"I was standing in the central square of a pueblo in Taos, New Mexico, waiting for the Native American Ceremonial Dance to begin. Even though I had driven a long way to experience this ritual, my mind was filled with impatient thoughts: When will the dancers arrive? How much longer do I have to wait?
"I moved restlessly around the square observing other visitors. We all took turns glancing at watches and searching the horizon for signs of movement. I tried to stand still in one place, and instead shifted my weight from foot to foot, willing things to happen. Nothing.
"An hour passed. Then two. I memorized the shape and texture of the stones at my feet and noticed the exact way the last rain had pushed small dunes of sand against a nearby log. I considered errands I might be running if only I had not arrived so early. I tried hard not to sigh out loud and seem impolite. Finally, I sat down in the dirt.
"I think it was a crow that suddenly flew past, causing me to look up. His flight broke my mind's litany of the time I was wasting. For the first time I really noticed the adobe buildings surrounding the square. Standing on the flat roofs of every home were Native women and small children, each wrapped in colorful blankets and shawls. They too awaited the Dance, but it was the quality of their waiting that seized my attention. There was no restlessness, even in the children. They stood from a place within. I could see it. They emanated a quiet that said, without words, 'Something is about to happen. To experience it fully, you must be present. You must be joined to it with your breath and being. Then you will no longer be an observer. You too will dance, even though you stand still. You are the Dance.'
"My eyes lingered on their faces, their stillness. Watching them, I slowed my own breathing. The anxious words in my head gave way to words from a deeper place. Words spoken without a sound. I let myself be led by a different kind of knowing.
"I brushed dirt from my jeans, and now I too stood up. 'Something holds all life in being.' The thought was as distinct as the sunlight streaming down. 'The Dance is not an event,' it said. 'It is life. Your life.' Like the women, I turned and faced east, observing the power of a simple day. I barely noticed when the drumming started. It no longer mattered. For me, the Ceremony had already begun."
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