Halos and Radiance
 Elita Sohmer Clayman

The meaning of the word halo is circle of radiance. I heard halo used the other day on a television commercial. They were talking about a furniture store and the sale that week. They mentioned you would feel like a halo was around your head because you would be so happy when you purchased this store’s furnishings. That would be a bit extreme for an advertising gimmick I thought. I have bought lots of furniture through the years and though I may have felt extremely happy when it was delivered and placed, I did not see a halo above my head.

I like to express myself through my writings and my specialty of tying in my or other’s life experiences with my and other’s ballroom dance happenings in our lives. Many experience special feelings when they excel at or perform exceptionable unique activities. It can be volunteer work helping others not as fortunate as we. It can be a sport hobby. It can be taking care of a grandchild while the parents work.

I know a senior citizen whose daughter got married late in life and had a child when she was forty. She wanted to continue working, so my neighbor took care of her firstborn grandson all day, five days a week. At first it was easy because all a baby does is eat and sleep. As he grew older, about two, it became harder. Her husband helped some. It was eight hours, five days a week, and being older it was much harder than when she raised her own children.

One day she was telling me how difficult it had become as he demanded more time. She did not want to tell her daughter so she continued. Finally, her daughter put him in a nursery school and the grandmother was only taking care of him two hours after school. I said “You must feel relieved.” She said “I miss him so.” She deserved a halo around her head for what she did for her daughter, allowing her to work and earn money so the family had easier financial security. Halos have to be earned.

Many ballroom dancing friends who encourage others to dance by their various endeavors deserve a halo. Theodore Herzl, a great statesman, said “The wealth of our country is our workers.” These ballroom dancers, who are also learning, competing, showcasing or just social dancing, who spread the word of dancing to others who may never have started to dance, deserve halos. Two special men I know, both in Alabama, are Rene Zgraggen of Montgomery and Murray Echols of Birmingham. They are spreading the word about dancing to many others. It has been said that words are the soul’s ambassadors.

These two seniors, Murray with his newsletter that goes to a thousand dancers every week and Rene whose websites reach thousands of ballroom dancers daily, deserve halos in the form of accolades from everyone who benefits from their special writing. Their writings inform, encourage, enhance and elevate thoughts of seniors and not yet seniors, to go out and dance. Whatever kind of dance they desire can become a specialty feeling in their daily living.

The specialty evolves into learning to dance, socializing when they dance, maybe showcasing in front of their fellow dancers and challenging their brain to continue to learn. Learning will keep our brain functioning and possibly prevent any disease from robbing us of our mind. That is our goal as seniors, to continue on and maintain our health and good attitudes. Ballroom dancing does not let our minds down. Our minds need to be stimulated. Dancing does that because one must use their brain to remember steps, arm movements, foot placement and holding our body in the right position.

All this contributes to our deserving a halo. How is that possible? When we preserve our body, mind and soul because we have been stimulated by this activity that not only makes us smile but move our muscles and bones, then we have earned our halo. Our halo is imaginary to the outside world. It is imagined by us in our world.

Our world is what we think of our self when we are by our self. We may look in the mirror that day and say we do not like the way our teeth look, and get them fixed. We may not like the way our hair looks, and get it fixed. We may not like that our day is not full and fun, and go make it full and fun.

However, if we look in the mirror and see someone we think is nice, good, pretty as a picture, and that happened because we are happy we have a hobby or activity that magnifies and embellishes our thinking about our self as a person, then we are more content. So, ballroom dancing not only invites us to be happy because we are accomplishing a beautiful moment, but it invigorates and stimulates our soul.

Someone once said “If we are happy with our self, then we can help someone else be happy with their self.” Then we will deserve a halo and the halo will be our circle of radiance. Put your halo into place because you deserve it. You are special and a good person. Excellence is rewarded to people who honor themselves because they deserve the rewards.

Those seniors like Murray and Rene of Alabama who encourage and instill the love of ballroom dancing to others by their actions are now being fitted for their golden halos, to shine above their heads as a frame around a painting. We recognize their integrity and pay homage to their contribution with our gratitude.

Elita Sohmer Clayman
Baltimore, Maryland
September 2007

Keep on Dancing


Published by René Zgraggen
Montgomery, AL