This is a guest post by Denise Gorss.
OK, I admit it. I’m a fan of Dancing with the Stars. Each Monday I tune in to watch the performances of sambas, waltzes, and quicksteps and match my opinions against those of the judges. Often I find myself screaming at the TV, wondering how the judges could score my favorite dance so low or overscore a celebrity who clearly doesn’t have all the right moves. The judges have the expertise in dance, which I certainly don’t, but didn’t they notice the graceful form? Didn’t they see that mis-step? Didn’t they factor in the difficulty level and the personality that came across? Weren’t they paying attention?
So what does this have to do with Ignatian spirituality? To fully follow the show and enter into the experience of watching it, I have to pay attention. The judges pay attention to the same dances, but their experience of each is often different from mine. A situation is presented to us and we each react based on a combination of factors—the celebrity’s raw talent, dedication in rehearsals, how well he or she listened to last week’s feedback, adherence to the character of the dance, our own gut reactions, the music itself, etc. We take in all the details of that one performance, evaluate, and make a judgment.
Taking in the details is accomplished through paying attention, which really is a skill that must be practiced. But the benefit of practicing attentiveness is that it paves the way to recognizing God’s presence and finding God in all things. Now who would have expected a reality show could offer a lesson in finding God?