Hard times require fierce dancing

Most of us do not regard ourselves as dancers. Yet, in a sense, we are all dancers on the stage of our life. There are interesting similarities between the requirements for becoming a professional dancer and dancing on the stage of our life. Both require us to be dedicated to dancing, to be able to persevere and to have physical stamina. We must be flexible, agile and graceful, and able and willing to form part of troupe of dancers. Dancers are also subjected to prolonged, irregular and taxing working schedules, and must pay constant attention to their diet, fitness and health.

This year has proved to be a particularly challenging year for all of us on the dancefloor of life. Earlier this year the music we had been used to dancing to suddenly changed. Our familiar dance routine was disrupted, and we were forced to adapt to new music and to a new style of dancing. When the storm of the pandemic hit us earlier this year, we abruptly went from a fast-paced cha-cha to a slow dance. As the storm now slowly seems to be subsiding, the destruction it has caused is becoming more and more evident. Millions have lost their jobs and their income, and even those who have been fortunate enough to have escaped this, have had to adapt to a world that has changed dramatically. Things are simply not the same anymore. The music and the dance have changed inexorably, and we are being challenged to master new dance steps and new rhythms. This causes huge uncertainty and anxiety. For some, this is too overwhelming: they cannot hear the music, and thus simply stop dancing altogether.

Life is an easy dance when things are going great for us. We gracefully glide across the dancefloor with ease and poise and laughter; but to keep on dancing when our lives are turned upside-down takes some doing. When a storm is raging, and we are riddled by anxiety and fear, it can be hard to hear any music, and the last thing on our mind is to dance. Yet, the secret seems to be that it is exactly during a time like this, that we should try our best to find the beat, and then to start dancing fiercely, because hard times require fierce dancing. As Purvi Raniga wrote: “Some days we have to just learn to pick up the broken pieces and start dancing again. Difficulties are there but these difficulties do not define your art of being fully alive.” Or as Vivian Green suggested: “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to be over, it’s about learning how to dance in the rain.” 

How do we do that? Stop fighting the storm. It is what it is. Welcome it. Learn from it. Whatever your situation is, trust that it is what you need to experience now. Storms are personal growth accelerators. Never has a smooth sea made a skilled sailor. In every storm, there is a gift of new possibilities, with new music and a new style of dance waiting to be discovered. But this is impossible, if we remain stuck in the past, or if we feel sorry for ourselves, and just want things to be the way they were. Rather learn to dance in the rain, knowing that this showed up in your life for a reason. The question is not whether the storm will pass, because it always does. The question is what we have learned about ourselves and life in general while the storm was raging. We can use this opportunity to ask ourselves whether we will be better equipped when the next storm arrives. The more storms we face, the more we grow; the more we grow, the more resourceful we become the more resourceful we become, the less we fear the storm. Eventually, we can become so good at this that, when a storm is bearing down on us, we embrace it, even welcome it, and start dancing. By then, we may have learned that the secret to surviving any storm is not to tap into fear and anxiety, but to tune into the song of our soul. Not even the fiercest storm can drown that out. This is what keeps us dancing and, as Dahi Tamara Koch says, “dancing makes your soul grow its own pair of wings”.

If you find it hard to dance at the moment, try to make the time to reconnect with your soul. Become still. Hear the beating of your heart. The heart is the seat of the soul. And when you can hear or feel your heart beating, know that you are loved and taken care of. Let it remind you, that this beat, this beating heart, has always been there, through every storm you have gone through. Just connect with it again, pick up the beat and start dancing – fiercely and fearlessly. Your soul will grow you a pair of wings.

“There are those who dance to the rhythm that is played to them, those who only dance to their own rhythm, and those who don’t dance at all.”

Jose Bergamin