In night dreams I am the most spectacular dancer, always harmoniously partnered, cheek to cheek, heart to heart, soul to soul. Our weightless dances defy the gravity and clumsiness of waking life, as we move as one into every dimension of space until the dance ends and I wake up still smiling from the touch of the light fantastic. And from each dream dance, a great lesson is learned.
My earliest dance lessons came from my father as he waltzed me around the lounge room, my little feet perched upon his big, dependable shoes.
By the time I was seven I had decided my life’s mission was to be a ballet dancer. On being told I’d probably be too tall, I thought I could be a choreographer. Either way, no money for ballet lessons soon buried that plan. Prancing and pirouetting around the bedroom did nothing to enhance my future career prospects.
Besides, I was knock-kneed as my dancing needs clashed with economical reality. I took up yoga and learned the art of freestyle dance instead. I have since learned that dance lessons fade to insignificance alongside the lessons of dancing. Step with me into my dancing dreams to see why:
I once dream danced with someone I knew from waking life. It was a kind of reversal of my father’s waltz routine. In this dream dance the man placed his feet on mine and we waltzed the perfect waltz. The strangeness of the dream was that instead of me dancing his balancing feet through the steps, he was in control of the dance. He was the one calling the tune. He was dancing me as he stood firmly and fully on my toes. On waking I realised that this man had indeed, in waking life, called the steps. He had often trodden on my toes, but I had not recognised this and so the dance had been perfect for my learning at that time.
Life is always in harmony and balance, even when it seems not to be so. What we need to learn about ourselves is reflected in our world. I needed to learn about issues of control and being controlled, of restriction and freedom, through the delirious dance of the trodden toes. We danced to the pendulum of extremes until the calmness of the middle path stilled the motion and the dance came to its natural end.
Yet people in our dreams are not themselves, but aspects of our own selves. My treading-toes dance partner was the part of myself which danced the tune of conditioned restriction and lovingly taught the lesson of breaking free. He was my outer world, my Yang. I was his inner world, his Yin. We danced, cheek to cheek, Yin to Yang in search of the still calm point between us.
Think of the Yin Yang symbol, for all the world looking like two tadpoles nestled into each other, top to tail, each complete with an eye at the rounded head end. Or perhaps the symbol is more of a sacred 69. One side is black with a white ‘eye’ while the other is white with a black ‘eye’. One is Yin, one is Yang.
They are extremes, opposites huddled together in balance. As you trace the black of one tadpole from the thinness of its tail to the abundance of its head, you see the white of the eye colour. What this means is that as we approach an extreme in our attitude or being (the extreme being represented by the abundance of colour) a seed of the opposite nature appears. At the extreme swing of the pendulum, an excess of Yang births the return swing of the Yin. By the time the pendulum reaches its Yin extreme, the seed of a new Yang birth springs into being.
In swing style, Yin and Yang dance the great pendulum arcs that ultimately deliver the mutual destiny of the middle path.
In another dream of years past, I tangoed across the tiles, leaning back so far in my dream stranger partner’s arms that my body was suspended horizontal to the floor. I momentarily hovered only a few centimetres above the ground until I was lightly whisked and whirled back into the next staccato tango pose. The lesson from this dream dance was to find the balance between the extreme of being too flexible, too laid back and the extreme of expecting too much from myself through forcing over-extension.
One dream dance duo had me cart-wheeling, face to face, hands to hands, feet to feet with my tumbling dream partner. Childish joy, upside-down, right side up, round and round, dizzying we roller-coastered our cartwheel harmony until my partner finally let go and I finished in standing pose, one hand out-stretched, ready for my next dance partner to continue my journey. And so the great lesson of the cycles of life, the ups and downs, the rounds and rounds, the repetitions, the recurring dreams and the final achieving of the still point was energetically clothed as a dream dance. There I stood, in the quiet moment between one cycle of life and the next, between one lesson completed and another about to start, between one dance partner and the next.
May you soon find yourself dream dancing cheek to cheek, Yin to Yang, paradoxically stepping the duality of life’s one path strewn with the lessons of so many perfect dances.
[Copyright Jane Teresa Anderson, September 2000. First published as a Dream Sight article.]