Today I wish you happy Mardi Gras. Happy Fat Tuesday! Many people celebrate this day as one last feast before a time of fasting. I celebrate too, even though I am now a Buddhist. Why not? The fun, the festivities, the brightly-colored beads–there’s a lot to enjoy. Mardi Gras is about giving yourself up to delight, and I surrendered to it. I had my big indulgence on Saturday, but I did not enjoy myself with an eye to future deprivation. I plan to keep up my little depravities. After all, I did not drink to excess. I did not eat a feast worthy of all the King’s horses and all the King’s men. I went dancing.
Some would not consider that an extravagance, but I don’t go that frequently. I do at it home when the right song comes on, and I’ll bop around to a cool tune on the headphones, but I rarely go out to cut a rug. I love the festivity of it. I love the roar of the crowd when a great song comes on. I dance to feel the music move through my body, becoming one with the beat in the semi-darkness. I meet people under the flashing lights and we share in the celebration, though we may never talk or even touch. I dance even if no one dances with me, because I have the rhythm as my partner. It makes me feel alive, and I give myself fully to the experience.
The next day I feel like I’ve fallen down a flight of stairs. This misery actually persists for a few days, and it haunts my memory. That’s why I go so seldom–I have to heal first. My soul wants to dance, but it does not want to remember what my muscles will not forget–the system is not used to that much activity. The knees have arthritis! The neck doesn’t move that way! My body tells me I shouldn’t go out dancing, but I won’t listen. I always was a willful child.
This time I have a sneaky little plan to defeat the aches and pains. I will woo my muscles with salsa and swing music, seduce the soreness away with some slow dances. I will keep dancing until the muscles forget to hurt. Who could keep fighting under the sparkle of the disco ball? Macarena, anyone?
Your assignment, should you choose to accept it:
16. Go out dancing somewhere festive. How long has it been?