Funny how life works sometimes…I started my morning running late to my exercise class. As I walked in the door, I heard the women talking about how sad and scary all the recent tragic events have been. The instructor had just learned that one of her friend’s wives took her life yesterday, which then spurred a passionate conversation about everything from who they knew who had recently passed, to the local and national headlines. Needless to say, I lingered in the lobby for a bit and listened. Most of the women in the class do not know my situation, and I really wasn’t in the mood to chime in. I did think though, that it would be a good topic to write about – that is, until around noon…
I met my friend, Michelle at Panera for a working-lunch. She just started a new job as the Social/Recreational Coordinator for a non-profit advocacy group for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Knowing that I own a dance studio and that I already partner with a few other local groups, she wanted to talk about ways we could work together to add dance to her program.
We had a great lunch and spent the hour talking about just how rewarding this line of work is and how it feels so good to help others. As I drove away, I realized that I was smiling ear to ear – what a difference a few hours’ makes, right?
One thing that I said to Michelle kept replaying in my head for the rest of the day. “It’s impossible to have a bad day after dancing with these kids”
It really is impossible. I spent some time thinking back to when I first started dancing with my “Life Skills Kids” to now and realized that they helped get me through some very tough times. Back when my husband was ill and in treatment, I would leave the house for an hour once a week to dance with them. After a quick warm-up, we would put on some tunes and dance any way we wanted! From moon-walking across the floor to putting on cowboy hats while line-dancing, the hour I would spend with them was priceless. They had no idea what was going on in my life and they certainly didn’t know how much they were helping me by simply being there.
It’s been a few years since those really tough days and there have been a lot of changes since then, but I still get the same amount of joy as I did the very first day. Just last week, we had an impromptu hula hoop contest, broke out the pom poms when “Shake it off” came on, and bounced around the room doing the Cha-Cha Slide. The beauty of working with these kids is that for the one hour I am with them, the outside world doesn’t exist. There is no sadness, no drama, no stress – SIMPLY JOY!
What brings you joy and is it still in your life?
Reconnecting with your joy isn’t easy after loss. The fun things so often get pushed to the side. I am fortunate in that teaching these kids is part of my job. I don’t get paid much for doing it, but the reward I get is worth more than money. No matter what is going on in my life, I know that taking the time to dance matters. It can “reset” a bad day or make a good day even better.
Maybe it’s time to bring back what makes you smile – hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture… You get the idea.