An Attitude of Gratitude

Our Kairos Alive! artist team, with help from our Dance Volunteers, led a KA! Dance Hall today to honor older adults at the East Side Neighborhood Services in Minneapolis. More than 160 people came to dance. Their many smiling faces were reflective of his year’s theme, “an attitude of gratitude.” The energy was electric in the hall when we taught our adaptive Mambo. The whole hall danced it together!  Parker sang Papa Loves Mambo, Mama Loves Mambo with Jimmy on sax. You had to be there!  After that, a brilliant chair dancer danced a polka to the “Beer Barrel Polka,” which was performed masterfully by the rockin’ Kevin Washington Quartet.  This was one of of the most memorable moments of the festivities.

A Radical Welcome

At KA! our language of dance is based in radical welcome: “We aren’t doing this to you or even for you, but with you,” and “You are welcome here – just by showing up. Therefore, you can tap your foot, boogie around the room – or just move your little finger. Above all, we are glad you are here!”  We also witnessed the gratitude by what we heard from the dancing elders and community members over and over again, “Thank you. This was so much fun! This is just what I needed! I was just going to sit and watch, but I can still do it!”

Honor the Whole Person

New York Times Op-Ed Columnist David Brooks talks in his article, A Nation of Weavers about meeting people all over the US who are creating opportunities for people to work together to solve a huge problem- social isolation.   These people find ways to connect with others that honor the whole person. Furthermore, Brooks says of the Weavers that he meets,

The trait that leaps out above all others is “radical mutuality”: We are all completely equal, regardless of where society ranks us. “I am broken; I need others to survive,” an afterschool program leader in Houston told us. “We don’t do things for people. We don’t do things to people. We do things with people,” said a woman who builds community for teenagers in New Orleans.

Reach Out, Touch a Hand

We have opportunities to reach out and welcome someone who is different from us everyday.  Perhaps this is someone who was born in a different country, or might feel isolated from their family or someone who feels separated because of their age, ability, or cultural background.  We can all make a difference. We can all make a change. Why not, as the song goes, “Reach Out, Touch a Hand, Make a Friend if you Can?

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