Life Lessons from the Hokey Pokey

I was inspired to write this book while sitting around a bonfire on Friday Nov 4, 2017 with my best friend Tom. We were watching inebriated campers at the next site do The Hokey Pokey when I blurted out the old joke – “What if The Hokey Pokey is really what it’s all about?”

After a little laughter, a concept hit me full force like a freight train (without the life-ending consequence). I began to unpack it for Tom, ignoring his look that said I was going a bit more bonkers than usual.

I didn’t want to forget, so I dictated the crazy notions into my iPhone. As silly and simple as it seemed, it also felt profound. It held layers of depth that were helpful to my immediate situation (more on that later). Therefore, I reasoned, it could be helpful for others in whatever situation they find themselves.

I’ve been inspired in the past to write thousands of songs and hundreds of poems. It’s really beyond my desire and ability to count. The point is that I’ve learned to pay attention to The Muse when she softly whispers in my ear. This inspiration seemed no different to me. So I really didn’t have a choice in the matter – this book had to be written.

CHAPTER: Left Foot

Jessica’s mind spun in circles between her duties and her pain. She knew she had to do something… and she didn’t merely want to numb herself because that would probably make matters worse.

She thought back to the guidance counselor who was so helpful when she first enrolled in college – maybe that person could help… or at least point her to
someone else who could help. But did she really have the time between work, school, and helping her lonely mother? Something had to give. She found the phone number, dialed, and heard it ring…

Though he couldn’t play an instrument well, Randy loved to dream at the music store. He’d bang on the drums a little, dabble with the synthesizer keys and knobs, and stare helplessly at the guitars. He often imagined himself striking a power chord that shook ceiling tiles and rained dust on the customers.

On his way to the restroom he spotted a bulletin board with various business cards and flyers thumbtacked to it. In the lower right corner he spotted a white page cut with phone number strips at the bottom. It was a band looking for a singer and lyricist… and no one had yet pulled off strip yet. He hesitated… closed his eyes… took a deep breath… and gently pulled away the phone number.

The left foot is typically the more awkward one. I can kick a football pretty well with my right foot, but if I try to kick it left-footed I will more likely than not fall down before I reach the ball like Charlie Brown.

However, in a dance both feet are important. It’s not just enough to get one foot involved… you have to go “all in” to actually be part of the dance. Both feet are required, whether or not you’re a little bit clumsier on the left side.

It’s a matter of commitment and the willingness to present both sides of yourself, not just your strong side. Sure you may look a little clumsy on the left foot… but you’ll soon discover that many people joined in the dance are just as clumsy as you… and in the end it’s actually OK.

To dance is to take a risk, to expose your self in front of others, both the good and the bad… but it’s the path to joy within a community of fellow dancers.

All of the “wallflowers” who stand outside the circle avoiding risk may feel safe, but they do so at the cost of happiness and the joy of being accepted.