Solcana blog


By: Lauren Anderson

There are facts about me that are hard to admit. I have blogged about a lot of them so far. If you are still reading along, (or you just started), thank you. It means the things I’ve disclosed didn’t scare you away. Maybe it even brought us closer together? I hope so… I don’t know about you, but I could certainly use some togetherness in the wake of recent events.

One of the facts that keeps popping up is this: I get more done when I have more to do.

It seems counterintuitive, but it’s true. When I’m go-go-going all day, I use my little precious moments of “down time” wisely. Days that I have “off” I have a tendency to loaf around. Stay in my pajamas. All those grand plans of cleaning out my cupboards and writing that novel fall to the wayside, when there is so much bad TV to watch and online arguments to avoid.

When you struggle with depression and what-not like I do, just getting out of your house can be an accomplishment. And sometimes it is. Sometimes I am proud of myself for showering, and getting to work on time. It’s the little things I guess… I have often admired self-starters that can just MAKE IT HAPPEN all day, every day. I wish I was one of you. You folks make the world go round.

And some of you don’t have a choice either. You have families to take care of, and obligations that you can’t get out of. I do too. I’m a busy human in the world. But I will admit, my life is small in comparison to some. But I guess, it’s big in comparison to others. But then again, I don’t like to compare. Except I just did… Oh jeez. I just talked myself into a circle didn’t I?

I guess I should just state it plainly. Comparison is a type of sorrow I no longer wish to inflict on myself. But since I’m a flawed individual, I still do, even though I wish I didn’t.

I thought I would be doing a LOT of comparing when I first started going to the gym. But just like the countless other surprises that I discovered by being an official “gym-goer”, I realized that everyone working out in class is too busy trying to master their own thing to give two hoots about what I’m doing. What a relief.

Another thing I’ve noticed since I started consistently going to the gym is: Action begets more Action.

The routine of going to the gym weekly has made me get up and out– not only of my house, but my own mind. My tendency to retreat into my head lessens when I am more active.

You know like, when your friend has a really bad day/week/time of it? And there is nothing left to say, and no way to fix it, so you just go dancing? And somehow, through the dancing and the practice of losing yourself just a little bit that night, you are able to conjure some sort of relief? Yeah, it’s like that.

And then when it is time to wax philosophic again after a workout, I find I am able to do so more clearly. With more forgiveness and understanding. Crazy right? Those exercise-induced endorphins and serotonin bombs are like pellets from heaven. Gimme a shot of the good good, knowwhatimsayin?

I always leave the gym smiling. Now matter how difficult the workout. I leave feeling accomplished. Even if I don’t do another thing for the rest of the day that’s worthwhile, I know I contributed a little bit to my body, and spent some time in a loving community, and sometimes that’s enough. Sometimes that’s all I can give.

But here is something even crazier that happens. When I’ve rocked my body, I am more likely to make the rest of the day “count”. I am more likely to say “Yes” to last-minute plans. Go to a new restaurant. Agree to go out on a date. Go for a walk around the lake. Help a friend plant some Hostas. Head to the grocery store. Clean the bathroom. Write a chapter in that damn book. Or even take ANOTHER class.

Mind Blown. (Photo courtesy of The Brave New Workshop.)


So not only does the gym get me up and out of my head and moving my body, but I am more likely to KEEP moving my body, and do even more! It’s so strange! And so awesome!

The months of being in the Solcana atmosphere, practicing skills I don’t naturally have, in front of people I like–but still don’t know super duper well yet— have given me a new confidence. A confidence to go out and fail confidently in the world, and know I will survive it. Moreover, it has taught me that I will gain more in the new experience and the new action, even at risk of failure, than I would if I didn’t try.

DUH! I can’t believe I’m having this revelation. I’m an IMPROVISER for goodness sake. The very heart of improv is putting yourself out in a high stakes situation, and getting open enough to play, and trusting yourself enough that it will be okay. That you will survive it. That sometimes you put yourself out there and fly. Other times you fail. But the most important and exhilarating piece is that you put yourself out there in the first place!

I perform improv 4-5 times a week for paying audiences, and I also teach it. That revelation is something I see my own students have daily. But I never felt that in improv, because from the first time I tried it, I thought, “Yup. I get this. This is for me.” There was no questioning. It just felt right. But with dance or any kind of athletic stuff, I struggled to even allow myself a seat at the table. Wow. Can you hear my mind exploding from where you’re sitting? Because MIND BLOWN. I am so lucky I can now empathize with my own students in a whole new way.


So my dear friend Erin is an amazing dancer and choreographer. And not only is she one of my favorite artists to watch and enjoy, but she is also an excellent teacher. For years Erin has tried to get me to take one of her Beginner Hip Hop dance classes… and for years I’ve been genuinely interested. I always thought I could’ve been a bonafide B Girl if I just would’ve started younger… But here’s the thing:

I never went.

Not once in all those years. Even though I love Erin, and I love to dance. Now, I give myself a break because life happens. And we already established I am busier than some, but I’m not as busy as others (there I go comparing again!). But I know there was night when the stars aligned, and I was free, and I still didn’t go. Because I was tired, or scared that I’d look dumb. Or maybe I was in a particularly difficult body shame spiral?

So when I saw online Erin was teaching a one-time-only drop-in class called “Hip Hop Moves You Can Use”. I thought, I’M DOING THIS. I’m gonna go. I clicked accept on Facebook invitation, and then promptly forgot about it.

The night rolled around, I got a reminder. And I had a decision to make. But luckily, I worked out that day, and I was really feeling myself. I had already moved my body, and I wanted to move it more! I know…I was as shocked as you are. So off I went.

I showed up, and was a little nervous. But not nearly as much as I thought I would be. And no where near as terrified as I was 6 months ago when I first walked into class at CrossFit. But because I feel so welcome at Solcana, with each new class I grow in comfort and in confidence. I no longer feel like a scientist observing from the outside. I am now a Gorilla in the Mist.

It’s kind of like, the more you practice learning choreography, the quicker you will pick up new choreography in the future. Even though it’s a different dance each time. It keeps getting easier because you’ve learned how to learn new dances.

I could’ve felt terrible too. I was clearly the biggest and the least dancerly-looking body in the room. (That’s me comparing again…) And there were mirrors everywhere. Which is different from Solcana, which has no mirrors, save one in the bathroom. But I didn’t. Because I’ve been practicing going to a structured class where there are different bodies and abilities in the room, I felt comfortable taking my place. Even though I didn’t know what the hell I was doing, I knew I belonged there. Because I gave myself permission to take up that space y’ know?

Dance Pic Small
Showing off our best TUT moves. I’ve got serious duck hands. From Left to Right: Amy, Erik, Matt, Me and Erin is down front!

Luckily, a few buds from the improv, and theatre scene came to the class. I had my crew. Matt, Erik, and Amy showed up and were ready to leave it all on the dance floor with me. I couldn’t have asked for a better squad. And of course, I was pretty tight with the teach… so there was that.

Erin started class by introducing herself. And then she did this really cool thing where she acknowledged that the giant mirrors all over the room could be triggering, or get you in your head. She gave us a great re-frame that these mirrors are tools there to serve you, not things there to hurt you. She phrased it way better, and I was moved by this very thoughtful extra touch. It reminds me of how the coaches at Solcana approach their modifications. (See Week 18 Blog Post.)

Then the dancing began. We had a great time! After warming up to a PM Dawn song that made my night, we started with spins on the floor, top-rocking, drops, tutting, and some other hip hop terminology I am forgetting. Some stuff was so so so hard. Some stuff, I felt like I could do all day. I kept giggling. Because although a beginner hip hop class is nothing like CrossFit, it had everything in common. I laughed when I failed, and I got back to it. I was elated when I got something right, and I got back to it. Just like CrossFit.

We ended the class in a freestyle dance diamond with my squad, and we had a blast. All of us with varying levels of ability moved our bodies with abandon, and the rest of us followed. And we had a blast. I have to say, I left the class smiling, grateful for the experience, and feeling pretty damn proud of myself. Just like I do at Solcana.

I’m not the only one that the gym has had this effect on. There is a person in one of my CrossFit classes that has gotten so strong at Solcana, that they finally started to take gymnastics! There is another person that after working out, decided to try online dating! And the list goes on and on. Action begets more action. I get more done when I have more to do. You know, an object in motion stays in motion…

All this working out has made me want to get out there and Carpe some Diem! Open the gates and seize the day! Get dat nut! And because I am moved so much by words, I can’t help but think of Teddy Roosevelt. And one of our 26th president’s most famous quotes:

“Get action. Do things; be sane; don’t fritter away your time;

create, act, take a place wherever you are and be somebody;

get action.”

I love that quote. Especially because Teddy used action and exercise as one of his main ways to manage his mania/mental illness. At least, according to the PBS documentary. This quote and the “Invictus” poem by William Ernest Henley are my Go-To Inspirational Quote Motivators, or Quote-tivators, if you will. Plus Ol’ Teddy gets major points for the using the word “fritter”.

Because of the powerful phrasing, I actually find I tell myself to “Get Action” all the time. Especially when I’m in one of my “I think I’m going to stay in bed” days. I just keep repeating this quote over and over again until it buoys me from under the covers and out into the world. It doesn’t always work, but you’d be surprised how persuasive the ol’ Rough Rider can be, even this many years after passing.

On a much bigger level, Solcana has been like this quote. Encouraging me to get out of my comfort zone and take a place, and be somebody.

In my body.

To get action. In a sense, they gave me my body back. Or maybe they helped me find it for the first time?

Either way, it’s here now and it wants to move!

Without learning how to learn to take action at Solcana, I would’ve never had the courage to do something that I ended up loving. Like a dance class.

How sad would that be to miss out on something waiting just for me because I didn’t know how to get to it?

How happy is it that I found it?

Get Action!

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There one response to “WEEK 29: Get Action”


<3 Lauren, your posts are very encouraging. I relate to nearly all of your points. Thank you for sharing your story.

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