The Dance of Life
“When we merge our internal rhythms with the rhythms of creation, we develop grace in our movement, and without thought or effort we are able to slide into the perfectly choreographed dance of life.“by Sherri Mitchell (Penobscot), an attorney and activist for environmental protection and human rights.
It has now been 7 years since Terri and I walked the Camino de Santiago and as we age, both of us are more grateful each year, for having completed the walk. The Camino is extremely demanding and takes a toll on our bodies. When we are younger we can endure a lot physical stress for longer and as we age this “endurance capability” erodes. This has been my reality these days, as my range of walking, has been greatly reduced due to some physical changes in my body. So, what am I do with this new reality? I have chosen to see it as part of the “perfectly choreographed dance of life”.
What does that look like? It means I have found meaning in my internal changes to my body as I am seeing them part of the rhythm of creation. I try and greet the changes I am experiencing, as my “dance partner”. I dance with my pain, so to speak. (caveat – I am not talking about high levels of pain. I am speaking more of our “everyday types of pain” that many of us experience in our lives.)
It turns out that, walking the Camino, was a “dance with the pain” as well. We noticed a large portion of those that walk the Camino, end up experiencing blisters on their feet. They are hard to avoid and they can definitely end your Camino walk early if you don’t stop and treat the blisters and rest. As the photo at the top of this blog shows, some folks dumped the boots they started with and found other solutions (like sandals) to continue their Camino walk.
Terri also “danced with the pain of a stress fracture” in her ankle for a good majority of the walk. It meant that we had to “slow dance” more and reduce our walking pace and length and we took more rest days to accommodate the pain.
Since the Camino has a bigger historical story going back over a 1000 years, it is not hard to see the physical Camino pains as dance with the larger “Camino pain story”. We knew that our pain stories were also experienced by many others before us.
French philosopher, Gabriel Marcel, is famously quoted as saying:
“Life is a mystery to be lived, not a problem to be solved.”
I have discovered it is better to dance with my “pain” as my framework for the changes I am experiencing in my body. Carl Jung, Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, speaks of the necessary “integration of the negative”. I realize this might sound really strange but I am finding that it is a very helpful way to “live this mystery of life”.
Grace and Peace,
Photograph of the Month
This flower image was captured during delightful summer hike by myself last year at Mt Rainier National Park. I hit the perfect timing for the peak meadow flower bloom and I sat down several times and just gazed for some time at the meadow flowers dancing in the wind.
Video of the Month
Speaking of Mt Rainier meadow flowers dancing in the wind, I took a number of videos that day in the summer of 2020 of the meadow flowers. I took some of the videos and added one of my favorite songs that I feel fit well with these “dancing flowers”.