DIANA TURNER-FORTE - Beyond entertainment . . . dance with a message
LOG:  Musings of a Dancer

I find myself wondering about the time and energy that is required to stay in good physical shape.  It is not just about the food we put into our bodies, although that is a significant part of the life experience.  But there are other factors to consider like the media we listen to, the movies we watch, the books we read and the conversations in which we engage. We are indeed creatures of our environment, and sometimes major acts of will are required to produce the changes that will cultivate a difference in our lives; it's a matter of choice.

I will admit that I don't spend much time watching TV or movies, nor do I listen much to the drivel that passes as news these days.  Much of my free time is spent reading, writing, listening to music or relaxing into nature. The quietness and serenity suits my introverted nature and contemplative aesthetic. However, aspects of those behaviors were established many years ago as a youngster, when television was never a central part of my life, neither was idle time. Essential to my life were dance, music and reading.

Forays into fantasy were less important than observing others in the reality of their own lives. While observing others, their emotions and their physical responses to interactions with others I developed a keen sense of what was going on with people, even though I could not pinpoint any particular issues and psychology was certainly outside my realm of exploration.  However, I noticed that the body spoke for itself, no words were needed to demonstrate pain, joy, and different emotions.  Our thoughts and feelings are reflected in our bodies, to the keen observer.    The body's language-- from sunken shoulder to upright bodies, from dragging feet to the joyful spring of healthy children and lively adults, from slow thoughtful movements to the freest expressions of dancers playing in open space.  Without a spoken word the language of the body says more and speaks more truthfully than words or actions communicate.  

Many years of watching people (from dancers to pedestrians) move has proven to be an accurate testimony to how people are managing life or being managed by circumstances; even though most folks don't realize they are two-legged broadcasting mechanisms. From standing with the weight distributed more on one leg or another; talking with the arms or legs crossed or the common kicking foot while talking is a much different delivery than if both arms are relaxed at the sides or even moving in animated gestures and both feet are on the ground. Through our bodies we are constantly messaging.  What's the old adage --"Your actions speak so loud, I cannot hear what you saying," according to Ralph Waldo Emerson.

If we were more aware of our bodies and its silent messages, would we behave differently? I don't know, I believe it would make a huge difference, in how we feel,  what we say and our interactions with others..  Being in our bodies so they speak our truth takes a level of  kinesthetic awareness that  few strive for, but, I believe anyone can learn. It begins with embracing our physicality and valuing the amazing organism the we are and striving to live into that uniqueness and holiness.  

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