“I hope you never lose your sense of wonder, that you feel the heat but always keep that hunger, God forbid that you ever take one single breath for granted… promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance and that when you get a choice to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance”.
These words are from a song by Lee An Wormack titled “I Hope You Dance” and every time I listen to it, something in me stirs. Something in me hears the call and is quickened in response. Reminding me that time, is the stuff my life is made of. Reminding me to live, to give of myself and to use the talents that have been so generously reposed in me. That everyday is a gift, that’s why it is called the present, that no one is guaranteed tomorrow and that it is for what I actually do that I will be held accountable not what I intend to do.
Sometimes though, I hear this song (which I love very much) and I am chastised. Chastised because the last time I heard it, I promised myself that I’ll not take any breath for granted, that I will not be the wall flower who sits it out, that I will dance; but between the last hearing and this one, I have not danced, not exercised, not written, not loved, not forgiven… not done whatever dancing is to me!
This also brings to mind something I read often and think about. It’s a quotation by Marianne Williamson which says “our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?…” and I wonder, is this my greatest fear? Am I afraid that I am brilliant beyond measure or just too scared of the effort it would take to discover if I am actually brilliant beyond measure? Or just scared that even after putting in the effort, it’ll turn out I am not truly brilliant beyond measure! Would we all not aspire to shine if it did not take so much effort to shine?
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart said- regarding the dedication it took to be able to play the piano so well and in one of them he said “if I do not play one day, I know it, if I do not play for 2 days, all my contemporaries know it and by the third day my entire audience knows it”. He was underscoring the need for daily practice commitment and dedication. In our own times, the examples are rife, Tiger Woods started playing golf when he was 3, the Williams sister’s were trained ceaselessly by their father from a very young age, Beyonce…, the emphasis is not on people who were child protégés but on people who since then have “worked” their gifts. Constantly trying to take it to the next level, constantly challenging the status quo, the set records, even if they were the ones that set the records themselves… and when I think of the singleness of purpose, the “setting apart” that it takes to reach great heights, I understand how easy it is to settle for average and be part of the 77% of people do not like their jobs (because they are not working in their areas of strength or talent).
I know that we cannot all be the Tiger Woods, Messi’s, Murinho’s or Federer’s of our areas of endeavour but you can most surely be the very best you, you can be. And if today, you are a better you, than you were yesterday, and tomorrow you plan to be a better you than you are today, it means you’ll keep on improving.
In the parable of the Talents in the Bible, a master was going on a long journey and he had 3 servants, to the first, he gave 10 talents, to the second, he gave 5 and to the third, he gave 1. The servant who got 10 talents, used it and doubled it, so did the servant who got 5 but the servant who got one talent buried it. In chastising him, the Master said if he could not have invested it himself, he could at least take it to the money lenders who’ll use it and return it with some interest. My point is, do something! Take the time out to stop and stare, to admire the masterful creativity that brought about the world we are in, find what gives you pleasure and at first do a little of it and then a little more. Imagine a world full of people who are constantly trying to be better: better bosses, better employees, better husbands, better wives, mothers, parents, friends …
The quote by Marianne Williamson ends thus “…You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And when we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others”.
I hope you dance, as I am trying (albeit very awkwardly) to dance! To take the leading role in your own life, to make out the time to ask yourself what YOU like, what you would do if you didn’t need money, to laugh, to enjoy the people and places you have been blessed with. To use opportunities in the life time of the opportunities, not to be one of those who strive and strive without ever acknowledging for far they’ve come. I hope you dance and enjoy the feeling of knowing that you are doing what you were born to do. I hope you dance.