After a manic morning of fights about "put your pants on" and "how many times do I have to tell you the same thing?!" I dropped my whirling dervish at preschool and took the little one (2) with me to the Parklands where I was meeting my lovely ladies. I call them my lovely ladies because they are.
There I have met a lovely group of women of which I am the youngest by a good twenty years at the very least. None of them are or have been professional dancers and yet in dance they find a soul satisfaction. As with every other experience in my life, the lessons are many and not obvious at the outset, but they reveal themselves through natural attrition.
In the case of these lovely ladies the lessons have been this. Through over fifteen years I have attended and ran adult dance classes. The adult dance class tends to be a very pressurised situation, with a high amount of expectation and judgement placed on the self, others and the class. With ideas hot in participants minds like, "I'm going to be a dancer" or "this is how I'm going to get fit", "I'm so unco' I can't get these moves" or "everyone is looking at me and laughing", the disturbed internal voices gather an invisible fever pitch that is quite honestly exhausting and sometimes hard to ignore. Immediately through my new experience of dance with the older woman - lovely ladies - I noticed the absence of this energy which was replaced with a calm and acceptance.
Over several classes I just sat back and observed, the gentle approach to getting the moves, the attitude of the teacher who praised her willing students for just taking part. I concluded the difference between the younger and older woman who dances is this. The younger woman tends to be outside of herself, not really experiencing the dance, but more concerned with how she looks, how she's performing and how other people are perceiving her. Whereas the older participant (50+) was more internal in her motivation, she was clearly dancing for herself in every way, the other concerns where not non-existant, but they were passing thoughts rather than real concerns.
So this morning as we danced in the park and were only briefly glanced at by passersby, I lifted up my arms and embraced the sun filled sky and I was present. Present as my arms reached towards the sun, present as my balanced wobbled on the uneven grass beneath my sandals, and present as I smiled at my angel baby who patience watched her mother dance from a nearby stroller.
So it is funny the paths I walk and the moments I take, and the wry smile that crosses my face as I dance to funky town with my lovely older ladies with tinsel in their hair. I remember bigger stages and thinner dancers who were no more talented or beautiful but ever so more self conscious than these. And I know with a certainty who was truly happy in that moment, and what letting go it took to get that way.