Monday, November 18, 2013

Dance, when you're broken open.
Dance, if you've torn the bandage off.
Dance in the middle of the fighting.
Dance in your blood.
Dance when you're perfectly free. 
- Rumi

Dancing, writing and yoga are my favorite means of expression without which I imagine I would implode from all of the emotional activity that courses through my veins each day. I have found that Zumba and Latin dance are the most joyful versions of dance for me, while hip-hop is the most powerful. A lot of times when I tell people that I dance or do yoga or write, their first reaction is "I can't do that." "I'm so uncoordinated." "My grammar is terrible." "I'm so inflexible!" or my favorite (and what literally every guy tells me) "I can't even touch my toes."  I always find their comments interesting. Why are we so quick to tell people what we cannot do? Especially when the thing itself is something that the other person seems to enjoy or is passionate about? I wish their responses were, "that's so cool! Do you know what I love to do? Math equations. In the bathtub." 

I think it is important to make time for your art, whatever that may be. It can be anything at all that gives you joy, peace, bliss - that feeling of time beginning to melt like in Dali's famous painting. I try to make time for dance, writing and yoga at least once a week. As a 25 year old woman who currently does not have children or is planning to have them soon, I have a vast amount of untapped biological creative energy stirring within me. I am sure that other women (and men too) within my age group have this same energy that they have yet to harness. Often we forget our God-given right to pursue our bliss. But as my friend Mastin Kipp, from the Daily Love reminded me on Friday, the Buddhist word ananda literally means "You are Bliss. Bliss is you." To return to whatever it is that gives you bliss, is to return to yourself. Spending time doing activities that make you happy is not frivolous or silly; in fact, these activities are life giving and life affirming. They are the fuel, if you will, that give us the energy to go about our every day lives, to work day in and day out and to arrive at our relationships as our best selves - renewed and refreshed. You would not forget to eat or drink before running a 10k marathon, would you? So why would you not feed yourself with bliss before having to do all of the work that is required of us these days to be a responsible human being? 

What I love most about my bliss activities is that they require really nothing at all  besides myself. Even though dancing sometimes requires music and a partner, and writing sometimes requires a pen and paper or electronic device, and yoga (ideally) requires some kind of comfortable floor and a supportive community to practice with, these activities are not reliant upon any external sources; they do not require another person, a pill, a drink, a piece of food or any other physical form of consumption at all. These activities remind me that I can be full of something else, myself and perhaps everything else at the same time. Because, it is not "myself" in the egoic sense that seems to be awakened during these activities, but rather, something deeper and something more beautiful. I become more than my limitations, more than my physical or mental or emotional body. I begin to access the spiritual and energetic aspects of myself that are often forced to lie dormant or subdued.  The purpose for all of these activities, if there is a purpose at all, is just to enjoy the process and each moment. Or, as Wayne Dyer put it "when you dance, your purpose is not to get to a place on the floor. It’s to enjoy each step along the way."  

Furthermore, we should not wait to make art, to feel our bliss, to dance. We should not wait until the bills are paid, until the house is clean, until the kids have gotten their baths. We should not wait until life is how we expected it to be. We must do it now. While we are jobless, or in that job that we don't like. While we are waiting for that "special someone" to enter our lives. While we "currently don't have access to liquid capital" (thanks again, Mastin.) While we are hurting. While we are lonely. While we are, as Rumi says, broken, bleeding, fighting, and tearing off the bandage. We must make our art not because we want to, but because we must. 

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