What is Emerging?

One of the scariest questions anyone could have asked me 2 years ago would have been "What are you up to?" Those 5 words would send me into a tailspin of thoughts around identity, purpose, worthiness and belonging.

Up until 2 years ago, my entire definition of self was wrapped up in being a very successful Broadway Triple Threat (it took me years to even be able to call myself that). Starting out as a dancer from a young age, what I was good at, and who I was were extremely intertwined. If you asked me "Who are you?" I would respond "I am a dancer."

After years of training and performing and learning and failing and succeeding, I could slightly expand that definition to choreographer, wife, mother, home owner, yogi and Christian, but that still didn't feel right.

If you have read any of my previous blog posts, where I am now is the product of years of undoing, unraveling and letting things fall apart. Being still and present with my thoughts and how I felt became my full time job. I had to practice the art of waiting (not always so patiently) for what is true and authentic too rise to the surface of my being.

That question "What are you up to?" started to mean more than what show I was performing in, or what projects I was working on. I found myself making less excuses for my (what seemed like) wandering spirit.

I decided to start to listen more to what others had to say and speak less about myself. Listening deeply to myself and others has become a huge part of my daily practice. What I began to notice was that the scary questions actually was a precursor for "Can we talk? I'm struggling right now and need a friend." For those that really did want to pry, I developed an arsenal of answers that would confuse them enough to know better the next time then to go there. 

To be honest, most of my time lately has been spent in trial and error. Taking on too much as a yoga teacher, thinking that I could tackle spirituality with the same dedication and fire that I put into my career. Getting burnt out quickly and having to pull back. Working with individuals and organizations that I thought had a shared vision with mine and ending up disappointed and disempowered.

Working in socially conscious theater thinking that the politics would be different, but later finding out that the difference isn't in the product but in the personal integrity of every person involved.

When people look at me and say "Wow! you have a lot going on, now" (according to social media), my response is usually, "No, I have a lot of movement." I make choices, I make mistakes, I make another choice, I move forward in faith.

Speaking of movement, this would be the appropriate time to bring up my dear friend and collaborator Rachel Sinha. The morning after the 2016 election, walking to the train from our daughters preschool together will forever be etched in my mind as the day that I stepped into this path fully. 

She asked me what I did and I said (very awkwardly) "um... I'm a dancer/choreographer turned yoga instructor and social justice activist." There I went again with all of the titles that I thought made up ME.

She said "Well, choreography is at the heart of what I do. I'm a social innovator working in the world of systems change." I didn't quite know what that meant, but basically she facilitates conversations and curates programs to look at where the world is now and how it can move towards a sustainable and emergent future.

She continued, "If you can break down how you think and create as a dancer and choreographer, that could be revolutionary in this world of social impact. They do call them movements after all!"

My mind was blown. She shattered the glass ceiling of possibility for me. This is ME! This is where ‘who I am ‘ and ‘what I do’ come into alignment. Now all I had to do is find a way to create and express this in a simple and effective way. I woke up not long after that conversation from a dream with this on my heart:

 In order to create change you must embody it!

Fast forward a year and a half later and I have put all that I am into the work that I do with individuals, organizations and change makers. Recently, I have been able to work tirelessly with the help of designer and collaborator JD Moran, to improve upon my website and display the work that I have done up until now and were it will lead moving forward.

It felt like giving birth. It felt right, it felt like ME beyond definition (even though I'm really proud of the simplicity and framing of words that we chose). 

There is a song that I used to sing in church growing up in the Caribbean pentecostal congregation that I belonged to (cue tambourines and a soca beat):

When I look back over my life,

 and I think things over,

I can truly say that I've been blessed,

 I've got a testimony!

Creating this site was a time to pause and reflect back on my story up until this present moment. I had no idea where I was going, but if I left it up to my own understanding, what emerged would never have been as fulfilling as I am finding it to be.

This website and this work is an offering. It is no longer "What I am up to", It is an outward expression of the change and growth that is occurring inside of me. I am passionate about embodying it, living through experience, learning as I go, letting what doesn't serve go, and being lead into a future that is new! 

I am proud of the collaborations that have formed through this work with Embodying Change. We have gathered an innovative and eclectic group women as part of our community of change makers. SoHumanity is just getting started and I am so excited to see what will continue to unfold and emerge.

I was so inspired by the words of social innovator Sharon Chang  when she states in her bio that she is interested in a "non-career". Internal mastery in exchange for external success. I love that. It doesn't mean that success won't come, but when the focus is on being lead from a force that sets the universe in motion, you are able to tap into things that you could have never imagined. It makes me think of one of my favorite scriptures that I have posted on my bedroom mirror:

" But Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and ALL these things shall be given to you as well." - Mathew 6:33

I want to thank everyone who has been on this journey with me thus far. I'm only just getting started! Please feel free to check out the website, comment, share with friends or anyone for that matter who may want to collaborate. I look forward to stepping into this exciting and emergent future with all of you.


Rooted in Love,

    Tanya Birl-Torres