank you. Jermaine Spivey in episode 29 for, for walking me through a breakthrough about goals. In that episode, I learned that one of the privileges I hold that I had never counted was simply my own belief that my wildest dreams can come true. Thank you. Also Popin Pete for taking 45 minutes out of your funky funky life to talk to me on the phone and remind me that apologizing for my privilege is about as helpful as, oh man, tap shoes in a ballet class, trying to make a dance analogy falling very short me apologizing for my privilege is not actually tremendously helpful at all, but my seeking to understand where I can do that better is, and I’m coming committed to that lifelong journey. Now I am certain that I will listen back to this episode a year or several years from now and shake my head at how clumsily I was finding my feet and finding my words and I’ll think of a million things that I should have said. I’m sure I’ll wish I had said certain things differently. So I’d like to close this section and this lesson learned with a quote that speaks to, uh, speaking about racism. In her book Untamed, which I have now read cover to cover and posted more post-its in than you’ve ever seen in one place. Um, and I’ve also shared it with more people than I can count, uh, in Untamed Glennon Doyle, the author says “We have fallen into the trap of believing that becoming racially sober is about saying the right thing instead of becoming the right thing.”
Yeah, I’ll go ahead and bring that back one more time. “We have fallen into the trap of believing that becoming racially sober is about saying the right thing instead of becoming the right thing.”
Well, for me this year and every year forward will be about becoming the right thing, becoming anti-racist. Thank you, Glennon Doyle for that book. Thank you, Michelle Alexander for The New Jim Crow. Thank you, Robin De Angelo for White fragility. Thank you. Ta- Nehisi Coates for Between the World and Me and thank goodness for Dana Caspersen and a return to James Baldwin for a deep, deep, deep dive and masterclass on critical thinking and powerful speaking. If you didn’t learn about James Baldwin in your history or literature classes, then I’m sorry. You have a lot of catching up to do. He was a profound thinker and a profound influence, a poet playwright, author activist, and much, much more for an introduction to James. I might suggest watching his debate with William F. Buckley or his interview with Nikki Giovanni, the whole thing, by the way, which is two hours long. And you do have two hours. Trust me. Um, the, the one that really punched me in the guts though, was a debate that he had on the Dick Cavett show in 1969, links to all of those videos will be in the show notes of this episode, but really please just go for the Google James Baldwin start anywhere and you will get a lot. Next up on my thank goodness for this person list is Dana Caspersen. Dana is an award winning, performing artist, a dancer, a stunning dancer, and also a mediator and a conflict specialist. How jazzed am I to find this combination in one human being out there in the world, jazzed, but not shocked. Actually, Dana points out that dancers carry out transformation and conflict resolution in our daily practice all of the time. So in a way, this dancer turned conflict, specialist trajectory is not unusual at all. Really when you think of it that way, I really, really, really recommend Dana’s book Changing the Conversation. The 17 principles of conflict resolution like 10 out of 10 would recommend. Um, in fact, it is on my words, that move me, words that move me shopping list on Amazon. If you want to go directly take a look at that, but there will also be a quick link to that book in the show notes anyways, the principles and the exercises in this book, champion, curiosity and compassion, my like King and queen in life at the moment. Um, they’re a reminder that although we may not be able to change our situation or the way that other people behave, we can decide how we behave. For example, we can decide to provoke other people’s worst selves in an argument, or we can talk to the other person’s best self in an argument. We can pin the blame on someone else, writing the problem off as their problem, which prevents us from a full understanding of it. Or we can use our efforts to figure out what is happening instead of whose fault it is. I mean, really, really some solid gold guiding principles. Please, please go do yourself a favor. Do our society a favor and dig into Dana Caspersen’s, work her book. And some of my favorite talks of hers will be linked in the show notes.
All right, pushing right on ahead through the thickness this year, I also did quite a bit of excavating on my thoughts around gender. I participated in a zoom showcase called a Pangea Live. Shout out Tracy Phillips. Thank you for putting on such an awesome show. I performed at the show in December, but Pangea Live happened on several Fridays I think for months and months on end, every Friday, six soloists were given the same prompt to create two solos. Given, given this prompt. And the week that I performed, the prompt was masculinity and femininity. Now in tandem with the black lives matter movement, much light has been shown on equality with regards to gender and gender identity. I did not feel like an expert or qualified at all to be making a work, let alone two works on this topic. But I leaned in and I dug into the work. I had a lot of really uncomfortable conversations with myself and with others. And here’s what I uncovered the first layer of course, was to simply decide on my definition for each of those words. I decided that feminine is simply a word used to describe things traditionally associated with the female gender. And I define masculine is a word used to describe things traditionally associated with the male gender. Now, what do I actually think about that? What do I think about that? What do I think about those words? What do I think about male and female genders? What do I think about tradition? Well, I think that traditions and our biases about gender formed by comparing the two to each other, I think that femininity is determined relative to masculinity and masculinity is determined relative to femininity. In other words, you cannot have one without the other. I also believe that traditions are formed by thinking and doing something over and over and over again for a really long time. So it takes time to create traditions and it takes time to change them. The tradition of this moment in time, at least in my world is one of celebrating individuality and inclusion. The notions of femininity and masculinity to me are often used to separate or categorize people. And this year more than any other separation and division turned me off. That’s one of the reasons why I had such a difficult time with this prompt to begin with. I would much rather choose the thought that we are more the same than we are different. I don’t see female or male one or the other as better or worse. I see them as different and I see them as complimentary and I think that’s okay. So that’s what my work focused around. Yes, I’ve been born into a female body and I identify as a woman, but I am also a performer and a choreographer in the commercial dance industry where I’ve lived for 15 years. And this is a place where sex sells. So actually sexuality and attraction have been more or less peak interest to me. And in my early days, my, my training days in my early professional career, I really modeled my movement off of that, of my favorite dancers, who were almost exclusively male. Today, the movement that comes out of my body is more about what I feel, and it’s less about what I see. And today I am way more about being interesting than being cool. And today I’m curious about how notions of gender are changing. I am constantly discovering shades of less traditional gender and attraction to be the most exciting to me, especially when I create I’m so glad that I was given this task, this opportunity to excavate my thoughts on femininity and masculinity. I am proud of my work, although man… With just a little more time, am I right? Like, do you always just want more time? It’s never exactly what I, what I thought or hoped it might, but I am proud. Um, and I’m super curious to see how our society’s thinking. Our traditional thinking evolves over the next several years.
Okay. Next up! This one’s a doozy behind every high performer, every top athlete, every super entrepreneur business person, every high performer. I believe this, I could be wrong. You’re going to show me 15 examples where I’m wrong, but, but I’m going to dig my fluffy slippered heels into the floor right here and say that behind every high performer, there is a coach, somebody teaching, training, helping them achieve their best. And this year I became a certified coach. I am a certified life coach now, which is funny because in my early episodes, I was like, “listen, I’m not a life coach, but blah, blah, blah.” Well, yep. That was before my 18 week coach certification process. And now as a certified coach, I can tell you my most important takeaway. Okay. Okay. Okay. Okay. Okay. Takeaways. You know me? I can never pick just one.
My most important takeaways are number one, that our emotions come because of the way we’re thinking, not from what other people or viruses for that matter do. Our emotions come from the way that we’re thinking, the way that we’re thinking of course comes from a lot of things, training, instincts, modeling, it goes deep, but that was important to me. The other most important thing to me is learning that feeling bad is part of the plan. She says with a laugh. I believe that being human comes with pain. Now that pain can be compounded, right? That pain can become suffering by resisting it by reacting to it, by avoiding it. Well, what else is there to do with it that you might ask? Well, that’s easy. Well, simple, not easy. Allow it, process it. I have learned and gotten to practice over and over and over and over again, different ways of processing negative emotions this year, holler back at episode 17 for a deeper dive on that. And if you’re curious about coaching, I can definitely understand why, First of all, the industry is completely unregulated and no two coaches are exactly the same. But if you’d like to know more about the work that I do and the way that I work as a coach, head over to theDanaWilson.com/coachcurious, or you could click at the top menu bar on Work with Me and navigate your way through the Words that Move Me community, which is where I’ll be doing some community coaching for y’all out there.
All right, I’m going to hit a little rapid fire round. Now, a couple of things that I never knew and a couple of things that I’ve always known, but know deeper now let’s start with the things that I never ever knew until this year hit me like a ton of bricks. Are you ready for this? This year? I learned that although LA is not technically a desert climate region, technically it is a Mediterranean region. Most indoor plants like to be misted. I mean, you guys game changer. I got one of those cool little Mister bottle things. It’ll be in the show notes. Um, and now my plants inside my house are green, not pale, pale yellow. Winning. Um, also I learned that food, uh, when you get it from the earth, not from a bag, you have to wash it. So that’s a bonus because we should all be washing all of the things that come into our house during the pandemic. Um, also learned about loquats you guys loquats are delicious. How about spigarello? Have you ever had, spigarello also delicious you guys. I made homemade chocolate with coriander flowers. We make homemade shabu shabu in this house. Now it has been a great year for exploring food and becoming, as I mentioned earlier, more confident in the kitchen. You guys, I got my husband new knives for Christmas and already cut him with one of them in the knuckle when I was trying to show him the cool design on the side, really that took the kitchen confidence down like four points. I will not be handling the new knives until I get some cut proof gloves anyways, until he and I both get some cut proof gloves.
Okay. Up next, this year 2020, I learned that the hardest step to dance backwards is consecutive Pas de bourres. You might be able to do one pas de bourres backward, but consecutive pas de bourres like de de de de de de. You have to da da da da da da I mean it’s, it’s out of control. Difficult. Just go ahead, give that a whirl. You can tag us in a video if you’d like extra credit points. Um, okay.
And the other thing, closing with a bang, no pun intended [totally pun intended] is that if you intend on using Holy powder for explosion effects in your homemade videos, Holy powder, by the way, is that very beautiful, very pigmented powder that you see usually in slow motion in a lot of music, videos and so on and so on. Anyways, if you plan on using Holy Powder for explosion effects, add flour, it’s going to give you a lot more bang for your buck.
Uh, more on that lesson coming very, very soon. Oh, more on the backwards pas de bourres coming soon too, by the way, I have some very fun work coming for you in early 2021. So jazzed about it. Okay. Now we shift to the, I’ve always known this, but now I know it deeper lessons. Number one, the power of the vote, need I say more. Number two, the value of nail technicians. I had to remove my own acrylic nails this year. You guys, that is not anything I would wish on my worst enemy, highly not recommended. Okay. Here’s something I would recommend though. The internet and parks are both fine places to learn dance, shout out to CLI studios for helping us all through this really challenging time and super shout out to all of my friends, which is literally all of my friends who’ve been affected by a studio closure. It is not something that I like to see or celebrate, but I do hold hope, optimism and faith for a very, very funky future.
Oh, and speaking of dance this year, I learned that YouTube tutorials when done well are very, very useful to consume and very, very time consuming to produce. I spent probably more than 12 hours making my zoom tutorial for dance teachers. And that is a lot of hours, but that video has more than 25,000 views. And I have received at least that many [That’s an exaggeration heartfelt messages from educators and dancers all over the world. So thank you for watching the video. Thank you for sharing your feedback about the video. I’m so glad to hear that it’s been helpful in a difficult time. Um, dance teachers, all teachers. I love you. I consider this project a very high return on investment I’m so, so, so happy to help.
All right. Here’s another one always known it. And this year I got to relearn it in 18 different ways. Friends, brighter is Righter several episodes this season and by season, I mean year, featured light. Episode 25, As I mentioned, Dominique Kelly talks about giving the stage and shining a light on black voices. And I also learned that lighting a show and choreographing a show aren’t all that different. Thanks to lighting designer, Iggy Rosenberg in Episode 20 and my good friend, Nick Whitehouse in Episode 51, also a lighting designer. You guys, Oh man. Illuminating. I’m sorry. I can’t help it. Lighting puns are my new favorite. Okay. Last lighting lesson. Of course, I got to learn the difference between my home movie projector, which boasts 5,500 lumens and a 20,000 lumen projector, which comes his own operator. My opinions are now concrete. Cemented Brighter is Righter always except maybe I suppose, for when you’re trying to sleep. Okay. I can’t always say always about anything.
All right. Last step on my lessons remembered, okay, babies will be born and people will die. These are facts of our human life. Both of these numbers got dialed up for me in my life. This year. I’m 34. Many of my peers and friends are starting families. I know six more babies now than I did in 2019. And I am watching some of my childhood best friends turn into parents. It is magical and it is mystical. Of course, the flip side of that coin is very heavy. This year, young people can get pregnant and young people can die of COVID right there with the older people dying of COVID right there with the other people dying of other causes, my friends and my family who are gone, you will be forever missed.
Now. I would like to end by sharing the words of Sonya Renee Taylor. Sonya is an author, a poet, a spoken word artist, a speaker and educator, a humanitarian, a social justice activist. And what are you? She is an outstanding human being and a person that you should 100% be getting into shall be in the show notes. And hers are the words that I will leave you with today, “We will not go back to normal. Normal, never was our pre Corona existence was not normal. Other than we normalized greed, inequity, exhaustion, depletion, extraction, disconnection, confusion, rage, hoarding, hate and lack. We should not long to return my friends. We are being given the opportunity to stitch a new garment. One that fits all of humanity and nature.” Thank you, Sonya Renee Taylor, and thank all of you for listening to this episode and hopefully several others from the year. I’m thrilled to move forward into 2021 with this podcast and with you.
If you’re digging, what you hear here, Ooh, what you hear here, please do download, subscribe, leave a rating or review. It helps other people find the podcast and it brings a smile to my face to hear from you. And also if you are interested in digging deeper, the words that move me community is a really good place to start to learn more and register. You can email WTMMpodcast@gmail.com or go visit thedanawilson.com/workwithme All right, everybody. That’s it for me today. And that is it for us this year. Please have a safe and happy, happy new year. And keep it funky, decent.