Thursday, November 24, 2011

Stay Young, Go Dancing

"Lisa, where have you been? We haven't heard from you in weeks."
"I've been doing some research."
"Research?" (somewhat skeptically)
"Yeah, I've been trying to find out what brings me life?"
"Did you find it?"

November is one of those months of blah as well as some sketchy moustaches. I find my spirit wanes and my motivation for everyday life is in the toilet. I would rather be a hermit, holed up in my little nest, sleeping and reading in a cozy chair sipping tea than do anything else. Not very motivating, I know. But this has been where I've been. The pace of life continues at break neck speeds and pulls me along unwillingly. I bundle myself up against the biting cold and put my behind onto rock hard, frozen seats to drive over icy, snowy roads to do the things that require that I leave my cocoon. But somewhere deep inside I am have been in rebellion.

So much of life seems to be the default setting. Based on where you were born, your life follows a fairly predictable pattern. Here in the sometimes frozen world of the north, our pattern is: you are born, you are taught how to function socially, to a certain degree, you are involved in lots of activities to round out your personality, you get an education, a job that pays the bills, a spouse, a family, then you get old and die of some crazy disease caused by overeating or strange chemicals that infiltrate your body and shut it down. This pattern, if we are honest, sucks. We have become really great at insulating ourselves while going through the motions of life in the midst of our default setting. We insulate ourselves from the cold, the wind, food shortages, lack of technology, financial ruin, influenza, and adventure. The default setting of our lives, for the most part is safe. Nothing about our daily lives gets our heart beating so we have to exercise, watch sports and soap operas on television and yell at bad drivers. There is nothing that really motivates us to live fully. Survival is stocking up on the some of the thousands of offerings at the grocery store, turning up the thermostat, and turning on the hockey game.

I am tired of default. It has worn me right out and I didn't choose it, it seems. The adventure of life seems to have had the blood drained out of it. Adventure is dead. I'm not talking about jumping out of airplanes, or driving race cars, or swimming with dolphins. I'm talking about making everyday life an adventure. I refuse the default setting. I am going to choose something else.There are three things that I am going to experiment with to start my new adventure. The first, living with less. In saying that, I am not judging you if you don't choose to join me or if you think that I am a wacko. All I am saying is that simple, for me, looks like less, which leads to adventure. Finding ways to survive and thrive without iPhones, television, up to date fashion, and Doritos seems liberating to me. People did it before and I have a notion their lives were full and that communication, entertainment, the clothes on their backs and the food in their bellies was satisfying and genuine. I want to try that. It sounds exciting.

The second thing that I am going to experiment with is dancing. There's a song that I've been listening to lately called "Stay Young, Go Dancing". It's by a band called Death Cab For Cutie. (Mom, it's okay, they are not psychopath, goth murderers, they just have a strange name.) The title of the song really says it all. One Sunday morning, a few weeks ago, I cranked the tunes and danced my heart out. It felt so great. I am a horrible dancer, but it doesn't matter. Connecting my body to the melodies created by other humans, like me, makes me feel alive. I want to move. I want to throw my arms in the air and jump and twist and turn, because something inside of me says: "Dance, Lisa. Dance until you can't breathe. Dance until you fall down in exhaustion. Listen and respond to the life inside of you." 

The third thing on my list is rest. After the dancing, I am going to do nothing. I am going to watch as the snow falls gently to the ground. I'm going to tell my overactive brain to shut-up. I'm going to close my eyes and feel the warm sunshine through the window even though it's cold outside. I'm going to say no to things that would rob me of the resting time. Not everything that I do is vital or even that important. It feels so great to be honest about that.

I have looked and have seen that the busyness of the world can go on without me for some moments of genuine, face-to-face conversation, heart throbbing dancing, and soul renewing rest.


  1. I really enjoy reading your blog! You open my eyes to different patterns of thoughts.

  2. Amanda, Thanks for reading....Keep thinking!

  3. Jessica Perin (Lema)December 5, 2011 at 9:07 PM

    It's so great to read your stuff - it's so interesting and encouraging to me to find someone in a totally different place coming to the same conclusions - less is more, and being real and really living is so much more important that just getting by.
    Hope you are well!

    1. Jessica! Wow! It's been an age! Glad that you have stumbled upon the same truths! There is something to be said about simple. Also glad that you have stumbled upon this blog. Thanks for reading. Peace to you and yours.....