Monday, November 28, 2011

Healthy Obligations

I have a feeling I might not get anything done if I weren't obliged to get it done.  For example, I am very lucky to be a part of the Language of Dance® family (LOD®). This group of amazing dance instructors and pedagogs have included me in their adventures toward changing the face of dance literacy.

I sat on their panel at NDEO (National Dance educator Organization) and presented my findings, focusing on using dance theory and notation in an online dance appreciation course, with humility as I was surrounded by these women of profound knowledge, passion and dedication to dance and dance research. I am honored they consider me a colleague. But, this honor is the best motivator for work.  In being included on this panel, I have become obligated to them.  I feel a duty to them because they believe in me. They push me to make steps in my thinking and research that I otherwise would not take. 

I am very fortunate to have tenure at my job, and, because I am not at a research institution, I don't have to publish or present at conferences in order to keep my job.  But, these women motivate me to keep going. I want to make advances in dance research and dance literacy, and the best part is that I am not obligated by survival but by an inner sense of duty and obligation. Clearly there is no money to be had from these hours of pouring over a computer. But, there is honor.

I enjoy being obligated to them, because they challenge me to be the best I can be.  In the past two days I wrote up my portion of the panel presentation and it turned out to be 8 pages single spaced (about 3,000 words) plus graphics.  I would never have done that if I weren't obliged to do it.  Trust, me, my crochet project, tv and latest book are all calling my name right now!  But, I am glad I put in the work, ook the time, thought through the ideas, made something out of nothing. 

It feels good.

I am similarly obligated to my dance company (MeCo), (again NOT for the money-- no money there either-- do we see a trend developing?!?).  I am obligated by my fantastic dancers, their dedication tot he projects and their unending trust in me. I won't let them down because I am honored to work with them each week.  In a similar way I am obligated to my students (but that gets messy because that is my job-- but still, I am obligated and committed to it heart and soul so it too pushes me to be better).

People talk about "self-motivation," but I am not quite sure there is any situation that solely allows for self-motivation.  I think it is healthy to be obligated to others.  If I waited to do things out of self motivation, I would get half as much done.  It is easy to waste away the days. 

So, thank you to everyone to whom I have been obligated at one point or another.  You have pushed me to become a better person, to do more than I thought I was capable of and grow in ways I never expected. 

Still, obligations (good or bad) can make you sleepy, which I am right now. So, it is time for me to say goodnight!

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