You’ve probably heard some version of the saying “Dance like nobody’s watching.” This week, I experienced something similar. I got to “dance while wearing someone else’s name tag.” It was incredibly fun and freeing! I highly recommend it if you have the opportunity to try it. Let me explain this unusual circumstance.
Two of my friends spend their winter in Florida in a community not far from where I live. Every year, this community has a “Welcome Back” dinner party for the returning snowbirds. That party was this week, but one of my friends had to go out of town for work unexpectedly. Rather than waste one of the tickets, his partner asked if I’d like to join him for the event.
Here’s where it got interesting. Since this event was for community members only, I had to wear his partner’s name tag. (Let’s just say his name is Joe.) I felt funny doing this at first, but another friend is on their HOA board. The meal was already paid for, so he said it was fine for me to attend. Once I heard this, I felt better about going.
When we arrived, I clipped Joe’s name tag to my shirt and introduced myself as Joe all night. Of course, their friends who live in the community were in on the joke. They got very creative with this game. Some of them made up stories about Joe to see if I would play along. I did. Sometimes I introduced myself as Joe’s stunt double or stand-in. I found this highly amusing since Joe and I don’t resemble each other much at all.
There was also dancing at this event. At first, I was reluctant to get on the dance floor, but then I remembered I was not John that night. I could be as silly as I wanted to be and no one would know who I am. As for Joe’s partner and friends, they were a hoot on the dance floor, so I had no reservations about shaking my groove thing with them. We danced like there was no one watching.
After the party, I thanked my friend (Joe’s partner) for inviting me. It would have been a fun party as John, but the added element of pretending to be Joe made it even more enjoyable. It certainly was a memorable way to make new friends and not be self-conscious.
This experience reminded me of the joy and freedom I felt performing in character costumes at Disney World. Believe it or not, I was painfully shy all through grade school, high school, and college. I started emerging from my shell when I auditioned and got accepted into the Drama Department at Syracuse University.
But it was my job in the Character Department at the Magic Kingdom that truly helped me overcome my shyness. When I first got hired, there was no way I could have performed in parades as John in front of thousands of park guests. But concealed in elaborate costumes, I felt comfortable to act as silly and outrageous as I wanted!
One of my favorite roles was the dancing ostriches on the Fantasia float in the SpectorMagic Parade. An ostrich dancing in pink ballet slippers is ridiculous to begin with, so we were not only allowed but encouraged to be as flamboyant and over the top as possible. Sometimes I would shake my head inside that crazy costume and think, “I can’t believe I’m getting paid for this!” (Granted, it wasn’t much!)
When I look back, I can see how Spirit orchestrated the process of me overcoming my shyness step by step. First, I was hidden in fur and feathers. Later, I was cast in roles where my face was showing. Little by little, I became more comfortable with being seen by large crowds. I’m still a work in progress, but I am grateful for these experiences that helped me be able to do the work I do now.
I think this is true for all of us. The more trips we take around the sun, the less concerned we are with what other people think of us. I have witnessed this to be true of some of my favorite teachers, mentors, and people in general from previous generations. They seem happier because they are doing what they truly want to do. This ties in with last week’s theme about inspiration, obligation, and desperation. They are showing us that it is much easier to live an inspired and joyful life when we free ourselves from the judgments and expectations of others.
So wear an ostrich costume or someone else’s name tag if it helps. But this week, I encourage you to embody the famous quote below from William Purkey, author, school teacher, and Professor Emeritus at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro:
“You’ve got to dance like there’s nobody watching, love like you’ll never be hurt, sing like there’s nobody listening, and live like it’s heaven on earth.”
If I can assist you in living a more inspired and joyful life, please don’t hesitate to reach out. I would be honored to share some of the teachings and practices that have helped me release the ego’s fears and embrace the path of Love with a series of Spiritual Coaching Sessions or a private Family Constellations Session. Both can be done from anywhere in the world using Zoom, Skype, or FaceTime. For more information or to book a session, visit my website or send me an email.
Know yourself in the One Light where the miracle that is you is perfectly clear.
A Course in Miracles ~ T-3.V.10:9