Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Purifying our motives

Not all we do is done with the best of motives, and acknowledging this is healthy. Feelings of superiority are common and can prevent us from being childlike and enjoying a great deal of what comes our way. A dance teacher reveals her struggle to overcome these feelings that were eating away at the opportunity of enjoying a new experience.

The column "Daily Life and Faith Life" tells us how a professional dancer was asked to help out in a performance of modern dance. She was a teacher of traditional Korean  dance and accepted the invitation to practice with a choreographer who was preparing  for a dance recital and needing to recruit members. The columnist, seeing her during practice, gave her high marks for her openness to a new dance category. 

On one occasion, he was invited to eat with the modern dance company  and had the opportunity to talk to the Korean dance professional. After the meal, while they were both drinking beer, he asked her if it was difficult for a teacher of traditional dance to learn the movements of modern dance.

The beer she was drinking helped her to speak honestly, she said. She accepted the invitation to work out with the modern dance company because of her desire to learn something about a new kind of dance but she admitted to feeling anxious about it; would she be able to follow the younger dancers? she wondered. Returning home, however, she continued to practice.

She doesn't remember when it happened, but she began to regret that she said yes, and felt the uneasiness returning. She was even thinking of telling the choreographer that she would have to give up the practice.

Even though she was entertaining these thoughts, she enjoyed the dancing. She always found the movements of the body invigorating and a joy. Why was she feeling this way? she asked herself. Her whole body was telling her that before dancing, she had to take over control of her body; she had to grow up.

This voice to grow up was not because she was learning a new type of dance but because of her feelings of superiority. Whenever the young dance choreographer was giving her instructions, her inner voice was telling her that she was a professional dancer. When she began to look deeply into her feelings, the obstacles to participating disappeared, and she began enjoying the workouts.

The columnist wonders how many have given up their work of service in the parishes precisely because of a superiority complex. We have to make sure when we are helping others that we are doing it for the right motive. It's possible that we are servicing others to be  acknowledged for our goodness, our ability, and not doing it out of love. If this is the case, the columnist concludes, the body will give up on us.

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