If I can’t find a way to turn my ordinary life’s list into the extraordinary then I am simply existing, checking things off my list.
The cops just pulled me over, again. I’ve been waiting in my car for over 20 minutes. But I’m not concerned—I haven’t committed a crime. Well, nothing serious anyway.
You see, I have only one name on my Driver’s License: Dolphina (which is also the solitary name on my Social Security Card and Passport—which leads to more exotic delays). Right now, the police officers are most likely stupefied on precisely how to find me in their system— or wondering if I exist at all.
They return to my car and ask me what my ‘real’ or ‘last’ name is. To them, this is rare incident but it happens to me all the time.
Sometimes an impromptu bellydance performance, or pulling my finger cymbals out of my glove compartment or dance bag suffices the average skeptic.
Tonight, the young officer asks me if my ID is fake (having a last name is a detail I wouldn’t neglect if I wanted to avoid attention). I can tell he is a rookie by his constant approval-seeking glances to his partner. So, I patiently pull out my bellydance business card and begin my well-rehearsed explanation (sometimes I include photos in my presentation).
He is flirty and when he inquires about the origin of my name, his partner steps closer to my vehicle on the passenger side shining his flashlight into my car. I share briefly that I was given my name after I was rescued by dolphins during a boating accident in the Caribbean. Now they are both enthralled.
I am late for my date, but these are the authorities, so I continue, “Inspired by my favorite book Walden, I wanted to live off the land for a year without distractions and find myself’.”
“That’s on my ‘Bucket List,’” interrupts the partner. “How did you do it?”
They are captivated with my adventurous life and I begin to encourage them to pursue their dreams, too. The rookie started taking notes! Or he was possibly writing me a ticket. Either way, they pleaded with me to carry on.
I share with them, “I wholeheartedly believe in following your dreams—but I think ‘Bucket Lists’ are stupid.”
“I adore all my ambitions, but I don’t believe life is about this ludicrous idea of ‘manifesting your dreams at some weekend workshop in Ojai’ or checking ‘skydiving’ and ‘taking Spanish classes’ off some carefully written ‘Bucket List’. Who is keeping track if you cross ‘travel to Bali’ off your list? Furthermore, I don’t know anyone’s life that adheres to an organized ‘to do list’—life is messy, capricious and my favorite experiences are the ones I didn’t plan.
My philosophy is to make all of my life a living poem. But I don’t think this can be accomplished purely by completing things on a list. I believe life is about finding ways to make life’s everyday activities beautiful, fun, inspiring and sacred. We all must go to the DMV, to the doctors and the grocery store. If I can’t find a way to turn my ordinary life’s list into the extraordinary then I am simply existing, checking things off my list. Why would a ‘Bucket List’ be any different? All lists are meaningless if I am merely trying to finish the list. And on a somber note, when you complete your ‘Bucket List’—well, the game is over.”
Afterwards, there was a profound existential pause as we all nodded: agreeing, thinking and questioning.
Then I asked, “Is there any way you could you tear up that speeding ticket? I’ve never got a ticket before and want to keep my clean record.”
After a long silence I added, “It’s on my ‘Bucket List’.”
Dolphina founded her company, GoddessLife, on her belief that every woman is a goddess. During a spiritual quest in the Caribbean, she was involved in a near-fatal boating accident in which she was rescued by dolphins which altered her name and life forever. Dolphina is a mademoiselle with a mission to make a difference in our world one goddess at a time. A powerful teacher, dancer, author, activist and businesswoman, Dolphina has overcome tremendous odds to create a company who’s sole purpose is to support and empower women. Dolphina is the creator of the best-selling Goddess Workout Bellydance DVDs and CDs series and is the author of Bellydance (DK Publishing), which has been published in 13 different languages. Dolphina has been featured in over 100 magazines and numerous television and radio shows, including Ellen, Conan, Sex and the City, Live with Regis and Kelly, The View as well as Time, Cosmopolitan, Glamour and Fitness.
Like elephant journal on Facebook
Assistant Ed. Rebecca Schwarz/Kate Bartolotta