Out on a Limb
A Monthly Newsletter from Martha Clark Scala
Invest in bringing joy back to your life.
July 2012



Welcome to Out on a Limb, a monthly newsletter from Martha Clark Scala. This free e-zine is meant to invite and inspire you to maximize the joy in your life.

D.D.D. – Do a Daily Dance

Some of you know that once upon a time, I taught aerobics classes at the Central YMCA in San Francisco. I was by no means the best instructor; there were others who had much better choreography and dance moves to accompany the music. I am really not a choreographer, but I think my classes were full because I played music that made you want to MOVE. And when you MOVE your body, accompanied by up to 50 or 60 other bodies moving to the high-energy music, that is a recipe for joy! Several of my fellow aerobicizers were gay men who fell prey to AIDS. Each time I think about their medical challenges while they still showed up to jump, step, prance and dance in the funky auditorium-turned-aerobics-studio, it just makes me smile. What a way to live your last days of a short life, no? I guess all of our lives are short, no matter how long we live so that is why this month’s joy message is: Do a Daily Dance!

If you are physically able, there are unlimited possibilities and genres. You don’t even have to have music in order to dance a joy-inducing jig, but it helps if you have songs, raps, marches, or even concertos that motivate or energize you. This being the month in which we celebrate America’s independence, try marching in place to this fun rendition of John Phillip Sousa’s Stars and Stripes Forever! If you are physically compromised, focus on what you can do, even if it is just snapping your fingers to the rhythm of a favorite song, or toe-tapping. If all you can move is your head, how about just moving it from side to side in concert with the beat of a happy tune. And finally, if you downright refuse to dance, or if you are completely unable to do so (for physical, emotional, or circumstantial reasons), I think it is quite possible to get a “contact high” from just watching other people dance!

As a wise person once said to me: “We either have results or reasons.” What reasons does your creative mind come up with for why you can’t take 5 minutes in a day to dance?

“My CD player doesn’t work!”
“The only good music I have is on vinyl, and I don’t have a turntable anymore.”
“I am too busy.”
“I’m just not in the mood.”
And so on.

If the availability of music is the issue, I have a solution for you. I have put together a D.D.D. Do a Daily Dance Playlist with 32 (one for each day of our longest months, plus one to GROW on) different videos that include music and dancing. If you are reading this e-mail on your computer, and if you can turn up the volume, all you need to do is click here and select one. Most of the selections are 5 minutes or less. Or, if you want to save this url somewhere special on your computer, here it is: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL0148593E2460210E&feature=mh_lolz

As for the other reasons: if you are too busy, what’s 5 minutes? If you aren’t in the mood, how about a mood-altering activity that only takes 5 minutes? We can spend 5 minutes just coming up with reasons!


Where to Begin

For those who don’t know where to begin on the Playlist, you could always go with the advice Maria gave to the kids in The Sound of Music’s Do-Re-Mi song: “Let’s start at the very beginning.” Or if the 1st option on the playlist doesn’t appeal to you, how about trying #19 in honor of the 60th anniversary of Singin’ in the Rain (on July 12th)? The point is, you just have to begin. And if you are self-conscious, begin by yourself, but don’t rule out the possibility of enjoying this activity with others!

                “Dance first. Think later.
                It's the natural order.”

                               ~ Samuel Beckett


But I’m Not Good At This

So what? The pursuit of joy does not equal the pursuit of perfection! You don’t need to be a Bona-Fide Dancer in order to dance. You just need to move your body (or what parts of your body that are able to move)! Don’t make it more complicated.

               We're fools whether we dance or not,
 we might as well dance.

                              ~Japanese Proverb

               “There are short-cuts to happiness,
               and dancing is one of them.”

                              ~Vicki Baum


Joy-Gram for July 2012

I dare you to invite someone to dance with you at least once this month. At the office, at home, with a neighbor, at a public gathering, wherever and whenever! And please feel free to send me links of other YouTube dance/music videos; I will add them to the Playlist!

Your July 2012 Prompts for Joy

Click here for a joyful flash-mob that doesn’t involve dancing!

Click here for another flash-mob. This one takes place in Russia, and it is also on the Playlist.

Many thanks to Claudette Bergman: your timing is excellent. Nancy Clark, your timing is excellent, too; you helped me decide which topic I would cover this month without even knowing it!

Grief FAQ

Is it Normal Not to Feel Social After Someone Close to Me Has Died? You might expect that extroverts would want to be around other people while they grieve. But even the most gregarious extroverts have been known to bow out of social situations while they're mourning. This is considered a normal response to grief, especially in the initial months after a loss. More… The full response to this Frequently Asked Question about grieving can be found at www.caring.com. If you are a caregiver for an elderly parent or relative, take a look at the myriad resources available to you at this website.


Pictured Above

Dancing makes wonderful memories. I loved dancing with my husband Bill at our wedding 15 years ago!

Archives Now Available

To re-read or share past Out On A Limb newsletters, click here, or type the following url into your browser: http://www.mcscala.com/html/EZineArchives.html.

By no means do I have joy “figured out.” Please do not assume that I do! I write Out On a Limb as much as a meditation for myself in the ongoing pursuit of joy, as for you. I think this pursuit is a lifelong journey and that the full experience of joy is, at best, episodic. May we all have more episodes!


Martha Clark Scala, MFT • 721 Colorado Ave., Suite 201, Palo Alto, CA 94303 •

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