When I am taking someone else’s dance class and the choreography is unfamiliar to me, I tend to dance too fast. I am concentrating so hard on the movement – on what comes next -- that I lose the music. Music is the soul of the choreography and if you are not in sync with it, you get lost and it’s impossible to feel the emotions that the music and the choreography evoke. This makes the experience merely an exercise in going through the motions -- an example of attachment, which is always born of fear. If I am afraid of not getting the choreography right it takes the joy out of the experience.
I just did choreography to Beyonce’s “XO” and the beat of the music is slow. When I first did the song in class, I got way off course. I wasn’t on the path that the music was constructing. Because I was nervous about presenting the routine for the first time, I went too fast and lost my way.
I had to really practice slowing down and allow myself to hear the music. For me, this is always a challenge. But the rewards of staying on the path that the music provides are nourishing to the spirit. This is an example of connection, which always comes from love.
I remember the times in my life when I was “dancing as fast as I can.” This was a learned response for me. If I go quickly on to the next thing, I won’t have time to think about painful or difficult experiences. I can just be the Energizer Bunny and skim the surface of my emotional life.
Slowing down can be painful. When you are quiet, emotions you are avoiding must come up. This is why speeding along seems like a good idea. And yes, it works for a time. But it does not nurture your soul. It is a denial of who you are.
Slowing down can also be wonderful. You are present in the moment. If you are present in the now, you can, in dance, enjoy the movement; in day-to-day life, you can drop into the space between your thoughts and remember who you are underneath the surface.
So, as always, love (expressed as connection) is the answer. It allows us to let go, to turn away from fear (attachment), and it nurtures our spirit.
The dance of our lives happens in the now. Let’s slow down enough to enjoy it.
Photo by MaryEllen Hendricks