After the warm up, the first dance that Connie taught us was called the Souno. It is a West African dance that’s typically taught to children. You trace the seven days of the week, alternating between the right and the left as your foot moves diagonally, like in the Charleston. With each step, we repeated after Connie:

“…Seven days a week, we do our best. Seven days a week, we do our best. Seven days a week, we do our best.” Repeating these words, over and over again was almost a religious experience for me. It was all I could do not to cry because I realized, as each word left my lips, that these were the truest words that I had spoken in a very, very long time.

“What an idiot,” I tell myself when I make a simple mistake like leaving my work ID at home. “Loser,” I call myself when I realize yet again that I have made a gross miscalculation in balancing my checkbook. The insults I can hurl at myself know no end. But the truth is seven days a week, I do my best. As I danced the Souno and said these words, I was so grateful for the gift of kindness to myself.

excerpt from Veronica Chambers’ “The Joy of Doing Things Badly.


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