Find yourself.  Express yourself.  Be yourself.

Feel and Let Feel

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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3 Responses to “Feel and Let Feel”

  1. Jennifer

    Yes. Your music choice on Sunday was perfect. It was a beautiful thing to observe while at the same time to be a part of a group where each person has separate thoughts and different manners of expression but still feels united by dancing together. As I watched you dance this week I recall wondering what you had for breakfast – you moved with extra energy and in each routine you jumped just a little bit higher. I realize you may have been fueled by emotion as I believe we all were -as a group maybe we were a bit more determined to collect all our energies and “dance it out”.

    Dancing in your class has always been a way for me to step away from the day to day routine and concerns and just feel. Feel the real me, the joy, the peace. I think this particular Sunday most everyone was feeling their real selves – and there was so much sadness and sorrow – the James Taylor song was the grand finale where many of our inner emotions became outer emotions – as they say after a touching performance – “not a dry eye in the house”. Thank you for providing a safe haven for all of us to express ourselves and just feel. Xo

  2. Lisa

    I am a bad blog follower of late… so I am playing catch-up here. Your post brought several things to mind for me:

    1. Years and years ago – the two of us playing, planning, picking out songs and moves for your classes, in either my living room or your apt.

    2. The heavy-heartedness that comes with what happened in Newtown. The tragedy hit home in many ways… for a close friend of mine from high school, who is a best friend to the mother of one of the teachers who bravely lost her life that day. To my cousin, who lost a close friend and neighbor that day as well… another one of the brave women who tried their best to protect children from harm that day. CT is very small… we do not have 6 degrees of separation here.

    3. To the care and love that you ALWAYS exude for friends, family and strangers. I know whatever songs you chose to play that day were the RIGHT ones. Because to me, and I’m sure to others, you are a healing angel here on earth.


  3. Luisa Tanno

    Jen & Lisa,
    Thank you both for your beautiful words and for sharing your own reflections. Wishing you peace!

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