Clarisse was a jazz dancer from New York, built short and rounded in the right places, not with a dancer’s narrow body. Rarely did anyone see her dance. But once at a party she stepped onto the floor and it was like watching mercury move with intention. Fluid melting butter, smiling, nothing to prove.
Next day she was taking her students through their pre-dress rehearsal. It was an adult beginners’ amateur class, two days before their first recital in front of their friends and families.
She began the music and watched. Sixteen bars into the piece, she stopped the music abruptly. The students stopped. Hand on hip, but benign, she said quietly:
“So, when do you think you’re going to dance?” They stared. “Tomorrow at dress rehearsal? At the performance on Saturday? “ They were silent. “I mean, is there any reason you are going through the motions today … When *are* you going to *dance*?”
No Zen monk could have put them into the moment so well.
I love it. “Life is short and then you die.” Not. Life is long and full of changes, most of which we cannot predict. We cannot even anticipate what we will want in the next stage of our lives, or even when that stage will emerge. We cannot know what might restrict us tomorrow from the dreams we have today. Certainly it shouldn’t be fear.
When Clarisse spoke to her class that morning, I saw a vision of Snoopy, arms outstretched, feet flying… dancing. Really – when *are* you going to dance? Tomorrow? You are an entrepreneur. You have much in common with creative artists – you follow your own path, you want to create something new in your work, you are self-motivated. You are not fearless, but you overcome your fear. You go for it. You are, like the artists, the people folks admire most – those who *live* their lives with courage and passion. You are our heroes — self-directed, focused people who live life to the fullest. So, wanna dance?