Monday, May 5, 2014

Dancing Bones

I love to dance, and so does my husband. Over our 14 years together we have evolved our own style, mostly East Coast swing with lots of strutting and ridiculous faces. No alcohol is required. In fact, we are happy to be the first people out on the dance floor, in the middle of the day, stone cold sober. Feel free to invite us to your next wedding or dance party; we will serve as your party-starters. For free! Or at least for cheap.

Here's us dancing at a holiday, party a couple (ahem!) of years ago.

We laugh a lot when we dance together, and I fall in love with him again every time.

For me, dancing is full immersion in the moment. It is movement, music and connection. When dancing, I fully inhabit my joyful self. This is particularly important, since she is so often overshadowed by my ambitious self, or my sad self, or my snarky self, or any of the myriad of other internal selves that I am in the process of meeting. I am deeply grateful to be able to dance so freely, especially as someone who struggles with anxiety.

I believe--I hope--that there is at least one activity that brings each of us fully into our joyful self. What is it for you? Maybe art, or walking in the woods? Listening to your favorite music? Cooking a special meal? Laughing with a child? How does it feel, when you get there?

Some people believe in the idea of a soul that lives on after we are gone. I use the word "soul," but am not totally sure what I mean by it. The closest approximation I've come across to date came during Easter service, when Shelly Wilson closed her sermon with this quote by Sydney Carter:
"Coming and going by the dance I see
That what I am not is a part of me,
Dancing is all that I can ever trust,
The dance is all I am, the rest is dust.
I will believe my bones and live by what
Will go on dancing when my bones are not."
Carter was an English poet and songwriter, best known for writing the words to "Lord of the Dance" (one of my favorite church songs). He wrote this as his own epitaph.

After hearing this, now I think maybe my soul is "what will go on dancing when my bones are not." This idea makes me smile. It takes the emphasis off heavy, unanswerable questions of heaven and consciousness, instead focusing on the movement itself, which is the heart of life.

I love the idea that some essential part of us would continue moving, with joy, even in death. But what if, instead of waiting for the end, we figured out how to move our bones with joy, all through our lives? All together, our joyful movement would be powerful. Plus, it would be a lot more fun.


  1. Yoga and dancing to vulgar 90's rap.

    1. Yes! I have finally owned my love of 90's rap, forged in the halls of WHS these many years ago.