Sunday, December 25, 2011

Dance to Your Own Tune

If you don’t like the song, it’s really hard to dance to it.  Some people leave and take their pee break, water break, blackberry check, etc. during songs they dislike.  I get it.  I am also miserable in a dance class (or any class) if I hate the music.  I can’t choreograph any song unless I really love it. 

In class, there are ways to deal with music you hate.  You can try experimenting with different ways of moving or you can leave. Leaving is an absolutely acceptable way to deal with the situation, at least in my class—although there has been music I initially hated, but changed my mind about once I danced to it.
Just as we follow the music when we dance, we follow the flow of life within us and around us.  As the choreographer chooses a movement from an infinite store of movements, we choose our reality through the lens of our perceptions, from an infinite number of possibilities.  In our lives we choose our “tune” and how to dance to it in every moment. 

You can’t dance to someone else’s tune, but sometimes you can make that tune “your own.”  You can infuse the music with your own meaning.    

Sometimes the music you have been using no longer “fits” your dance.

For example, when you are used to a certain amount of neglect, you think it’s normal.  If you are lucky enough to learn that it isn’t, you outgrow that acceptance.  What I used to think was acceptable behavior is no longer tolerable.  I feel embarrassed sometimes when I remember what I put up with without voicing my feelings.  But then I realize that instead of shame, it is more appropriate to feel gratitude that I am not still in that place. 

My mother’s song for me was certainly born out of her love for me, but the tune was not one to which I could “dance.”  It was just not me.  Her tune did not reflect who I was, but rather who she wished I was.  My mom wanted me to marry a doctor because, to her, that was the best life you could have. When I was 16, my mom (who was from Georgia) thought I would like to make a debut (or “come out”) at the Southern Club in Pittsburgh.  She was being kind, because she really couldn’t afford such a thing, but clearly she didn’t know who I was. Instead of white gloves and tea, I was torn jeans and Iron City beer. I said thank you, but no.  If I'd made a debut, I would never have been able to show my face in my high school again.  A deb, I’m not.  (Not that there’s anything wrong with that!)

We can appreciate the dance of others and marvel at how the tunes complement each other, or make beautiful contrasts.

We can choose to make variations on our tune, or choose a new song altogether.  Sometimes the old song no longer fits us.  We have to find our own music, make our own dance.  Just like we go with the flow of life, we dance best to the music that resonates with us, one moment at a time.

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