Archive for September, 2011

The “Limited” Dance

September 20, 2011

For much of last week I was having a problem with my right knee. It would catch occasionally with a slight pain resulting. I paid little attention, attributing it to the vaguaries of aging. But on Sunday it became extremely temperamental, hindering walking. Pain would be sudden and occasionally excruciating. Something seemed to be out of place so that bending or straightening the leg could bring it on, but it was unpredictable; I could be walking mindfully with the dogs when suddenly it would balk – freeze for a moment before grudgingly letting me move forward.

All day I struggled against my sense of limitation, pushed aside my thoughts of the knee replacement surgery that my sister and brother underwent. The dancer in me rebelled against that possibility. Yet the dancer in me also recognized the importance of listening to the body. The dancer and the teacher of the dance has learned to embrace and work with limitations.

At some point in the afternoon the struggle was replaced with the knowlege that if I was alive I could dance. I sat down at the keyboard – set the record – and began to play. It was amazing; my whole being was in my hands, passionately affirming life, feeling, movement. I was pouring forth – allowing the extreme intensity that is usually curbed these days.

After that first piece, I rose, played it back, and sought to dance. At first It felt right, reflective of my experience at the keyboard, but the knee reacted – not ready for the abandon that my soul so craved. I surrendered, making a smoothie and taking the dogs for a ride in the car and a gingerly walk.

But the dance wasn’t over, and when I did return to it, I decided to “limit” movement as far as legs and feet were concerned. I focused all my attention on torso and arms, aware that my core had been sadly neglected of late. I encouraged its total response to the music: terribly, wonderfully aware of the power being released, letting it build, but simultaneously containing it. The result was surprisingly muscular in effect ( I have been feeling flacid and ineffective). Suddenly, my hands were vibrating, fingers trembling with the force of my torso’s activity and strength. I did gradually allow a little more movement. I managed to move to the floor and up again without protest from the knee. I seem actually to have given the knee what it wanted: a consciously active torso – core-strength that it could depend on during the dance of life. Pray God I can sustain this understanding, and continue to work with my limits to expand my dance.

Since that miraculous Sunday, I have felt less hindered by the human processes I face and extremely thankful for the lessons that come my way. I know… It is only two days since that rapturous affirmation of the life-force. I will surely weaken and require another visitation by Grace. Even so, in this moment another image from my past comes to my awareness. I shall post it to remind myself of what is possible.

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Recalling Fierceness

September 11, 2011

In a time when clearly expressing my own truth  eludes me, I return to this photograph of my younger self. I see in her the fierce will of a warrior angel. Conviction and determination fuel her passion and drive her dance. No hesitation is allowed; she has no time for second guessing every gesture. How I long to feel again this glorious stance – to embody again the spiritual purpose of my existence!

The writing of this post was interrupted. Yesterday’s outcry was set down but abruptly set aside as I went into mother mode, perhaps too easily for my own good. Yet I trusted what I had written – trusted that last sentence to go forth as a heartfelt prayer. I meant what I wrote, and had the completion of the post to look forward to – today.

So here I am, disappointed that yesterday’s glimpse of focused energy and potential seems to have slipped away. It is almost painful to sit here, hitting the keys with obedience, while something is lacking – braving the truth of the moment whatever the moment contains. Could it be that any attempt to connect with one’s former fiercness can only be shortlived.

I was so young when I danced my Thursday evenings in my studio over Turci’s restaurant in New Orleans. I had my whole life ahead of me, though even then motherhood was the other side of every dance. A particular kind of fierceness was essential  if the dream were to survive the constant claims on my time and energy. I managed it fairly well in those days – lived through the frequent interruptions and turned my own frustrations into a fierce rebound in order to claim the glory of the dance – at least occasionally.

Could it be that at age sixty-seven, I am still programed to the same way of life, yet without the youthful will of my younger self – or the energy? Could it be that after so many years of fighting for opportunities to express the glory of my personal dance, I am simply too tired to remember the stance of the warrior angel?

Dear God, regardless of the years – regardless of my habitual susceptibility to the demands of loved ones, I want to believe again that ferocity is a necessary partner to any successful love-dance. Please help me to recall this truth. Amen…