Ely Eels Day - Embracing My Inner Morris Dancer!

This past Bank Holiday weekend was a record breaker for the high temperatures reached here in the UK - it has been scorching hot for three days straight (a slight contrast to the persistent rain we've had in recent weeks!). And this weekend marked the annual Ely Eels Day here in Ely, Cambridgeshire. In fact, Ely derives its name from the Isle of Eels when it was an island surrounded by fen marshland and eels were a much bigger part of life than they are now.

Now one thing I love about living in this part of the world is when the various Morris dancing groups hit town (as they do a few times a year). Suddenly you have these groups of dancers, all dressed up in their unique garb, performing through the day around the City. I really do enjoy watching them perform and I'm even almost tempted to want to tie bells to my shins, paint my face green and dive in for a song or two! (Anyone else want to join in?!).

Of course there were lots of other things going on with street stalls, a procession, rides for the kids and an arena where local dance groups performed their routines in the sun for the huge crowds (everything from ballet to street dance were on display). 

But back to Morris dancing because I think there are a few valuable things we can all learn from Morris dancers...

 Here I am embracing my inner Morris Man...!!

morris dancing ely eels day 2018 

It was just beautiful down by the river too:

ely eels day 2018

And if you want to see those Morris Dancers in action (you know you do!) then I recorded a couple of minutes of them just for you and you can watch them in full cry here: 

Having enjoyed that video, now on to three things I think we can learn from and take away with us from watching the Morris Dancers:

1) Practice, persistence and commitment

I think you've got to admire these Morris dancers. It was a swelteringly hot day and no one would have begrudged them if they'd done a couple of performances and then called it a day with a pint in the shade somewhere. But they didn't. They had practiced and were committed and they saw it through despite the conditions. I think that sort of motivation and persistence is to be admired. If you are able to display that level of persistence and commitment to some aspect of your life, imagine the wonderful outcomes you'd enjoy.

As with all performers, I think it's also worth reminding ourselves that they didn't just show up on the day and hope for the best; they'd clearly put in the hours of practice to make it look pretty easy to us onlookers. Yet I'm pretty sure if I'd jumped up and joined in I'd have been all over the place and spending most of my time avoiding being hit in the face with a stick! We often have a tendency to compare where we are now with where someone else is, forgetting that they've put in the hours that we still are yet to invest. So before we compare ourselves to others and start getting all self-critical, we need to honestly assess whether we are comparing the start of our journey with something much further down the road in their journey.

2)  Holding onto the past

All too often we are told that we need to 'forget' the past or 'let it go' and it's true that sometimes we need to change how we think and feel about stuff that has happened in the past that we can't do anything about. Yet there is also a place for holding on to the past, not from a place of pain, but from learning from it and remembering that whatever has happened has shaped who you are now, including all the good and positive aspects of who you are. And of course, whatever has happened you have made it here so you can seek to draw upon that strength and courage to make you even more resiliant when facing life's future challenges. So just as Morris dancing has endured through time, you too can keep all the things you have learned, all the skills you have developed and all the stuff you can do well. Combine it with the pretty amazing fact that you were born and have reached your current age and you can be bold into many aspects of your future. 

3) Enjoyment

One thing I love about Morris dancers is that they always seem to be having such a good time. It resonates through their enthusiasm and movement. I love that people get passionate about it and derive so much benefit and enjoyment from it. I think that's part of the reason it creates that little urge to seek out an opportunity to have a go myself. It just looks like fun! Even if it isn't for Morris dancing, I think we should all seek to have more fun and enjoyment in our lives wherever possible. We can actively plan and do things that we are passionate about or that we find to be fun, and we can take things that are currently a bit dull and ask ourselves how we can make it a bit more fun (I mean, a five hour journey in the car with two young kids can seem nearer ten hours if you can't get creative and start thinking of some ways to entertain each other!).

So while you don't have to get your bells and hankies out if you don't want to, you can start applying the practice, persistence and commitment of a Morris dancer, along with the enjoyment and tradition to bring more happiness, fun and progress into your own life. And I, for one, can't wait until the Morris dancers roll back into town again later this year.

To your happiness and success,

Dan Regan

Hypnotherapy Ely, Newmarket, Skype 

P.S. I'll finish with another photo of a different group doing their thing in the heart of Ely for Eels Day:

more morris dancers ely eels day 2018