Inspiration Tuesday: Unbearable Beauty

Happy Tuesday!

Here’s some of the magic I found on the net this week:

This quick little post by Neil Gaiman on is achingly beautiful.

Medicinal Marzipan had me at the title of this blog post: It’s OK for You to Have Everything That You Want ( although I, like the author, have trouble believing this).

And…oh my…wait until you read this post by the unbelievably amazing Dances With Fat: Dancer’s Body and Other BS. I have a lot to say about the idea of the Dancer’s Body and the preoccupation with physique in the dance world (having been a victim of it myself), but for now I just want to say YES YES YES YES YES to everything that Ragen wrote, especially this:

Do you dance?  Do you want to?  Then you have a dancer’s body.

YES. Just…YES.

Photographer Darrah Parker recently reminded us all of her classic post “Do you know how beautiful you are?” and for some reason I was reminded of this photo from Xander’s third morning home with us, when I’d gotten a total of 1.5 hours of sleep all night. Because I’m pretty sure the answer to Darrah’s question was “No,” at the time, and yet…when I look at this photo I know what she means.

(And yes, I know he doesn’t look like he’s less than a week old. The kid was almost 10 lbs at birth. I’ve met 4 month olds who weigh less than he did when he came out!)

And here is a post that made my breath catch in my throat. I have a collection of articles by other people that I want to write responses to. This one just got added to the list: In Every Motion by Rachael Maddox.

Who do you get to be when you dismiss the things–large and small–that insult your sweet soul?

What an amazing question. And what a beautiful Walt Whitman quote! This post needs to be read again and again…and then thought about for a while…and then read again for good measure.

Andrea at Creative Dream Incubator shared a beautiful story this week…about a cliff and a fairy and trust vs fear. Go read it.

And if you feel called to grow your creative dream, check out her latest Creative Dream Incubator course. It starts this week, and registration ends tomorrow. I took the first Creative Dream Incubator course, and it was incredible. It changed my life. Andrea is a genius.

And, finally, here is a video and a mission (should you choose to accept it):

Remember Nederlands Dans Theatre? I think they’re my most-shared videos on the blog. They’re just so AMAZING. Here’s a reminder:

They’re in danger of losing half of their funding from the Dutch Council for Culture, and being downgraded from an (inter)national dance company to a “regional dance amenity.”

This would be a great loss not only to the Dutch people, but also to the rest of us. NDT are one of the greatest and most innovative modern dance companies in the world. They have an online petition that you can sign Here.

Have a marvelous first-week-of-June! If you find anything magical on the Interwebs, please come by and share it!




Opening the door to the past…

I once had a ballet teacher who would sit us down in front of videos of our performances and make us watch them in slow motion.
“Look! Right there!” she’d snap as our slightly blurry figures inched frame by frame out of a pirouette. “Your foot sickled right there. That’s unacceptable.”

Yes, I admit it. My foot sickled (or curved inward) for half a second on the way down from a passé. Oh, the horror!

I don't have a picture of myself doing a pirouette. Or of sickling my foot. But hey, this is an audition photo where my front foot is doing the opposite of sickling. And for the record, the opposite of "sickle" is "wing." It's teacher-approved because it's prettier.

Seriously, though, those viewings burned their way into my brain. They (and other experiences like them) left me with an enduring doubt in my own abilities and a nagging feeling after any performance (or essay or interview) that I actually didn’t do as well as I thought I did or as others said I did.

There was always the neverending and insanely minute scrutiny of the results, a terror of repeating a perceived mistake, and the feeling that I was inferior to other people who would, no doubt, perform flawlessly without effort. I’m only now discovering that there’s a difference between “OK, good, now, what can we improve?” and “You may have thought you did well, but that was actually garbage. Do better next time or you will be a failure.”

A FAILURE. In big red letters and flashing lights and with a distinct of aura of “and then no one will love you. Ever.”

If I had a time machine, this little girl would be getting a giant hug. You know, unless doing that would rip a hole in the fabric of space and time.

I haven’t written a lot about my experiences in ballet class. I’ve told stories to my friends, but somehow, writing them and sharing them with the world is…scarier. I start worrying that maybe I’m not telling the objective truth, and that maybe I’ll get “in trouble” (as if any deeply personal experience can ever be recounted objectively).

But my desire to share my stories is outgrowing my fear. These experiences made me who I am today. They gave me the drive to help other people break free from the shackles of similar experiences, even as I’m casting off my own.  They bonded me to my classmates in ways that no time or distance can weaken. In a bizarre way, they gave me strength. I can’t imagine who I would be without those experiences, even though the recollection of many of them still makes me inexpressibly sad. And how can you understand me and my message without really knowing where I came from?

So, tentatively, ever so shyly, I’d like to start talking about them. Not as a victim angrily recounting her hurts, and not in the way my teacher did, replaying past performances in slow motion for maximum scrutiny and self-shaming, but as a woman coming into her own and revisiting the past in the knowledge that it made her into a pretty kickass person in the long run. There are lessons in the past. There’s gold to be mined. There are stories, good and bad, to be shared. Because now, fifteen years later, I am safe and well and the bad things can’t hurt me any more.

You can't take this away from me.

…And you know what? My pirouettes looked just fine in regular-speed. As long as I was turning to the right, anyway. So there.

Inspiration Tuesday: Love stories, Perseverance, Doctor Who, and Testicles

Happy Tuesday!

Oh, I have so much magic and sparkles and gigglesnorts for you today! I’ve been looking forward to this all weekend!

Let’s start with one of my favourite Goddesses, the lovely Goddess Leonie. She got married just the other day, and she left us this beautiful post when she went off to the seaside to do it. Click the link if you want to read of beautiful love, wedding plans, and assorted awesomeness!

Next….DOCTOR WHO!! I am such a major fan of this show. My son knew what a TARDIS was before he could say the word “TARDIS.” I own the box set of all five of the latest seasons, and I have a “Timelord Rock” CD which I know off by heart (yes, I am aware of my own nerdiness, but thanks for pointing it out. You say that like it’s a bad thing!).

But one thing I’ve never ever done is thought about what The Doctor can teach us about how to live. That is a brilliant mental shift that made my brain go *BING!* Thanks, Delisa! Now I have yet another reason to rewatch every season of The Doctor! Like I needed one 😛

I am adoring Vivienne McMaster’s photomontages on Roots of She. They’re so simple and beautiful and real. Go take a look at the latest one. You’ll want to carry your camera everywhere you go.

I don’t usually link to parenting sites on the blog, but I think that everyone, parent or not, will be inspired by this post: 10 Can’t Miss Childhood Moments. Kind of makes me want to go outside and play. Like, right now.

One of my favourite things in the world is finding someone who is sharing a message like mine. I click on their site, read their story or manifesto, and light up with a big “YES!” That happened when I clicked on Jen Saunders’s website. Go read her manifesta: Be Irreplaceable …because you already are, my darling. You already are.

If you’ll recall, the other day I wrote a post called Dancing With Failure, all about what happens when you throw a party and no one shows up. About a week later, I came across this post by Kate of Art Aligned…and I knew I wasn’t the only one dealing with this. There’s solidarity and comfort in admitting our setbacks and the lessons we’ve learned. There’s joy hidden in the process. And there are new friends waiting to be made when we’re honestly ourselves.

Gabrielle Roth. What can I say about Gabrielle Roth? She’s a goddess, a pioneer, a shaman. She has helped thousands of people connect with their spirit through dance. Her book Sweat Your Prayers changed my life. And she has a new article on the Huffington Post site. Why are you still here? GO READ IT!

I’m a big fan of Creative Living With Jamie, but I haven’t linked to a podcast in a long time. Time to change that. Last week’s interview with choreographer Kathleen Rea was completely amazing. I grinned and lit up with a big, glowing “YES!”…and I cried. Check it out. And then go here and give Jamie’s “Dance Away Resistance” exercise a try. I have officially added the link to my “HELP” folder for when I’m feeling stuck.

And finally, my darlings, here is your video for this week. It’s not a dance video this time, it’s a little inspirational speech from one of my favourite nerds. In which Hank Green tells us to GRAB LIFE BY THE TESTICLE. YES!

Go forth, my darling, and grab life by the balls. Raar.