Dancing Off the Path of Life

A man and a woman performing a modern dance.

A man and a woman performing a modern dance. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Those who dance are considered insane by those who cannot hear the music.”

George Carlin

Some mornings as I’m out driving, I observe a man in a bike helmet at a nearby intersection.  As I stop at the traffic light, I see him on the corner, on the other side of the street, and to my right. It’s a suburban area, but not part of a housing development, so there are few pedestrians. He stands alone, bike on the ground beside him, and then suddenly he’s dancing. His arms move; first one goes up in front of his body, palm out, and then the other arm comes up from the side, as if he’s directing the traffic through the intersection. He sways to a beat that only he can hear. I wave to him as I drive by.

I’ve seen this man several times now, and I can’t decide if he is truly dancing to his own inner drummer, or not. Is he insane because I can’t hear his music? Perhaps he’s doing some form of Tai Chi during a bike-riding break? I really don’t know, and it doesn’t matter.

And who am I to judge? I was singing along to West Side Story (and picturing the dancers in my head) as I drove past him. We all have our own music; we all dance our own dances. Sometimes the music and the dance of life takes us straight down a path; at other times it turns and twists, and we march, crawl, leap, and pirouette along with it.

Martha Graham said, “Dance is the hidden language of the soul.”  Dance exists in every society and culture. It comes in many forms. Babies dance before they can walk. They move and sway to music naturally and without caring what others think.

Sometimes as adults we need to be reminded that we should not be so conscious of what others are thinking. That we should “dance as if no one is watching,” as one Zumba instructor I know often says.

I opened a fortune cookie the other day to find a fortune that said, “Choose your own path.” Some circumstances are thrust upon us and unforeseen—illness, war, natural disasters, and accidents. Some people end up on a Bataan Death March. But most of the time we choose and take a variety of roads, some smooth and straight, and others bumpy and loaded with traffic humps, or tortuous twists. As we navigate the streets of life, we make selections about and choose destinations for education, relationships, and careers. I think of my daughters, two bright, talented, young adults, and I want them to choose their own paths. I want them to feel free to meander off the path to explore—and dance. I want them to create new trails and new ways of seeing, feeling, and experiencing the paths they choose. I hope they never stop hearing the music in their souls and in the world around them.

Perhaps today I’ll turn up the music and dance off the path—and I don’t care if anyone sees me.

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6 thoughts on “Dancing Off the Path of Life

  1. Your Zumba instructor is absolutely right! You have to learn to dance as if no one else is watching. Great blog post and I hope you do turn up the music and dance off the path…

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