I cry when I watch So You Think You Can Dance. I cry when I hear the stories of struggle. I cry when I watch their feet point and curl, their legs stretch and jump. I cry as their movements draw me in to their creative spirits and the power of their passion.  I cry when they are told they will have to dance for their lives, and they do. I cry watching their colleagues and their critics go with them into the world of unexplored and unexpected exposure. I cry watching them pour out their hearts, exhausting every ounce of their energy for a chance to achieve their dreams. And my tears are real…

Tears come fairly easily to me, though I must admit tonight they were free-falling for more reasons than I expected. I love watching the creative process, and I love watching people pursue their dreams, and it breaks my heart when, despite their best efforts, their most sincere desires, their hard work, their emotional sacrifices, and their exhausted strength, they learn that they will have to wait even longer for their dreams to be realized, they learn that they are not good enough to continue even though they are still so much better than most. I am a kindred spirit.

I’m starting to realize that there are two kinds of people in the world — that’s right, just two —  those who are led by their hearts and those who are not, and without both kinds of people, life just wouldn’t work. Sure, everyone probably has elements of both “sides”, but one side is without a doubt more dominant. I am clearly and unashamedly, I might add, a person who is led by my heart. (And before anyone pulls out their WWJD card, I am a Christ follower, and I am guided by Him. He’s wired me with a sensitive heart.)  I am not making any judgments about people who are not led by their hearts, as I truly believe what they bring to a situation, relationship, etc. is necessary and beneficial.  I only mean to express my heart. But I digress…

I believe that the creative spirit functions most effectively, most purely in people who are led by their hearts. Whether it’s dance, music, writing, painting, sculpting, drawing, planning, or any other creative outlet a person might be drawn to, the heart must be open and exposed, or it should remain silent. One of my creative outlets is writing, though the months of silence on this blog belie that fact. I pour what is in my heart out on the screen, and I leave it there for all that it is worth, which to me is a lot. I do not lightly open my heart, I do not carelessly share my heart, even though I know that what I offer may not be received as I intend, may not be understood as I need, may not be accepted as I hope. Still, you know what you get from me, what you will always get from me.

I will always care more about people than I do about things or ideas or policies or whatever else might be thrown my way, and that’s not always a good thing because I get burned an awful lot. Still, it is one of the things I like most about myself. When I open up, the best of me surfaces and it’s like a fresh wind putting things in motion, and I go with whatever my heart commands. For so much of my life, I thought that was solely writing, but I have learned that it is my care and concern for the well-being of those around me that most often defines my heart, my true purpose.

So instead of putting fingers to the keyboard for the past several months, my heart has led me to pour out all that is in me to those around me, and even though that has been exhausting and overwhelming at times, I understand that to dismiss the heart’s direction would only detract from the beauty that has come from this creative flow. And make no mistake, some absolutely beautiful experiences have come to me and others in these past few months, and I don’t regret listening to my heart. I have pursued my dream with everything that is in me, I have put in the time learning the steps, I have used all of the strength I could muster, I have endured the voices of both the critics and the colleagues, and have managed to stand, knees wobbly, sweat dripping, eyes glistening with weighty tears, waiting, in fact, to see if the work, if my work will ever pay off, if my dreams will come true.

That, my friends, is my heart.