The tail end of one salsa song trailed off into the next and I thanked my dance partner before heading off the floor to take a break. As I slid across the red leather of the bar booth, the sweat on the back of my thighs caused my skin to catch. A sea of bodies cluttered the dance floor. I was happy to rest for a moment, but I knew the feeling would soon dissipate and my craving for the movement would be sending me back out in search of the next good lead.
As I surveyed the room, I noticed a woman sitting slouched a little further down from me. In spite of the heat from the dancers’ bodies that filled the place, she was swathed in a sweater shawl with her arms wrapped around her. I wondered if perhaps she wasn’t feeling well.
“Are you dancing, tonight,” I inquired.
I don’t take time often while I am at the salsa clubs to speak with people. I’m not there to talk. There is enough talking in my life. Here, I just want to dance.
She shrugged her shoulders with a maybe.
“How long have you been dancing?” I asked.
She surprised me with her answer.
“About a year. But I don’t know the dancers here.” This was her explanation for sitting pressed deep down into the booth.
I began to point out some of my favorites. I was starting to know them well. One guy dances close with small movements, hands sliding down arms to fingertips maintaining an extended connection with his partner. Contained. Intimate. Another pushes the limits of speed and timing, hurling through the spins, tossing arms in the air, catching body parts and then setting them free with seconds in between. Then there is the soft, gentle lead…the one you have to stay really present to or you will miss it.
“But I don’t know them,” she answered back to the options I’ve succinctly presented.
“Just pick one and ask them to dance.” All these leads were kind men open to a woman’s invitation.
A look of shock and dismay filled her face and I realized for this woman asking a man to dance was like asking her to rob a bank. It was her age, her background, her upbringing. She hadn’t even considered the possibility. In that moment I felt blessed that I had the confidence to make choices in my life…to choose to ask a man to dance.
“You can ask for what you want in life,” I said, unsure if she’d take it as well-intentioned inspiration or see it as an intrusion.
She smiled back at me in a way that conveyed she was considering it and appreciated the thought. It seemed like a seed had been planted.
I will never know if she ever got up the courage to ask for a dance. She either did or she didn’t. What I do know is I have learned to make choices in my life that empower me and help me to fulfill my dreams and goals.
How can you choose to be in action around your dreams? Are you able to ask for what you want? If not, what is holding you back and what is it costing you? Do not live by default…instead actively decide who you are going to be and how you are going to be in your life ~ each precious day.
Stay tuned for more Salsa Life Lessons in the coming weeks…Tomorrow…our regular Friday blog topic…Write On…I blog about working through the Pain of Change in answer to Phil’s question.