© 2010 Karen Van Fossan
I went ahead and did it. I rode my bike on Boulevard Avenue, in spite of the risks.
Risk 1: Splatter myself with mud.
Risk 2: Splatter myself with slush.
Risk 3: Tempt fate and die.
It was Risk 3 that nearly kept me off Boulevard Avenue forever.
According to one source, Boulevard Avenue was where I would meet my death. In fact, according to this source, I already had.
My dear friend Ferne – who's just about 101 and isn't prone to confusion – recently told her daughter I had died. I'd “been killed” was how she put it. Killed riding my bike on Boulevard Avenue.
Luckily, she was wrong. At least so far.
True, I didn't die on Boulevard Avenue. But just a few weeks ago, I began my own dance of dying.
In a good way.
Here's how it began:
I received a letter, which said that the North Dakota Board of Counselor Examiners had refused my application for licensure as a counselor. According to my graduate school, my professors, and myself, I am trained and ready to serve as a counselor. I'm a Dance/Movement Therapist, yes, but also a bona fide counselor.
The Board was unconvinced.
So I had to ask myself, “What next???”
Go back to school,
Learn an alternate trade,
Hire a lawyer,
Count my blessings,
Ride in the middle of traffic on Boulevard Avenue.
In my mind, I found myself running from one idea to the next. And I hated all this running from one idea to the next. Pick a plan and stick with it. That was my general stance.
But suddenly, as I walked beneath the foggy spring sky, I saw my path.
This is it. This running from one idea to the next – this is my life. Today, this is my life. My own real life. My life isn't waiting for me in the answers to my questions. My life is taking place as I grapple with these questions. My life is happening now. My life isn't waiting in the well-plotted future. This is it.
And so, can I dance with this? Can I follow the rhythms and gestures of this dance? Can I be present and alive, letting myself experience my actual experience?
My dream of being a counselor – at least for now – is dying. This is a dance I have witnessed. I have sat with those who are dying. I have seen the stops and starts, the fits of life, the letting go, the ecstasy and the panic.
Today, this is my dance. Will I go here or go there? Will I stop, or will I start?
I don't know.
The knowing isn't now. Today, I have only to dance.
Maybe even up and down Boulevard Avenue.
A Note: Much gratitude to my teachers at Naropa University who helped me learn the dances of living -- and of dying.