Close Your Eyes And Dance

Although I’m dancing in a room full of people on a hardwood floor, I’m really alone, my toes gripping carpet as I twirl around and around, arms outstretched. I’m a little girl, wearing pink spandex shorts and a tank top, my pixie haircut grazing the arc of my ears. Sunlight cascades in golden beams from the skylight, dappled by tree boughs. It warms my face as I dance free, swinging arms and lengthy legs in awkward unison. I’m all elbows and knees. But I don’t care. I’m humming along and my eyes are closed. If I can’t see anyone, then no one can see me.

My parents’ 45 spins on the record player in the living room. I crank up the volume.

Ee-e-e-um-um-a-weh

In the jungle, the mighty jungle
The lion sleeps tonight
In the jungle, the quiet jungle
The lion sleeps tonight

Wimoweh, wimoweh, wimoweh, wimoweh

I wiggle my hips and bob my head. I stamp my toes. I reach my hands to the sky and sing aloud with the chorus.

Hush my darling, don’t fear my darling
The lion sleeps tonight

I move like the spirit’s in me. And it is. And it always was. And that’s what I realized tonight in my 27-year-old body still wiggling and dipping to the beat, pretending like no one else is in the room.

When the song ends and another begins, I open my eyes. I see a room full of bodies moving joyfully. Every dancer is unique. Each movement is flavored with emotion and a personal story. The music liberates us all a little deeper and the air vibrates with aliveness.

I don’t know if I’ll ever see that living room again, the place that was my dance stage during all those early years, but what moves me to dance doesn’t rely on a place, or age, or any other condition.

The same goes for you. You can bring the playful, carefree dancer in you wherever you go, and through whatever circumstances life has you face. Whenever music draws up in you some fiery passion that commands your soul to express itself, that’s the dancer. It can always be accessed, and it doesn’t grow old. Even though the way you move might change over time, the essence of dance is an act of surrender. It only requires that you let go (elbows, knees, warts and all) and let yourself express what’s inside.

Just remember, if you start to feel shy, close your eyes! Works every time.

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