I was singing with everyone else in the room, until I heard this beautiful, little voice in my right ear. I was singing with my eyes closed, so I didn’t know she was there until she began to sing a little louder.
At first, I kept singing…
But, then I STOPPED.
I stopped to listen for just a moment.
And then I opened my eyes to see the face that accompanied that joyful sound I was listening to –
AND I WATCHED HER DANCE.
She was twirling around and around, and it became clear that this was not the first time she had danced to this music. She had an entire choreography memorized. It was also clear that she was a ballerina who was ENJOYING EVERY MOMENT of what she was currently doing. I watched as she smiled from ear to ear (with the most adorable toothless grin I had ever seen) and observed the joy with which she experienced each moment…
“Dancing with the feet is one thing, but dancing with the heart is another.”
This little girl was clearly dancing with her WHOLE heart.
I couldn’t help but just continue to watch her, and as I did, a thought occurred to me.
When was the last time that I just let go, AND DANCED? I don’t necessarily mean dancing as this little girl was doing – though that would be fine too. When was the last time that I was unconcerned about what others would think or say and just DANCED through a moment, allowing myself to enjoy it as fully as she was?
I dare say it was a long time, if not my entire adult life. I couldn’t name one moment when I felt the freedom that this little girl exuded with her whole person tonight as she unabashedly danced her way around the room as the others sang.
I remember being a little girl who ran and jumped and enjoyed twirling – I’m sure we all do. When exactly did that switch get flipped? You know, the switch that says we are not allowed to experience life that way anymore. The switch that says we have to be concerned with what other people will say or think if we KEEP DANCING…
As I continued to watch this moment unfold, I decided that needed to change. I need to find ways to unabashedly enjoy the moments again too.
I don’t know that I will be able to ever fully let go, but I hope I can one day feel that freedom.
I don’t know that I will be able to stop thinking, “What will ________ think if I do this?”, but I hope that one day that sentiment no longer grips my heart.
I DECIDED SOMETHING ELSE, TOO…
Whenever I see children enjoying the moment the way she did tonight, I’m going to tell them I enjoyed watching them. I am going to praise them for it. I want them to be free to do what most adults stop doing. I want them to know that creativity, joy, freedom, and laughter are things that should not stop – NO MATTER WHAT ANYONE may one day tell them. I want them to know that it is okay to DANCE. I want them to know what somewhere along the line I stopped knowing.
You sure can learn a lot when you stop to watch a child dance…