We’ll call this the art of wholesome activity. Minerva is the Roman goddess of art, trade, and science, as well as the inventor of music. So the name Minervian Arts implies some relation to these things… it is just a name however. And this name is to be used to reference the art and practice of wholesome activity – of which dancing… is one such activity. Though there are types and styles of dance that do not fall under wholesome activity, here we focus on dancing such as swing dancing, ballroom dancing, salsa dancing, contra dancing… and in particular dancing that enlivens your being and connects you with other people in positive ways.
Why bother talking about or practicing Minervian Arts? Because you have a lot of time in this life! What will you do with it?! Perhaps only half or less of your time is needed for rest, food, and the basic needs of living. The rest is your choice in how you spend it. If you think you don’t have enough time, think again! Your current choice holds you where you are. I’ve jumped to the punch line and realize there is a great possibility I’ve lost your interest in this subject already. What I’m saying seems wrong, because you have a feeling inside that you don’t have enough time. You feel stress, pressure, a frog in your throught, or tension in your neck. Or perhaps you don’t. I cannot know… you know. I hope I haven’t lost you yet… let’s change the subject a bit.
The practice of Minervian Arts enlivens your life and connects you with other people. Be it dancing, playing music, playing games, working on projects together, working together, scientific research together, political involvement, the list goes on! These things enrich your life and the lives of people around you. What’s not a Minervian Art. The short answer is watching TV, drinking, conspiring for lustful things, engineering weapons, and other such activities. These things degrade your life and the lives of people around you – and isolate you. The long answer talks about moderation – a couple hours of TV a week isn’t likely going to hurt anything, and it may even help you connect with people in social settings where the subject of some commercial or television show enters the conversation.
Let’s focus on dancing for a bit. This is a particular practice of Minervian Arts. Swing dancing being my favorite, of course. What can you expect to gain from investing in dancing? You can expect to enrich your life and the lives of those around you. You will have a bounty of opportunties to interact with people and make friends. You will have opportunities to create something with these friends; you may create nothing more than a dance with a partner on the social dance floor, or you may take the time to practice together on particular choreographed routines, or you may plan dancing events and parties together. There is a great fulfillment to be had in these interactions and the co-creation that results.
You will have many opportunities to grow! For the shy guy, you will have no shortage of opportunities to overcome your shyness by asking a woman to dance. For the woman with a frustrated desire to dance, you will have many opportunities to dance with friends. There will be challenges along the way. There will be dances where it seems no one wants to dance with you. There will be times when you feel like you just can’t dance. Me… I’ve been dancing since 1997, and I still experience the feeling that I cannot dance, occasionally. I still experience the feeling that no one wants to dance with me, occasionally.
The solution to all these challenges is an internal strengthening of your knowledge of self worth. Dancing provides the environment for that worth to grow. Not only are you met with challenges… your friends are there to provide encouraging words. For one of those dances where you just feel like no one wants to dance with you, a friend will come and ask you to dance. Your heart will be uplifted.
The idea is simply this: engage in an activity regularly that is wholesome and involves many of the same people. Turn off the TV, turn off the radio, turn off the Internet, put down the book, deny the drink or food, and above all: foster that internal desire to connect with people.
Would you like to dance?