Tuesday, November 5, 2013

surrender yourself to the beats.

As I clasped the tiny, tan hand of a small Chinese girl with jet-black hair, and skipped clumsily through the overused sand of Shengsi Island just off the coast of Mainland China, my smile experienced a growth spurt that would go down in History. Accompanied by the other 7 foreign English teachers and the hundreds of Chinese just getting away for the long weekend, that night the beach was a celebration of new friends and surrendering ourselves to the beats of “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” by Wham! The joy that was bursting from my insides can only be explained by a higher language than the many that currently reside on this planet. As I joined in dancing, I felt as if I were joining in something bigger than just an evening. I was joining in a gathering of the world, a gathering of happiness between cultures, a gathering of growth, and a gathering of everything in my past that had lead me to that exact moment of joy.  Whenever we started a new move, everyone joined along with the most sincere sense of curiosity and excitement. Whenever we took a new breath to energize our next skip or twirl, a photo was snapped by one of the many exuberant onlookers. The moment was perfect- barefoot, sun setting, lanterns creeping into the sky, 90’s music following the lead of the lanterns, a cool breeze, and dancing after a full day of beach play. The greatest feature of the night however was the communion of two completely different cultures, surrendering themselves to the beats of not only the music, but the beats of joyous life. It was perfect. Everything was perfect.

As I have gotten older, finding myself taking the expected steps of moving out, heading off to college, struggling to copy my mother’s homemade meals in an apartment of my own and so on, I have realized how much of a party life is. Not a YOLO, BYOB kind of party, but a dance party. It’s the kind of dance party where there is no RSVP because everyone is invited. It’s the kind of dance party where timid boys are forced to go by their concerned mothers, but end up asking the pretty girls to dance by the end of the night. It’s the kind of dance party where the shy girls finally build up the courage to wear their favorite spinny dress to match the bow in their hair, and somehow find themselves in the center of the dance circle, only to be the star of the show along with her well-spun dress. It’s the kind of dance party where everyone gets to leave with one of the many balloons left over from the decorations, giving them vivid nostalgia of when they were younger.

In life we have two choices; to surrender yourself to the beats, or to refrain from letting the music carry you. When you have the opportunity to dance, dance. When you have the opportunity to return a smile, smile. When you don’t get accepted into your dream school, embrace it. When you get the opportunity to teach English in China, teach! When a tune is turned up on the beach of Shengsi Island, surrender yourself to the beats in a movement of cultural union. If you don’t surrender to the natural rhythm that life possesses, you will miss out on amazing experiences, unimaginable growth, and memories that will change your life. I have learned to not get frustrated when a song comes on that I don’t like, but to find the few notes in it that I can enjoy. This is what I believe. I believe that the only way we can be happy in our life, the only way we can feel accomplished, the only way to feel true peace, is to surrender yourself to the beats- the beats of life. 

Some pictures of our trip to Shengsi Island...

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