Right before the Holidays, as a staff we took the time to reflect on The Dancing Heart Program. The theme that emerged was the legacy the Elders shared through their stories. One of the most powerful moments of working on The Dancing Heart are stories the Elders share. Maria encouraged us to listen to our elders and the stories they have to share…

Over the holidays, I had the honor of hosting an annual family reunion for my mother’s side of the family. Each year the event is hosted by a cousin from my generation, oldest to youngest and this was my lucky year. With fourteen grandchildren – this chance doesn’t come very often. As each family member entered the party room, I was flooded with memories from the past, and suddenly felt the weight of time lift, as if we were together again in our grandparents’ house and no time at all had passed. After dining and chatting, catching each other up with where our busy lives had taken us, the children left the room to prepare for the telling of the Christmas story. They came out dressed in colorful robes and each took their place on the storytelling floor. As the story was earnestly told by these sweet, young souls, the elder family members looked on with wide eyes- as if hearing the tale for the first time. The children left the story space and the older generations were invited to come forward and share any memory from our family’s past. One by one, we pulled out rich anecdotes, each one stirring another to the top of the pot until the room had been transformed into a beautifully magnificent tapestry spreading it’s warmth around us all. We all left the party with dancing hearts, full of celebration and ready to bring in the new year.


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