Sunday, September 13, 2015

Between Here and There

When I was entering my junior year of high school I got the bold idea in my head that I could get on with my dancing career, the thing I really wanted to be pursuing, if I could just finish high school faster. So I did. I spoke with the school and, though it wasn't common, they allowed me to take junior and senior English and whatever other requirements were needed. I forwent a lunch period and worked like bee that year. What strikes me now, like an unanticipated gong ringing right next to my ear, is the realization that whatever energy found its way in my body that year, it has never left. It is humbling to admit. From 17 on, there has always been some urgency and sense of too much on my plate, along with a deep passion and dedication to get to something I love. It has all required so much effort, organization, and determination. While much has come of that will and drive, what I see now is what I missed in all that hustle. This isn't particular to my life. It happens everywhere...this sense of trying to get somewhere so much so that we miss what we have, what we have accomplished, what is right here in the present moment. We lose the ability to pause and be content with the in-between, with the path from here to there. We neglect to celebrate and rest in where we are and where we have been.

I was sitting at my iPad one night this week looking up the details on my friend's upcoming performance when I decided to do a search under my name and "dance." It has been 7 years since I performed and I was curious if Google had anything to say anymore. What my eyes spotted first after all the massage and meditation was a search title with a clip of a review from Eva Yaa Asantewaa in The Village Voice that read "solo specialist Jean Vitrano presented a trio of works at Joyce Soho. Although a petite woman, she dances like a cast of thousands...In each piece, she soon unleashed coiled energy, virtually washing herself with the space, wearing it, consuming it. At rare, momentary stops, her strong, supple body seemed to resonate. Always restless, sometimes reckless, Vitrano is nevertheless controlled and clear as she sculpts movements in these demanding pieces." I read the lines, closed my iPad, and felt tears wanting to surface from deep in the ocean. My boyfriend was there in the kitchen preparing dinner and in that moment, with his back toward me, when he casually asked "what else was going on" I couldn't bring myself to tell him the world I had momentarily visited. I couldn't read to him those lines that were once used to describe me. It would of sounded like I was tooting my own horn. He didn't know me back then. So I said nothing, unfortunately depriving him of a whole, rich part of me. There was more than one sentiment needing to be expressed in those tears that never did get shed that night, but the one that brings me comfort now is the realization that I can, in this moment, take in those words of that dance critic who so eloquently captured what I felt when I moved. I can honor what I did in all those years of urgent, passionate striving. I can now say, "wow, I did that!" People said so at the time, but I was holding on so tightly to the runaway horse that I couldn't really pause and smile at myself for what I had accomplished. Instead there was a fear that if I did, I might fall off, so I just kept going. But, isn't this true of so many of us? What if I couldn't make another good dance? What if I never received more funding or attention from presenters? What if I lose my job, my health, my family? We can keep running with these fears driving us onward. Or, maybe we can decide to go forward differently.

Where all this reflection brings me is to a really beautiful place. I am still striving and probably always will. That is not a problem. I am, again, in the in-between place of seeing the goals I am moving toward, watching all the parts slowly coming together like a puzzle or tectonic plates shifting the shape of the earth underneath me. But the difference in my 40's, is that now, I want to slow down and enjoy the path. I want to enjoy what is coming together before it is together. I want to be right here soaking it in. There is so much breath in that. This place right now has all the happiness I need. I will read this post again to remind me when I lose it, as I surely will from time to time, but something has shifted and I feel lighter, more joyful, more content to savor where I have been, where I am, and where I am heading. I invite you, too, to look at your life with same sense of awe and celebration. Without a doubt, we are all deserving of that gift from ourselves...not just once, but every day. There is so much power, gratitude and giving energy that comes from that ability. When we do this, we understand, in a deeper way, that the path between here and there is just where we want to be. 

No comments:

Post a Comment