I wish I danced through every day like the cha-cha, which, as soon as the beat tickles my ears, lights a smile across my lips, through my arms, around my hips, down my legs and out my feet. I am the cha-cha. The music speaks with its crooked finger extended toward me, pulling back, drawing me forward, forward, cha-cha-cha, back, back, cha-cha-cha. Fast or slow, unhurried or energetic, passionate or playful, I follow the music. Or the music follows me. We reach a point, it seems, when neither I nor the music care who is leading and who is following. We only care to dance.
In all honesty, most days I don't dance through like the cha-cha. The music plays, but I can't hear it above the soundtrack inside or around me. On these days, my smile is more tensed than relaxed, my body moving as a stiff, overly serious partner. I try only to keep up, instead of flowing in extension with the music, but my feet trudge and my heart weighs me down. To dance with body tensed and heart heavy is not possible. I know from experience that this is not dancing, but frustrated moving.
When I want to transition from frustrated moving to dancing, I know of only one way to shift gears. It's marathon-training-hard, and it's as simple as stepping. I thrust into the gear of gratitude.
"Thank you, God, for this job. Thank you for clean clothes and a pile of blankets and a roof above my head and a mattress to sleep on at night. Thank you for my hot shower this morning. Thank you for family and friends and loved ones. Thank you for my health. Thank you for breakfast this morning and lentil soup for lunch. Thank you for the gift of feelings, and thank you that as real as they are, they don't define for me what's true. Thank you that I don't have to be perfect. Thank you that I am not alone to navigate this day, that I have this one more day..."
It's not a magical thing. Gratitude on these trudging days is pure discipline. Sometimes the transformation is immediate, and sometimes, I keep thanking in faith as I wait to hear the music once more. And I say thank you, for these trudging days. For in their own way, they, too, teach me to tune in and enjoy the dance.