While I have been making a concerted effort to slow down and be more mindful over the past two years, I still don't leave my house without a very specific idea of where I am going and the most efficient route to travel. I know the timing of lights at the various intersections and where to turn when I encounter an unexpected construction or traffic headache. I don't even stand up from a chair at a coffee shop without having subconsciously ensured no other customer is standing in the perfect loop I need to travel to put my used mug in the bus bin, order my next beverage, and refill my water before sitting back down.
My daughter does not suffer from this affliction... Whether or not she may have left the house with a particular destination in mind, it doesn't take her long to discover something that alters her course. Whether a rock or stick she simply must add to her collection or a furry friend she needs to greet before crossing the street or a trash truck she wants to observe, she constantly responds to what she sees and experiences in each moment.
Dance class is no exception. Chaos doesn't begin to capture the scene of the toddlers flouncing about in their tutus with little regard for where they are "supposed" to stand or what they are being asked to do. They wander off to a corner to explore a toy bin not fully hidden from view. They stop to tell you about the funny thing the cat did this morning. Order-craving parents (including me) are constantly corralling their charges back to the circle, and even in the rare moments when everyone is paying attention to the teacher's instructions, their interpretation of the movement bears little resemblance to ballet.
But my daughter's exuberance is contagious. She doesn't care that the teacher wants her to skip, she wants to gallop! And she isn't deterred when she lands on top of the stuffed turtle instead of leaping over him. She is dancing! In a tutu! With Miss Kelly! And she is enjoying every moment of it.
The class is coming to an end next week, and it has taken the full semester for me to realize that hers is the right approach. We all know we need to pay more attention to the journey than the destination, but it is so hard to let go of our long-held patterns. We all need more "dance" in our lives, but it is hard to take that first, unplanned step.
How can you allow yourself to dance today?