A friend started a thread today about what makes you happy and it started me thinking, what brings me joy.  The list, it seems, is endless, but at the very top are my family (blood and extended), my animals and dancing.  This week, especially, really proved, as if I hadn’t known it before, that no matter how crazy and trying things may get, as soon as I leave the aggravation at the door, pull on my boots or dance sneaks, and cut loose, none of it matters any more, and the only thing left is bliss!  In the days when I spent more time on the sidelines watching than actually dancing, it used to puzzle me that people would be on the dance floor and they wouldn’t look happy!  Nowadays, as I spend at least 30 minutes of every hour dancing, it is even more confusing to me that people can social dance and not feel the endorphins racing through them so quickly that all they can do is smile in pure rapture!  Admittedly, certain dances and partners (for their dance skills only these days) bring a bigger smile to my face than others, but I just can’t dance and not smile!  It’s physically impossible.

The same goes for snuggling with my cats or the guinea pig.  How can you stroke their fur, meet their looks of adoration or watch their antics without at least smiling, if not out and out laughing?  I find it impossible!  Watching Loki and Marie (the guinea pig) sniff each others’ noses today was a serious “awww” moment! 

And sharing moments with my daughter, especially as we have so many inside jokes from years of enjoying each others’ foibles, are very precious, indeed! 

And my dance friends, all of whom have faced their own challenges in life, are wonderful reminders that, despite it all, we made it through some very tough times, and still we dance, and we find our bliss.  We are akin to the willow tree which bends but never breaks and each year is resplendent, despite what previous years might have brought.

I do beat myself up at times, when I’m less than tolerant of people who come out on the dance floor, not knowing the dance and kind of get in the way.  But aren’t they really just finding their own bliss, if a little inconsiderate of the rest of us?  I’m sure that there were times, and probably still are, when I get in the way of someone’s path as well, but eventually, I get out of their way and they can proceed unencumbered, until someone else, while dancing their dance, stumbles across their path for a little while.  In truth, we can all learn something from those who stumble across our paths, as well as from those across whose paths we stumble, if we only open our hearts and minds and simply embrace their differences.  I know that I’m still working on achieving a higher level of kindness and tolerance, and it’s especially hard for me when someone impedes my dancing, but the awareness, I know, will point me in the right direction, and make me think a bit before getting annoyed when someone wants to jump on the floor in the middle of Chocolate or Chill Factor and try to follow without getting under everyone else’s feet.  I know that I’ve gotten a lot better, and found that it actually improves my dance skills to two step late on Thursdays when the dancers’ adherence to dance floor etiquette is virtually nonexistent because it makes me follow the slightest change in lead without hesitation, and really focus on my turn technique to keep the turns tight, light and responsive.  It’s very true that in every challenge we face, there is a lesson to be learned.  My challenge is to recognize those opportunities better and to open my heart and mind to the lesson which is being presented to me. 

I am grateful to the Universe and to the people with whose paths I cross for all of these opportunities to learn and grow.

Love and light.