Recently, I was reminded of the importance of finding and experiencing joy in life.
“Do whatever makes you dance,” my new friend urged. “Do the thing that you cannot imagine not doing.”
How easy it is for work (and life) to become drudgery. What a crime. We are given the gift of life. Beauty and opportunity surround us and yet sometimes, we are blind.
So what makes you dance? I am digging deep inside to find out for myself. Perhaps I love too many things: Time spent with my husband, music, nature, laughter, artistic expression, good food, fast boats (and motorcycles), flowers, good food (did i say that already?), cool stories and my family.
But what makes me dance? Good question.
Last month I was astonished to find the coolest story. A young woman, Dr. Melissa Martiros, has created a music program at Martin Methodist University in Pulaski for children who cannot afford music lessons. So they come for free. To witness these students in one of their first recitals was humbling.
The grand Steinway piano was situated in the expansive lobby of the university building. Children were seated to the side, neatly in rows, waiting as quietly as mice. One by one, they walked to the massive instrument and found the notes to their songs. Taking a bow, they returned to their seats. Guitar students, accompanied by their student teachers strummed and plucked carefully to find their music then scampered back to their places.
I think I saw Dr. Matiros dance. Camera in hand, I tried to capture the moment but it was deeper than a simple lens could hold. So I stood by and was grateful to be present.
Brilliantly lit is the pathway for this group of young people. Studies prove it. “There’s a lot of evidence that if you play a musical instrument, especially if you start early in life, that you have better reading skills, better math skills, et cetera,” said neuropsychologist Nadine Gaab (How Playing Music Affects The Developing Brain by George Hicks at www.commonhealth.wbur.org).
“There’s now a growing body of work that suggests that actually learning to play a musical instrument does have impacts on other abilities.” These include speech perception, the ability to understand emotions in the voice and the ability to handle multiple tasks simultaneously,” said Ani Patel, an associate professor of psychology at Tufts University in the same article.
For now, I have new eyes. I am listening and watching. Sure, I have a multitude of distractions, but the desire to find my life’s dance is ever present, waiting with anticipation for the moment when it is discovered.
Now, what makes you dance?