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Sunday, August 28, 2016

Savage Joy!

Dance Then

Every savage can dance.”
Jane Austen

Count me in! I grew up in a family that loved music. My dad sang—a deep baritone. My mother could swing-dance and jitterbug. My grandmother played the piano like nobody's business. One of the earliest pieces of furniture in our home, even though we could barely feed ourselves, was a big, old console radio/record player. Music was always playing, and I danced like a mad dog from the time I could stand up. So, count me happily among the savages.

My first husband could not relax enough to dance. He did an off-beat box-step no matter what the music. As we say down South when something is inexplicable, “Bless his heart.” My second husband danced like a stripper—all body jiggling and dirty dog. It was not a pretty sight, but at least he was moved by the beat of the music. I dated a guy for a while who square danced—he carried around diagrams of the complicated moves and partner switches. You needed a special costume and cowboy boots. For me, that was like figuring out an algebra equation—not fun in the least.

In the Gnostic Gospel, Acts of John, written in the second century, Jesus teaches his disciples a song and a round dance. He tells them: “If you don't dance, you will never understand who God is...” I suppose that scripture is the inspiration behind the Celtic hymn, “Lord of the Dance:”

Dance, then, wherever you may be
I am the Lord of the dance said he
And I'll lead you all wherever you may be
And I'll lead you all in the dance said he.”
(The Dubliners)

Spontaneous movement to music is as old as humanity itself, and is the body's expression of pure delight. It can be a meditation, a celebration, or a prayer. You don't have to take lessons, you don't have to look cool, you don't have to win contests, or get hopped up on drugs and alcohol—you just let the music move through you.

I hope today you'll tap into your inner savage and dance your heart out. Nothing is better for the soul.

                                                           In the Spirit,

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