This morning I was at my mother's house with family when my daughter wanted to play in the cool basement.
"I love the songs on here" she said eyes widening as she turned on a large, old fashioned radio that I remember beaming at when I was a little girl. Even though the moment was adorable, I felt adult stress pulling my attention: I should work more. I will have go back to re-paying student loans now. I feel pressure (that I put on myself) to speak to my aunts upstairs.
Then, the sound came. Céline Dion was singing "My Heart Will Go On". The bear that I was sleepily holding became a microphone. She took it from me because, you know, that's no way to treat a bear. She handed me a replacement microphone and I exploded into a performance with my whole, genuine self. I felt like a child. I felt like my 20 something self at karaoke. I had flashbacks of the intense emotions of watching The Titanic as a teenager who knew nothing of love but longed to. I realized where I was in time and space and saw my daughter, delighted and remembered I was someone's mother. It was joy.
I wished I could keep the feeling, the memory forever. Of course, nothing is forever and whipping out that rectangular black box alters the present moment. The focus changes. People's behavior shifts. It can not be the same moment anymore.
What I believe to have felt was the hypothalamus releasing dopamine. Why do I believe this? It was a rush of joy. The kind of joy that gets caught in your throat. Hearing that song, moving my body, being in that moment with my daughter at my mother's home, all together made me intensely happy in that moment. Dopamine.
The detail of movement, in this case, uninhibited, creative movement was a significant ingredient in this recipe.
When was the last time you freely expressed yourself through movement of your body? As women, we put our bodies through a great deal of movement during the day: walk fast to not be late to the appointment, rush around the kitchen to prepare a meal, pretend run with a child to be a monster, make six trips to and from the car. But how many times a day do you move in an uninhibited, creative way? When you think of engaging in this activity, what comes to mind? What music? What scene? What memories pop up? What equipment (if any)? It does not have to documented to hold meaning. Quite the opposite. Pay attention to yourself.
You deserve attention.
If you were to make a behavioral change by creating a miniature ritual to your daily life and commit to a song to dance to one time a day as you made dinner or while you brushed your teeth, what type of impact would it have on you? If you felt that joy just a tiny bit, but every day, would you be changed? You might.
Could be dope.