A few weeks ago, I joined a fitness club; I figured it was time. Concerned that if I didn’t keep moving, someday I wouldn’t be able to move at all. So faithfully I went to the gym everyday to lift some weights and get back into the swing of things.
After not belonging to a gym for, at least, a decade and a half, I was pumping iron like I was preparing for an upcoming Zombie apocalypse! It actually felt good, as I had missed the kind of energy that comes from a good workout.
So there I was, working out and enjoying some newfound energy… but… “what was the commotion going on in the room next door,” I thought to myself, where I could hear loud music and people having so much fun? With my curiosity piqued, I walked over to look through the wall of windows separating one room from the other. I pretended not to stare too obviously as I tried to figure it out.
As it turned out, Zumba, the Latin dance workout, was just ending for the hour, resulting in a bunch of sweaty, but smiling women leaving the studio. During all my years of gym inactivity, I had heard of the word, Zumba, but never actually knew what it was or seen it in action. Back at the gym now, and determined to be part of this fun, I returned later that night for a class, excited and ready to go!
Being a beginner, I cautiously took the back row. The upside was that I couldn’t be seen by all of those really experienced Zumba dancers in front of me; the downside was that I could barely see the instructor! Well, my determination and excitement was short-lived as I only lasted about 5 minutes before exiting the room… embarrassed, out of breath and clutching my side. (Gosh, did I really just admit to that?)
Frustrated by my lack of skill and endurance, I wandered over to the front desk to ask the attendant, “Are there any Zumba classes that are easier… and slower? I have no idea what the instructor is doing, and besides that, I can’t move that fast!”… to which she chuckled softly under her breath! But, trying to be kind, in spite of my ignorance, she said, “It’s hard at first, but keep coming, you will be able to learn it. I promise… It will get easier!”
The next morning, I went in search of a Zumba dvd so I could familiarize myself with some of the dance moves and rapid rhythms. I was not going to be stopped so easily, for now… my sole purpose and mission in life was to learn Zumba!!
As I went from store to store, I found nothing. Within a few days, I was able to get a video-recording from the library so I could, at least, learn something before heading back to the gym for another Zumba class… I figured this was at least half the battle.
You may be wondering, “So what does Saving the World have to do with Zumba?” Well, that’s just the thing… I had hoped nothing as I set out to participate in this new fun and frivolous activity. Though… it wouldn’t take long for me to discover a connection.
The “saving” theme was introduced to me early. My parents taught me to save my appetite for dinner, save my best shoes for special occasions, save those silver dollars Grandpa gave me to buy something special, and to save people’s feelings from getting hurt by keeping my child-like observations about them to a dull roar. And, of course… romantic fairytales always included a Prince on a white horse, coming to save the damsel in distress from her current existence!
As I emerged a teen, I was taught to save my allowance, save energy by turning off the lights when I left the room, save my good reputation, save my virginity for marriage, save my left-over food… after all, “people are starving in the world!” And… instead of sharing my displeasure with the adults in my life, when they were telling me what I could and couldn’t do, I was told to save my remarks for someone else! I know they meant well, they were just trying to save me from making mistakes in life.
Even when my friends were about to make some serious mistakes, to save the day, I swooped in and saved their hides a time or two. Back then, it was just what you did to be good. Wasn’t that the lesson taught to us by all our super heroes?
So, as I matured, and following in our super hero’s footsteps, I had glorious plans to save the world! Inspired by Jesus, and my church’s teachings at the time, this was the grand mission I had for myself. I imagined that, single handedly, I could make quite a difference when, back then, a naive me set forth to save souls by converting willing followers to the “one and only true religion!” Of course, at the time, I didn’t realized that most every religion thought of themselves in this way, so after awhile… my salvation plan fizzled out.
With a heart as tender as mine, I saved many strays… some of those were even animals! But, when repeated attempts at saving the runt of every litter only ended in dysfunction, I decided those relationships were not the ones I wanted to save after all.
When I got married, I saved the top of the wedding cake, and made vows to save myself for my husband only. I saved coupons to make money go a little further. I saved left-over dinner for the next day. On, at least one or twenty occasions, I even saved my husband from walking out of the house in what he was wearing!
Once, when I had flatlined during a surgical proceedure, a doctor and his medical staff saved my life. I saved my one-year-old son’s life, and as far as I know for sure, the life of one other person, as well.
When my marriage ended, I saved face by blaming my husband. He saved face by blaming me. Strangely, this did nothing to save any remaining rays of hope for a promising reconciliation!
Wanting to save myself some trouble, I sought out a counselor to help me figure myself out. When I thought I had, I sent my Ex-husband to him, thinking I could save him some time in figuring himself out too.
With the most sincere intentions, I made many soul-saving attempts at deliverance from past mistakes, but the most I could ever do was apologize, and hope it somehow helped.
When I really started to dig deeper into all of this, I realized my whole career has been rooted in the salvage business! As a counselor myself, I’ve saved people from their emotional pain. As a Massage Therapist, I’ve saved people from their physical pain. As a Hypnotherapist, I’ve saved people from their addictions, fears and phobias. As a Spiritual Guide, I’ve saved people from themselves.
As a good Samaritan, I’ve helped to save people who are homeless, hungry, hurt, unhappy… and even victims of a disaster. I’ve signed petitions and sent donations to save endangered species, the rainforest, the Constitution, our oceans, elected officials and our environment. Heck, I’ve even saved bugs and spiders by letting them out of the house. Actually… I’ve usually asked someone else to do that part!
As an activist, I’ve stood up to save human and animal rights and to save the dignity of those treated otherwise. I’ve been an advocate for saving programs, fair laws and practices for the abused, and those who have no voice.
I’ve saved time, strength, energy and resources. I’ve saved things I’ve had emotional attachments to. On the other side of this, I’ve saved other stuff by recycling, renewing, reusing and even composing!
As I’ve aged, I have tried to save what youth I still have. I’ve tried to save my skin, my figure, my body and my brain from degradation. I’ve tried to save my mind by not subjecting it to anything, I consider to be, too dark or perverse.
With a strong desire to save the planet and all living things from its own kind of degradation, I’ve meditated and prayed fervently. In sacred ceremony, I’ve created positive intentions and sent forth the energy of love through space and time, hoping it would make enough difference to be felt by the whole world. I fantasized that, suddenly, with such love and kindness present… the whole world would simultaneously break out in song together. But, unfortunately… that hasn’t happened yet, instead, many people around the world are now bracing themselves for some kind of world’s ending, whether it be prophesies from the Bible, Koran, Mayan Calendar, Nostradamus, Edgar Casey, Hopi Indian writings, Zombie apocalypse, or just something as simple as our civilization’s collapse.
In much of this post, I’m trying to be clever in showing the world’s conscious and subconscious obsession with this “saving” theme. From our very first bedtime stories to the fantastic movies of our super heroes of the day, it’s like this is hardwired into our consciousness. No wonder people come to experience such heaviness as they grow from children to adult; it appears as though there is a lot out there to save!!!!
Now, haunted by my new realization, I was curious of what it means to “save.” Generally, to “save” is to: keep, store up, not waste, preserve, keep safe, prevent, maintain, protect and to rescue. If you are doing any of these things, at any time, then… you are doing this too.
Think of it; it’s all about preservation. Throughout world history, we’ve wanted to be saved from our sins, our fears, our boredom, our loneliness, our dramas and our aches and pains. (Notice, it’s all “bad stuff” we want to be saved from.) It’s also about saving our youth, innocence, money, health, wealth, relationships, pride, knowledge and lives. And… when we’re dead, it’s all about saving our bodies or ashes in a nicely designed casket or urn. And… reincarnation? Well, that’s the ultimate saving in recycling! So, as you can see, the instinct of human survival is strong when it comes to existing in a temporal world.
Being busy trying to maintain something that will eventually pass away if we don’t maintain it, can take a lot of energy and effort. It’s like trying to fight the current of an unrelenting river; it’s course is strong and determined. No wonder some of us are so tired all the time!
If you are lucky enough to save yourself from the survival loop, you may be able to achieve Nirvana while still existing in this realm… or … there is always Heaven when we die. Even for Atheists, there is the eternal peace and quietness of nothing.
As an Empath, I can’t help but feel the weight of this world. And, now, It appears to me, that helping to save the world, in the ways I have thus far, have been my life’s mission and purpose, however subconscious. Even as I was writing this, I found myself getting up to check on the many birds I feed in my back yard, that I may keep them safe from the hungry hawks circling above. But, when I realized that, even in the moment I was doing it… I thought… “why do I care more about the birds than the hawks?” This is just to demonstrate that… just when you think you’ve saved something, there is always something else that needs saving too. The decision is… what to save, as not everyone or everything in this world has the same interests or values, and therein lies the dilemma.
Later that day, when I went out in the yard, I noticed that while I was not watching, one of my birds had fallen prey. I don’t know why I care so much, for it is only when we die that the cares of this world become nothing more than the memory of an vague dream, if even that… and now, that bird is free!
While some of us have experienced the Christ archetype WAY more than others, for sure, this way of being is deeply rooted in the human experience, as for many of us… it seems to be embedded into our DNA, to some extent. Perhaps our need and desire to save gives us some purpose for existing, as well as relevance, in an ever-changing world in which we have very little control. And, even though our burdens may seem heavy at times, our saving grace is that our accomplishments can make us feel light.
So, with my new life’s mission and purpose dedicated to learning Zumba, I experienced actual enlightenment, as the burden and heaviness of the world completely disappeared in an instant. I joked about it with some of my friends, saying with excitement, of my new realization, “I’ve saved the world a million times and now I’m just learning Zumba!” Suddenly, I had the innocence of a child again and life seemed so simple and light.
So, while others are busy with the grave responsibility of saving themselves, in their end of the world scenarios, instead of fearing, saving anything, or thinking there is something crucial to fix or do, (I’m so done with that) … I will be Zumba-ing instead!
So, what does saving the world have to do with Zumba? I ask once more. I thought nothing, but then realized… something. So there I was, thinking I had reached some kind of enlightenment by outsmarting this whole “saving” thing, and I had for awhile. Then, I laughed at myself as I remembered my whole reason for going to the gym in the first place; turns out… Zumba was just another way for me to save my body from immobility.
Oh, the fun activities of life!
Moral of the story-
If you find yourself trying to save something in your world, in some way… (trust me, we can’t help it) … and your life is filled with an over-abundance of heaviness and darkness, and things are way too serious in life… then… lighten up a little bit! Isn’t that what enlightenment is all about anyway?