Thursday, February 11, 2010

Let's Dance!

“When was the last time you danced?”
– question put to the sick by a Native American Medicine Man

This may or may not surprise many of you that know me well – I LOVE to dance! And no I am not talking about Dancing With the Stars dancing. Just plain old Let’s Dance! dancing.

I have always started every day with 15 minutes of enthusiastic, wild and uninhibited dancing. Any music is good as long as it fills my mind, body and soul with the urge to move. Lately I have been fond of Santana’s Adouma from the Shaman CD. Barry very wisely leaves me alone during these times so as not to “interrupt my creative juices” as he puts it!

Imagine how validated I felt recently when reading an article on health and fitness that listed among its suggestions for helping middle-aged baby boomers achieve fitness without actually having to do an exercise routine they might find unpleasant – none other than a day started with a morning dance!

Raised by a great-grandmother who not only encouraged such foolishness but actually actively participated herself I have come to believe – as a result of her influence – that the beginning of dance is giving gesture to what we feel. And the ongoing effort to dance, to give gesture to what we feel and experience, is an ultimately healing process. Grandma always had her phonograph spinning – mostly jazz and blues. But towards the end of her life she fell in love with Elvis. We would twist and giggle at every opportunity – her polished hardwood floors and my bobby socks adding to the merriment.

My dancing was interrupted a few years ago. Somehow, without realizing it, I had simply stopped. Illness has a funny way of overshadowing one’s life – stealing the laughter from your heart if you are not careful. I let it interrupt my dancing – allowed it to creep into my soul and steal pieces of who I am. I am just now waking up to the idea that in spite of illness I can remain myself if I remember to be happy in small ways. Dancing makes me happy.

So I am once more moving with not-so-wild abandon across the living room floor as the sounds of Santana and Chloe’, our Border Collie, fill the air. It is truly a liberating experience – with its health benefits reaching far beyond the mere calories expended.

I have also started teaching our five-year-old twin grandsons a few “moves” – as Riley calls them – in preparation for summer evenings at the Northwood listening to the jukebox, messing around the dance floor with their grandma while their parents sip cold beers and discuss the catch-of-the-day. There is, after all, a legacy to pass on.

Nietzsche was right – “Without music, life would be a mistake.”
 let’s dance!

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