The town I live in has a Farmer’s Market on Thursday nights. You know the kind. The street gets cordoned off and people walk around drinking wine or eating popcorn with their kids. Local farmers sell greens that still smell like the earth. You can get free range rotisserie chicken, homemade breads and pies, or even original artwork.
Unfortunately for me, dogs are not allowed. I took my dog after checking the town website to see if there was any mention of the banning of dogs. None whatsoever. Once I reached the event with dog in tow, there were signs glaring at me everywhere that read, “No Dogs Allowed at Farmer’s Market!”
Luckily I had my trusty roommate with me and together we negotiated the pooch unfriendly place. It wasn’t that big a deal. I stood by the sidelines as he approached a vendor to take a look at the tamales. People came by to pet Captain, my fluffy furry friend who was newly groomed. After a family of dog lovers moved on, I noticed her.
She wore shorts and a tee shirt. She was probably between eight and twelve years old and there she was, about fifty feet away, standing behind a booth, probably helping her parents support their favorite non-profit. This young lady stood staring at me while people passed by and a live band played Beatles songs in the nearby park. In fact, the foursome wore straight haired wigs, straight slacks and grey sweaters reminiscent of the ones the original Fab Four wore on the Ed Sullivan show. Fifty years later these classics were pulling in people of all ages.
But, why was this girl staring at me? I returned her intense gaze and observed a little twitch here and a twitch there in time to the rhythm. “Well she was just seventeen, and you know what I mean…” I knew that look. This little girl wanted to dance. But why wasn’t she letting herself move? My mind wanted to make up a story about why someone so young would be so inhibited. This was not a moment to think. Precious time was wasting while this young one stood unexpressed. I had to start dancing immediately and show her how to let go.
Most people say, “Dance as if no one is watching.” Why would I care if someone was watching? I always say, “Dance as if someone is watching and they’ve forgotten how to dance and you need to show them how it’s done!” I know it doesn’t roll off the tongue like the original quote, but it makes a lot more sense to me.
You better believe I shook it good for my young friend. I kept her gaze as I jerked back and forth and sang too! Her eyes instantly grew big with delight as she squealed and started jumping up and down before settling into the rhythm. Then I noticed the little sister next to her. Once she saw Big Sister getting down, Little Sister started in on the fun too! By the time I left, they were oblivious to me and continued dancing to the next song, and the next song…
I’m happy to lend my fire to get things started. Call me a catalyst. Call me Chief Joy Officer. I’ll give you permission to sing or dance or just let go and be yourself. Do you need permission?