A friend of mine loves to say, “I am women, watch me dance.” It’s her personal twist on the old slogan, “I am women, hear me roar.” She loves to dance and considers it part of her self-care regiment. Last week, I heard Lee Ann Womack’s song, “I Hope You Dance” for the billionth time. I thought of my friend and all the difficulty she’s been through in her childhood, in her tour of Iraq, in her health battle . . . It dawned on me that she forced herself to dance at times when it would have been so much easier to quit dancing.
Twenty plus years ago, my mother and I were walking down the sidewalk of an outdoor shopping mall with my two-year old when a car blaring some serious hip hop on the radio drove by slowly. Of course, the two-year old started to dance. My mother’s response was sheer horror. She thought he was having a seizure. This is a true story! Children drop everything and just dance for no good reason — even when others don’t recognize it as the best response.
The first line of Womack’s song, “I hope you never lose your sense of wonder . . .” and a later verse, “I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean. . .” encourage us to keep that child-like quality of awe. Amazement and curiosity drive children to explore and uncover everything from ants on a piece of bark to buttons on a shirt. If you find that you aren’t marveling at things anymore, maybe your world has become too small. (Let me say that another way, if all you can think about is yourself, your world is too small.)
Dancing is simply a choice. It's not limited to the circumstances or a specific event. You make a mental decision to dance every day. “When you get the choice to sit it out or dance. I hope you dance.” Having choices is a huge liberator. It moves us from passively letting life happen to us to actively designing our own life. Sure, there are things we can’t control but we can control whether we dance or sit this one out.
What are you sitting out of today? Where do you need to dance?
Experiment with me this week. When you feel down and out, crank up the music and dance. When you feel alone, get up and dance. When things are frustrating, go ahead and bust a move. If there is something to celebrate, dance. After you try it for a week, tell me what it felt like to choose to dance.