The only thing that makes me feel fully alive is West Coast Swing dancing. And, it does not always happen. It tends to go in cycles. The dancing requires full attention to my partner and the music. It requires me to be so alert that I can feel subtle movements in her and react to them without thought. It requires that kind of attention in response to, not just her, but the music and the dance as well. The music and dance can be predictable. It is she that provides the greatest challenge and joy.
The dance is made up of certain movements that have been engrained in my body over the past 10 years. It is those movements that provide the container that is called the dance. It is in this container that everything takes place. The music is like the flowing water. It provides the fluidity inside the container. Shake it or stir it. Once it is in motion it can be predictable, but can be full of surprises as well. She is not predictable. Largely I know what she is going to do as she knows what I’m going to do, but when those patterns are broken in a split second. Perhaps it is something in the music, or something that I did without knowing that caused her to move in a way she has not before that in turn causes me to move in a way that I have not before. We are dancing. We are in attention to each other. We are fully engaged paying each other 100% of our attention.
I wanted to end that article there, but wanted to share some of the cycles that I mentioned above. There are times when I’m fully engaged, dance after dance. Each one is full of surprises. I can see people watching me but I do not care as I’m engaged in the dance. I am ego free. Then the following week I may start to crave the attention. I want people to be watching me. Suddenly I’m not engaged with my partner, but wanting the attention from the people sitting and watching. My ego is involved and I do not enjoy myself or have fun. Then, when I let go of that, I cycle back into becoming fully engaged. It may take a few weeks.
There are other cycles too. Someone that I want to dance with avoids me. This puts me in my head thinking terrible thoughts about myself and my ability. My ego is involved and I do not enjoy myself or have fun. Then, when I let go of that and focus on the partners that do want to dance with me, I cycle back into becoming fully engaged.
On occasions, the environment affects my mood. There are not enough of the partners that I enjoy dancing with. The music is not engaging to me. I wind up spending a lot of time sitting on the sidelines and eating the many snacks that are usually provided. I do not enjoy myself or have fun. I wind up going home awaiting the next dance.