Sarah Tallman

Dancer, Choreographer

“the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.”

-Jack Kerouac, On the Road

Time

In a world that moves so freakin’ fast, the subject of time permeates my experience. And whether I resist the moment I am in or fully embrace the life that is happening all around me it is clear that there is choice in how I react. Freedom. Deep breath. Full honor of my being. 

The conversation has nothing to do with arriving late, or early.  This is the kind of time that allows me to show up in every moment. My wish is that I can journey through the thought that there is time for everything. Creating ways to make life feel more spacious amongst the rigors of work, family, and friends. I am obsessed with the cultivation of sacred space wherever I am, and the realization that true success is the conscious manifestation of joy in every moment. How about that? JOY in every moment. The shear attempt my brain and body make to harness this rich realization softens my animal body and my hope is that I am intrinsically and extrinsically aligned with my spirited mind and sensual soul.

AND, I get tripped up. Why? Well, because I am human and that’s what happens. I fall off my unicorn and my sparkle starts to dull. It happened today. In fact, I have moments everyday where I catch myself wasting time.  As I become more practiced at observing myself in these moments I can tag my colossal time suck under the dreadful umbrella of “I’m not enough (fill in the blank)”

I’m not pretty enough, I’m not tall enough, sexy enough, smart enough, rich enough, loved enough, talented enough, athletic enough, thin enough, relaxed, wound up, strong, light, lifted, busy…

Today I scream ENOUGH!!! There is absolutely NO time in life to not feel enough. I can be scheduled back to back or completely spacious, however there is NEVER time to not be enough of something wonderful. I no longer have enough time to feel anything BUT beautiful, courageous, wholehearted, authentic, primal, instinctual, intuitive, happy, radiant, vivacious, sensuous, open, electric, spiritual, joyful, or free. There is no time to not love all parts of who I am. My strong body, curved silhouette, happily lined face, magical mind and my hi’s and lows. From the top of my head to the tips of my toes I am perfectly flawed.  It is necessary to ALWAYS find time to love every inch of that. 

The “how” is a practice of experiencing joy in every moment. Of observing your own thoughts, sitting with whatever they are, while letting them move through you and allowing them up and out. Climb to a higher thought. Just a little bit higher. From worry, I climb to doubt, and from doubt to disappointment. From disappointment to pessimism, to boredom to contentment to hope, to optimism to enthusiasm and eventuallyback to JOY.  Go big and climb.  Cry, light a candle, listen to music, write, run, cook, sweat, dig in the dirt, scream, dance wildly in your bra and underwear…you get the idea. Kiss the world. It’s big and beautiful and needs your gifts to be shared. So, make time to shine, because there is no time to move through life feeling “not enough.”

Why I Don't Like Cheetos

Why I Don’t Like Cheetos

The hardest part about starting something new is…starting. Yes, this is earth shattering information my friends. AND, it’s totally true. Starting is complicated and messy. It’s uncomfortable and bewildering. It’s totally not tangible and the results are not guaranteed. Resistance moves in like an uninvited guest, plops itself down in MY seat on the couch, opens a bag of Cheetos and begins devouring its contents…without a napkin.  

Moving past the resistance is where the power, growth, and transformation happen. This is the magic and the only way to get to the magic is to do the work. Now, normally I am a proponent of let it happen, ease into things, surrender to the flow and I still am. However, there is no substitute for doing the work. Getting into the muck. Taking 100% responsibility for asking the hard questions while releasing attachment to the answers or outcomes.

For example: I LOVE my house. I love waking up in the morning. I have a ritual of opening the shades, letting the sunbeams pour over my bright red couch and lime green walls. I shuffle my feet inside of my sheep lined slippers and make my way to the coffee pot. I pour my first cup, feed my fur babies and sit. Oh it feels so good!!! I make my list for the day and then immediately don’t want to do anything on the list. Why? Because it disturbs my order. It gets messy.  It means my house might be cluttered. It means that I can no longer live in vagueness or ambiguity. It means I have to get real, and stand in truth. It means I have to figure out what that is. It means DO THE WORK. I can only ride my unicorn if there is a unicorn to ride. Meaning, there is no magic without effort. There are no rainbows without rain, right? So let’s “Make it Rain!!”

Here’s what I experience when I get the guts to start. I sprawl out and take up space.  Markers, papers, journals, music, tea, animals, candles, crystals, incense. I have a full on woo-woo meets logic party in my living room. Furniture gets moved, phone is silenced, and we’re off. The journey is a full on splash into the muddiest of puddles. There I am in my red rain boots, a flowery dress, and a head full of sparkles. The work will not be finished in a day. These are baby steps.  It is inspired action with no knowledge of what happens in the end. And just when it gets sticky, the rainbows show up and the unicorn appears in full view. Creation has begun and it’s full of ENERGY. This is Surrender. When I choose NOT to take action ( and there is always a choice), I have allowed perfectionism to wriggle its’ way into the big picture, and really there just isn’t room. The energy of perfection is low and slow. Let it go. Play is steeped in truth, unconditional love and “sparklism” (this is clearly a made up word that lives in fairydom…also made up.) Get dirty, lean in, and know that tomorrow the sun will once again show up in the castle. Energy begets energy, so let’s make it the high vibe sort.

Resistance is a teacher, it’s a loving guide towards living a life full of dreams. Resistance is a sure sign that change and growth are on the horizon. Inviting this in is a call to a vivacious dive into a vortex of “heck ya” living. It’s exhilarating and nerve racking and delightfully uncomfortable. 

I’ll still wake up in the morning, open my blinds, shuffle to the coffee pot, love on my fur kiddos and make my list.  I will still feel the ease of morning and the promise of a new day AND there WILL be resistance, and to that I say Welcome! Leave your Cheetos at the door.

I Wonder As I Wander

I love Christmas. The days leading up, the late nights staring at perfect twinkling lights, and the flickering flames carrying the magical mix of cinnamon, clove and balsam pine. Drifting in and out of naps on the couch, long walks in the crisp winter air, and time in reflection. Settling into the calm is an art in and of itself and though that process for me is messy, I think there’s part of my system that enjoys the slow shift. Completely overstimulated by the complexities of where my life force has stretched and pulled and grown, I manage to navigate my way to a long winter’s trance. 

It takes time for my body to rest. Days and days of pushing and striving. Countless performances, stretching, lifting, make-up, hairspray, advil...it all needs a break. Ten days into this beautiful scribble of a process, I am relaxed. Each moment feels longer than the next and my to do list includes finding myself knee deep in sparkles and garland because I am putting the tree up or in, a few days, taking the tree down. My reflections are rich, full and as intricate as the snow flakes that continue to fly. The temperature has dropped significantly and our big red couch swallows me further into its’ folds and swells. Jack the Saintflops his giant head in my lap and lets out a deep groan, or a snore, I’m not sure which, they sound the same. 

And it’s here where I feel real. My thoughts and words move through my mind like a freight train though the longer I sit, they become a mere flutter. There are no notebooks to write it all down, no computer to log each detail, the T.V. doesn’t buzz in the background. There is a chorus of voices softly calling from the living room speakers and the snow is falling outside my front window.  A sacred experience that has no beginning or end. Each moment presencing and folding in on itself. I sink further and further, my eyelids grow heavy though I do not sleep. The silence continues to seduce me and I want to stay here all year, or at least all day. Maybe I have, I can’t remember. The heater begins its’ intermittent hum, the water fountain trickles, the house breathes a familiar sigh of relief and I linger a little longer. Nowhere to be, nothing to prove. The mystery of the holiday season through my adult eyes. 

In a few days the big New Year will shine its’ fresh face onto my world. Confetti will replace tinsel, resolutions replace reflections, and structure will quickly finds its’ way back into each day. Once again I will find delight in morning class and days of rehearsal. The sweat will return and the familiar pumping of my heart in my chest will burst with sunshine excitement. After all, I eat glitter for breakfast. The DO energy will reappear and I wish upon all of the stars that I do not let go of my BE. I have no advice on how to do this and I think that’s just fine. Maybe that’s the BE.  Surrendering to observance, a witnessing of my own experience. 

Not quite ready to move, it’s my turn to sigh and I smile and it all feels right.

I wonder as I wander.  Just a few more moments…

 



What Happens When Wonder Woman Takes Her Outfit to the Dry Cleaner's?

 At some point she has to wash that badass outfit of hers. So what happens when she takes off the gold lame and slides into her Diana Prince clothes? Does she suddenly not have super powers? Does she have to wait until that sassy uniform comes back from the dry cleaners? What if there’s a situation she’s being called to. Does she just not go? 

 

I woke up this morning, face down on my pillow, hair stuck to my face and as I whispered to myself, “I surrender…” an explosion of Wonder Woman’s job description entered my mind and out spewed the above questions. Who knows where it all came from, but I listened anyway and waited for the answers. Peeling myself from under the sheets, my feet hit the floor and I started looking for my own sparkly Wonder Woman suit. Today is the first day in the theatre, my favorite day, and I Wondered (see what I did, there?) if I was ready. Even if I’m not, it’s happening anyway. I have two choices, not show up, which is ridiculous and not an option, or show up, feel into the fear and do it anyway. Yep, I always choose the latter when it comes to my dancing. 

 

What about the rest of life? What am I waiting for? I’m a big time dreamer. I love daydreaming. Sometimes I daydream so much the entire day has slipped by and I’ve forgotten what it is I’m actually doing! Don’t get me wrong, daydreaming is super healthy. It makes room for creation, imagination, play and to get clear on what I REALLY desire in life. But, then what? What happens next? What happens when my sparkly Wonder Woman suit is at the dry cleaners? Do I dream my dreams and then never take action because I don’t have the right outfit? 

 

Okay, here’s the truth, I don’t need the outfit and neither do you. The outfit looks amazing, but it is not our power, nor does it define our ability to get s$*& done. The point is to start something and finish it and DON”T WORRY abut the rest. Take this blog post for example. I “started” my blog 1.5 years ago. I have one other post. It is on my list of things to accomplish every single week. I avoid it because I have all of these stories about my website not being enough, my writing not being enough, my gold sparkles are in the wash, etc. IT DOES NOT MATTER! What matters is to start. You will never be ready. Just like the first day on stage, something will get funky, and that’s okay. This blog post is not perfect and that’s also okay. You will never be ready to do the thing you want to do, but if your heart says go, you MUST do it anyway. It might be messy, it might not be perfectly cleaned, starched and hung up in the perfect place in your closet. WHO CARES? Start before you’re ready and take the leap, both feet in. That thing that’s been gnawing at your heart for a while? You know, that photography class, yoga class, trip to the mountains, European vacation, the business you’ve been dying to start, the freedom you long for, the job you’ve always wanted, the unicorn you’ve been hoping to ride. Do it today. Just start, you’ll never be ready, but damn it will feel so freaking good! Dream big friends and then, just like Wonder Woman’s deep-V, take the plunge, you do not need the outfit, He/She is already inside of you. Let it up and out. It’s go time!

 

We talk about all of these things in the Rock Your Life Mentorship. This program is a game changer, a sparkle finder and a get un-stuck-er. I encourage you to check it out and sign up for a 15 minute time slot with me. Get clear on your dreams and take action!  Here is the link! http://taraleighlovesyou.com/programs/mentorship

 

And because I’m alway paying attention to signs from above, I’m pretty sure this is has been a sign to not only start writing again, but I’m certain my Halloween costume has just been decided.

I'm not perfect.

Yup, you read it here first. I was born with the need to be perfect. No comments from the peanut gallery please! It's the thing that keeps me up late at night, and gets me up early in the morning. It's what called me to my first ballet class at the age of 5. It's also why I cried after my first dance recital when things didn't go my way. It's the knowing desire for the unattainable that is a blessing and a curse. The curse part I would like to do without. We've all experienced it. For some it's a funny stomach, fast heart beat, biting nails when you're not a nail biter. For me it's the paralysis that comes during the drive to the theatre that sort of feels like I could just keeping driving out of the state. When it's all over I'm smiling from ear to ear as though that nasty bug never reared its ugly head. Like it vanished into thin air without a trace. 

I love ballet. I love performing. I love class. I love rehearsal. I love the costumes, and the music, the soothing monotony of putting on make-up, the 5 minute thrill before the curtain goes up. However, there is a certain "thrill" I would rather not live with. The perfectionist, fear of failure "thrill". Yeah, yeah, it's all a part of it. I have tried to push it down as far as it can possibly go.  But when the fear creeps in, it takes over and sits on my chest for weeks to come.  So what's up with this super unattainable idea of perfection? 

The entire month of July was mine, and I took it.  I had nothing but time. Must be nice, I know. I took the advice of nearly every happy blog across the country and said "yes"... to everything. Running, aerial dancing, pole dancing, movies, concerts, last minute trips to the mountains, sun burns, fishing, GLAMping, my first 5k, BBQ's, cabs at 4am, 30 day yoga challenges, 10 day sugar detoxes. Vision boards, mission statements, mentorships, relationship marketing strategies, expensive sleepovers with my husband in ridiculous hotels, extreme cleaning, extreme cooking, extreme wine tasting,  and one extreme headache. I have repainted furniture, made new light fixtures, planted flowers, and vegetable gardens, I actually baked a cake (for those of you that don't know me, this was huge and it was from a box, but I did it).  Girls nights, dates with my husband, time alone and now I am writing my first blog. It's been fun, it's been educational, and never once did I think about being perfect . 

The truth is I was the opposite of perfect. I did a lot of things that I could have screwed up. Maybe I did screw things up, I don't know because I busied myself in discovery. I took a lot of deep breaths and entered into everything with the idea that I had time to do it all. I saw the end of things come and go, and took time to recognize, relish, and really live in each new adventure. Zipping around town I had a huge smile on my face, and  a new sense of freedom and excitement. The wheels in my brain started cranking. More than anything, I really want to be able to stay connected to my heart, and my soul when I'm doing my job. You know, the thing I love.  Bringing my new found serenity back to class and the workspace would be a challenge. Old habits are hard to break. How can I create ease, and excellence all at once? The answer struck my heart and my intuition was waving its knowing hands in my face as if to say "Wake up Sarah,  just breathe, you have T-I-M-E!"  

A-ha! So this it what it means to live in every moment, in every tradition. I thought about how often I cheat a 4 count grande plie or shorten the develope devant. How often I brush over the the step that will actually help to do THE step. Always in a rush to get to the next thing in fear of failure just so I can be perfect. I've been missing out. Mindlessly skipping over important transitions just to be "right".  Who knows how long this has been going on, maybe forever. I adopted this maniacal mindset a long time ago. I might not be alone. Learn it first, get it "right", be perfect. If I finish first, I win right? Win? Win what? Win nothing, just more nerves, shaky legs and more hamster wheel accompanied by disappointment in myself, and the flash of an amazing experience right before my eyes.

The transitions are what I have been missing, Taking the time and necessary breath to execute all the parts. It does not mean to speed up or slow down. It means to enjoy, live and fully believe in each moment regardless of the duration. It means bending time to make room for the art, the athleticism, and the magic. It means to be present in every 8 count (or 7's and 11's as the case may be) phrase of music. Time to hear each luscious note so carefully crafted by the genius of its' composer. Time to create relationships on and off stage. Time to learn and delight in all of the complexities of a simple step. Time to contribute to somebody's dream. Time for my own dreams. Time to stay out of judgement.  Time to play. Time to listen. Time for grace, love, and gratitude.

I look forward to cultivating an honest affair with my new buddy, Time. One that revels in exploration of all the parts.  Together we can breathe, achieve, and really sink our teeth into the joy of whatever that new venture might be. Maybe it's simply driving to the grocery store, taking a yoga class, making a new recipe or trying a new restaurant. Maybe it's diving into a new piece of choreography, working with a new group of dancers, breaking down a step to its minutia, or allowing myself to see the big, beautiful picture. Whatever it is I'm dedicating myself to enjoying the car ride to theatre, the 4 count grande plie, the challenge of a pas de deux, the unknown of a raw solo. I'm craving it.  I happily accept the challenge to give and exist in the joy of the journey from home to work, and back home again. I vow to get lost in the discovery of my paintbrush so much so that failure won't even cross my mind.  After all I'm here to make art. There's no winning in art. There is only art. It won't be perfect…and that's perfect.

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