Challenging Myself To Do The Inner Work

by | Mar 11, 2021 | Warm Note

The other day I was filming at New York City Center. I had our Producer on FaceTime, collaborators on Zoom, I had an N95 mask on, my team on location, the Artistic Director near me at a table 6 feet away, dancers on the stage, and the stage manager on intercom in my ear. I love that energy and collaboration, and wow has it changed.

Someone on my team said, “This is our new normal way of working.”

Pre-pandemic, we would watch a dress rehearsal. On show day, we’d show up 1.5 hours before curtain, set up our cameras, get a sound check, check through all of the settings on the camera, talk to the choreographer, and then film the show. At the time, it didn’t always feel simple, but it was our normal.

Now, we are navigating so much more.

I have this balance in my mind between complete and utter gratitude for being able to work during this time to complete overwhelm in navigating all the technology and ways that we need to work virtually and safely on location.

This is LIFE more than ever.

I used to think: ‘If every pillow is in its place, all clothes put away and I am quietly reading, then life is perfect.’

Basically, a messy life was not perfect and I always aspired to feel peace.

In fact this year when my husband asked what I wanted for my birthday, I said “peace!!”

During this incredibly unique time I have continued to see that life is not about trying to find the right order of things; it’s about finding peace even when there isn’t a sense of order.

Life is messy, life is chaotic, but it can still be peaceful. Instead of wishing for different circumstances, we can strive to feel inner peace.

In this strange time that continues to present new obstacles, we have been challenged to do the inner work.

On my desk, I have a sticky note of something that my mentor Fabienne Fredrickson always tells me: “I am positively expecting great results no matter what is in front of me. The Universe is rearranging itself for your best interest now.” And wow, does this resonate more than ever!

The world is nagging at us in every way, shape, and form. As I navigate the ways of the world currently, that sticky note stays close by to remind me what is most important may not be the normal, “perfect” order, but to look for how we can be aligned and find peace in the new normal.

Wishing you grace and love and PEACE,

PS: And you thought we just do video! It is the inner work, y’all. We are in this together now more than ever.

Nel Shelby is Owner & Filmmaker for Nel Shelby Productions, her New York City-based company dedicated to dance videography and editing. Nel shares her mission to preserve and promote the art of dance with her husband, Christopher Duggan, a dance and wedding photographer. They collaborate on projects with dance companies of worldwide renown, up-and-coming choreographers, dance educators, dance schools and more. Nel is Video Producer at Jacob’s Pillow and Vail Dance Festival and is also the proud Director and Producer of PS DANCE! — a New York Emmy-nominated documentary about dance education in NYC’s public schools.