Dance Like Nobody’s Watching

The meaning of the above title came to life for me several months ago while attending a wedding reception. A DJ played music and twenty or more mostly young adults were dancing and having fun.

I was hesitant to get out on the dance floor with the dancers who looked like they were half my age or younger and a lot more energetic! They knew all the latest moves to all the latest songs. I figured I would look lost, goofy, inept or silly trying to dance like them or even to dance at all. I only knew dances like the twist, pony, swim, and other antique dances from the 1960’s and 70’s. Besides I was one of the older attendees there.

As I stood on the side lines watching the dancers “moving and grooving”, I secretly wanted to get out there and dance with them but had no one to dance with except for my on self consciousness and regret for my perceived inabilities and deficiencies.

Then I caught a glimpse of an “older woman”like myself, a cousin of my sister in law. But instead of standing on the sidelines like I was, she was out on the dance floor, dancing like there was no tomorrow. She danced by herself, with her cousins, or whoever wanted to dance with her. Indefatigable, this woman, about 10 years younger than me was quite obviously enjoying dancing with the group. Moving to the music, waving her arms and hands in rhythm to the beat and wearing the most glorious smile of joy on her face.

She did not give one thought to how she looked, what she was wearing, if she knew the dance or not and certainly did not care what people thought of her. She was just totally immersed in the music and its rhythms and having fun. She saw me and motioned for me to come on out on the floor and dance too! I wanted to have the same kind of fun she was having! She was having a lot more fun than I was, standing on the sidelines wishing I was out there dancing!

How could I resist the music and the fun any longer! I got out there and danced, (whether perfectly or not… who cares!!)  till my feet hurt! I laughed, smiled, and giggled like a big kid! I did take a break to rest my feet. Then I danced some more. The call of the music was so intoxicating that I couldn’t resist its power to move my feet.

What amazed me about it all was I didn’t care about: what I looked like, how dorky I was, how out of step with the electric slide, or, for a while at least, how much my plantar fascitiis hurt! I was immersed in the pure joy of the music and expressing it through my movements.

Because of my friend’s participation and unfettered joy, she taught me a lesson. “Dance like nobody’s watching.” When my heart tells me to do something but I have convinced myself that I can’t do it or will only mess it up, or embarrass myself, I need to listen to my heart. Trying something new is often scary for us as we get older. But we may be missing out on some wonderful memory making experiences to enliven us and help us meet more friends too.

When an inner voice speaks to you to try something new or to learn something different or challenging listen carefully and follow its leading. Then go out and dance to your music. The music that calls you individually to accomplish what you were made to do. Dance Like Nobody’s Watching!

When we can lose ourselves in a new adventure and feel a surging joy from the experience of learning something new, or doing something we enjoy, we can lose our self consciousness and emerge from the activity with newfound enthusiasm and even confidence which will add new dimensions to our lives.

Child smiling as she examines wool.
Child excited about the look, feel, and experience of wool.

You have watched a child playing at something, when they are oblivious to those around them. When they are totally immersed in whatever their activity is their faces almost glow with curiosity and excitement.  Whether we are kids or not, we can also bring our inner child out of hiding and let them play and make our lives better.

Look listen, smell, hear and feel what is around you. You may be surprised at the little messages you will see or find there in your own world. Then like a child, who has made an amazing discovery or new finding often does, go share it with someone else. The desire to share a wonderful magical experience is like dandelion seeds that spread everywhere. Start your own seeds to fly in the air. Find and listen to your inner child and lose yourself in something new or something you love to do.

My inner child and I visited some family at the beach. I was told no one was bringing their swimsuits. They did but I didn’t. No problem my clothes would dry in the sun anyway or I could change when I got back to my motel room! How could I pass up a swim in the ocean?

Wet clothes from swimming in the ocean.
No swimsuit? No problem!!
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