“What is to give light must endure burning.”
In turning 49. starting my 50th circle around the sun, I’m ever aware that time on this earth, any length of time, even one day of time, is precious. I want to start thanking my body for the gift of waking up today in it. And focus on what an honor that is, not the things I don’t like about it or the limitations I perceive from it.
To remind myself, I wanted to choose a word of the year that evoked the energy of wearing my body in a joyful way, and moving in it with gratitude. I considered Slay, Sashay, Twirl, Strut, Shimmy and Glide. Ultimately I chose the word: Dance.
I want to dance in this body, every movement a motion of gratitude. I want to enjoy wearing this body for as long as I am able to wear it before I put it down and it ceases to exist. I want to enjoy moving this body, both in little ways and big, in private and in public, with loved ones or alone, in praise for being alive and in gratitude for what I am experiencing here on this earth.
Here is the world.
Terrible and beautiful things will happen.
Don’t be afraid.
– Frederick Büechner
I decided to create a painting that reminded me to move my body while I am still lucky enough to be in it… in all it’s ups and downs, in all it’s leaps and stops, in all it’s joy and pain. I wanted to share it with you here today.
I started by sketching a canvas of a woman in different states of dance, including the highest and lows of it all:
I chose to paint the background of the canvas dark, to show the journey of life — how very difficult it can be, how very heavy it can feel, how very lonely it can be.
Then I wanted to show that the darkness is actually illuminated by our movement. Especially when we move in joy, or in gratitude. We bring forth light into this world each and every day, no matter what our dance looks like in any given moment. So I started painting rays of light beaming from the heart center of each pose, shining freely:
“Light will eventually split you open.”
Painting it reminded me of something that I repeat often in my head to give myself when I need courage… it is simply this:
When you drive in the night, you turn your headlights on to see, and even with headlights on, you can only see a couple hundred feet or so in front of you. Yet you can drive clear across and entire continent, only seeing that immediate ground in front of you.
You can literally drive from one side of the country to the other, even if it were pitch darkness the entire way, simply by navigating what is right in front of you and no more.
And that’s how it is in life, too.
Only our body is the vehicle we are driving, and our soul becomes our headlights. Letting your soul shine into the space around you, even when you don’t know your next step, even when you feel covered in darkness, even when you have no idea what you are doing or why or how, you can navigate the day you are in by wearing your body with gratitude and accepting what is unfolding just right front of you.
You don’t have to see in the distant future, you don’t have to look in the rearview mirror at the past. Just the step that lay before you, then the next one, then the one after that. For an entire lifetime. Wearing your body and letting your soul shine the way. Moment by moment by moment.
And if we can do that joyfully, if we can wear our bodies like we are grateful to be wearing them, then we bring light into the darkness, and life into the world, both for ourselves and for others.
So I drew little bits of life growing up and around and from the dancer herself:
It’s such an honor to wear your body.
Bringing light and life everywhere you go in the darkness.
Wear it like you are the luckiest person in the entire world to get to wear that body today.
I hope you enjoy this painting that I call The Dance. I painted it for me but maybe I also painted it for you? If it is calling out for you, find out the details of this gallery wrapped, original canvas right here.
I hope you can use it as a reminder today to wear your body lightly. Gratefully. It’s only here for the briefest moment of time, and you are the lucky soul that gets to wear it for today.
Come dance with me while we are still here to do it.
xoxoxo, Laura Koniver MD
P.S. You can find tons more of my original paintings, both canvases and prints, right here.