Saying YES to Nudges


Nudges for Transformation

By Missy Whaley, Certified Lifeways Instructor, Home Program; Rainbowheart and Wings.  M.F.A. Dance, L.M.T.

I say yes to nudges. What are nudges? They are the whispers in our souls that guide us to our purposefulness. I celebrate the courage and strength it has taken and takes to follow these nudges. My nudges often thrust me into a new dance and invite transformation that may awaken the visceral experience of the performer and/or viewer.  My passion and excitement is rooted in the discovery of what I find while creating new work.  An image that has worked to renew my somatic experience is: “dropping into my bones, feeling/seeing my muscles softening, noticing the spaces within my bones and muscles and ligaments while moving.”

I had a nudge late Fall that it was time to make a dance. Wasn’t sure what it was about, when it would happen or with whom it would be with. I stayed focused.  I rehearsed alone for months, improvising and inviting the dance in. I had been thinking about my connection with the earth and relationship to the earth on a deeper level than usual. While getting a massage the therapist told me it was as if I was dropping into the earth’s core.


My nudge continued:

Early winter I bumped into one of the children that I cared for many years ago (she is now 25 and I am 49) while eating a burrito with my 7-year-old on the college green where we live. I began my relationship with her when she was in womb. Now she is 5’10, a dancer, and she tells me her nudges.


Our interaction went like this:

A big hug that slipped down into my heart, awakening memories… Her smile that filled the room, her raspy little voice (I remember thinking that she would maybe grow up and be a lounge singer).  She was in my kitchen lifting Seeder, my younger son: putting him in his white wooden high chair, then began shoveling pesto in his mouth. Now she stands before me.

“Missy come dance with me? I want to make a dance about Fracking” Chelsea says.

 “Ah…I am too old you silly girl,” I reply.  I go on to tell her, “Chelsea, you can do it just don’t make it too literal. I mean, no melodrama… make it come from your knowing, your soul, your connection and caring about the earth and humanity”.  Her long arms fly up in the air and she says I don’t know how to make a dance about fracking.  I feel a swirl of energy within my body and begin to demonstrate a few possibilities.  I get on a verbal and visceral roller coaster.  My body moves; ripples, reaches swallows up energy… vibrates as I speak of the drills that will be injected into the earth.  It reminded me of how vocal ministry enters at a Quaker Meeting.  In that moment her nudge collides into my nudge and I know my next dance; my next purposeful work.


Now it’s February 11, 2012 and we are several weeks into rehearsal preparing for on April 13 performance. It is exciting and an amazing gift to be having this experience with Chelsea.  Most importantly, we both are honoring the nudges that whisper in our souls.