Our lives can be mythic if we choose them to be. Or they can be ordinary. Every day invitations to experience or live out a fairytale moment come our way if we look. It is not about complex, grandiose Hollywood dreams coming true necessarily.
Several years ago, I found some of these golden moments in a gigantic full moon casting its silver light over cornfields. I felt that glow when the sight of sleek, powerful race horses taking the turn of the track in an early morning gallop put me back in time sailing over fences as a teenager on the back of my horse, Power Mate.
We can choose to drive down the highway of life at a fast speed, hurtling toward our destination covering many miles but never taking time to appreciate the golden moments. Or we can see the invitations that are presented every day and live a more mythic life.
Amidst the craze of one of my last commercial production jobs before leaving to become a full time coach, I found myself playing Cinderella. I finally had a night where I finished work early enough to head out dancing. I tossed off my production clothes, pulled out one of my little salsa dresses and headed for the nearest cab. Before I learned to partner dance, I would have never considered heading to a club in a city where I knew no one…to dance with no one I knew.
Just walking into the club made me smile. Familiar dance bags clutched in hand, bodies moving to the music even as they stood in line waiting to pay. Like Cinderella, I slipped on my fairytale shoes to complete the transformation and headed to the edge of the floor. I didn’t have to wait long for my first invitation. At home in my own club, I wouldn’t hesitate to step up to my favorite leads and ask them to dance but here in a city where I knew no one, I followed protocol.
What I love about salsa is that it transcends so many things. Early on, Tom, an older man in his late seventies, shuffled over to me and asked me to dance. It was a cha cha. He danced old style. Contained. Gently but firmly in control. He smiled out from under his baseball cap as the gold medallion on the heavy chain around his neck moved in time with the beat.
To be able to cross generations, cultures, regions and yet speak the same language is an extraordinary way to connect to others. When production can leave you feeling tired, and disconnected, when the thoughts don’t come easily and the words get jumbled up because of exhaustion, the body still knows how to move. The connection is physical. I could feel the leads in my body and respond without language…only with movement.
I danced out my tiredness and my missing of the dance and then I saw him. Standing quietly by the dance floor, observing, watching. When he finally took to the floor, he owned it. He was so smooth. I walked toward the bar to close out my tab for my sparkling water. As I passed him, I put my hand on his arm and told him what a gorgeous dancer he was. He graciously accepted my compliment. A minute later, while I reached for the pen to sign my bill, he stepped up beside me and extended his in an invitation to join him on the floor.
His lead was everything I imagined it would be. I took in the moment and as the music slowed near the end of the song, he closed his eyes and eased us through the final bars. I thanked him as we shifted out of the dance and prepared to leave the floor. “That was amazing,” he said back to me. It is a dance I will never forget.
As I gathered up my things, another invite came my way but I politely declined. Nothing was going to top that dance, this moment, the feeling. I wanted to hold onto it for awhile longer. I followed Cinderella’s cue and slipped out of the bar at midnight into an awaiting cab.
These are the exquisite moments in life. It took effort to make this happen and I happily sacrificed sleep. It was a chance to step out of the bubble production tended to shrink wrap around my life. Nothing was lost and so much was gained. That one dance on the dance floor transformed my week and made the trip to Chicago an epic one.
It is worth asking, how can you look for the invitation to dance in your own life? Are you noticing the doorways to epic moments or barreling down the highway of life, eyes focused only on the destination? How can you begin to lead a mythic life?
Wishing you many fairytale moments.