When I was a very little girl I loved to dance. Once a week my Nana would take me to the Senior Center (which in England I think they used to call the Old Age Pensioner’s Club – nice) so I could gavotte around for their entertainment. I loved it. And I almost killed my other grandmother when I was three. As I straddle-hopped the footstool and jumped around in a frenzied expression of Spanish Calypso, dear old Gran would be nearly asphyxiated with laughter. Once a year Gran would take me to the International Dance Festival where dancers from around the world would twirl and stomp, sashay and jig. I absorbed the colors and fabrics and rhythms like Weetabix does milk. Watching Fame! was the highlight of my week. For at least an hour after the show I was still flinging myself around the house.
When I was a teenager, my happy-drug of choice was a mixed tape of Salt-N-Pepa, Vanilla Ice (Ice, Baby), and whatever else allowed me to attempt my horrendous version of the “Running Man.” (My other upper – or downer if I needed a good cry – was to drive in the car singing at the top of my lung to Les Miserables or Phantom of the Opera as they blared from the less than sufficient speakers.) Later in life I tried belly-dancing for a little while, but once I had passed the age of “going out dancing” I kind of forgot – or ignored – my love for dancing.
But once in a while I’ll remember. I still have CDs of African, Indian, Persian, and other highly rhythmic music. When that music starts it’s no good trying to keep me still! Taiko or African drumming gets my blood pumping, and I now have discovered Pandora… Bollywood and Zumba, baby! Try dancing with a straight face… I dare ya!
What we loved as a child, when we are naturally authentic, is always a key to what can make us more content as adults. And the bonus here is, as I have discovered through my graduate studies,* is that using our bodies helps with creativity and inspiration. Contrary to the believe of our head/mind/thought-focused culture, our best ideas usually come from somewhere other than the noggin. It’s as if movement and deeper breathing knocks loose the memories and creativity locked in our unconscious. This is our body wisdom.
My mood lifts and I am able to write and concentrate with more ease after I have gotten myself some rhythm. And my love-handles appreciate it too.
Prompt: When I was a child, I loved to…
*Three books in particular: Writing Begins with the Breath, Writing from the Body, and The Spirituality of the Body.