One should be light like a bird, and not like a feather.

One should be light like a bird, and not like a feather. — Paul Valéry

Our culture often condemns us to heaviness. The news media can weigh on our psyches with such force that life becomes a burden. Last night I dreamt that I had a lead role in a modern dance company production. I moved through space with precision, lifting above the ground with an exhilarating agility and lightness. Every cell of my being knew what it meant to fly above all that has the power to pull me down.

The second and third floor of our barn is transformed into a space where we can look out over the hills from every direction, where I can paint and dance. After graduating from college I moved to Boston to study mime. Modern dance was an essential component of the curriculum. While I found that I didn’t like to fabricate the illusion of a wall with my hands, I grew to enjoy learning how to spin without getting dizzy or falling. Discovering where music and the body intersected illuminated the moment. I found that I needed this radiance that brought joy to my mind, body and spirit. This remains true.

When despair weighs me down I can raise myself from gloom by allowing the flow of music to lift me up. If I release to its pull, eventually and amazingly every bit of me feels liberated. On top of Flower Power Hill the wind, crows cawing, the rushing clouds and the sweep of the land elevates me up and out. The coyotes find my leaping amusing and sometimes lend their voice to the scene. Most men find this kind of expression unmanly. I would suggest such feelings trap one in a density that limits access to beauty and a living affinity with wind, fire, water and earth.

Life is too short to worry so much about what other people think. When I walk with Poppy over the hills, I often flap my arms like an osprey. It rushes me into childishness. Isadora Duncan, the great expressive dancer, believed that most people learn to tightly regulate their range of motion as they age. Adults forget the bliss of skipping, moving with the rhythmic power of the waves or breeze or flickering fire. The lack of fluidity in the body leads to a life that becomes unnecessarily rigid. While I might look ludicrous to many people, I value my freedom more than always projecting a stately image of a 61-year-old white man who happens to be a minister.

If the free expression of your body embarrasses you, find a private place and let loose!

Happy Springing,

Michael

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