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Just a note about the way Life Is a Verb is structured before I get to the heart of things: author Digh (pronounced dye) offers both actions, to be undertaken immediately after reading a story about the day’s topic, and movements, which stretch out over a 37-day period, and which are designed to reinforce the concepts and practices Digh believes essential to intentional living. I will be undertaking both.

Most actions are short ten minute or so writings—scribblings, really, stream-of-consciousness stuff. You put pen to paper and let it rip, no stopping to think, to correct errors (oh no!), no carefully constructed sentences. Movements vary, but I will note which ones I’m doing, as well as how I’m doing.

Day one: Today it’s all about joy. Well, last night was, when I did the reading and action. Digh related a story about seeing a woman—large, round-faced, with flappy arms—in a car ahead of her at a stoplight. The first thing Digh noticed was the car rocking from side to side. Then she saw the driver bopping to the beat of the radio, and she was really getting into it—mouth wide open as she sang along, head rolling, shoulders in motion, jazz hands—and the driver didn’t seem to care one bit who might be watching. Digh watched for some time before seeing, in the backseat, smaller hands moving in time with the driver’s. It was car dancing, and it was pure joy.

My action challenge— to dance. For two whole minutes.

Wait—me? Dance? Um, I can’t. Really.

Blame it on my strict Baptist upbringing or my total lack of physical grace, but I can’t do it. I can fling myself around more or less in time with the music, but it ain’t dancing.

I did it anyway, to I’m a Believer by the Monkees, and for two minutes and 35 seconds. Hey, I’m an overachiever. An overachiever believer.

I danced, and it was bad.

My cat left the room.

I must have looked a lot like the woman Digh saw, minus the car and the tiny passenger in the backseat.

But you know what? It felt kind of—good. Almost joyous. I liked it.

It reminded me of something I stumbled across waaaay back in 2006 the first time I worked on getting my sass. SARK wrote:

Doing things badly

One of the most inhibiting factors for creative dream living is how we think we need to do something well, or perfectly to begin it.

Then, because of those thoughts, there are so many creative dreams we don’t even attempt!

Give yourself permission

to do something badly.

What could it be?

How badly could you do it?

I walked back then for exercise and wellbeing, miles and miles, but on those days I couldn’t get out, because it was raining or too hot and humid, I’d turn on the radio and dance. I journaled about it on July 3:

I danced. I suck.

And it was a joyous experience. For 45 minutes or so, I wiggled and shook and shimmied and swayed and I put my hands in the air like I just didn’t care.

And I didn’t.

I flailed myself around in a semi-rhythmic fashion, I played rock star, I fantasized, and I had one of the best nights I’ve had in a very, very long time.

It was great!

I shook my groove thang and imagined fat cells just flying off me. There they go—bye bye!

I don’t know why I didn’t do this years ago.

But that’s a lie—I didn’t have permission to do it.

Now that I do, now that I feel the joyful after-effects, I’m gonna dance, and I’m gonna suck, and I’m going to do it with PASSION.

Well. That didn’t happen because somewhere along the line I lost my permission slip, but I’m forging a new one. Let joy be unconfined.

Dance, varmint.


About Kymm

I'm a reader and writer and knitter, a sister, daughter, and friend. This blog is my letter, of love and hate, frustration and joy, rants and praises, to a great big world. You can read it if you want to.

5 responses »

  1. Love this! Now I am starting to reassess my inhibitions and the tendency to say “no”, “can’t do”, “allergic” — you get the picture. Wonder if my time with audio books can be shared with music tracks??????

    • I’ve been the Queen of “No” for much of my life. The last few years, I’ve found that saying “yes” isn’t a bad thing! Nor is getting out of your comfort zone or doing something really, really badly.

      A good soundtrack can be a wonderful tool. I have a mix of classic oldies and disco on my MP3 player, for example, that I often listen to when I walk. The driving beat of disco is great to get me moving harder and faster. I’m going to plug in later when I go for my walk, I think–it’s been too long since I’ve had a good fast walk.

  2. Heaven forbid if I should try and sing or dance around this house. My dogs think I’m really losing it! Situps which I do attempt on occasion, is play time to them! So, I’m left with walking in heat, humidity, rain, wind, snow, ice…etc.

  3. When I was in high school I played folk guitar. Skipped lots of school in order to stay home and practice. Well, and do other creative projects like create hand embroidered guitar straps from my father’s sitting room curtains. But to keep to the subject, my cat, Tigger, used to curl up and purr contentedly when I would play guitar… Until I opened my mouth to sing. At those moments back, flat, would go his ears. If I persisted in my folly, Tigger would arise and stalk… slowly, slowly, with many a twitch of the tail… out of the room, not lifting his ears again till he hit the doorway. These days when I get carried away by music and start waving my hands in the air or jigging about in the power chair, my two dogs raise themselves from their slumbers, backing slowly till their rumps are either against a wall or in a doorway, staring at me with round eyes. There they remain until at length they sigh and lie down again. All in a day’s life with humans, they figure. So long as the food is good.


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