A deep thanks to Sue Moore for the translation
13 March 2057
We danced all night long. Even Great Grandma and her centenarian friends. It was a sight to see them. I believe that going through coronavirus and overcoming it made them practically invincible. They have an energy and zest for life which is truly infectious.
I asked Great Grandma how she still manages to dance, sing and laugh with so much energy. She replied that there was a moment, while she was dancing, that her body remembered the day quarantine ended and she started to move more or less the way she’d felt at that time.
She said that she felt as she had on the day when everyone could finally leave their homes and the streets filled with joyful people. Actually, people had become so unused to going out and afraid of infection that, initially, they started to approach each other slowly. But the lack of hugs, contact and of being together in flesh and blood had been so tough and prolonged that very soon any hesitation disappeared, and everyone hugged, whether they knew each other or not, and continued to hug for minutes on end.
That was the origin of the custom, that we still have now, to hug each other at length when we meet, with family, close friends and everyone, whatever their role in society. We are all human beings, equally worthy and nourished by contact with others. We never begin a class, a gathering or a work meeting without everyone exchanging a long hug. For this too, I’m grateful to Great Grandma and her peers. It’s so lovely starting everything with a hug!
‘‘It was an explosion of collective Joy’’ – Great Grandma continued – ‘‘I had never felt such an intense emotion, so intense I had the feeling that my heart couldn’t contain it and wanted to come out of my chest. We were all so enthusiastic and full of Joy that we didn’t stop hugging and kissing each other and dancing. How we danced! All night and the next day and the following night and even the day after that and again for a night and day, 72 hours back to back! We played, sang and danced all the songs that we knew and those that we invented there for the occasion. We spent hours on end playing any type of existing or improvised percussion. Our feet moved of their own accord, our bodies were reborn, and each cell smiled and shone. Everyone’s minds were filled with that pure Joy and from that time even our gloomiest thoughts have taken on at least a drop of that experience which is passed down from one generation to the next, from woman to woman, truly at a cellular level. That is why there are so many women and girls who have the same name: Mudita’’. And at that point Great Grandma told me for the nth time the meaning of my name. I’ll tell you, as maybe you don’t know it.
Mudita means rejoicing in the joy of others. It is a Buddhist term. For Siddharta Gautama, better known as Buddha, who lived from the 5th to 4th centuries BC, joy was not a limited resource over which to argue or to which only a few fortunate people had rights. Joy was infinite, unlimited. For Siddharta, the word mudita expressed full experience of JOY (and not envy or resentment), which you felt by coming to know of good things happening to someone else. He said, the sheer fact that you could feel mudita in the first place was proof that the happiness of others doesn’t diminish our own: on the contrary, it increases it.
I always love it when Great Grandma tells me this story. I jumped up, threw my arms around her neck and we hugged really tightly. The Corona Virus hasn’t been around for a long time. Come on! You come and join our hug too.
NOTE. This is the second of five tales. You can read the first one here and the others here: