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Jonathan Reams

Hi Alex,

Lovely story. While I do enjoy dancing (and have too few opportunities for it) the larger way in which you use the term points to how we find ways to connect with the deeper meaningfulness in our lives in the face of stresses.

For myself, there are many ways this can manifest, but they are all connected with listening to the still small voice within that warns me when I'm getting out of balance and loosing my footing in life. When I heed that voice (and I have found that like anything, practice helps!) I am always guided or inspired to shift my attention and engagement to something else that inevitably clears my head and heart and brings some much needed perspective.

Whether it is going outside to do some yard work or to tackle some neglected item on my to do list at work, this shift, or "dance," brings me a welcomed relief from the stresses I have created by allowing myself to "believe" in the thoughts and perceptions that have built up this unbalance.

Jonathan Reams

Peter Jones

Alex - A wonderful story, and I canot help but thinking there must be someone there to take the picture. Were they dancing as well? ;)

It looks like you were in Crete during Aleco's recent time there. He is not dancing as much these days, as he just turned 70 Wednesday. But he and the Agoras Institute are working with the Cyprus peace dialogues in a dance of relationships to free the island of its millennia of discord. You can track their progress on: http://www.blogora.net/page/Cyprus+Civil+Society+Dialogue

Patricia and I have been involved in a dance movement happening in Toronto and Dayton. Perhaps its worldwide and we don't know it. In Dayton we hold Liberation Movement every week, with a 2-hour mix of music selected to animate the 5 Rhythms approach from Gabrielle Roth's Wave. Our good friend in Toronto Julia Ray has the very similar Tribal Trance Dance which draws about 50 people for a more ritualized version of the same inspiration.

We are dancing, with everyone, everywhere we go.

Pax, lux, bonum - Peter

Joan Marques

Tonight, remarkably, Zorba the Greek was on television. I have seen this movie several times before, but this time I remembered your story, Alex, and although I did not watch the entire movie again, I could literally breath in Alexis Zorba's lightheartedness. What a way of looking at life, especially when we realize that he, like most of us, was not spared from hardship. But his joie de vivre radiated all around, and he could awaken hidden senses in others in a most charming way! Most importantly, he was proud to be who he was, and he could laugh about himself.

I think those two qualities are invaluable to us: being proud of who we are and being able to laugh about ourselves. Unfortunately, many of us tend to forget where we came from. We become absorbed by the status quo, and get caught in the strife of everyday life. And with that, we forget the most elementary pleasure – the pleasure of simply being who we are and the gift of taking it all in the right spirit. I am not excluded from all of this. I find myself often taking matters too seriously, and stressing over them... until I take a step back to reflect and remember.

Zorba's messages are numerous. Passion, authenticity, and a zest for life come to mind as well. I think they're all tied together. I call it wakefulness. You call it meaning. We mean the same thing. It's about taking the time to smell the roses and reflect on what's really important. And to dance in the best way we can – with life as our partner. Cheers!

Chris Kenny

Alex - Some fancy footwork on display in the photo!! My dancing these days is limited to threatening to "bust out some moves" when my two kids are watching Disney's "High School Musical 2" or listening (rather incessantly) to the HSM2 Soundtrack (they both groan - for good reason! - whenever I suggest that I might start dancing).

My connection to my family's roots has been a very meaningful experience for me. It's one that I have shared with my family and friends and am trying to pass on to my children. My great-grandfather was a Protestant Irishman. He worked for a very wealthy British, Protestant family. Because he was Irish, he was a servant. However, because he was Protestant, he was given a decent job, as the head Coachman for the family. His wife, who was Catholic, served as a cook for the family (the wait staff were all Protestants and would come into the kitchen to get the meals and therefore never had to interact with the Catholics who were preparing the meals).

My great grandfather and great grandmother lived above the stables, which by all accounts was a fairly decent place to live. However, my great-grandmother became deathly ill. My great-grandfather vowed to convert to Catholicism if she recovered. When she did recover, he converted to Catholicism and was promptly fired by his Protestant employer. Worse, he was blacklisted in the small, rural community (the only employers were British and/or Protestant) and could not find employment anywhere. The family, including 4 children, tried to eek out a living. His former employer took relish in running his horses through my great grandfather's garden, which was his only source of food.

The eldest daughter managed to make it to New York, where she worked as a nanny for the Abercrombie family. She saved enough money to bring the remainder of the family to the States. My grandfather became a NYC police officer (as did many Irish at the turn of the century). We have a fantastic photo of him from 1904 in a "Keystone Cop" hat!

Anyway, I've been back to Ireland once to find my great grandfather's house. Finding it was like trying to solve a mystery, as I had only snippets of information. Along the way I met several wonderful people who helped me trace my family's roots, including a parish priest who helped me find my grandfather's original baptismal record (from 1880). In the end, my wife and I were able to find my grandfather's original home as well as the estate where my great grandparents had worked (the mansion and the stable in which they lived are both still there).

My 73 year-old mother is now visiting Ireland with a tour group. Though this story relates to my late father's side of the family, my mother is making her own side trip to retrace my father's ancestry and to see the church, the house, and the estate on which my great grandparents worked.

I hope my own children will make that journey some day as well. It has served as a real source of meaning and connection for me. I hope it will serve the same role for them.

Alex Pattakos

Great comments! Chris, thanks for sharing such an intimate story of your ancestry. It looks like you've been doing some "fancy footwork" too, as you journey back through time in order to path the way to the future for you and your family.

Joan, thanks for joining in on the dance of (That IS) life! Your insightful comments make Zorba proud!

Peter, I'm glad to hear that you have been taking "dance" to a new level. I'm very familiar with Gabrielle Roth's pioneering work, and even though she's not Greek, I love her philosophy and approach to dance!

And, Jonathan, thanks for remembering to stay "foot loose" and keep the dance alive in your heart and soul!

Yiassou, my friends!

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