“Don’t just listen for what comes out, decide what you want to hear first.” – Barbara Duffy
The sounds that the feet can make are absolutely amazing. As far as I understand tap dancing at this point, it is about making sounds with the feet. But its not just the feet, it is the whole body intertwined with mind and Spirit. The ears listen to the outer music, and the feet listen to the inner rhythm. Getting all this synched up is a process I have been working through my whole life. I’m grateful that now I get to manifest this in the form of tap dancing.
When learning the steps, I’ve always watched my teachers and emulated their moves in hopes that I would get the right sound. If I didn’t get it, I would beat myself up, tell myself I was not good, and listen to whatever words of degradation the voices inside my head would tell me. In wasn’t long before I was tripping over my own thoughts and completely out of step with the rhythm. I’m not saying this still does not happen to me for my ego still wants to remind me of the lie of how awful, stupid and unworthy I am. Yet, I am grateful that through my spiritual journey, I’ve realized that every step forward is just that, a step forward. I don’t have to live down to a story in my head that tells me if I don’t get it all right now, I don’t deserve to have any of it. Baby steps.
Have you ever noticed how a toddler doesn’t tiptoe? I became aware of this when I was living in Chicago in a pre-war apartment that had very thin wooden floors. My neighbors above me had an infant shortly after I moved in. They were such a nice couple and I was truly happy for them. About a year later, the child’s pitter patter of the feet was cute . . . at first. But then a few months later, the pitter patter became BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG from one end of the apartment to the other from 6AM to midnight every day. Once I offered to buy rugs for their apartment and the father, who used to be so neighborly, was now about to pounce on me for making the suggestion that his son could be an annoyance to someone. OK, I doubt that I probably handled the situation correctly, but all this to say that a beginner in tap is probably very similar to a toddler who is learning to walk and the only way they can keep their balance is to run heavy on the feet. In fact, once they hear the power come from their feet and feel the rush of adrenaline, they just go aimlessly until they are told by the parent to stop, or they just fall down.
I love to hear what sounds my feet make. Ask anyone who spends any time with me about any of my characteristics and most will probably mention that I am constantly tapping my feet…seriously…constantly. I don’t even realize I’m doing it many times. Though now that I am living in an apartment that has wooden floors, I am becoming much more conscious of my step so that I don’t become like the toddler upstairs of my Chicago apartment. I don’t want to be anyone’s annoyance. Something tells me my neighbor downstairs may not be so kind to offer rugs as a solution either.
The teacher at tonight’s class, Barbara Duffy, said something very powerful. It was one of those statements that made my ears stand up like a puppy who hears his master putting the keys in the door. “Don’t listen to what comes out, but decide what you want to hear first”. What she was telling the class was don’t jump in the air and hope you land on your feet and making the right sound. Rather, know what sound you are going for and jump with confidence that you are creating the sound you want to make when you land. WOW!
This is one of those lessons of perspective that life “presents” to us as a gift. Learning lessons like this by doing something you love is so much more pleasant than by living through a long and painful process. I’m sure I have learned this from different perspectives before, but this time it will stick as a pleasant reminder to THINK BEFORE I SPEAK and ask myself, what is my intention? Would I want to be spoken to in the way I am about to speak? Would I want to someone to act toward me in the way I am about to react? Am I speaking just to hear myself talk, allowing my ego to run amuck? Or do I want to be heard with love, compassion and peace.
Every step we take makes a sound that echoes through time and sends a vibration throughout the universe. Knowing this, just for today, I have made a decision to step out on faith with the intention to make a sound which is in synch with Rhythm of Life within me, flowing through me and reverberates in the world around me. I act on this decision by practicing the spiritual principles that teach me to listen to the Voice within, to feel the passion of Spirit pulsing through my veins and drive me forward to evolve into my fullest potential.
When I make the decision to hear Love, I always land on my feet . . . with grace.
I am grateful.