'Tis the Season to Feel
Let’s face it ‘tis the season to have a lot of mixed feelings. Yes, there is a lot of jolly: wide eyed children seeing Santa, Christmas candy, beautiful decorations and of course Christmas trees with special ornaments, and sparkling lights. We counter this holiday innocence with rampant consumerism. It has gotten so bad that stores are opening on Thanksgiving Day to lure shoppers in for early bargains. Bargains that last the whole season. We are bombarded with ads, flyers and emails, making us aware of things we didn’t even know we needed. Yet, it feels wonderful to find the perfect gifts for those we love, and so the cycle continues. So why do so many of us end up exhausted and depressed after the holidays.
Maybe it is because for so many people the holidays are a struggle. Loss, family estrangements, serious illness, financial crisis, addictions, and mental illness can change what the holidays mean. Nearly two years ago, I experienced a serious loss, and it has created ongoing suffering. And while I have come to a place of acceptance, what was lost was to me was contentment; more importantly, my sense of joy, and purpose was completely destroyed. But grief is the great teacher, and I have listened.
The great lesson I have learned is that we can all begin again.
We can lose almost everything we hold dear, and still, we can go on. The key is to go on in a new way. Accept that the the unthinkable has happened, and find a new way to live... and so the idea of a dance Company was born.
I love the making of dances. I love the moment the music starts talking to me and telling me what to do. I love when I see my movement on other bodies. What I don’t love is how narcissistic dance can be. The mirrors, the unending attention to the physical self, and the drive for perfection and applause can create a toxic environment. I wanted something different. I wanted a dance world that said it’s how a body works that is important, not how it looks. I wanted a world where we danced for joy, for ourselves and others. I wanted us to be grateful that we can dance. And so far we have succeeded beyond all imagining. With a team of beautiful dancers, a website designer, marketing and social media managers and strong studio support from Spotlight Vermont, we have been able to become a dance company with a social mission. We have also become a family.
This dance family has again made the holidays a time of joy for me. It has reminded me, that this is indeed a season of giving. Tis the season to give to all, not just those we love. And this we have done. In addition, to our performance in October we created a five dollar challenge to raise money for Ibutwa; which was incredibly successful (exciting posts coming soon)! MDC danced in the Spotlight Holiday Showcase, and that performance raised hundreds of dollars for the Spotlight Scholarship Fund. Company member Rebecca Brynga organized a Toys for Tots drive at Spotlight that had bins overflowing and required multiple trips to drop off.
Rebecca had the same incredible generous response with the Spotlight November food drive. We have grown into a studio, and company of giving. And I have felt so grateful to feel the joy of the season again. The joy feels all the more precious as it is unexpected, as is the quiet sense of contentment mixed with a profound sense of gratitude.
I am so very grateful for how hard everyone has worked, simply because I asked. Just this week, I noticed I had two beautiful pictures, and realized I just needed a partridge in a pear tree for a holiday post. And who else but precious JT, and his sister Annie could fill that role. I mentioned the idea to the amazing Rebecca, (mom of these two incredible dancers), and within a second she was all in.
The following day at the studio, in matching homemade, and simply adorable t-shirts, we had our photo. A two year old, sitting through class, dancing, and playing with the big girls, and then so so late for a little one, getting his picture taken... my dance family is beautiful. And this season has been beautiful.
So to all I say, 'tis the season to open up your heart and give. Give your time, your voice and yes your financial support to those who need help. Give your love and emotional support to those who are sick or grieving. If you don’t know what to say, say just that and add but I am thinking of you and wish I could help. Tell your friends and family you love them. Give with all you have, tis the season.
(In Order: A Partridge in a Pear Tree T-Shirt Image, Ian *Rebecca's husband* and His Buddy Delivery Toys for Tots Donation from Spotlight Vermont, JT with Mrs. and Mr. Claus)