This week's letra made me think of an experience I had years ago which has nothing to do with flamenco. It has to do with dishonesty and fear. It started with a question, which led to a lie, which in turn led to facing a fear. The facing fear part actually helped prepare me for flamenco where I'm forced to confront my fears over and over again. To my surprise, all of the practice meeting my fears in flamenco has only made it easier to do so in life outside of the dance.
More on that in a minute, but first let's take a look at the letra and watch a video of Mercedes Ruíz, our teacher on the Flamenco Tour to Jerez, dancing caña, all in red, with bata and mantón.
Subí a la alta montaña
buscando leña pa’ el fuego
como no la encontraba
al valle bajé de nuevo
I climbed the high mountain
in search of wood for the fire
since I didn't find any
I went back down to the valley
You can hear Melchora Ortega sing this one about seven and a half minutes in:
The first letra in the video, the one David Lagos sings, is this one.
And now that story,
Subí a la alta montaña, I climbed the high mountain
I did climb a mountain once. It was not to get firewood, but it was high, almost 14,000 feet. Mt. Ouray in Colorado. I did it with one of my professors from college, Peggy, and her husband, Jonathan. When Peggy called to ask me if I wanted to climb a mountain with them I lied and told her I couldn't. I said I had to work that day. It was kind of amazing how quickly the lie slipped out of my mouth. I felt horrible, but I didn't fess up. I lied because I was scared. I was not only afraid to climb the mountain (What if I held them back? And climb a mountain? Wasn't sure I could do that). But I was also afraid to admit that to her. I hung up the phone and the horrible feeling grew stronger. I respected Peggy immensely. She was the only professor I had a close relationship with. Lying to her was making me sick. Soon after I called back and confessed. Of course she was understanding. And after I came clean about my fear it was easy to say yes. I realized I was actually excited. The day we went to climb Mt. Ouray we started partway up. It began like a regular hike then got pretty rocky as we neared the summit. Shortly after we passed timberline it began to rain. We barely made it to the top and had to rush down before the lightening came. Anyway, I climbed a high mountain, and I'm so glad I did. Maybe I'll do it again someday ...
Growing up I said no to a lot of things because I was afraid. But fear doesn't necessarily mean don't do it. Sometimes it does, but often times it means just that, do it, do that thing because you feel scared.
Fear can signal a longing, be a cover up for excitement, an opportunity to grow.
I've written a lot about fear around here because dancing flamenco allows me to come face to face with my fears. And I'm so grateful for that.
What About You?
Have you ever lied because you felt too afraid to tell the truth? How does flamenco allow you to approach your fears? What is something that you felt scared to do but did anyway? What did you learn from that? Let me know in the comments below.