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Archive for July, 2011

Your Gifts

I don’t know if it’s the hot, humid days sucking the energy out of me or just a temporary dry spell of creativity, but for whatever the reason, I have been met with procrastination and internal resistance when I have attempted to write an article or post of some kind.  I thought that maybe conceding defeat to a week already skipped, I might be ready to write again this week.  Apparently not.

So here it is Friday, and I was bound and determined to share something with you.  Because nothing had particularly shifted for me in the way of generating any new ideas, I began to get either panicky or creative and thought, “Hmmm, what might I already have written that might be helpful?”  Fortunately, I thought of something almost immediately.  Not sure why, but I was very grateful, instead of continuing to panic.

It’s something I wrote several years ago that I considered worth keeping.  It’s called “Your Gifts”.  At a time when I am feeling rather empty, remembering this poem is reassuring.  See if you might find some reassurance or even inspiration in it for you as well.

Your Gifts

So many gifts
Never received
Because never given.
Darkness, duty, fear or frenzy
Cloaks each gift
Meant to be shared, meant to be given.
Some don’t even recognize
The gifts they carry.
Others do but are stopped short
By too many obstacles:
Time, fear, guilt, embarrassment,
Shame, self-consciousness, preconceptions.

But the worst obstacle, perhaps,
Is separation —
Thinking we are all
Separate, disconnected beings,
Caught up in our own little worlds,
Afraid of reaching out,
Feeling it’s all too much,
Not appreciating the importance
Of connecting
Through the gifts carried.

Share your gifts.
Do what is required
To remove each obstacle,
One by one.
Or go around, or over, or through.

You are greater than your obstacles
Big as life though they may seem.
Do what is required.
It is essential
For sanity, for health, for peace,
Both yours and others’.

Remove each obstacle.
Do not hesitate
To ask for help when needed.
For not doing so can become
Just another obstacle.
Do not hesitate
To trust
That it is good, it is right
To share the gifts you carry.
It is always right.

You will know
When
To share your gifts
How
To share your gifts,
With whom
To share your gifts.

Share your gifts.
You need the blessing
As much as others need
Your gifts.

Christine Cloutier-Weddle

Caring for Yourself by Pursuing Your Passion

As I watched a mesmerizing performance by Missouri Contemporary Ballet a couple of years ago, tears came to my eyes.  Tears?  Why tears?  I experienced the simultaneous feelings of total bliss and deep sadness.  The bliss was very easy to understand because I love dance.  I love watching dance, and I have always loved to dance (although performing, for me, has been mixed because of the anxiety that goes with it.)  On the flip side, the sadness was in response to the loss I felt from not having had any dance in my life for the previous few years.  I hadn’t been to any performances, and I hadn’t danced or taken any classes for a long time.  What grief I felt as I watched those dancers, yet I also felt uplifted and joyful.  No wonder I felt so strange as I watched them move their bodies in exquisite turns, leaps and contortions of strength and flexibility!  Such total immersion I felt in the experience of witnessing those dancers perform.

Ballet Classes For Adults!

The dear friend sitting next to me at the performance noticed how strongly I responded and showed me the back page of the program, which advertised ballet classes for adults.  BALLET CLASSES FOR ADULTS???  I nearly jumped with joy as much as I was in disbelief at the idea.  Really??  I could take a ballet class?  But, would they really let me in when they discovered that I wasn’t a young 20 or even 30-something?  I had to find out.

I called the number and got the information I needed and found myself taking ballet again — many, many years since I had last taken as a child.  After my first class, because I worked so hard to do everything as well as I could and because my body had only faint memories of my childhood classes, I was literally almost unable to walk out without my legs buckling because they were so sore.  I burst into tears when I got in my car and wondered if I would be able to continue.

Hope For The Journey

That was two years ago.  Not only am I now taking two ballet classes each week, I have also ventured into a tap class, which is delightfully fun yet also quite challenging for me, and I am considering adding a class in modern dance.  That last one might push my schedule to its limits, but time will tell.  I love each class.  Sometimes I leave feeling frustrated that I have not been able to learn steps more quickly or that I am not as strong or flexible as I want to be.  But I work with what I have — the age I am, the body I have, and whatever my physical gifts or limitations may be, not to mention the focus and memory that is required!

What Is Your Passion?

As is apparent, my passion is dance, and it is crystal clear to me that pursuing my passion has given me energy,  joy and confidence.  It has become such an essential part of my self-care, not only to go to performances, but also to participate in dance by dancing!  There is a life force and an engagement and a focus that comes from participating in what you love to do.  For me, it is dance.  What is it for you?  What is it that calls to you?  What is it that intrigues you?  What is it that makes you smile, or perhaps makes you cry because it has been missing?

Fitting In One More Thing

I wondered how I would find the time or the money to pursue dance classes.  As much as I wanted to try it out (although with a bit of nervousness about whether I could really do it), it felt rather indulgent and even frivolous to proceed.  It also seemed on the edge of overwhelming to add one more thing to my schedule.  But I also knew in my heart of hearts that it was the right thing to do.  I took the next step and made a phone call, even though I wasn’t really sure how it would all work out.

The amazing thing is that adding something that you are passionate about can create more joy.  And through that joy, the challenges and stress of life become a bit easier to handle.  Perhaps we gain a bit of perspective.  Perhaps we actually get better at coping with things.  I don’t really know.  What I do know is that life improves.

Put something joyful in your life.

Start small.  Make a phone call.  Do some research online to get more information.  Talk to someone who can tell you more.  Write down several ideas you have about it.  Let yourself dream, and also take some kind of action!  You may find that your life begins to improve in unexpected ways.  Your joy is an important part of self-care.  Taking care of ourselves is more than just eating well, exercising and sleeping enough.  It is also about including in your life the things that matter to you and that are important to you.

Let yourself matter enough to include joy!

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