I spent many joyful hours on the dance floor during my 20s, 30s, and even in my 40s. There’s something about being immersed in flashing colors of light while moving to the rhythm of a good beat that helps me be completely in the present. The present moment is where joy lives. When I’m on the dance floor, I’m not thinking about my to-do list, bills, the past, or the future. I’m right there bopping around with my friends and whoever happens to be in my vicinity. Dancing has always been a liberating experience for me.
Until recently, the last time I had that experience was about 5 years ago. I was in New York City with 2 of my best friends celebrating my birthday. After a delicious Thai dinner, we ended up at a dance club in Hell’s Kitchen wearing the same clothes we had on all day. Moments after we arrived, a remix of “Like A Prayer” began playing and suddenly all of my inhibitions went out the window. One of my friends took a video of that moment which included some of the choreography from Madonna’s 1990 Blonde Ambition Tour. You might be thinking there was alcohol involved, but you would be incorrect. I was completely sober. I had stopped drinking alcohol the year before because I simply didn’t like the way it made me feel the following day. No, this “performance” was inspired by the sheer joy of having a wonderful day with my friends. We danced in our tourist clothes for about 3 hours without a drop of alcohol before taking a taxi back to our place in Brooklyn. It remains one of my favorite birthdays to this day.
My days of putting on skinny jeans and a tank top for a night on the town in South Beach are far behind me. However, last weekend I discovered I can have the same joyful experience wearing sweatpants in the comfort of my own home. While surfing Facebook, I saw a flyer for an online dance party featuring Tracy Young, one of my favorite DJs from my club kid days on South Beach. In addition to remixing songs for well-known pop artists like Madonna, Cher, Cyndi Lauper, and Christina Aguilera, Tracy was often the headliner at the dance parties I attended. We always knew the music would be great if Tracy was spinning. And now, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, every Sunday evening we can dance at home to her signature upbeat music featuring pop divas on Twitch.
After a challenging week, I needed a pick me up on Saturday night. When my partner went to bed, I felt the urge to go downstairs to my office with my SONY sound-canceling headphones and listen to Tracy Young’s set from last week. To add another ingredient to the experience, I played a psychedelic video of computer-generated, shape-shifting mandalas on YouTube. The beats of a funky Tracy Young remix filled my ears as colors and shapes swirled on my laptop. To my delight, I soon recognized the song as Medellín, Madonna’s collaboration with Maluma from her latest album. My dance party for one had begun.
It surprised me how much joy I felt dancing by myself in the dark watching those mesmerizing mandalas. I thought I would be done after 30 minutes with Tracy, but my body wanted to keep dancing. When her set ended, I switched to another channel on twitch.tv streaming a live set by another DJ. That was a fun experience! A rectangle in the upper right-hand corner of my screen displayed a live feed of people dancing in their homes while the DJ interacted with them and the comments scrolling by. Not knowing how Twitch works, I began to get nervous that a sweaty image of me in sweatpants, t-shirt, and glasses might suddenly flash on the screen. I also became disenchanted with the music he was playing, so I closed Twitch and played one of my favorite dance songs, Unspeakable Joy, to end my first solo dance party.
I don’t know why I waited so long to do this. Not only was it great exercise, it completely shifted my heavy mood into a joyful one. Unlike dancing in South Beach, there was no cover charge, no time spent getting ready or worrying about what to wear, no endless search for a parking spot, and no long drive home afterward. I merely had to walk upstairs, take a shower, and fall into bed where I slept soundly. I know for sure that will not be my last dance party for one.
Is there something that brings you joy that you haven’t done in a while? I can’t think of a better time than now to invite more joy into your life. Read a few chapters of a good book under a tree. Go for a walk in nature. Watch a few episodes of Seinfeld, Friends, Modern Family, or whatever comedy show makes you laugh out loud. Set up your easel and paint. Pick up your guitar and play a song. Buy a box of crayons and a coloring book and let your inner child spend a few hours coloring. If you love to dance, put on your favorite tunes and dance around the house. I promise you will feel the benefits immediately.
If you could use some assistance opening to more joy, please contact me. During this pandemic, I am still offering Life Coaching and Private Family Constellations sessions by phone, Skype, and Zoom. For those whose income has been impacted by COVID-19, I am offering 45-minute Life Coaching calls on a donation basis to help you find peace. Please look around my website or send me an email for more information and to schedule an appointment.
This week, may you find ways to allow more joy to flow into your heart than ever before!
The world you see but shows you how much joy you have allowed yourself to see in you, and to accept as yours. And, if this is its meaning, then the power to give it joy must lie within you.
A Course in Miracles ~ T-21.In.2:7-8