Wednesday, September 23, 2009

My Golden Dancers

Happiness Is...

By Elita Sohmer Clayman

If you google "Happiness is," dozens of sayings pop up by some famous and some not so famous people. Several of them caught my attention because they are truly on the mark.

Democritus said, “Happiness resides not in possessions and not in gold, the feeling of happiness dwells in the soul.”

Aristotle said, “To live happily is an inward power of the soul.”

Anne Frank said, “Think of all the beauty that’s still left in and around you and be happy.”

Allan Chalmers said, “Happiness is grand essentials and that is something to do, something to love and something to hope for.”

All four of the above quotes are quite accurate. Author Allan K. Chalmers, concentration camp Holocaust child Anne Frank, philosophers Aristotle and Democritus all basically reiterate the same feelings on happiness. Happiness is mostly inward and not so much outward for each person.

Many of us find happiness in simple and plain things that happen to us daily. Some may see a sunset, a rainbow, beautiful clouds, or just feel especially content that day. Some may buy something material that they have yearned for during a long period of time. Some may have a child attain a college degree, get engaged and married or become a grandparent. Some may be looking forward to traveling to a place they have always dreamed of seeing. Some may start a new hobby or even become employed at a company they always wanted to work for.

Others may become retired from their jobs and see great happiness in being able to not wake up early to work; others may be thinking of remodeling their homes or even buying new furniture to perk up their surroundings.

Each of has the capacity to feel happiness, maybe not every day of the week but often enough to really think of themselves as happy. Others may have gotten a clean bill of health from their doctor and feel that this is the greatest happiness at this moment in time.

So there are degrees of happiness and we all desire this feeling to overtake us.

Several weeks ago, actually on September 2nd, 2009 I felt a particularly happy day.
My son was scheduled for some kidney stones to be ‘pulled’ out due to some pain and this was taking place in the outpatient division of a hospital. When I heard he had come through this successfully and was on his way home (he lives in Northern, Virginia-eighty miles away from me) then I felt a great surge of happiness because I had worried so much about the procedure. Also I had some dental work done to make a crooked tooth straight and I was ‘happy’ to smile now when a picture was taken on the digital camera and have a nice set of straight teeth now. Also I had an EKG taken at the doctor’s office and everything was fine. The final thing was that I became that day a great great aunty because my great niece, who was born on my birthday 28 years ago, had given birth to a son. So all in all that day was quite remarkable for the four happenings to me and as Allan Chalmers said I had completed all by something to love (my new great great nephew), the something to hope for had been completed because my son’s surgery was over and he was healthy, the something to do was my teeth fixed and so Chalmers only stated three essentials for happiness and I had attained four. So I topped his list by one essential.

Anyone who starts to ballroom dance need not view Dancing With The Stars on television and envision him or herself up there. That is all hype and lots of five hour days training for this event. Many of the stars who do this have had many accidents and illnesses trying to accomplish this dancing in a few weeks. Whereas we ballroom dancers who have been attempting this for many years know that learning to dance and to excel in it is not designed to do it for twenty some hours per week for five weeks or so and then to perform as if their life depended on it. They also rely on the opinions of three judges who sit there and decide their fate.

Real ballroom dancing is not run this way. When one decides to go into competition at the dance studio he or she may take an extra lesson or two per week to get in shape and to learn but many times they cannot afford the extra lessons. Therefore, they have to wait until they have been skilled in the many hours it takes to do competition work.

Sometimes this takes several years before one is ready to execute and accomplish this feat. Feat it is done with our feet.DWTS makes it seem that to be a good dancer you must be able to come out there in a skimpy outfit, men included, that you have to-do fancy footwork that you are not qualified to perform and that you have to smile until your face freezes. Also that you have to take the sometimes sarcastic, caustic and vitriolic words spewed by the so called judges. One wonders if these judges could have ever fulfilled themselves what they expect from these star performers so early in the competition or even later on towards the end of the series.

These judges judge not always with knowledge, discernment and accuracy. Many of them say things to get a smile, a boo, a roar from the attending audience. They do not always care to be guiding the dancer into a better mode, they sometimes want to rile up the dancer. They want to irritate and annoy the audience into a negative reaction because they then get noticed for being rude, funny or obnoxious.

This makes ratings for the show to rise and lots of talk about them and maybe they will even get noticed and written up in People magazine.

This is not what ballroom dancing is all about. Ballroom dancing is about “beauty that is out there and around you and happiness” as Anne Frank said in her sad life during the Holocaust. Ballroom dancing is about as Allan Chalmers said “it is something to do, something to love and something to hope for.” It is about as Democritus said “happiness resides in the feeling in the soul.” Lastly, as Aristotle said “happiness is to live happily and is an inward power of the soul.”

Ballroom dancing is beauty, something to love, something to hope for and is a power of your soul. By seeing ballroom dancing as love, hope, soul power and as Oscar Wilde said “some cause happiness wherever they go.” When we dance we cause happiness not only to our self but to others.

Ballroom dancing is something in our vision if we want it and happiness will be there and it is in our power to be happy when we dance whether it is social dancing, competitive dancing or dancing for our happiness and sweetness to our soul and mind.

So whatever category you may fall in, go out and try to dance whatever age you are now, whether you be a young person, a middle aged person or a senior person. Dancing will bring you the ultimate security that you are alive, well, happy and most of all active.

Keep On Dancing


Anonymous said...

Good article and so informative. Thanks Elita for taking the time to tell us of these things. I love ballrm dancing and it keeps me young. MaryEllen Davis

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your articles...
I will be starting lessons soon at my nearby Fred A studio
Mamie S.