Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Ridiculous Ritual

Last night, the neighborhood children gather in our basement for Monday Night Fitness Group.  It's cold, dark, and dreary in the evenings now, so our alternative to biking and double-dutch is Dance Party and Jumping Jack Challenge. 

I don't want to do this.  I want to change into my pajamas and watch television.  Earlier in the day, one child races out of school and asks, "Is tonight the night?"   Children are calling my cell phone, begging.  My own daughters are already in the basement, ready.  We've started some fitness revolution, and I can't stop now.  Soon, I'm texting families to invite everybody to dance in my basement after dinner.

We're in a circle dancing to whatever comes out of my iPod.  At one point, the "Hamster Dance" song comes on, and 10 of us crawl around like hamsters.  Then we skip in a circle. 

I'm too old for this. 

A hula hoop rests in the middle of our circle, and each child takes a turn standing in the hula hoop and doing whatever dance move he wants.  The rest of us copy him.  As we rotate around each child, dancing and hollering, I start to feel like I'm in a tribe doing a ritual dance.

I think of Native American dances designed to strengthen tribe members spiritually and emotionally before battle.  Perhaps each of us, in our own way, fights something.  Each child needs us here, circled around him, seeing him, celebrating him, strengthening him for the fight. 

This ridiculous dancing suddenly turns to ritual right in front of my eyes. 

This is my tribe.  I need this.  We enact these rituals that, on the surface, represent fitness.  In a deeper sense, we build our tribe when we gather like this.  Deeper still, we prepare each other emotionally and spiritually for tomorrow's battle.   

We rally and fall, out of breath, only to rise up in a brave dance. 

It doesn't take much:  a space to move, people, and a song.  It cost me nothing, and I went to bed more satisfied than I'd felt in months.  I have to remember that living with flair means I build my tribe.  We gather up because we need that strength, that ritual, that dance. 


LivewithFlair said...

And yes, I'm sore today. I need knee pads if I'm going to crawl around like a hamster.

David @ Red Letter Believers said...

A really beautiful reflection of just living. I love what you said here, and yes, it full complements the High Calling post on readiness!

Cynthia said...

I love it! So sorry I missed the tribe building ceremony, but the kids are still talking about how much fun it was for them. I will be there next week!
:) Cynthia

Roberta @ Silverwalk said...

I don't have children but I have dogs. We routinely share in time outside to run, play and simply hang out. I found your blog today via another and have joined HigherCallingBlogs.com. Your blog is now linked on two of mine: Dog Blessed @ Silverwalk (http://dog-blessed-silverwalk.org) and Blessed Silence @ Silverwalk (http://blessedsilence.wordpress.com). I like the attitude and realism as today is not the best but will be! Thanks.

LivewithFlair said...

Thanks, Roberta! I'm glad we discovered each other. And also welcome to David and Cynthia!

Debbie Happy maker said...

That is great and sounds like a lot of fun. You are right we do have to live everyday with some flair. When i am with my grandchildren I act nutty just like them. make funny faces, in the fall when the leaves fall of the trees they come over and we play in the leaves. Get the leaf blower out and blow the leaves on each other.

jenny_o said...

Realizations like yours can give me goosebumps! Thank you for a beautiful description of one powerful way of validating children.