2 min read

Learning to dance.

Learning to dance.

Part of finding your way and traversing the path is learning to dance. Dancing is an essential wayfinder skill.

In fifth grade I went to a family dance. These were the good ole days of MC Hammer and Vanilla Ice. I was young and innocent, and danced my heart out. I showed my moves to the world. I had a lot of fun, my family had fun, and I remember a girl I liked at the time laughing and dancing near me. It was a great night.

The next Monday at school that girl told me that I was a funny dancer. I took that to mean funny looking. The music stopped. The dancing stopped.

Our culture teaches us to hide, to shut down, to not show our true selves. You might get hurt, your toes might get stepped on, your heart might get crushed. You will likely be shamed and embarrassed.

I didn't dance much the rest of school, not like I could really dance. Not like I wanted to dance. Then my senior year I had a turn of events and found out that I had a brain tumor. Protecting myself was no longer possible, I was vulnerable even when trying to just fit in and go along with the crowd.

For the homecoming dance that year I realized that this might be my last chance, my only chance left, to dance. This might be the last time to step onto the floor, the last chance to step into the light. Of course I danced the night away, might have even brought back some MC Hammer.

As a wayfinder, we need to dance with problems, dance with others, dance with being busy, dance with done. We dance with fear, dance with uncertainty, dance with hesitation and dance with art.

The key to dancing is staying on the floor, not being good at it. We need to try things out, experiment, change partners, find your own rhythm and moves. As long as we are staying on the floor and moving with the beat, we are dancing.

Dancing with problems and fear and hesitation means that we stay engaged. We put ourselves out there, try to be open, responsive. We don't run away, we don't hide. We commit to staying with the music that is playing, even if this is not really the song you would like to dance to. Each song has its own rhythm and beat. Connect with the beat, and the beat will move you.

Don't worry about the outcome of your dancing. Dancing is the result, the practice is the result. Staying engaged and responsive to the reality around you is enough. You don't need to keep trying to control things. Most likely the DJ doesn't want to keep playing "U Can't Touch This."

Get out there, feel the beat. I can't wait to see you dance.