Does the title of this piece seem trite or silly to you? Does it seem like an unoriginal platitude that has little real value? Does it seem prosaic to tell you to “Dance to the song of life”?
Consider the alternative.
In many ways, we are all so lucky to be alive, much less with the choice to dance or not. After all, it wasn’t so long ago that the average life span was just 30 years. Of that 30 years, half were spent in back breaking labor that lead to early death. I have the feeling that not too many of our ancestors had the time to dance to the song of life – they were much too busy trying to simply stay alive!
Consider also that, even today, one-third to one-half of the people on this planet continue to struggle to provide the essentials for their families, and themselves. For those who live in perpetual poverty, I’m sure finding the time to dance that dance would be considered a great and beautiful gift!
And yet, for many of us, experiencing real joy remains beyond our reach, due to the simple lack of gratitude and celebration for all we have and are able to experience in life. We’ve become complacent, not just toward all the good things we have, but also toward feelings of loss, rejection, and failure. Somehow, we accept them as our due and forget how incredibly blessed we are to live in such a prosperous time in the world.
How Dancing Overcomes Complacency and Negativity
I’m not immune to this complacency, believe me. In fact, in my book, The ABCs of Joyful Living, I share an experience where I was feeling emotionally challenged and down in the dumps. This was largely because I felt unappreciated by others (especially my kids), but also because I felt I had let myself down by not completing my latest “To-do” list.
Frankly I was complacent in my misery.
Then I thought about writing this chapter, Dance, and I decided to test my own theory. I turned on the radio in my room, closed the door, and stood there slowly swaying back and forth to the music. Soon I was picking up my feet, bending my knees, moving my arms and before I knew it, I was dancing.
I’m sure it wasn’t very good dancing and might have been laughed at had any professional dancer seen me. And it wasn’t long before my kids did see me and cast a few strange looks and snickers my way. But, as I kept moving I started to feel better. I started to feel joyful.
All the worries and stresses that I had before just didn’t mean anything anymore. All I wanted to do was move to the music. I was fascinated by how my body just moved to the beat and rhythm of the music. With each dance movement I felt lighter and happier.
Soon a couple of my kids started dancing with me too. Suddenly, a sullen moment of despair had turned into a lively moment of joy, just by a dance.
“When you dance, your purpose is not to get to a certain place on the floor.
It’s to enjoy each step along the way.” – Wayne Dyer
There’s a song by country artist LeAnn Womack titled, “I Hope You Dance”. To me, this tune clearly captures the importance and power of choosing to dance. Life itself is a beautiful dance to be enjoyed and experienced. Whether by ourselves or with a partner, we can find joy in all the steps, spins, rises, and falls.
The Daily Dance We Do
The dance of life that we do each day doesn’t always have to be experienced in physical dance steps to music on the floor. It can be danced simply by how we choose to move through the events of the day.
Here’s an example of a rather typical day I had but chose to experience as a beautiful joyful dance:
I started early in the morning with a nice peaceful Waltz to teach a private yoga class. Then came home and the pace picked up: take one son to school and a few minutes later shuffled out again with a daughter who missed the bus. Shortly after returning from that Tango, I did a Quick Step to get the oldest son to work on time. After a break that went by all too quickly, I moved into a bit of a frantic Fox Trot: pick up the one daughter, take her to the dentist, go pick up the other daughter and take her to the dentist, take both girls home and pick up the youngest son and take him to the dentist, bring him home and go pick up the eldest boy from work. Squeeze in a couple quick errands, then go meet up with daughter at the recording studio, at least some music and actual dance beats happened there. Finally, come home, and kick off the dancing shoes for the night.
As you can see, sometimes the dance we do in life resembles nothing of an actual dance, yet what a joyful dance it can be nonetheless.
So, go ahead and dance through the events and experiences of life and feel your heart and soul fill with joy.
Have you ever experienced the power of physical movement, of dancing, to pull you out of a dull or dark place, or simply to make the mundane of life a little more exciting?
If not, and you’d like to learn more about this simple yet powerful tool for experiencing joy, pick up a copy of my book, The ABCs of Joyful Living, and let me know how the steps I outline in it have helped you have more joy.