Leaving what is familiar and stepping into the unknown can be uncomfortable and unsettling, and at times, it can feel like I am free falling, which can be terrifying. But if I can remember to breathe through the experience with my eyes wide open, follow my inner voice, and allow faith to guide me, my free fall becomes less terrifying and more exhilarating. My free fall into the unknown may also include unexpected moments of pure joy if I focus more on the FREEdom, rather than on the falling. When my free fall ends, I might land softly, or I might not. My landing might take me to a final destination, or it might be just a place to rest temporarily before I continue onward. Either way, I will not regret my decision to jump into the unknown, because sometimes making the decision to jump is the only choice we can make if we want our soul to expand.
Last week I experienced several moments of pure joy that were only possible because I allowed myself to step into the unknown a few months ago. Measured by time, these moments were insignificant, just a few clicks of the second-hand, but the joyful emotions I experienced felt like several lifetimes of happiness, all captured in one single exchange of glances. These moments took place on a studio dance floor in Tucson, Arizona. I traveled to Tucson last week with my husband who was attending his yearly professional conference. My husband is a member of the Arizona Parks and Recreation Association and he has been attending this Arizona conference for a few decades now. I have only been two times. The first time was last year in Scottsdale on award night only, to support my husband, who received the outstanding professional award, and the second time was last week, where I was able to stay for the entire conference, not as a conference attendee, but as a supportive partner, and as someone who was thrilled to visit Tucson, and hopefully connect with a few people and places from my past, having moved from there seven years ago.
Five days in Tucson, and my only scheduled commitments were to attend a Nia dance class with a group I once danced with regularly, and to accompany my husband to an award dinner, three days into the conference. Our first morning in Tucson was spent rushing to his golf fundraiser, where he would spend his day, and then off to my dance class, where I would dance for an hour, and then hopefully catch up with a few people over coffee or tea. The studio was a new location, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I arrived early, went back to my car and waited. Eventually, one car turned into the studio lot, then another and another, until the seemingly abandoned location with overgrown vegetation was buzzing with energy. The dance studio, inside the Tucson Creative Dance Center, has a unique circular design with steps around the perimeter of the dance space. The Tucson sun was blocked by several long curtains that hang along the walls, just beyond the steps, and the geometric patterns displayed in the high round ceiling made me feel like I was stepping into a spaceship. Sometimes experiencing the music and movement of Nia can feel transcendent, so this felt perfectly appropriate. The room was also charged with a historical energy that reflects over fifty-years of use. Although I was dancing with a few familiar faces, my scheduled event was not going to feel like any other Nia class I had previously attended.
The music began and so did our memories. As we followed the inspiring instructor – twirling, stepping, floating, shimmying, stretching, reaching, trusting, and allowing – I was quickly overcome with the euphoria of movement. Nonstop bliss for one hour, with one moment that stood out to me, and one I hope to never forget. During a five-minute free dance, I caught the eye of one of the dancers, who is over twenty years my senior, and in that quick glance our eyes exchanged the amount of joy contained in a lifetime of blissful experiences. Her smile echoed that emotion. She exuded pure joy. In that moment she was my playful grandmother, my laughing childhood playground friend, my guardian angel, and everything and everyone else that has ever and will ever represent pure unconditional love-a knowing, that in “this moment” all is perfect.
Everything was perfect, or exactly as it should be, and it continued to be for the remainder of my time in Tucson. I was able to spend time after class visiting over tea and I connected later that evening with another lady I had met at Nia, while living in Tucson. We chatted and laughed for three hours over dinner. We were so immersed in conversation and talked so long we did not realize that the restaurant had roped off the area where we were sitting so that they could begin cleaning. They didn’t seem to mind us as they began their closing duties, so we kept talking until it was time to say goodbye. My trip to Tucson last week was not the first time in seven years that I had been back to join my beloved dance group (I have been a few times), but it was the first time in seven years that I was able to do so with the gift of extra time. No rushing, just allowing.
My memorable week away could have ended that night and I would have gone home happy, but I was gifted with two more experiences that reminded me of how monumental my “first conference” was. I attended the award dinner with my husband and was able to fully relax and enjoy the company and conversation of several of his colleagues, and I was able to attend one more Nia class before the week ended. Upon leaving my first dance class, I learned of a new instructor who would be teaching at the same studio in two days. Of course, I made the drive over, enjoyed another hour of dancing-in-the-round with inspiring women, and then stopped by one of my favorite Tucson bookstores before driving back to the hotel. Back at the hotel, I decided to continue my attention to body, mind, and soul and attend a hotel yoga class. To my delight, the yoga instructor was also the Nia instructor from earlier that day. A splendid serendipitous moment.
I have spent many years following a rigid schedule, tackling to-do lists and rarely relaxing. Schedules are necessary and we must take care of the to-dos, but we should also find balance and, most importantly, we should allow moments of pure joy to find us. I am learning to invite and allow goodness, FREEdom, and expression into my life. Sometimes I crawl. Sometimes I dance. Sometimes I run. Sometimes I stop to rest. Wherever and however I find myself each day, I must remember, that in “this moment” all is perfect.
Copyright © 2019 Michele Lee Sefton. All Rights Reserved.