Dancing in the Park

I was at my favorite farmer’s market recently. I love the crowd, the chatter of conversations, people picnicking, dogs walking, chatting with vendors. It is a place of warmth and community. There was a small band center stage, which is a wide-open space under the trees. It seemed no one paid any attention to the band except for this one little girl. She was about 6 years old, dressed in gray leggings with a pink and gray plaid shirtdress. She was facing the band, her back to me and I watched from a distance as she boogied to bluegrass tunes alone on the grassy stage. She twirled and swayed, hopped and clapped in harmony as she danced in the park. Her hair bounced off her shoulders and her movements were simple and authentic. I watched her soul dance in it’s light. Appreciative applause sprang from the girl when the song ended, and when the band applauded her solo performance she took a bow, utterly delighted with herself. She sparkled as she skipped back to her mother in a moment of unrestrained joy.

I’ve been thinking about this idea of being powerful beyond measure and giving others permission to shine; to dance to their own beat. That little girl had the power to light up the entire band and me. And there were likely other people she touched that morning. I thought about that power, and with power comes responsibility. But what if my only responsibility is to myself. What if our magic happens when we dance as that little girl did without any care or concerns that she didn’t know how, or wasn’t good enough, or that others might think she looked silly. I’m not saying we shouldn’t care about other people, but that what others think really doesn’t matter. How often do we tell ourselves stories about what we think others think yet have no basis for these thoughts except perhaps to judge ourselves harshly and quiet our inner child.

I’m not suggesting we all regress to being six again, but I do think it’s worth heeding the nudge of our inner child. When you hear music do you begin to sway? Do you tap your feet or hum along? I do. That’s my inner child asking for some attention. Still, I hold her back because of all those limiting beliefs about who I should be or or what I should do. That little girl dancing in the park lit up my morning because she danced without any limitations. She felt the rhythm of her soul and danced her joy. What is it that delights your inner 6 year old? Isn’t this worth rediscovering?

Happy trails…

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