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Shirley MacLaine Dancing in the LIght ISBN 13: 9780553256970

Dancing in the LIght - Softcover

 
9780553256970: Dancing in the LIght
Now, at a turning point in her life, comes her  most revealing and exciting book yet. Outspoken,  controversial, talented, and perceptive Shirley  MacLaine now takes us on an intimate and fascinating  personal odyssey. In 1984 she won an Oscar, starred  on Broadway, wrote the best-selling Out on  a Limb -- and turned fifty years old. At  this special time, in this special year, she was  now ready to resume the spiritual journey she had  begun in her early forties. In Dancing in  the Light, Shirley MacLaine bares her  innermost self and explores the lives, both past and  present, which touched and affected her own. She  sheds new light on her loves, her losses, her  childhood, her passions, and her inner drives and  ambitions. She asks poignant questions and finds  surprising answers. She asks poignant questions and  finds surprising answers. She challenges her beliefs  and confronts her conflicts. Ultimately, she takes  us with her through a life-altering experience  that provides a stunning new vision of herself, her  future... and the fate of our world.

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About the Author:
Shirley Maclaine was born and raised in Virginia. She began her career as a Broadway dancer and singer, then progressed to featured performer and award-winning actress in television and films. She has traveled extensively around the world, and her experiences in Africa, Bhutan, and the Far East formed the basis for her first two bestsellers, Don’t Fall Off the Mountain and You Can Get There From Here. Her investigations into the spiritual realm were the focus of Out on a Limb, Dancing in the Light, It’s All in the Playing, and Going Within, all of which were national and worldwide bestsellers. In her intimate memoir Dance While You Can, she wrote about aging, relationships, work, her parents, her daughter, and her own future as an artist and a woman. My Lucky Stars: A Hollywood Memoir offers a candid and searching look at her forty years in Hollywood and the stars who taught her about show business and life.
Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
Chapter 1
 
On the morning of April 24, 1984, I woke up in my New York apartment to realize I was going to be fifty years old at 3:57 that afternoon. I felt there was some kind of dramatic flair to reaching the midcentury mark in 1984 and of course I couldn’t, anymore, accept the synchronicity of my personal event as merely accidental. As I had told everybody I knew, I no longer believed there was any such thing as accident. Everything that happened was a result of some form of cause and effect and therefore had an underlying reason.
 
For example, the slight headache I now had. I knew it was from the prebirthday bash the night before.
 
My friend, the lyricist Christopher Adler, had thrown a party for a few thousand of my closest friends. Since I had to work the night of the twenty-fourth, we pretended my birthday was the twenty-third. Chris had decorated the Limelight with white and crystal. The invitations required white dress, and a few people came in jogging togs and sheets because white was not part of their city wardrobe.
 
The Limelight was an old church done over into a hot, Fellini-like disco. After the church owners had moved out, it had become a drug rehabilitation center for a while, and it was the Limelight people who prevented the building from being torn down. Due to my spiritual proclivities, I thought it very fitting that my birthday party was being thrown in a rescued church. Perhaps we could help add a new dimension to its original purpose. To dance in a church seemed to be as good an idea as praying. In fact, they were the same thing to me. As I remembered, it seemed to me no dancing was allowed in the basement of the Baptist church in Virginia where I grew up. My Catholic friends, on the other hand, could dance and even drink beer in their church basements. It was a sort of double standard both ways. The Baptist church was informal upstairs, and formal downstairs. The Catholic church was the other way around. But my so-called Baptist background (which was actually negligible) never really influenced me. After my first church picnic, I opted for necking on hayrides instead. So my religious propensities were determined more by my libido than my higher self. But then everything depends on how you look at it.
 
However, my disco prebirthday party was an event, religious or otherwise, in anybody’s language. Each guest was met at the door by a white-clad escort (some decorated with sequins or crystals) who then ushered us through the passageways from rectory to library to meeting rooms all bowered in white flowers. There was laughter, warmth and joy ringing through the rooms where crystals hung from eight-foot floral arrangements of white lilies, white roses and white freesias, while clouds of white balloons drifted about the ceiling, rippling in the air currents. The walls were draped with crystal studded white silk. Eighteenth-century chamber music reverently accompanied us into the cocktail reception room. I privately wondered how long it would take before the night cut loose into what, I was sure, would be a full-blown exercise in la dolce vita.
 
I turned over in bed, stretched my legs, massaged the place on my right foot where some overly religious photographer had dropped his camera. I thought of Elizabeth Taylor’s description of her experience at Mike Todd’s funeral. She told me there had been people eating their lunch off the gray slabs of tombstones while waiting to get pictures of the grieving widow. There had been a hot, ghoulish reeling of excitement—the same kind of excitement that is generated by bad accidents. Accidents? Was Mike’s death in a plane crash an accident? Oh dear, tell the one who’s left alive it isn’t. What possible good could death play? I wished I had known then what I knew now. Perhaps I could have been more help to Elizabeth.
 
I gazed out my bedroom window across the East River. Images of the night before still skipped in my mind ... the friends who had come in from various parts of the world to help me celebrate being half a century old, the toasts of endearment they had offered me as, shyly, they stood to declare what they thought of me. It was one of those nights when you are faced with whether or not you have the grace to accept compliments without self-judgment, without false deprecation, and without embarrassment. But my daughter Sachi really did it to me. As only children, who basically speak from feelings and not from intellect, always can, she brought the tears fully spilling from my eyes when she stood up and said, all in a breath, “Happy birthday to my mother whom I love more than I can say and she is also my role model.”
 
Mercifully, Christopher wheeled in the birthday cake (I had asked for carrot—my favorite), and as I blew out the candles I found myself struggling with how to thank everyone. I stared down at the cake for some time. The room was silent. I was deeply touched by the tributes of these, my dearest friends and colleagues, and was having trouble clearing my throat. Also I wanted very much to say something meaningful, for this was indeed a special occasion, a special time for me, a special outpouring of love. Then I got a picture in my mind and spoke it out loud—after I blew my nose. “Friendship is like a ship on the horizon,” I said. “You see it etched against the sky, and then as it moves on, the ship dips out of your vision, but that doesn’t mean it’s not there. Friendship is not linear. It moves in all directions, teaching us about ourselves and each other.
 
That’s why, over the period of long friendships, as with most of the people in this room, we are there for each other, even if we are not always seen.” I wanted to say more, but choked up and so came to a stop. And discovered I was very hungry as we all plowed into white asparagus in pastry shells, roast veal, green vegetables I had never heard of, morel mushrooms, and mixed salad with herbs only a health food store would recognize, all topped off with that divine carrot cake.
 
Dinner over, we repaired to the public rooms to join a cast of apparently thousands thronging the nave of the ex-church. From a floodlit balcony overlooking the milling, shouting, cheering, singing audience we watched delightedly as a roster of extraordinary entertainers joyfully tore the night apart.
 
I definitely was treated to a coruscating birthday in a Love and Light temple out of one of my old Atlantean lifetimes!
 
I gazed out at Welfare Island as I thought about the night before, wondering what other people’s perceptions of the party had been. I always loved to speculate on whether others were seeing through their eyes what I was seeing through mine. Truth and reality were so relative, I mused, residing only in the mind’s eye. I wondered how others felt about being fifty. Did they look back and inward as much as I, wondering how life to that point had happened? Did others also speculate on lives they might have led before which brought them to the life they were leading now?
 
I rolled over and lifted my legs out of bed—my dancer’s legs—my two-shows-a-day-on-the-weekend legs—my twenty-five-years-apiece legs. I knew the reality of these legs in this life, this morning, all right. They were killing me. They needed a hot shower to make a transition into a less painful reality.
 
Jesus, I thought as I shuffled like a fifty-year-old toward the bathroom, was pain real or something I just figured I should have because I was working hard and was half a hundred years old?
 
I looked full-face into the mirror. Pretty good, I thought. Clear, translucent-pink skin ever since my last hicky disintegrated just before my daughter, Sachi, was born, and hardly any wrinkles, except the laugh lines sprinkled around the eyes which I considered my badges of positive thinking. I tilted my head downward slightly so I could observe the part in my hairline. Did I need a touch-up; how visible was my own streaked red hair from Clairol’s version? It was fine. I had another week or two. My mind flashed to the pared-down basics I enjoyed when traveling, out of touch with the technology of twentieth-century beauty aids, and challenged to rely on my own resources. The experience of living in huts in the Himalayas, or the Andes of Peru, or in tents on the plains of Africa, or in shacks in the backwoods of the American South, was etched in my memory—a sharp contrast to the life I was leading now in New York as a musical-comedy performer in my own show at the Gershwin Theater.
 
I flipped the shower curtain closed and turned on the hot water. Hot water is a dancer’s trump card. I hadn’t learned how important it was to me until the last ten years. It worked liquid miracles on the body. And fast too. I didn’t have to contend with the scheduling of the eucalyptus steam room in a health club. I had an immediate hot, wet therapy in my own bathroom as long as I knew how to use it.
 
I checked the positions of my four quartz crystals sitting on each corner of the tub. I had been learning to work with the power of crystals and that discipline had become part of my daily life. I stepped into the tub and let the steaming water run over my face, hair, and body. I could feel the sleep congestion in my chest loosen up and the muscles along my spinal column become more pliable. I did a quick chiropractic back adjustment, feeling the vertebrae slip into place, and breathed deeply, inhaling and exhaling the steam about ten times. I leaned over and poured some sea salt into a warm glass of shower water and began another disciplined ritual which I did every day. I put my nose to the edge of the glass and sniffed in the salt water. My grandmother, and several other people’s grandmothers, had used this method to purify the nasal, throat, and sinus tracts. It worked, too, as far as I was concerned. Whenever I did happen to catch a rare cold, sniffing the salt water usually nipped the cold in the bud the first day. Natural, holistic approaches worked better for me than medicines or drugs. In fact, I no longer had a family doctor. Experience had taught me that orthodox Western medicine relied far too heavily on drugs.
 
 

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  • PublisherBantam
  • Publication date1986
  • ISBN 10 0553256971
  • ISBN 13 9780553256970
  • BindingMass Market Paperback
  • Number of pages416
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