We dance for laughter

we dance for tears,

we dance for madness,

we dance for fears,

we dance for hopes,

we dance for screams,

we are the dancers,

we create the dreams.

-Albert Einstein

Dancing transcends all the artificial barriers of categories.   A 90-year old can dance with a 2-year old. You could meet someone in any corner of the world, and the two of you could find a common rhythm to dance to.

My parents were married for over 60 years, before my father died, and still in love. They never stopped dancing. Even as they raised 7 children, they went dancing every week with friends—a huge group of friends who all danced. I felt happy to see them do that, and I often urge couples today, who set aside little time for themselves, let alone dance, to find their version of dancing. It’s good for children to see their parents dance.

If you want to find an inspiring quote, you will find more on dance than life itself. Here are just a few:

I heard myself say to a friend lately, “I’m gonna dance my heart out tonight.” I meant it literally, and then I paused and reflected on what I really meant by that. I was grateful it wasn’t “I’m gonna eat my heart out,” and yet, both activities have to do with emotions (heart) and doing something in a big way!

That was really what I was saying—-I am going to move the emotions out of me in a big way by dancing them out. It helps me be a better therapist, and a better friend, a better human.  My kids have often given me birthday cards that say things like “having a mother who dances like you has made me a more understanding and stronger person,” with hilarious picture of old ladies dancing with wild abandon. They are some of my favorite cards!

Dance is motion, energy moving, and emotions=energy in motion.   The dance I often do is 5Rhythms, created by Gabrielle Roth to put the body in motion in order to still the mind. The five rhythms are Flowing, Staccato, Chaos, Lyrical, and Stillness, danced in a sequence known as a “wave.” The emotions that move through and out the body with each motion are experienced in an embodied way, and released. It’s therapy in motion!

And doing that in a group of other people who are moving their emotions along with their bodies is exhilarating and healing. It’s a moving community prayer. It is one of the few places in our “stiff upper lip culture” where putting it all out there is a welcome thing.

Emotions—-people apologize for showing them. Often people feel embarrassed when they arise, especially when they come out “sideways” in extreme displays from having been pent up. Being “too sensitive” or “wearing your emotions on your sleeve” are considered negative personality traits, and certainly not “allowed” in the business world.

Along with all the other madness in the world that needs to change, I believe that how we understand and value emotions needs to shift dramatically.   There is a deeply human need to express our emotions in healthy ways, weather through dance, music, crying, or simply telling the truth about how we feel.

We would not have been created with the magnificent capacity to feel our emotions if it was not part of the Divine Plan, or Universal Laws.  Without them, we could not bond with the people we love, we could not feel inspired to create magnificent art and music, we could not feel the joy that is our birthright. When not consciously felt, these emotions can become a constant source of internal stress.

David Hawkin, the well-known psychiatrist says, “Stress results from the accumulated pressure of our repressed and suppressed feelings. The pressure seeks relief, and so external events only trigger what we have been holding down, both consciously and unconsciously. Stress is our emotional reaction to a precipitating factor or stimulus. It is not the external stimulus, then, that is the cause of stress, but our degree of reactivity. The more surrendered we are, the less prone to ‘stress.” Letting Go:The Pathway of Surrender 

Meditation, yoga, massage, flotation tanks, alcohol, drugs—-there are many ways, both healthy and unhealthy to address the pent up stress of emotions inside, and surrender.

As for me, I will dance my heart out as long as I can!