The World is a Giant Dance Party

So there’s a scene in the 1997 film Jungle 2 Jungle where Mimi-siku, a twelve-year-old New York transplant from tribal South America, is walking through Central Park with his Wall Street-walking father played by Tim Allen. The pair are chatting about one thing or another when Mimi-siku overhears a band playing. He says “music” like it’s the most welcome thing he’s heard since he arrived on this godforsaken continent, and he rushes to join a group of people who’ve congregated to listen. And then, he begins dancing. Tim Allen says, “I don’t dance in public,” and Mimi says, “I’ll show you,” as if it’s a matter of ability and not embarrassment. Soon after, the group of onlookers joins in and people of all different stripes are just dancing with abandon and joy and it’s at about this point that I feel a tear coming to my eye.

I know. So corny, right– a boilerplate image of diversity and togetherness makes me all sappy and sentimental? But it’s important to note the chorus of the song “It’s My Life”  by The Animals that’s playing throughout:

It’s my life and I’ll do what I want
It’s my mind and I’ll think what I want
Show me I’m wrong, hurt me sometime
But some day I’ll treat you real fine

That pretty much sums up detached compassion, am I right?

There’s something about unifying in public over music that’s always attracted me. Honestly, I think it might be the thing that keeps me in the city–the first nice day of spring in Rittenhouse Square is one of the most joyful days of the year for me. Buskers perform at every corner, kids break dance to boom boxes in the center and students from the Curtis Institute (one of the top musical conservatories in the country) emerge from their ivory tower and play for free for plebes like me. It’s the most amazing, transcendent energy, and in the moment that I’m in it, jiving with it, I feel like it’s the answer to all of the world’s problems.

Two days ago, it was 65 degrees and sunny–strange for the beginning of February. Due to the unseasonable warmth, Clark Park was flooded with people juggling bowling pins and attempting to walk across slack lines and of course, playing music. The virtuoso in question was a middle-aged man with an acoustic guitar and a surprisingly high voice, and I was blown away by how talented a strummer he was. While I was playing on the turtle statue with my daughter, a group of kids just released from the confines of school swarmed on him like a hoard of bees and began dancing and making requests. When he played “Happy” by Pharrell, they danced and sang, and I was incredibly moved. I too, began dancing and singing, spinning my daughter around and not giving a flying fuck who saw me or what they thought of me. It felt really, really good, and it passed as quickly as a cloudburst and everything returned to equilibrium.

I can’t tell you how long I was Tim Allen making excuses, people. It’s almost embarrassing how much I wanted to join in the fray and how my self-consciousness and fear of ridicule held me back. All throughout my twenties I wanted to take my guitar to Rittenhouse Square and play, and I never did. Despite the fact that I’m probably worse now, I wouldn’t even hesitate. I think I had to utterly demolish my ego and reduce myself to my most basic working parts to stop taking myself so seriously. I mean, what did I really think would happen, and how come I thought that anyone would have given a crap if I’d hit a wrong note or not? I realized that I was the type to give a crap, I was that guy in the park criticizing the busker instead of just enjoying my goddamn life and honestly, I had to learn how to stop criticizing myself before I could stop criticizing anyone else.

My concept of The World in tarot is an ersatz group of diverse people hanging out in a park, listening to music, and dancing together. It’s the freedom that says it’s okay to be who you are and that you won’t be judged for it, it’s the freedom that says “I give my fucks about the right things, and because of that, I’m making my world and the world at large a better place.” It’s the culmination of the journey of the search for self that exists within a cosmic construct, the self that is whole and part simultaneously.

That is self-love and world-love in action, my friends.

So Much Love and High Vibe Energy,

Jessi

Do you have trouble letting loose? Check out this reading.

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