My husband and I dance every day...usually like a couple of idiots in the kitchen, to either no music or bad music (and sometimes to the chimes of Japanese key chains playing the "doors closing" song of their subways...story for another time...), but it's dancing nonetheless. Recently we've discovered that our dog, Riley, loves this. He gets up from wherever he is and prances over to us, tail wagging so hard it doesn't know which direction to swing in! He's even tried hopping up on me (to join in? I think so!) during our maniacal ritual.
What does this mean? We obviously didn't teach it to him--we adopted him 6 months ago. Maybe his previous owners danced with him. It's possible; he is nearly 10 years old. Or perhaps he just responds to our endorphins. Dogs have brilliant senses, and Riley is a basset hound, after all.
This is a great reminder that it's really within all of our natures to enjoy ourselves and be happy. It's all any of us want. We all try to achieve it in various ways, but the goal is the same. In his book, How to be Compassionate, His Holiness the Dalai Lama writes that we need to remind ourselves that everyone wants this same thing--it connects us--and if our true natures were anger, greed, or jealousy, then we would be those things all the time, no matter what. He likens our true natures to the clear, blue sky. He says that the sky is there in its essence, even beneath the stormy weather when we can't see it for the clouds. He says that our afflicted emotions are these clouds, and that we're at peace again once the storm passes.
I can't recall when our dancing tradition started, but I do know that it's easy to be happy when I'm dancing (and when I'm watching Riley dance!), so it's something we'll always do, I'm sure. At least as long as we're able to. It's such an effortless way to feel joy, and while neither my husband, my dog, nor I will ever win a dance competition, (No, Canada, I Don't Think I Can Dance!), we'll continue to do as fools do and shake it, in our kitchen and anywhere else the mood strikes.