Challenge 2: Ballet

Last week I talked about the need to just listen to myself and have the courage to do what I need or desire and do it completely for myself. Well, ask and you shall receive.

Taking my own advice and staying in line with the courage I cultivated to create this blog (Challenge 1), I signed up for Ballet lessons this past weekend.  Ballet was one of those things that I’ve admired my entire life, as a child I mimicked the dance moves, but never actually tried to take them up seriously. Now that pattern half-hearted mimicry is over thanks to a tree I saw on my walk to work last week.

I took this picture of the tree as it caught my eye on my way to work last week.  It’s anyone’s guess how I passed by it at least 100 times in the last few months without seeing it, but the important thing is that I saw it when I needed to.  I immediately thought it looked like the tree was dancing with branches stretched out like the arms of a ballerina.  After that I decided I would try to draw or paint a series of pictures of trees and ballerinas. Since then I’ve done a lot of research pulling pictures of ballerinas off the internet and sketching the tree and dancers in the same position. I’m no artist, but its a nice (and fun!) challenge.  In all this ballet research I found some beginner ballet tutorials on youtube–my old love for ballet reignited and I decided to do something about it.

So now I am taking ballet once a week after work.  Its going to take courage, perseverance, and positivity on many levels–getting there at 7 pm after a long day at work, driving there (living in DC makes me a bit lazy with the car), of course dancing in a way that is completely new and inherently challenging, and being social with a new group of peers.

By listening to myself more, I am opening up a whole new series of opportunities for myself….and of course, many of them will be challenging. It’s easy to see that this ballet class is both opportunity and challenge. I am both ecstatic and completely terrified that I am actually going through with this. It is going to take all of my energy to hold back any “blurts.” Julia Cameron talks a lot about transforming the dialogue that you have with yourself; the statements that you say to yourself without even knowing, especially the negative (which I call “blurts”). I have so many blurts going through my head right now:

  • You’re too old to learn ballet.
  • Starting mid-semester, you will never catch up.
  • You’re too clumsy, too inflexible.
  • You’re not graceful enough.
  • It’s a waste of money, you’ll just fall off the wagon.
  • It’s a waste of time, there’s no point.

I’m listening to them all so I can acknowledge that it’s happening and then smiling and telling each blurt “No.” I can learn ballet no matter what semester, age and skill level.  Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way is an interesting look at how to inspire more creativity within us. If you’re looking to expand creativity in your life (in any way–writing, crafting, painting, dancing), I’d recommend looking into her book or at the very least–acknowledging, confronting, and then transforming any little (but powerful) “blurts” that are standing in your way. I hope this may help  you deal with the negativity that can come with trying new things. What have you done in the past year that has challenged you? Are you starting a new challenge now?


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