Book No. 28 – And Never Stop Dancing

17 Feb

Book number 29 is called And Never Stop Dancing by Gordon Livingston. I guess some people would classify this book as a “self help” book, but really I think it just highlights many issues we all struggle with in life. It is written by a Psychiatrist who shares with us his own experiences in dealing with his patients, people with anxiety and depression, and people who have forgotten how to love life. Many people seek psychotherapy because they are burdened with grievances. Abusive childhoods, alcoholic parents, bad marriages, and many other misfortunes. We are all shaped, to some extent  by our past. Which is unfortunate, because none of us has the power to go back in time and change what happened. Many of us are burdened by mistakes and experiences of the past and that is what holds us back from being happy. But we all have the choice of relinquishing the hold that our pasts have on us. It is a conscious choice that paradoxically does not require you to be strong, only to be courageous. The hardest thing I think for many people is to forgive. Not only those who have hurt us, but also ourselves, from our shortcomings, wasted opportunities and the myriad of mistakes we have each made. We do not live in a very forgiving nation. Judgmental, yes…. but forgiving, not so much! This is exemplified in the fact that 74 percent of Americans believe in the death penalty. We assert blame, tolerate victimization and act like entitled brats rather than forgiving those who have done wrong and moving on. The reason behind this is simple, the act of forgiving means relinquishing the past, it means letting go… something that most of us are incapable of. So, I think a plea of moderation is essential, don’t you? Yes. Sometimes, I wonder how it is that I can happily live in a world where there is so much evil and wrongdoing. So many unspeakable things occur in our world, and more often than not, there is nothing we can do to stop them. What we all need to do is adjust our perception of reality. You know how doctors can never guarantee you that you will come out of surgery 100%? That is because they are controlling your expectations. So many of us go through life with unrealistic expectations of love, relationships, friendships, work, family, etc. I know i’m still waiting for my own personal Noah Calhoun (The Notebook) to be hand delivered to my front door!! Unrealistic? Um duh. I blame all these stupid romantic comedies and Nicholas Sparks. What I’m starting to realize is that we shouldn’t want our lives to be like the movies, because it isn’t real. And I think it’s safe to say we would all much rather have something REAL. My point is, we need to lower our expectations on what we will get out of life, and by doing this we will learn to be content and satisfied with the things we have instead of always wishing we had something more. I’ve always told myself that I will probably never be fully satisfied in life because I want too much. There is a quote that goes something like, “girls always want what they can’t have.” In my case, I wan’t what I don’t have. I want everything. Getting everything is impossible. I’m only setting myself up for disappointment, dissatisfaction, discontent and longing. I’m doomed!! UNLESS, I can change the way I look at life. Easier said than done, obviously. Another issue in this book is marriage. I often tell my sister how I think marriage is a dying institution and that I can’t really see myself ever getting married. Whenever I tell my friends I don’t want to get married, they look at me like I am an alien from mars. Why though? If you ask people the reason they married their spouse I guarantee you 80% percent will say love. But thats a crock of shit. In fact, if you look at marriage in a sociological perspective you will see that in fact most people get married because of the way society influences them. People do it for security, shared values, companionship, religion, wanting to start a family, and yes, sometimes love. Most of the time though, people get married because it is the cultural norm (at least here in America), it’s what we are expected to do. It’s like we are all given a check list of milestones to reach before we die. Graduate high school. Go to college. Graduate college. Get a job. Get married. Start a family. But I am not going to get married simply because it is what society bloody well thinks I should do! When and If I get married, I want it to be because I have found someone that I truly love more than I love myself. Someone that makes me a better human being and helps me grow, and someone who brings light into my life. Often times we think that marriage will turn out like a fairy tale, but it does not. It’s not all roses and sunshine, in fact there is a lot of crap that comes a long with it. Heaps and heaps of stinky, smelly crap!! (um. ew.)

Here is a great quote about marriage that I found below:

“This is the tyranny of marriage: the vows that bind us allow us to become our worst selves. Thrown dishes, slammed doors, faces contorted like an infants — all part of the contract. No one tells us this. No one tells us that the only unconditional love in this world is between parent and child… but passion between a man and a woman finite. If it lasts among a thousand days, count yourself among the lucky… There [is] no loneliness like marriage. ” -Dani Shapiro, Picturing the Wreck

Interesting quote. I would be interested to hear from people who are married on whether they agree or disagree with this quote, because everybody’s marriage is different and some marriages are much happier than others.

The human mind is an intricately wound, dark yet beautiful enigmatic thing. A person can never really understand the inner workings of another’s mind. We can never fully know a person in their entirety, there is no way we can penetrate every layer of the human mind and expose ones true self. It’s impossible. It seems as though loneliness is an epidemic in this world. The ironic thing is that those who are lonely often complain about how lonely they are and yet take no steps to change. This is because so many people prefer loneliness to the vulnerability of closeness with another human being. WE are used to being afraid. Fear is the mother of all bitches. A close second is assumption, but i’ll save that speech for another day! Fear controls so many of us. A habit that must be broken.

“… come my friends,

Tis not too late to seek a newer world.

Push off, and sitting well in order smite

The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds

To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths

Of all the western stars, until I die.

It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:

It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,

And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.

Tho’ much is taken, much abides, and tho’

We are not now that strength which in old days

Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are,

One equal temper of heroic hearts,

Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will

To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”

–Alfred Lord Tennyson, Ulysses

A truly beautiful poem about the ups and downs of life. Re-read it a couple of times, let it sink in and I think it will really resonate with many of you.

“To be mortal is to bear the awful weight of time and fate.” No quote has ever been truer. There are so many things working against us in life, but we must strive to over come them. Time and fate are not on our sides and before you know it death will be lurking in the shadows waiting to snatch you away. So make the best of your time, and create a fate you can live with. And we must all take the hardships with stride and continue to march onward.

“There are many forms of grace — physical, intellectual, social, spiritual — each of them amazing in its own way. But to cope with inevitable loss, to face life in all its confusion and absurdity and still retain the capacity for joy, laughter, and a belief that our struggles have meaning — this is to prevail.”

In a life that is constantly trying to break you down, prevail. Rise above the loss, the pain, the loneliness, the fear and LIVE.

“After a bomb killed two dozen young people at a Tel Aviv disco a few years ago, Israeli youth refused to be cowed. They resumed a robust nightlife. Today, outside the scene of the bombing, beneath a stone memorial listing the names of the dead, is a single inscription: LO NAFSEEK LIRKOD. It means, “We won’t stop dancing.” — Gene Weingarten, The Washington Post Magazine

Words we should all live by. Through all the hurdles life throws our way, we should never lose sight of whats important. And we should never stop dancing.


Taylor Jordan


One Response to “Book No. 28 – And Never Stop Dancing”

  1. Eimear Serious March 3, 2012 at 9:40 am #

    Things that I felt absolutely sure of but a few years ago, I do not believe now. This thought makes me see more clearly how foolish it would be to expect all men to agree with me. Jim Rohn

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