Since I am rededicating myself to sharing this dance passion as broadly as possible, including teaching a workshop aimed at generating movement’s positivity with newbies and more experienced dancers alike, I offer this post from the archives (edited a bit…the original post is here).
It bears constant repetition: The world needs us now more than ever to cultivate whatever brings us alive so we can breathe that vitality into the atmosphere.
Sometimes this passion for dancing seems like madness.
Take this morning. Heading out early into the cold, discouraging day, I slipped repeatedly on black ice, tweaking an old injury. As I scraped my car’s frozen windshield and then entered the battle of slippery, rush hour traffic, I asked myself, not for the first nor the hundredth time, what in heaven’s name I was doing. But the doubt was only momentary.
“I’M GOING DANCING!” I hooted jubilantly out my rolled down window into the wintry mix (eyes still on the road….).
And that, my friend, says it all.
It says that I am on my way to cultivate joy, creativity, inspiration and passion. Which, in turn, helps me lavish positivity on the universe. It tells you that I am heading toward fostering, ironically amidst all of the movement, a grounded, mindful state, which can facilitate problem solving and emotional processing.
And, if I am extra blessed today, my dancing will serve up some ineffably wondrous moments of transcendence. Those spacious moments of optimal experience or “flow,” researched exhaustively by genius/guru Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, that occur when we are fully engaged in something deeply challenging and meaningful to us. These luminous experiences do everything from providing a full, lasting sense of pleasure to helping us expand the limits of the self. (Check out his fascinating book, “FLOW” )
Sure, 2014 has roared in, heaping difficulties, losses and a whopping dollop of anxiety on my path. Difficulties and anxiety that I have tried, largely unsuccessfully, to resolve during most of my waking hours… and, hey, far into what should be non-waking hours :).
But 5 minutes into the dance class, all of the problems and losses have fallen away. And, yes! Amazingly, I am able to dance out the tension, frustration and grief, and for a few moments find that indescribable experience of the “still point” that T.S. Eliot so eloquently evoked:
“At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless;
Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is,
But neither arrest nor movement. And do not call it fixity,
Where past and future are gathered. Neither movement from nor towards,
Neither ascent nor decline. Except for the point, the still point,
There would be no dance, and there is only dance.”
When I leave class, sweaty and exhausted both mentally and physically, my mind is calm, my spirit refreshed and my heart generous. Later in the day, answers come to me for some of the nagging issues. Most important, I am in love with life.
What my dancing passion teaches me, over and over and over again, is the truth of Buddha wisdom: “Your purpose in life is to find your purpose and give your whole heart and soul to it.”
Madness? Heck, no. I call that living.
Here’s wishing you your fully-lived purpose. I wonder what it is?
Photo credits: 3rd from top–Nikki Carrara; Bottom–Rich Davis (Pictured: Elm City Dance Collective)