When you encounter your obstacle, be it fear or that hollow, anxious feeling you cannot name that haunts you in the too-tight spaces of life and in the hollow of your belly, like the ancients, dance. Your fear has a story to tell you about you, your great need to be validated can become your best teacher, if only you will invite it to be your partner rather than your adversary.
Become the bear, the hunger, the darkness, and learn its dance. All anything in this world wants is to live, to be integrated, to become the beauty of life. Even the great darkness holds the light of the stars in wonder. To dance is to invite everything to come into being and live, this is the point in your life where you give yourself permission to be you and find your own unique rhythm that is connected to the soul of the world, when you encounter your obstacle and finally learn your unique way of dancing.
The poet, T.S. Eliot calls this moment the still point:
…. do not call it fixity, where past and future are gathered. Neither movement from nor towards, neither ascent nor decline. Except for the point, the still point, there would be no dance, and there is only the dance. – The Four Quartets
The ancients invented dances for everything. Dances for the hunt and for the hunted, for the rain and for the crops, for terror and for fear, they learned the essence of their obstacle and requested, with courage and humility, to dance with it, to have relationship with it, to invite it into life to become. Because all of life is sacred, it must dance.
So often, we get lost or stuck in our lives when are seized by whatever problem is at hand, locked up in the properties of the obstacle as we try to control, manipulate, or just run and hide from it. But to live is to invite the obstacle into a relationship, to become your teacher, your companion for the journey, to sit with it, like Job in the ash heap that his life had become, and light the fire of one’s own integrity there, which is the very light of God, flickering like the flame of a candle in the heart.
It brings new meaning to the term, “life is struggle,” but the kind of struggle that produces life is a different way of being, it is belonging to something greater than oneself. Jesus tells us to leave the struggles that seek to rob us of life in exchange for the great struggle, the one in which the soul participates with God. He explains this kind of struggle by saying, “abide in me, my burden is easy and my yoke is light.” The One who has been called the Lord of the Dance is the one who teaches us how to dance with the darkness and find life, resurrection from the shadowy realm that seeks to hold us under, true light from true light, the light that the darkness has not overcome.
When we learn this dance, the dance that engages our soul’s life, we come to embrace a moment of the eternal and we glimpse who we really are, the soul reveals itself, part of the whole, living world, connected, belonging to love.
It takes courage to dance with your obstacle, but courage is a gift from God, freely given when you decide, at last, to enter the dance.
…and there is only the dance.