Sunday, October 6, 2013

Sunday Reflections: I’m not Leaving Until I Sweat

There are moments in our lives that travel with us through time. One of my fondest memories occurred when I was a very young child and to this day it brings me a smile and at times a deep longing.

Before I can get to this moment I need to tell you a story. This is a story of a little girl and her mother. 
My mother loved to dance. My father not so much. However, they both loved music. On those long weekend afternoons when the weekend chores were behind them, my mother would pull out the record player, her 45s and LPs. I could remember the excitement building inside of me as I eagerly awaited the opening notes of the first song she selected. I knew what was coming and I simply couldn’t wait.

There was a calm in our house. She lovingly lowered the needle, being careful not to scratch her records. I never knew what she might select. This was part of the anticipation. What I did know was that as soon as the needle hit that LP I was in for a treat--a treat better than any ice cream cone or a new toy at Christmas.

I was going to dance with my mother. She would come, scoop me up and we would groove, sometimes for hours. My mother would gently put me on her toes. There I stood alighted and holding on, my head thrown back with a big smile plastered across my little face. My father sat, watched and enjoyed. Oh, we danced and danced. She twirled me around the room doing the two steps and all the dances from “back in her day”. We shimmied, often making up dances for just the two of us. Her holding me, I standing on her toes basking in the love of the music and the warmth of my mother’s rhythm. According to my mother, I would often ask her to “sweat me” which was code for let’s dance. Oh, how I love our dances.

Music and dancing seemed sown into the fabric of me.

So much so that I can remember vividly my four-year old dancing experience. We were at a wedding, and I guess it was running late. My parents were ready to leave. However, I can remember telling them “I didn’t dance yet and I’m not leaving!” I don’t remember what was said after that. But I remember being on the dance floor and yes sweating. I must have been the first person, and the only person, on the dance floor as soon as the DJ started to spin. I can remember shaking and shimming everything in my little body. I can remember the freedom I felt as I stood in the middle of that dance floor free of judgment, free of concern, free just to be wrapped in the soothing arms of the music. I can’t tell you what was played, I really can’t tell you a whole lot about the wedding. But I can tell you about that moment of freedom as it has stayed with me through the years.

What was so freeing about this moment was simply that I was just me in the moment. There were no concerns as to whether I knew the song or the latest dance steps. I could care less if others were looking at me. I was content—pure and simple—to let the music wash over me and for me to honor the music with my body.

Well, I’m no longer four and my mother no longer puts me on her toes to “sweat me”. These are memories that are stored on a shelf of my heart. As an adult, I still enjoy music. I often rely on music to sustain and nourish my spirit. My love of music crosses various genres and includes the country music my father preferred, to the lyrics of Bob Marley my mother often turned and the Negro spirituals my grandmother hummed.  Yes, I love music. However, I no longer “sweat me”.

That space created by music was fleeting and maybe it as only available to me in my four-year old mind. Ever so often I do get lost in music and it’s just me and music lost in time and space. As a four year old I seem to have captured what in my adult life sometimes escapes me—mindfulness, the simple art of simply just being. The memory of my four-year old self lets me know its possible and oh so sweet.

As we prepare for a new week I ask you: what memories of  freedom do you hold on to—regardless of how fleeting they might have been? And how might you create these moments in your present? This week I plan on sweating me!!

This is the fifth post of my 31-day blogging challenge. This is the also the first post under the general theme of “memories”. You can tweet me at Dr_JZ using hastag #31dbc to share your thoughts and let me know how “sweat you” this week.

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