Last night, I watched a man tap dance and tears of nebulous emotional origin sought refuge in my eyes. To experience the modern dance spectrum of grace to disdain is to embrace moments! Playful and confident in some cases... clumsy or hesitant in others. Dancers thrust energy in a bandy as limbs poke. Outfits caress air, then bodily features when gestures guide. It's lovely for the senses to experience a range of emotion, and dancers can elicit this kind of exchange as their souls alight in action.
In our lives, we interact with personalities and choices from others in an ongoing cycle of connection and disconnection. These dynamics mimic that of dance routines - perceived as spontaneous yet in reality practiced and tended. We teach ourselves how to exist even as we dance into adulthood. Life around me displays racist, ageist, sexist, and other types of undefinable mean. At work with many who appear disconnected. Across the way with neighbors who relish in rambunctious. In life with family and friends. I see it so often that I used to wonder if I caused this mean to develop in the first place. I would later learn that it's common to wonder this, especially when you grow up in particular circumstances.
Speaking of growing up, I saw one of my uncles for lunch yesterday. We enjoyed dim sum and chatted about life. He's an older man now. I first met him when I was two or three years old. He arrived from China, a homeless farmer. He tells me he slept in temples, ate the food they provided. In his earliest years, the war took away the people who fed him and he did what he could to survive. There are many pieces to his puzzle of a life, and one includes a serious illness that affected his brain and speech patterns. One day, a passerby found him caked in his own excrement, plagued by this illness. The passerby took him home and a family helped him back to health. It's hard for me to not feel pity for this man, this person so close to me that we share a table yet so far from my own experience. I try to not feel sad or pity for him or his situation, though, because that seems disrespectful of all of the great that he is. I feel so grateful for his existence in my life, and I see how I cannot fathom the difficulty in the life he experiences. I look around me and ponder how others may or may not sense this type of experience.
We are each of us our own conundrums and sources of connection. Life won't always make sense or be fair or even attempt to be such. Sometimes it will be bad, really bad. Even in these moments of chaos and obliteration, we create paradise. Our minds develop a pattern and we encourage it with our breath. We can field ageist, sexist, racist, or otherwise undefinable mean because we connect with a deep sense of purpose. The arts -- their graces and provocations -- they center and excite our nature. This is the beauty within each community gathering, each meal shared. May our moments unite us and nurture our souls and dreams.
Well hello there.