Tag Archives: folk music

Living in the Moment

This past weekend, I was at a folk dance camp. Here’s a taste…

Imagine this:

You are in a community hall. On the stage, a band is playing traditional folk music, led by a fiddler. In the hall, people are dancing until the wooden floor bounces — the whole room moving in unison.

You’re all grinning like fools and sweating and your eyes sparkle with sheer joy and you are alive, right there in the moment and nowhere else.

(Read the rest here.)

What I’m describing is something called flow. With flow, you are wholly present and aware. You’re not thinking about anything but what you’re doing. You are doing it fairly well, and you’re enjoying doing it well.

If you find flow while doing something like dance, you are really inhabiting your body and your surroundings. Flow can also arise out of an intellectual exercise like writing, in which case your body and surroundings might tend to disappear as you dive deeper into the page. Either way, you lose track of time and you’re living completely in the moment.

Some other places where I’ve found flow include:

  • outdoor adventure sports — hiking, canoeing, kayaking
  • exercise — ice skating, rock climbing, swimming, yoga
  • physical chores around the house — gardening, building furniture
  • anytime when I’m outside of my routine, maybe walking somewhere I don’t usually go, and not too busy rushing to pay attention to where I am at that moment
  • partaking in the arts — reading, singing or playing music, attending a really good concert
  • travel

I find flow to be essential to my mental health. It can also make time seem longer — so if your weekends feel too short, maybe try chiselling out some time for flow and see what happens!

Your turn! Where do you find flow?



WANA Friday: What’s Stuck in Your Head?

Welcome to another edition of #WANAFriday! Participants post on a common topic and share posts so you can read everyone’s take. This week’s topic is:

What song is stuck in your head these days (or is on permanent rotation in your music collection) and what draws you to it?

As it happens, I do have a song stuck in my head. Last week, the folk dance community I’m part of held a brief memorial for a member who had died suddenly over the summer. Another member taught us this song:

Much like in the video, our rendition was a little rough at first, resolving — as we went through it multiple times — into a thing of beauty.

And it’s been running through my head all week.

I have a couple of thoughts about why:

1. I was very impressed by how quickly the group picked it up — granted, there’s not much to the words, but there is a three-part harmony! Some of us (not me) had sung it before, but not most of us, I think. It didn’t occur to me until later that, of course, many of the dancers in the folk dance community are also musical in some way.

2. I’ve been involved in making music on and off for most of my life — piano lessons, band, Girl Guides, choirs. Right now I’m “off”. The closest I come is dancing to live music in this community. I don’t have time for anything more at this point. I don’t think about music a lot, but I do miss it. So singing harmony again was literally music for the soul.

3. And, of course, the song is just that pretty.

Other #WANAFriday Participants This Week

Dianna Bell puts a twist on her favourite artists

Ellen Gregory gets addicted to harmony

Kim Griffin goes acoustic

Liv Rancourt gets inspired by Sleepy Hollow

Tami Clayton comes out of the musical closet (go, Tami!)

Dancing Up a Storm

On a rainy spring day in Toronto a few weeks ago, I was dancing up a storm.

It was the last day of an all-weekend contra dance festival. I arrived late to the church hall and was just joining the fun, looking forward to a few more hours. As a live band — clarinet, fiddle, and guitar — played jazz and roots music, my partner of the moment and I twirled amid the larger group. Two long lines of couples faced each other, each foursome dancing together, breaking into twos, trading partners, coming back together, then moving into a new group of four. The couples, the foursomes, and the long lines all worked together as aspects of the larger whole, making the dance both intimate and communitarian.

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