Have you danced today?

Friedrich Nietzsche

I came across the Nietzsche quote, remembering that I first read it years ago in his Zarathrusta, a book much in fashion in my youth. I was struck even then, armed with too few years and too little experience of life to really understand the book, by the way the man encapsulated snippets of wisdom in what would today be classed as soundbites. I am no expert on his philosphy but this I cannot help but agree with.

The quote here is incomplete… and the second part puts it into greater context for me:

“We should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once. And we should call every truth false which was not accompanied by at least one laugh.”

Although Nietzsche loved to dance and found in it his expression of ‘divine service’, I don’t think dance was all he was really talking about here. He was looking far deeper than mere movement or laughter.

Dance itself is an expression of an inner state… a response, sometimes, to the call of music that gets its fingers into your soul and plays it with a masterly touch. Sometimes it is the soul that calls forth the music of creation and we dance for joy… for sheer abandon, caught in a moment that is always now. Laughter… real, deep laughter that bubbles up and spills over uncontrolled… that too is a moment of abandon… but of what? Of image… of stress and tenseness… sometimes of decorum and social propriety… and always of anything but the moment.

Both dance and laughter, when they are spontaneous and not contrived, are a moment of ‘letting go’… an expression of living passion that comes with a lightness of being that cannot be fabricated, only known.

It isn’t something we allow ourselves very often. We are trained and shaped by our society to adhere to its staid and acceptable rules and those who publicly flout them either shoot to notoriety or stardom or are, more likely, frowned upon, told to grow up, act their age and stop behaving like children.

“”Body am I, and soul” – so says the child. And why should one not speak like children?” … or act with their total lack of concern for ‘what people might think’ just occasionally?

There is a trend towards healthier living these days. We eat better on the whole… or if we do not, we are aware that we should. We know the value of exercise and few are unaware of the links between health and happiness… links that go both ways. I often wonder, though, why we do not value the joy of our bodies more than we do? Is it some leftover constriction of Victorian piety and morality that makes us divorce the earthly form from the spiritual life? If so, doesn’t that same piety teach that we are made in the image of its God? Are we ashamed of that somehow, because it often feels as if we must be.

If Nietzsche could ‘only believe in a god who could dance,’ I have to say that I believe in a god who understands laughter.

We embarrass easily, automatically looking to see if anyone might have seen our aberration… Why should we not revel in the glory of movement while we can? What is wrong with us that we cannot dance in the fields for the sheer joy of being alive on the first morning of spring? Or see truth and laughter walking hand in hand? Does truth always need a straight face and grave demeanour to be taken seriously?

I hope not…  Speaking for myself, the best things I have learned have come with joy…and life itself should be the dance we embrace with passion and abandon.

About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She has written a number of books, both alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at scvincent.com and on Twitter @SCVincent Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email: findme@scvincent.com
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40 Responses to Have you danced today?

  1. I totally loved this post, Sue and I agree with what he has said why not make our every day lives a dance and song and laughter that adds cadence to it instead of being pulled down by our egos cause if our God is in all of us that we sure are happy and joy. Thanks for a marvelous read.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. TanGental says:

    there are days when it feels more like a requiem gripping our heart but even then, we help the clouds part a little by embracing the dance. Well written Sue and thank you for a reminder of a quote, I, like you, heard it many moons ago and occasionally it’s message gets lost in the daily noise of life – it’s good to pause and let it resurface. To Dance! To Live!

    Liked by 3 people

  3. jenanita01 says:

    I believe there is a list of things we need to do every day if we want to make it through this life alive. Dancing, singing, laughing, being kind to someone. Probably far more, but you get my drift…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yes, i have and not only is it good for the spirit but for the ole osteoarthritis as well

    Liked by 2 people

  5. willowdot21 says:

    I agree, look at children they are always embracing the ‘Dance’. I wish I could see my grandchildren in flesh instead of Instagram. I would embrace them and laugh and ‘Dance’ with them. Thank God for Ruby she is the ‘Dance’ and the laugh. 💜💜

    Liked by 2 people

  6. fransiweinstein says:

    Love this post Sue. Like you I don’t interpret the words literally. I think we should allow ourselves to feel joy and live freely and passionately, to find something to smile and laugh about even on difficult days.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Fabulous post, Sue. Honestly, at the end of life, I won’t care about how many dishes I washed or even how many books I wrote. What I will care about is the laughter, love, and joy… the dance. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  8. You are right, Sue. We should let go and express our emotions without fear. Dance with abandon and joy. Life is very short.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Anne Copeland says:

    The times when I feel the most like my own self are those times when I forget everything else and engage with abandonment in my art, writing, music, and even my gardening. I once thought about the climax in sex and why it is such a wonderful thing. It is one of the few times when we are completely in that present moment, without judgement, without fears, without anything other than that moment in life, experiencing it as fully as a person can fully enjoy any act in life. How many times in our lives can we actually say that we have lived in that moment without that specific act?

    Liked by 1 person

  10. dgkaye says:

    Just loved this Sue. Good reminder to dance more often. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Anne Copeland says:

    I love the music, “Also Spake Zarathrustra.” And I am going to have to add Nietzsche to my reading list now too. I know who he was, but have not yet read him. I think one of the rich treasures of my day is that I have so much reading and study and dancing and art and love and joy and growing things and overall loving this life. I often tell my friends who are fretting over this political thing and that, and feeling so horrible over this news item and that to leave behind what we cannot do anything about and do something that matters and might help other people in a positive way. I think our news focuses on the horrors and sad things in life, but I seldom see anything that speaks of the achievements, the good things that happen. Our society is much like a dysfunctional family because we are drowned in it daily. A little dance, a little song, a little random deeds of kindness, a little smile, a little reaching out to our fellows out there instead of perceiving everyone with some form of prejudice, fear (the root of prejudice), or suspicion. Yes, let’s dance. Let’s sing at the top of our voices. Let’s rejoice for the lives we have been gifted with. Our challenges in life are gifts to make our journey more meaningful, and to teach us what is really important in this life. Once we have gone through a challenge, it will not be so in the future, for we will know what it looks like and how to handle it.
    “In the canvas of life, a flat landscape In would be pretty boring. It is the valleys and the mountains that help us to appreciate the flatlands. It is the dark that makes us appreciate the light, and the cold that makes us appreciate the warm.” – Anne Copeland

    Like

    • Sue Vincent says:

      I agree, Anne, it is very often the smallest changes that create the bigger change we seek… like a pebble on a hillside that tips the balance between stability and a landslide. A little joy in each life would make a lot of joy worlwide.

      Like

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