In the past two weeks I've been to funerals, and mourned with my lifelong friends. I've also spent a night watching the top flamenco troup from Spain (Soledad Barrio and Noche Flamenca), dance, sing and clap their hearts out in a great affirmation. The hypnotic, ecstatic dances expressed love, loss, joy, death, the song of life.
Funerals and flamenco, about as far apart on the human emotional diversity scale as you can possibly get, and yet equally intense. Needless to say, I'm a bit drained.
January is a difficult time of year here in Canada, at the best of times. I read somewhere once that the third Monday in January is considered the worst day of the year in the western world, because it is the exact middle of the winter, and it's the day credit card statements arrive in the mail with all those excesses from the holidays. I've also read that the happiest people aren't necessarily the richest, but instead are those who have fulfilling work, a close network of friends and family, and who have a creative outlet to express themselves.
My creative life has definitely been a great source of happiness. There has never been a time when I didn't want to write, even when there might have been brief moments that I didn't enjoy my family life or my other career as a copywriter.
So, in keeping with the memory of three lovely women and the ecstasy of flamenco, I say affirm yourself! Throw paint at the wall! Let words drip through your fingers! Dance, stretch, play, sing, cook a favourite recipe, read a great book or write one. Clap and stomp your way through life, swirl your skirt, clasp your lapels, pull up a chair and dance with friends.
This January has made me think it's time for a change. Flamenco lessons, anyone?