The “Limited” Dance

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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2 Responses to “The “Limited” Dance”

  1. Kendall Says:

    Fierceness comes in many guises, doesn’t it? You are fierce with life, and I hope your knee will be calmed and gentled back into serving you as you want it to. Necessity is once again the mother of invention, and you are an indomitable inventor.

  2. leiflife Says:

    Dear Dear Kendall… I too felt that this post was a continuance of “Recalling Fierceness”. It comes in many guises and also can surprise one with its presence when one least expects it. I count my blessings and you are certainly a blessing of a friend.

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