I am writing this on Wednesday, and today is the six-month anniversary of the day I started dancing again. Many weeks ago, I put this date into my day planner along with a note to write about it.
Then I sprained my toe, and I haven’t danced for three weeks. But I decided I’d still write this post.
Then last night a colleague of mine who I really liked and admired died. So it’s been a hard day. I thought about not writing anything at all. I thought, how could I write about something as happy as dancing on a day like today?
I thought, why am I so upset? I haven’t seen this colleague of mine for years and years. But I am. I am upset. We do not need to be in regular contact with people in order for them to be important to us. We do not need to be close to people in order for them to have impact on us.
And then I thought, I will write about dancing anyway, because this friend of mine, Jimmy, he was a comedian and an actor and a director and a drama teacher, and he was one of those people who seemed so fully alive and so fully committed to and passionate about what he was doing. So it feels apropos for me to be writing today about something about which I feel passionate.
I haven’t danced for three weeks, and I feel a bit sulky about it. I really, really miss it. I think all the time about when I’ll be able to dance again, and every week, I think, well, not this week, because my toe still really hurts, but maybe next week. I can’t wait till I’m all healed up and ready to go.
But here’s what is incredible to me. Before six months ago, I hardly ever danced. And before a few years ago, I didn’t even have the option of dancing. No dancing. None. Ever.
How my life has changed.
How I have loved the last six months. Even the last three weeks of that, because even though I can’t dance right this minute, I know I will be dancing. It’s only a matter of time.
I feel like dancing has changed me, and during this last period of time of enforced non-dancing, this has been interesting to watch. Because now that I’m not dancing, it could change back, right?
But it doesn’t feel that way. It feels like dancing hasn’t merely changed the way I exercise, or the strength of my muscles, or my priorities in terms of my schedule. It feels like dancing has changed something inside of me. To have a physical means of expression, and one for which I don’t place huge amounts of pressure on myself to be perfect, has grounded me in a way I didn’t expect.
And then there’s the joy. I am so happy when I’m dancing, I feel like my happiness must be shining out of me like a beacon. I am happy thinking about going dancing ahead of time, and I’m happy after going dancing, while I’m driving home to good music and then eating my instant oatmeal (brown sugar and maple flavored, of course). And I am the happiest of all when I’m in the flow of the dance, buoyed by good music, connected to my partner, and experiencing the joy of a moving creation.
When I am dancing, there is nothing else in the world I’d rather be doing. And having that space to be so devoted and focused is extremely precious.
So on this, the six-month anniversary of rediscovering this joy, I hope for much more dancing in my future. I wish I could dance this week. For myself, to celebrate this milestone, and also for Jimmy. Thanks for showing us how to live with gratitude and passion, my friend. You are an inspiration.