Dance into Change
I think I this week I finally came to some sort of acceptance about the dumpster fire horror show that has been 2020. I have started to make plans for the future, and actively set those plans in motion. This makes a nice change from the “think it to death until I am paralyzed" approach I usually take. I rested when I was tired, a really late in the game lesson in listening to my body, learned from my friend Covid. I signed up for a Buddhist Summit lecture and guided meditation series, and actually found the time to listen before time expired. My typical MO is to sign up and then be “too busy” to listen, though I am somehow never too busy for the new House Hunters Comedians on the Couch show on HGTV. And most importantly, I was back in the studio recording recital memory videos. Most importantly, because I was not feeling these videos. I did not think it was a great idea to record unfinished dances that were not fully polished. My drive for perfection is the unyielding challenge of my life. Liz standards are high, and having half done dances on video, on my permanent record, did not sit well with me. Any child of the 60’s and 70’s has a deep and unabiding fear of the permanent record. We did not get participation trophies, just the threat of a mark on the permanent record, it was enough to scare most of us on to the straight and narrow. So, it was with some trepidation I went into the classroom to refresh choreography the week before taping. I sent videos to all with a gentle please review caveat. What I wanted to say was please watch and practice all day every day; I was proud of my restraint. I was ready to slog through the videos, call it a day and never actually watch the results.
Well, I was wrong, (for those who know me take a moment to absorb the wonder of me
writing those three words). The kids did practice, they remembered their costumes and they did their absolute best. Was it the dancing it would have been without quarantine, probably not, but the kids, in this moment, gave it their all. They connected with each other and their collective light was beautiful, much more than steps, a dance of the heart.
I have been thinking a lot about light this week. As I was walking down a wooded path this
week with my little friend Margaret, I literally watched her walk towards the light, a tangible and right in front of my face lesson about the power of just putting one foot in front of the other and walking to the light. Yesterday I listened to the great Buddhist teacher Sharon Salzberg give a talk called Real Change. She spoke of our negative biases, our indifference and objectification of those we don’t see, our litany of judgement, and the necessity of connecting to all people, no matter how difficult. The most beautiful thing she spoke of was the idea that the most important moment is the moment right after the worst moment. In this new moment we can let go, let it be, and begin again. I love the idea of beginning again, beginning anew. After pain and heartbreak we can let the light shine through the cracks of our hearts and psyches. We can illuminate the world with our kindness and the joy found in our connectedness. We do not need to be perfect, we just need to shine our light and positive regard on all people around us. We can accept, forgive and begin again. In this way we can be liberated. Salzberg said “We can be the embodiment of the force of love”. And if we fall short; simply begin again.
It feels like the world is beginning again and nothing about it is simple. We have unveiled truths about human conditions that we can no longer be denied. We are still fighting the Covid fight; physically, financially and emotionally. Climate change is still a ticking time bomb. I think it will be our sense of connection that will save us. Connection will create the light. We are being forced together through one crisis after another. We need to get the message and feel the power of the connection. I have felt this connection, with my young dancers in the studio , and with college friends that I have recently reconnected with on zoom. I feel it in my daily chats with my mom, and letter (yes, on actual paper, handwritten) writing with friends. I feel it in my efforts to be extra kind and grateful to all those working the checkout lines while I had the luxury of staying safely at home. The connection is most strong walking with my husband Don and worlds most perfect dog Hooper because I actively feel how lucky I am. I am finding the more I allow myself to be vulnerable and open to others the happier I feel. I am finding that when I allow myself to open towards all others, not just my small and trusted circle, the light shines brightly.
Every person we encounter is a chance to grow our light, see the world from a new perspective and spark change. Who knows what these next months will bring. What I do know, is that we have just passed a “worst “ moment. It is time to begin again, dancing toward change with an openness to what life may bring and a promise to open our eyes to all who share the world with us. Time to free ourselves of our litany of judgements, tyrannical need for perfection, and allow ourselves to learn new lessons and shine ever brighter knowing that we are all in this together.