My heart was very heavy to hear of the tragedy that occurred in Oakland. Over 36 have been confirmed dead in a fire that felt close to home. The overwhelming feeling I’ve shared with others this weekend is “it could have been us” that were dancing that night.

Every loss has a sting. In this case, it was a reminder that life isn’t a guaranteed thing. In fact, the only guarantee in life is that you will die. Saturday morning was a painful reminder that tragedy can strike at any moment. Receiving a text “are you safe” provided relief that yes, I was safe…while drawing a shallow feeling in my gut that perhaps a friend was not.

Dance and music are a vibrant part of the arts community. When you dance, you allow your body to become the canvas – along with others on the dance floor – for the flow of music that fills the air.

When I first heard of the tragedy, my heart grew incredibly heavy. It felt as if a part of my family were somehow lost or hurt, because they were. From the outside-looking-in, the Burning Man / Dance / Music / Arts community can seem like a wild bunch. However, as a member of this community, I have found a family of loving people that love and celebrate each other for their expression of inner beauty. 

The act of dance opens your eyes to a new world of beauty around you. When you free yourself to move, you’re surrendering to the present moment; soaking it in with your whole essence.

What I appreciate most about music/dance is that it frees your mind to see the world around you in a new way. Rather than reading the hard text of a book – you’re getting lost in a story. Instead of seeing the notes of sheet music, you become the melody. Life is a chess game that requires careful thought/strategy. However, you can also dance through the motions when you discover your own personal flow. Freeing myself to dance has helped to discover the endless beauty to be found between everyday moments.

On Saturday night, I stepped onto the dance floor with a reminder that life is short and full of the unexpected. However, as I looked at the crowd of beautiful people, dancing through the expression of their heart, I knew there was nowhere else I’d rather be if the night were to end in flames.

Here’s to those lost in the flames, as well as to those who lost loved ones in the fire. It’s also a reminder to be thankful for those around us. I’m thankful to have such a solid family of friends that I get to spend some of the best moments of my life with, week after week.

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