I’m learning to accept compliments, getting better at being gracious and grateful, but I’m not quite there yet. I received this compliment a few nights ago at the Truth or Consequences Brewing Company. “I love to watch you dance. You’re so joyful. You’re like an angel.”
I immediately said “I’m no angel,” and came up as with as many ways as possible to deflect the idea. But later, I reflected on it. A former professional choreographer with twenty years of dance training, I now dance out of pure in-the-moment delight in music, not for money or for an audience. Why can’t that be like an angel? A rockabilly-and-blues-band brew-pub angel?
After I resisted the startling compliment, I started seeing the angels all around me. Friends, neighbors, yoga students, classmates in the yoga class I take in Albuquerque, the woman who forgot her cane hanging on the grocery cart in Natural Grocers, the families on the street in Halloween costumes … all angels. All bearers of light.
It’s a little bit like the exercise Jack Kornfield gives in The Wise Heart for seeing the inner nobility in people, but more mysterious. I can do it with almost everyone. Almost. I can’t get there with a few people. So I’m no angel. But, y’know? In my own way, I kind of am.
The Wounded Angel painting is by Hugo Simberg, 1903. It’s the most thought-provoking and moving angel image I found.