One day out of nowhere, the hokey pokey dance from my childhood, and maybe yours, popped into my head. Puzzled, I wondered what possibly triggered that memory. It latched into my subconscious. I moved through the house doing my usual chores and sang the silly song all afternoon. So, to free myself from the repeating lyrics, I decided to sing it. As I did, the climax of the dance struck me as poignant:
“You put your whole self in, you take your whole self out, you put your whole self in, and you shake it all about. You do the hokey pokey, and you turn yourself around. That’s what it’s all about.”
I shared the experience with my husband. He was not surprised. These occurrences and dreams always seem to deliver messages regardless of how strange and detached they may seem. I realized that this was somewhat of an analogy for life. How do you say? Life is a riddle of changes, adjustments, and new opportunities. Sometimes, we are up for the challenge. Then there are days we eagerly wait for the music to begin, all while wondering what the hold-up is. Some may even feel sidelined while seeking a hokey pokey dance partner.
Experience New Situations and Experiences
We gyrate and twirl in and out of situations, experiences, relationships, and more. Then, out of nowhere, someone or something presents two left feet or other hindrances or, even better, exposes us to new possibilities. Whatever the case, we can either accept the invitation to participate or tap our feet as we watch others have all the fun. However, life can expose our true talent for dance when we learn the steps. You succeed with achievements and rewards when you can freely move to the groove and keep pace with the beat.
The Dali Lama said,
“I believe that the purpose of life is to be happy.”
This silly little song inspired me, and I hope music will inspire you too. Lighten up and embrace the melody, because, as I see it, we can consider ourselves lucky to be in our second childhood.
“Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.” Thomas Jefferson.
Be honest with yourself – are you afraid? If so, of what are you scared? You’ve lived all these years and experienced many ups and downs, so what would you allow to keep you away from your dreams and desires? Many of you raised families, created businesses, wrote books, skydived, or even raced cars. Honesty, being the best policy, supports that once you identify the core issue of what is tripping you up on the dance floor, you can face it head-on.
My husband surprised me with a trip recently to Maldives. Originally intended for my 60th birthday, the plans were diverted by COVID-19 and we rescheduled for after the pandemic. I love water and enjoy traveling to the ocean, beaches, or lakeside areas. However, snorkeling and scuba diving scared me. I faced my fears on this trip and snorkeled for the first time. It took me some getting used to and I realized I am a little claustrophobic. But I did it, and I am proud to say I was honest with myself that I was afraid and wasn’t sure why. Then I diagnosed my problem with the mask covering my face. Now, I look forward to more adventures.
Own Your Goals
“Keep your dreams alive. Understand that achieving anything requires faith and belief in yourself, vision, hard work, determination, and dedication. Remember all things are possible for those who believe.” Gail Devers.
Own your goals or dreams. Each new year inspires people to set exciting goals and dreams for themselves. Your goals are personally yours to have and to hold. No one can take them away from you except you. Either they were deep inside you for a long time, or you recently uncovered a new hobby, lifestyle, or career choice. You created them. You give birth to everything you wish to achieve, and they are yours. So, own them and nurture them like you would a child. Teach them to walk, then lead them in the dance.
Ingest New Knowledge
“Without knowledge, action is useless, and knowledge without action is futile.” Abu Bakr.
Ingest the knowledge you need to make it happen. We constantly evolve, so learning new things could make you happy. It’s like taking a giant leap toward it. As a young adult, before going for a night out at a club, my girlfriends and I often practiced the latest dance moves in the mirror until we felt confident we could repeat the moves on the floor with a suitable dance partner. We put our whole selves into the moment. After all, we hoped to meet the man of our dreams and dance down the aisle together shortly after that. Once we learned the steps, we were confident and excited about our possibilities. Life is that way. It provides the music; you must take a chance at being taught the steps.
Do One Thing Every Day Towards Your Dreams
“If you keep going in the direction of your dreams, you will eventually get there.” Dali Lama.
Do one thing every day towards your goal or dream. Procrastination can kill a goal or dream. It’s easy to get distracted. I have a friend who keeps reminding me of weapons of mass distractions. Thanks, Al Johnson. You keep me focused and on track to success. We all need that.
Creating a habit takes 21 days. In one year, that equals just under 6% of the year. That’s merely a drop in the bucket when you consider the positive outcome it may bring. Ernest Hemingway once suggested that one may complete a book if one could write 500 good words daily.
Say Yes to Life
“Sometimes we receive the power to say yes to life. Then peace enters us and makes us whole.” Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Say yes to all possibilities. Don’t shut them out before you look them over carefully. Don’t be blinded by negative internal dialogue that huffs, “Who do you think you are attempting such a lofty goal?” When you listen to those negative thoughts, you are not saying them. They are past conversations or statements you continue to replay in your head.
I survived all sorts of abuse, and if I listened to negative dialogue, I would never have accomplished half the things I have done in my life. For every negative thing you’ve heard, I’m sure there are hundreds of positive ones. Hold on to those positive things and say yes to opportunities and challenges in your dance of life.
Play with Your Thoughts and Actions
“The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct.” Carl Jung.
Play with your thoughts and actions. Many of us forget to have fun once we become adults. We lose the innocent imagination and carefree joy that allows us to dance like no one is watching. As the saying goes, if you take yourself too seriously, you become all work and no play. Laughter is the joy of life expressed. Join in the fun. Put your whole self in and shake it all about. Be silly and enjoy the priceless little things. Your thoughts and actions can become playful, clever, and inspiring if you allow them. Bring hope and healing to another. Be the first to smile, say hello, or reach out your hand to ask someone to accompany you on the dance floor.
Organize Your Thoughts
“Organization isn’t about perfection; it’s about efficiency. Reducing stress and clutter, saving time and money, and improving your overall quality of life.” Christina Scalise.
Organize your thoughts and steps to minimize the potential for failure. Ever witnessed someone’s cluttered desk, with notes, files, and crap spread all over? The owner tells you it’s okay, and they know where everything is. Well, think of the time and energy it takes to find each note to refer back to when it’s in a mess compared to going right where it is and retrieving it. Time is valuable. By organizing yourself, your thoughts, and your time, you control the outcome of your success.
At the beginning of each year, experts appear on television encouraging organization at home and work. They offer tips to help manage all aspects of life such as how to declutter, and the steps to design the life you desire. All it takes is your willingness to take action and follow through. Maintaining an organized lifestyle is like learning a dance’s one, two, or three steps. That’s what it’s all about.
Be Kind to Yourself
“Self-compassion is simply giving the same kindness to ourselves that we would give to others.” Christopher Germer.
Be kind to yourself. There is a point in our lives when we take over the wheel and decide which direction to take. Don’t allow yourself to be ruled by what others think of you or want from you. We choose a path, and we journey towards what we desire. To put yourself first is not a selfish act. It’s self-care and understanding that first, you must do for yourself before you can do for others.
Some of us may still need reparenting due to past trauma, and one way to achieve healing is to be kind to ourselves. Self-love, positive self-talk, and care are crucial to supporting yourself in your goals and dreams. Permit yourself and allow peace and joy to settle in. Make a date with you and offer a reward for all your hard work or just for being you.
You deserve to be treated with the same kindness you give anyone else you love. You probably love others deeply, so why not shower some of that onto yourself? The power of that love and kindness works miracles; it provides the calm and confidence to free yourself and sing the song until the end.
Keep the Excitement Alive
“The creative habit is like a drug. The particular obsession changes, but the excitement, the thrill of your creation lasts.” Henry Moore.
Keep the excitement alive. Life and its experiences should offer something that arouses enthusiasm for joy and happiness. Can you think of a time when you were excited about someone or something? Is there a chance you can recreate that feeling for a new endeavor, opportunity, goal, or desire today? Or do you think there is nothing else to get excited about? Has life dulled your desires, and you no longer have any excitement?
Every breath provides a reason to be excited because it offers another moment to create your dream life. It may sound corny, but it’s true. I read something recently that reminded me how lucky we are to live in this country and have our luxuries such as three meals a day, shelter, and income opportunities. Keep the childlike excitement about each day and make the best of it because that brings blessings.
Maintain a Youthful Outlook
“Youth is the gift of nature, but age is a work of art.” Stanislaw Jerzy Lec.
Maintain a youthful outlook. Those under the age of 21 seem to feel infallible. They chase their dreams or goals with wild audaciousness. We were all there once. We had sheer focus and did not worry about being unable to achieve our vision. Bullheaded, maybe, but we knew what we wanted and went after it. We came up with ideas and saw the possibilities they presented. We can reinvent that youthful outlook and make life what we envision.
In closing, make an effort to do the Hokey Pokey in life. Put your whole self into your dreams and goals, take your whole self out of stagnant existence, and shake off the old, boring way of life. Do the Hokey Pokey and turn your life around. That’s what it’s all about.
About the Author: Dr. Kat Smith
Dr. Kat Smith is a Model/Actor, International & TedX Speaker, Author, and Resilient Survivor.
She left her modeling and acting career in 2013 to secure her doctorate at The Institute for the Advanced Study of Human Sexuality in San Francisco, which led to her work as a couple’s therapist until 2020. After deciding to close her practice, she rekindled her modeling/acting career.
For more information, for media appearances or bookings, go to DrKatSmith.com. In addition, you can see Kat in the recent movie, Never Alone for Christmas.