Bright Side of the Road

Bright Side of the Road.  That’s the title of one of my favorite Van Morrison songs that I enjoy dancing to at the Sunday Night Swing Dance.  Sometimes I’m fortunate to have William as my partner.  He’s from Belfast, Ireland and remembers seeing Van Morrison performing in the local clubs before he was famous.  While the song is about a relationship, I give my own meaning to the first two lines that play over in my head: “From the dark end of the street To the bright side of the road.”

Sometimes it’s easier to stay on the dark end of the street.  We can navigate familiar paths on autopilot without having to think about where we’re going, without having to watch for the forks in the road.  That is until we’re forced to change because that old route doesn’t serve us anymore.  Something shifts within us and we want to travel in a different way.  We can be so afraid of the discomfort of a new route that we stay on that dark side of the road.  This reminds me, again, of swing dancing.

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Initially, my husband and I, along with another couple, visited the Sunday Night Swing Dance.  While the people there ‘danced around’ changing partners, we just danced with our spouses.  That night when we left, I commented that the regulars seemed like a friendly group, and I thought it would be fun to be part of that community.  But my husband and the other couple didn’t agree because they didn’t like changing partners.  For a while, I let it rest, but I kept seeing the image of the people dancing that night, how much fun they were having.  In retrospect, I felt the energy pull toward dancing that I talked about in my last post, Follow Your Energy.

Most of the times we’d gone dancing, it was because I’d initiated it by asking for lessons for a Christmas present and giving us ballroom classes for our anniversary.  While my husband was a good dancer, that wasn’t what he wanted to do.  I’d convinced myself that we were alike in that interest, but after our night at the Swing Dance, I saw that we weren’t.  I wasn’t ready to let go of my desire to be part of that community, so I approached it from a different angle.  I took classes with one of the owners of the dance company that hosted the event.

It was a risk-free way to check out the group to see if they were as amiable as they seemed.  Eventually, I got to know some people in my class and they urged me to join them on Sunday night.  I’d never been to a dance alone and felt weird going without my husband, even though I knew others came without their spouses.  But with my husband’s blessing, I drove myself to the Sunday Night Swing Dance.  At first, it was awkward, waiting for someone to ask for a dance, knowing only a few people to talk with.

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With Friends at the Halloween Dance

But I stuck with it.  I kept pushing past my uncomfortable feelings, making one new friend at a time, learning names of my partners, smiling when I made errors in following the lead.  Eventually, I was able to relax and laugh and dance just like the others that I’d envied the first time I visited.

Now, when I dance to “Bright Side of the Road,” I feel happy that I took the risk and crossed “from the dark end of the street,” refusing to stay in the shadows and learning to dance with confidence under the mirrored ball.

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Mirrored ball hanging over the Bright Side of the Road!

 

How about you?

Are there areas you’re drawn to but afraid of because they’re unfamiliar?

What would help you move out of the comfort of a familiar path through the discomfort of the unknown road in order to reach the destination you desire?

 

2 thoughts on “Bright Side of the Road

  1. Hi Connie,
    I love listening to swing dance music but have never tried swing dance itself. If it’s anything like Scottish ceilidh music and dance, all the swinging and twirling makes me dizzy and completely disorientated, so much so, anyone would think I was staggering around because I was squiffy on alcohol. So I avoid it!

    Your post reminds me of the time when I had a complete aversion to wellies (wellington boots), stemming from childhood memories and experiences. They are notoriously uncomfortable, make your feet sweat and leave you with blisters because your socks always fell down and ended up in the toe caps of the welly. Fine for puddle splashing as a child but not for hiking!

    When I first moved to the Isle of Mull I realised I would have to dispense with my kitten heel shoes and start wearing hiking boots. These were fine in the drier months but as you know the west coast here is pretty wet (a lot of the time) and the land is predominantly peat bog. This wasn’t a problem before we had the dogs as our walking was limited to the tarmac roads. However once the dogs arrived, our hiking took a detour off the roads and onto the moors and hills. I stuck to my hiking boots even though it very often meant returning home with damp muddy dogs and wet stinking feet – the boots once saturated didn’t keep your feet dry and never had the time to dry out between dog walks. My aversion to wellies started to limit my dog walks – I would avoid certain areas of the moors and hills after the rain and wouldn’t even consider going in some places for fear of getting stuck in the bog. Until one particular lovely morning out with the dogs I realised that I was missing out on a lot of walking because of my self-imposed limitations and prejudice against the humble welly!

    Anyway, the long and short of it was I bit the bullet and invested in a pair of expensive, substantial, well fitting and comfortable wellington boots. What a difference they made to my walks with the dogs, the variety of grounds and area I could cover and the wonderfully scenic views and experiences I have subsequently enjoyed over the years. And the extra plus side was my feet remained dry and I have never yet been stuck in bog.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Jane,
      How fastenating about your feelings toward the wellies. Just my one day hike on Iona, in my hiking boots, gives me a bit of knowledge about what you’re talking about. Isn’t it something how that one change made a difference in your life! Think of all the beautiful moments you would have missed if you’d continued to hold on to that long-held belief about those boots. I’m glad you crossed to the ‘Bright Side of Your Road’ and have hours of wonderful hikes with your dogs to remind you of how one change can change everything. Good to hear from you. Tell John “Hello”! Connie

      Like

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