This weekend I was signed up for a two-day course in shamanic journeying. I left at the first break.

Things started off well enough--but then, they almost always do. Then one of the leaders said we would be working with each other, and I dread those exercises where you have to pair off or form a team. I'd thought shamanic journeying was something you could do on your own.

Then the same person started talking about the shaman's use of music and how everyone has their own "soul song." And--spirits forgive me--all I could think of was the movie "Happy Feet," and how that one penguin couldn't sing his "heart song" and had to dance instead. But of course, I don't dance. I don't sing or dance. So I left.

I came home, turned on the Saturday afternoon Metropolitan Opera radio broadcast--a recording of a 1970 performance of "Norma," with Joan Sutherland and Marilyn Horne--and checked Facebook, where I saw Bywater Books question of the week, courtesy of Z Egloff: "What do you absolutely, positively have to do before you die?"

Here's the answer that came to me: nothing. There are things I want to do, things I'd like to do, things I hope to do--but nothing I absolutely, positively have to do before I die.

Even my house--I could just as easily leave the land alone for the rest of my life as build a house on it, and sometimes I think I'll do just that.

This dancing thing--I don't really know how to explain it. At the Body Electric workshops they put on music and tell us to move around to loosen up--they don't even use the word "dance" as I recall--and I'm miserable. I just sort of sway and wait for it to be over. I don't know what I'm so afraid of.

The thing is, I live in my head, and not in my body. In my head I do Irish dances, tap dances, waltzes. Right now I'm hearing and seeing Gene Kelly singing and dancing in the rain. Last year I imagined myself doing a sort of dance karaoke--an imitation (very poor, at best) of that classic, magical scene in "Singin' in the Rain." I imagined myself doing it in an actual rainstorm. I need to watch the movie again--and again. Maybe I'll learn something from it. Maybe one day I will sing and dance in a rainstorm. Though it isn't something that I absolutely, positively have to do.