learning to dance

As a child, ballroom dancing filled me with wonder. I loved to watch my parents glide around the polished dance floor—so at-one with each other. My dad was a large man, six-feet-two, but very light on his small feet. He held my mother with a quality of knowing, and guided her expertly around the floor between other couples. Mom didn’t know what move was next, or what direction Dad might turn, but she trusted him implicitly, and they danced as one flowing energy. I wanted that experience, and assumed that it could only happen while dancing with a partner.

I’ve learned that dancing with the moment is much the same. If I am open, receptive, not entranced with my own thoughts, I can respond to what the moment requires or asks for. This kind of response shows up as effortless—unassuming, spare, filled with grace.

One evening, our family gathered at my sister, Janet’s, home. It was a boisterous group; we hadn’t eaten dinner yet, and about half of the people had imbibed more than their share of wine. Janet and her adult daughter, Ella were standing close by me, when out of the blue–in an loud blaming voice–Ella erupted at her mom. I couldn’t understand her words because she wasn’t enunciating well—but clearly she felt angry and hurt. Confronted with a blur of yelling “you” statements, the set of Janet’s shoulders stiffened. In the past, I would have felt unwittingly responsible for the upset, even though it had nothing to do with me. I’ve come to see that the sense of ownership makes responses clumsy, and then the dancing is clumsy, too.

This particular evening, ownership wasn’t present, and my response held no personal quality. I lightly touched each of them on the shoulder with love—nothing more. The barrage of words continued for a moment, and then just as abruptly, ended. The moment had needed action, I happened to be present to dance at-one with it, and the outcome unfolded with unexpected ease.

© Skye Blaine, 2011

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