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Dance Then Wherever You May Be

I woke up at 2:00 a.m. with this classic 70’s Donovan song in my head.

Dance then, wherever you may be
I am the Lord of the Dance, said He!
And I’ll lead you all, wherever you may be
And I’ll lead you all in the Dance, said He!


I’ve been deeply troubled lately by the recent news of a dear friend’s shocking cancer diagnosis. He is in his mid twenties, a stunt man and literally a superhero. It’s quite possible he’s the guy wearing the spandex in your favorite action movie. His family is dear to me. When my son Jacob went through leukemia treatments ten years ago they built us an organic garden. You could say heroism runs in their genes. My heart hurts for them.

I have been absent from my go to dance places for a couple of weeks because of travels to see my daughter’s. I had an incredible time with them swimming in chilly rivers, laughing, drinking wine, and even dancing a “Pirate Square Dance,” at a local Eugene, Oregon pub. “Arr matie, swing that wench round and round…”

As fantastic as all that was, upon arriving home, there was only one thing on my mind? How can I be present for my friend and his family?

How do I dance through this one?

Dance then, wherever you may be
I am the Lord of the Dance, said He!
And I’ll lead you all, wherever you may be
And I’ll lead you all in the Dance, said He!

Simply show up!

I have learned to keep going, that showing up is half the battle. Just as my friends did for me. And so I will continue to come alongside them offering what I can. This friend is one of three others recently added to my radar with tragic illnesses this week.

My body literally aches for each of them as I remember the long hospital stays, separation from family and the death of my son, Justin, sixteen years ago today July 15, 2000. He was born July 3rd and died two weeks after his fifteenth birthday. Swirling in the midst of the July tragedies is me and I’ve been sad.

This happens every July, no matter what I’m doing or where I am. Even if I’m not thinking about Justin, I become sad on a cellular level.

How do I dance through this one?

And I’ll lead you all in the Dance, said He!

Simply show up.

This week I went to a Salsa class even though I didn’t feel like it because I knew if I did, my teachers, Raul & Yesenia would make me laugh. I also took a Hustle class with Shay Dixon. His precision teaching methods got me out of my head for a couple of hours. In both classes fellow students focused on the count and the footwork.

What a relief for my heart to tune into the deep cadence leading us all, what the Greek called, pneuma or breath of life. That precious force animating our bodies. The involuntary inhale and exhale we naturally do as our autonomic nervous systems dictate. Our bodies, vibrant vessels of cosmic radiance and beauty beyond our understanding.

I am not the master of the universe. If I were I’d have spared Jacob, healed my friend and resurrected Justin by now. But I am the lord of my emotions. Today, I am sad, yes. And I will allow myself to feel every bit of that sadness.

It’s hard to dance with the devil on your back

I’ll need to cry all of this out at some point but tears haven’t come yet. When they do, oh they will, and, it will be messy. When my shoulders are finished their jerking and the snot stops pouring out my nostrils and the tears have stopped streaming from my swollen eyes and exhaustion sets in, I’ll know it is time to rest. And trust me, I will rest.

I danced in the morning when the world was begun

I danced in the Moon, and the stars, and the Sun

After a while, I will pick myself up and go dancing where I am known. This is not a time for strangers.

Dance then, wherever you may be

I am the Lord of the Dance, said He!

And I’ll lead you all, wherever you may be

And I’ll lead you all in the Dance, said He!

Soon, I’ll take refuge in the ballroom, and the music will start, and the rhythm will free us in the universal language of Waltz, Foxtrot, and Cha Cha Cha.

They buried my body and they thought I’d gone

But I am the Dance and I still go on!



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