I gave myself the challenge to find interesting and creative ways to dance on a treadmill. Here is what I came up with . Watch the video first then read the rest of the blog post.
Running daily on a treadmill is a study in frustration. The faster I run the more I stay in my place. Which is what life can feel like sometimes. I work hard, day in, day out and yet it can feel like my ship is treading water just the same, I am barely keeping your head above deluge. It can be tempting to give up. Throw in the towel. I find myself contemplating the futility of life.
But then I hear an interesting beat. It distracts me. I forget I am running to stay in one spot. At first I make little tentative steps. I am not really dancing, I am pretend dancing. The sort of dancing if confronted with, I could deny. “I wasn’t dancing.” I can say. “I just tripped and swayed sideway against my will. I am not even drunk. I am just optimistic.”
Once I feel more confident I can add a little wiggle. A subtle hand gesture. That way if I am caught in the act I can claim that I was merely swatting a fly. Then I can graduate to a silly walk. Allow myself to be inspired by the ministry of silly walk sketch from Monty Python. This does dislodge my need to take myself seriously. Suddenly I realize that the treadmill is dancing for me. I don’t need to move too much for dance like action to happen. All I need to do is move my hips a little, move my hands, maybe shake my shoulders and I am doing something imitating dance. A sort of prelude to a dance.
If body movement feels good? Does it qualify as dance? This leads me to think about what qualifies as dance. I need a definition.
Dance, if you’ve torn the bandage off. Dance in the middle of the fighting. Dance in your blood.Rumi
This makes dancing sound like a bullfight. One in which the bull wins.
I should rename my treadmill to a dancing pad. A new door shall open with fresh possibilities.
Perhaps life is futile and I am running to stay in one spot, but if I delight in the effort of it then it was all worth it. I am sure you heard the clichéd saying “It’s the journey not the destination.” How do I know if I enjoyed the journey too much and lost sight of the end goal? What if my enjoyment leads me to avoid necessary hard work? Is there some middle ground between delight and goal setting that allows for a multiple of outcomes?
I need to do a cursory nod to flamenco.
I also realized that my dance pad works great for doing the Charleston.
I am afraid I will fall and crack my skull.
This dance pad is perfect for doing the moonwalk.
There are certain goalposts I hold on to. Whether it’s publishing a novel or perfecting a form of dance they serve as our barometers of success, myths that shape my notions of what life could be at an optimum level. When I get there — wherever there is — I expect that life will feel a certain way. That brilliant bubbly feeling of success. “I have arrived” feeling. This has never actually been my experience, but it hasn’t stopped me from believing. Perhaps I believe because I want to, not because it makes any logical sense.
As I end this dance on a treadmill challenge, I have nine new questions a not a single definitive answer to any of them.
Do you ever struggle with questions of futility of life? Have you found a good way of dealing with it? If yes, please share in the comment section below.