Dancing Life to the Beat of Your Own Drum

 

image dancing M2M Nwsltr May 2015

When was the last time you danced because you felt like it? How does it feel when you let yourself dance for no particular reason?

Dance is everywhere in our culture, often organized in classes, performances, and entertainment in the media. Some people don’t like to dance but many eventually love it once they feel safe and less self-conscious. There’s a common belief in our culture that dancing is only for special, highly trained and extra talented individuals. But dance as a natural expression of daily life is in the roots of human culture throughout history and enjoyed globally by all generations.

I dance for the joy of it. I’m happiest when I don’t care what others think, when attention and approval don’t matter. The challenge is to focus on the sheer sense of freedom, release, expression, celebration; like a meditation, stepping inside of the music and the rhythm, allowing it to lead me.

Dance Walking with a group of fellow sweet souls in downtown Portland, Maine. Photo by Robyn Wiley, author of "My Happy Book"

Dance Walking with a group of fellow sweet souls in downtown Portland, Maine. (Photo by Robyn Wiley, author of “My Happy Book: A Guided Journal to Light Up Your Life”)

Why don’t people dance down the street? I do. Usually by myself. Why is it considered normal to watch others perform, but not move your own body? I was delighted to find dance walking was a “thing”. Have you ever turned up the music and just danced your heart out? How about with your kids or loved ones? How did they respond?

This is a public health issue. Everywhere you look, people are stressed and frazzled; even little children. What is going on? The dangerous foreign invader that we keep missing is the epidemic of fear we’re carrying inside.

What if instead of fighting with themselves and others, people chose to turn up the music and sing or dance? Dancing can also help eliminate depression more than aerobic exercise or listening to music. A recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine considered 11 different physical activities. Researchers found that dancers have a sharper mind and are at a lower risk of developing brain disease in the long term than non-dancers. Dancing was the only activity of the 11 studied that lowered the risk of dementia by at least 76 percent.

I am a dancer. I dance because it comes from and nourishes my soul. I have to dance so I weave dance throughout my life. I make that effort because it made me miserable to deny myself this joy and the happiness of generally being myself.

WHAT DO YOU DO THAT MAKES YOU HAPPY?

Even if it’s just for 5 minutes? It doesn’t matter what it is. Dancing is just an example. Try something different! What have you always wanted to try but felt like you couldn’t because of what others might think?

My point is sSelf Portrait Sept 16 2014imply that we can BE OURSELVES and DO WHAT MAKES US HAPPY in the context of our lives right now.  Hiding your true self and stuffing your truth is sure to make you sick and unhappy. I know because I’ve been there myself and I now know there is another choice.