Saturday, January 12, 2008

Deep Thoughts from "Riverdance"

Man, just did a Pilates DVD at home. It was the first time I've done a general Pilates routine - I tried an ab-focused one ONCE, so hard I didn't even feel like it was worth trying again because I'm physically so far from doing any of the moves. This one was certainly more do-able, but my core is well, rotten. I've always had weak abdominal muscles (in comparison) and I'm sure if I were to fix some of this, my neck tension would be helped. But, it is a humbling task. I've got a plan on doing it twice a week, so hopefully, we'll see some improvement. Just had to add this meaningless footnote.....

Last Wednesday, John and I went to see the Farewell Tour of "Riverdance". We got tickets a while ago, on a random night, so that we could sit very close. It was worth it, we could see the sweat beads on their faces.

It was a spectacular show that didn't disappoint, but a couple of things really stood out at me-

1. What a difference a smile makes.
The beginning performance has the whole troupe straight-faced, looking very intense. While their moves were extremely impressive, I found myself not very happy watching them, thinking them all very stuck-up and too serious about something that should be bringing joy to their lives (I didn't know at that point if the whole performance would be like this). I looked around the troupe for someone who looked less intimidating than others just to make myself feel more comfortable.

The next time they came out, their faces all lit up. They smiled, hooped and hollered for each other, and seemed to be having the time of their lives. Where as before, I only wanted to watch the person I thought could "maybe be approachable", this performance I smiled thinking they all seemed like they'd be eager to be my friends were I to ask.

It made me realize how significant my body language is when I am in group settings. I was once accused by someone of being stand-offish, which I never would have guessed, but then, later thinking about it, on Sundays after church (where this person came to this conclusion), I'm often hungry, ready to leave with the kids, thinking about the list a mile long I have to do when I get home, and ready to get my "social butterfly" husband out of the lobby. Yeah, maybe my facial expression hasn't exuded "come meet me". Gotta work on that.

2. There's probably a special gift we all have that makes us elite at something.
It's a little humbling to watch performers who are at the top of their game do so much and think, "yeah, I can't even raise my torso off the ground while my legs are mid-air in a Pilates move". Some of the stuff they do has no context of difficulty to me, but I can recognize that it is amazing. I've never tried to tap, but based on the applause, when you do repetitive tapping moves in increasing speed and frequency, that's pretty amazing. I've never tried, so I have no idea how hard it is. The same goes for the fiddler that was awesome. I've tried singing before, so I KNOW I could never hit the soprano range that the soloist does - wow.

I've often thought that if I were in a beauty pageant (hypothetical folks - refer to above abdominal passage to know why this belly won't be in an evening gown competition, much less bathing suit!), what would be the talent I would bring to the table. I've got nothing. Let's see, How to be super organized for Christmas? The best looking Daytimer competition? I've got what it takes to organize a group camp-out competition? Who to turn to for keys to navigate Disneyland? Yeah, those are really gonna wow the judges. Much less, I'm not the BEST at any of those, perhaps I might have a leg up on some of them compared to my immediate friends, but not really, not if they cared enough to try.

But, I am sure my kids would say they would choose no one else for their mom. (Yes, I've asked, even when they are angry with me, they'd still pick me). And, I'm pretty sure I've got the inside scoop on John. No other girlfriend can understand Michele like I do. I'm certainly not going to win competitions for these things, but somehow, I really do think they qualify me as elite in something.

3. Talent combined in harmony is much better than talent in opposition.
In reading the program I found out that these dancers have been doing this since they were 3 or 4. They have competed in countless Irish Dance competitions world-wide and each have been awarded many accolades along the way. They made it clear that these performers probably knew each other for a long time because they've been going against each other for the top awards at these events. Now, they are together - rooting each other on for a common goal. Not working against each other, not striving to be number one, but making the whole show, company, experience - number one.

I don't think I need to water down that idea by making real life applications. I think there's plenty to be seen wherever we turn, in the church, in our friendships - anything where competition or jealousy, or envy could rise up. But, bring us all towards a common goal........ now, that's a unifier.....

There you go - deep thoughts from "Riverdance". I think I'm off to take some Advil for my already sore muscles.......


Anonymous said...

What a great post, Steph. Don't forget: you're also pretty good at being God's daughter, and you are the apple of His eye!

I love that phrase, "my core is rotten." haha! Oh yeah - remember having to do those awful arm hangs in school? I had no abs, no triceps - so I dropped immediately and Heather J. spent the next 1 1/2 minutes whistling "Dixie" while the gym teacher looked at her in adoration!

StephieAnne said...

Oh, I do remember those things. That wasn't my worst defeat, however. I literally remember "hitting the wall" doing a sit-ups test in the girls' gym, being so embarrassed that there was no way I could do even one more. Pathetic -

By the way, I did try to smile more at church on Sunday..... it certainly takes more effort for me than it does for John.......