In putting together my playlist for Sunday’s dance class I wanted to choose songs that would be appropriate in light of the tragedy in Newtown, a town in our home state, a town near enough that most of us know at least one person who lives or works there.

The class is typically a fun, expressive, soulful dance workout. It is a great group of women and the studio has a wonderful sense of community. I imagined some clients would be looking for solace, some for escape, some wanting to talk about it and dance about it, some wanting to distance themselves from the agony of it. How do you choose songs that will be right for everyone? You don’t.

Of course, there is no one right song just as there is no one right reaction. In the moments and days following the unthinkable people have: cried endlessy, seethed with anger, turned to God, turned away from God, sat for hours in front of the TV desperate for answers, chosen to turn off all media desperate for relief, agreed and disagreed on theories of why and how, been paralyzed by grief, sought comfort, tried to move on, tried to hold tight, jumped to action looking for ways to help, shut down completely looking for ways to cope, turned to love, turned to fear.

Is any one of those “right” or “wrong”? I don’t think so. Those of us on the outside are united in our grief and shock and are expressing it and feeling it in different ways. Ultimately, I believe we are all just trying our best to hold space for the unimaginable pain of those on the inside, those who have lost their precious ones. We want to impart our support, our love, our sympathy, our outrage in any way we can. Maybe one way we can help one another through this process is to allow for the differences in our reactions while honoring the bond of our mutual sorrow.

As I fumbled with my silly playlist I recognized that I had no idea how to do it right. There was nothing right about any of this no matter what songs I played. Still we gathered, we danced, and it was comforting to move and express our emotions through the movements. It was nice to be together. I chose to end class with Shed a Little Light by James Taylor:

We are bound together
In our desire to see the world become
A place in which our children
Can grow free and strong
We are bound together
By the task that stands before us
And the road that lies ahead
We are bound and we are bound

I am not sure it was the right song, but I have never seen my students dance more beautifully and with such love and conviction.



Image courtesy of lobster20 /

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