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Dear Dream Seekers

Dear Dream Seekers,

You are wonderful. You are inspiration. You are life being lived.

I love seeing so many adult ballerinas emerging currently. Particularly on Instagram, it’s like watching these beautiful buds of hidden desires start opening their dare-to-dream petals and blossom into the most beautiful, soulful dancers.

Something I have noticed is that there seems to be an ever persistent pressure flowing from within many of the adult ballet students I see.

Inner pressure to be good at something we love is not a new thing. It is natural to want to progress.

And I am no stranger to that inner pressure. I felt it. I breathed it in and out, day and night. And it happily went and killed my love of ballet (for a while.)

And so I feel a little sad when I see people putting huge amounts of pressure on themselves to be better at something they love.

I mean, if you love it, then you should be doing it for love.

Let’s repeat that: If you love it, you should be doing it for love.

I know that you want progress. And I know that the ballet studio is a pretty intense place regarding your progress — indeed, it can sometimes feel like a comparison festival is happening in each class.

Everything you want is a valid desire. Improvement, enjoyment, strength, musicality, memories, flexibilities. It’s up to you what you want to aim for. It’s your life. Your choice. No-one else can, or has the right to, choose them for you.

But please be sure to think about it first. Think about you and what you really want because of how those things make YOU feel.

Don’t look at what someone else is doing and just follow along. God knows, you might wake up ten years from now able to do the splits but not able to dance in the centre. You might then shake your fists in the air and scream at yourself for following the splits trend only because it was what others were doing — and you missed getting your teacher to help you learn some amazing mini-solo piece that feels like heaven to dance.

Don’t set yourself up to one day wreak of regret.

So, with that in mind, what I do hope you do is sit with yourself a while. Ask yourself what you feel in this moment you want to do — like actually do right now — because you never know what amazing idea might have been waiting to flow through you but just hasn’t had the window opened to it before.

Then, ask yourself what you think you might regret NOT doing in twenty years time. I usually get my deepest inspirations flowing from this one.

Then lovingly think about all the things you, your body and mind, are good at doing. Really appreciate those things. If ballet is your thing, maybe you’re really musical and your body just naturally flows with the music, maybe you have lovely hand expressions, maybe you have a sparkly passion, maybe you have strong muscles, maybe you can smile during class (harder for some than others!), maybe you understand combinations, maybe you are flexible, or have lovely feet, or maybe you feel your soul fill up during ballet class.

These are all wonderful elements of what you do and of how you feel. I feel it’s important to fully embrace them. Soak yourself in the things about you and your passion, that you love.

When thinking about what goals to set yourself, or what path to set off on, I think it’s really important to take stock first, of all the wonderful parts of yourself that already exist within your passion.

I would look at what you love doing now, look at what you would regret not doing, and set your path accordingly.

If achieving the splits for ballet is part of that path then set your goals and go for it. If it’s smiling more during class, or learning a combination, or performing — then set your goals and go for them.

But be sure to start your intentional path with the full acceptance of how incredible you already are.

Be sure that you don’t discount all of your gloriousness and just focus on what you cannot yet do. If you do that you will be starting your journey with a destructive cycle of focusing on your downfalls. You should be real about yourself. But leave the negativity at the door. If negative self-worth is already an issue for you then I would suggest adding that to your goals — “Learn to love myself for all that I am.” That, and if neccesary, see a therapist, because honestly, that bullshit will become a serious obstacle to you fully realising your dreams.

So, in summary…

1) Align your goals with what YOU enjoy doing and what you feel you will regret not doing.

2) Make sure to begin your path to your goals/dreams/passions swimming in self-appreciation for all the wonder you already are.

Always remember why you’re doing it.

Always respect yourself for doing it.

Always hold your head high.

Remember,

You deserve to be in the room.

Zoe xxx

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Above and Beyond…

Paramedics were called out again this afternoon. Not great.

HOWEVER…

While here, they told me about the headway they’ve been making in getting our little rural hospital to give me regular, preemptive special IV therapy.

The idea being that this IV therapy would hopefully reduce the amount of times I need emergency calls to ambulance services, helping me to not get as severely sick as regularly as I am at the moment and not clog up their services when someone else could be doing it. It’s not a perfect system but it’s better than anything we’ve got going now.

We’ve been trying to get doctors and community nurses to make this happen for a long time now, without any luck.

So one of our amazing paramedics decided to march up to the community nurses and the hospital and see what they could do to get it happening for me.

And today, one of these amazing paramedics said he’d convinced the hospital and nurses to give it a try and see if it helps — probably just over summer, as that’s when I tend to need this treatment the most.

It just blows my mind when I see someone go above and beyond, to help others.

Thank you Mr. Paramedic. You rock.

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Ballet-Physio Update

A few supine leg stretches. Feels great to be moving again.

Hope everyone is treating themselves fairly, cause you know, unfair treatment of yourself will likely lead you to a place you don’t want to visit.

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Positive Changes

Hello my dearest friends, followers and fans,

I haven’t written anything in such a long time. It’s been an interesting year for me to say the least.

My ballet journey has shifted to become a combination of ballet and physio for my physical rehabilitation after my health disorders POTS and Ehlers Danlos Syndrome flared severely 18 months ago.

I became bedbound and have been crawling my way back to functionality ever since — and ballet has played a major role in that recovery.

I’m not recovered yet and we don’t know if I’ll ever be as functional as I was before. We have to remember that it was only this year that I was finally diagnosed with the disorders. So we’ve only truly just begun to understand the cause and effect of my body’s impairments.

I’m actually classified as disabled right now. But I’m hoping, through dedication, the right team, hard work and passion, that I will end up being not only as functional as before, but MORE functional than before.

And all of this means there are changes. My goals and hopes are shifting and what I want to do, write about and talk about is also shifting.

I love everything about ballet. But my interest in the therapeutic benefits of ballet is growing quickly. It’s interesting to remember that I started ballet as therapy for depression, and it worked. Then when I came back to it after my break, I did so as therapy for my body, and it is working again.

Over the past year I have spoken to many doctors and physiotherapists about ballet as a physical therapy and there has been an overwhelming view that it can be a great therapy when done right — and certainly that it is a great therapy for me and my body’s particular issues.

So physical rehab ballet is becoming the core that my whole life revolves around.

And this has lead me to a shift in the focus of my online platforms. 

For a long time my online presence was Bush Ballerina, because when I started ballet, my focus was on trying to learn ballet from the bush with little to no instruction.

But with all the intense changes in my health and subsequently my focus, my path is no longer resonating with ‘Bush Ballerina’. 

I’m more than ballet in the bush now.

So I’ve decided to make some shifts to my online presence so that what I’m doing and what I’m writing about is all synched up. 🙂

The centre of my focus will still be ballet, in both a fun way and in a therapeutic way as well as some of my just me stuff. I also just want to share my personal journey as I recover from an onslaught of two disorders, to a stronger, more functional and healthy person (via ballet). Because I think a lot of people can resonate with having to fight to get yourself to a better place.

But it will all mainly be focused on ballet. Because I believe that is what is at my core recovery. And because ballet is beautiful to me.

I realise few people will even be interested in the reasons I’m making these changes, but I felt the desire to explain for those who are interested.

And to explain the change from ‘Bush Ballerina’.

I’m not sure what the name shift will be yet. I feel like using my middle name, so Zoe Inez. It might just be something plain like ‘Zoe Inez – Adult Ballerina’ or something a little more specific like ‘Zoe Inez – Ballet Therapy’. I’ll work that out soon and let you know. 

I’m open to suggestions! Haha.

I can’t wait to get going with the new focus. I have so much enthusiasm for where I’m coming from now and I feel like this is going to allow me to be more authentic about my journey, will which allow for a lot more interesting, fun and beautiful content.

I hope you all continue to twirl along this journey with me because I cherish you all so much.

Love and light,

Zoe

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This Time Around

This time round on my ballet journey, I have the power of knowledge alongside me. I am aware of my body’s strengths and weaknesses.

It’s funny because, although this time round I have many many more challenges, I am choosing to see those challenges as opportunities to do things the right way for me, and therefor achieve more of my dreams and goals.

Last time, I had hopes and dreams but was continuously failing. I was continuously feeling my body crumble when it didn’t seem like it should.

I was being told my body was perfect for ballet and “should” be able to make all these perfect ballet shapes if I tried hard enough.

I also had a strange fear of movement. I began to get over that fear while I was at the barre — in fact, Iearned to adore the feeling of movement at the barre, and I even started feeling a little more confident with some pirouettes.

But move me away from the barre and I completely froze up.

I remember during my first private class my teacher tried to teach me a very simply pas de bourree with a simple relaxed pirouette on the end.

But it was the strangest thing. It felt like I was learning to walk again. Like everything was foreign to me. Like I didn’t even know my left from my right. Like I didn’t even know my own name anymore.

I used to walk away from centre time feeling so deflated. I didn’t understand why my body felt so weak in the centre and I didn’t feel like it would ever end.

(I do have to add that my in-class teachers were wonderful. They would always say, ‘Just give it a try!’ They could see I was really struggling and didn’t make me feel worse for it. And I am incredibly grateful for that!)

Now, after having experienced such a massive physical breakdown, and doctors finally being forced to pay attention — and that attention leading to the right diagnoses’ and now treatment, has meant that I actually know now why my body was not ‘failing’ but struggling with certain elements and why I felt so awkward doing centre work. Yes, there are actual physiological reasons for it!

So many things make sense to me now.

I remember during my hardest days a few months ago, I would lie there, unable to speak properly, unable to stand up, unable to wash myself, pain searing through my body, and I would try to think of the good things in my life. I found them in my children and my hopes for better times some day. But it was bloody hard to find them. Some days I was too consumed by my suffering to find them and I just wished for the day to end. 

But I never thought I would one day look back at that time and see it as a vital part of my future success.

And that is what it is. (I am not ignorantly suggesting that this is how it is for all chronic illness sufferers. We all have our own journeys.)

There will be many ups and downs ahead. And my daily grind is still a pretty heavy grind.

But now I am armed with knowledge and am moving forward in an achievable way, giving my body all the support and understanding it needs, to get me where I want to go.

And understanding makes ALL the difference. I’m no longer confused. I no longer feel like a failure. I feel more confident that I can achieve my dreams than I have ever felt before — because I have adjusted my dreams and the ways I intend on achieving them.

I may have health issues that are making me see things in this new light, but I think it’s relatable to everyone who may start to feel that pressured feeling about what they’re trying to achieve.

I suggest we all stop comparing ourselves to others and start learning about our own bodies, how we work and don’t work and start working WITH ourselves rather than against ourselves. As that is how I see the greatest growth happening.

Zoe xxx

P.S remember, if you like it… share it! 🙂

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Are You House Sitting Someone Else's Life?

I spent the first 12 years of my life living in Sydney. In the city. Glebe to be precise. We were all pretty independent kids, catching buses and trains from a pretty early age. Walking through city streets to get to corner shops, parks or friends houses. By the time we were leaving the city, I was a city person through and through.

I knew the sights, smells and sounds of the city like the back of my hand. I still do!

We moved out of the city and since then I have lived in a few different places but have never been far from the hustle and bustle and always made time to come and get my city fix. When we had children, I wanted them to experience the city too. So we spent many weekends coming into the city soaking up its culture, sounds, sights, knowledge, people and vibrance. 

I know people who were raised in the city, who just loved getting away from it. But that wasn’t the case for me.

For me, those first 12 years imprinted city life onto my soul. My love for the city was hardwired. It was done. 

And there has never been an undoing.

The only reason I never moved back to the city was that living there permanently wasn’t good for my health — my asthma and allergies. 

Sooo life goes on. Things change. Decisions are made. People move. We move.

Our hearts are pulled toward the polar opposite of our previous city life. 

We have the epiphany. We want a country life!

We make a plan. A fabulous plan to make our tree change. 

We find a property. Consider employment. Think about the children. Plan, plan, plan.

And it all seems so perfect. The kids will get a country life, they’ll have treehouses and tree swings and animals to frolick with and they’ll run wild through the meadows in floral handsewn dresses and pick flowers and be merrier than we ever could have imagined.

We will have animals that are so full of personality that it makes it simply agonising to say goodbye. We will build our new earthhouse with spectacular views and live a peaceful, stress free, hippie-farming sort of life.

That’s how the story was supposed to be written.

But the story didn’t go exactly as planned. Our story is of us being blind sided by our tree change.

It has taken me a little longer to adjust to country living than I had hoped. 8-ish years, actually, but I think I am finally coming to terms with it. I might even go so far as to say I am loving it these days. I would definitely go so far as to say that I would never want to live in the suburbs again. But I am still learning the country ropes and I still see things through VERY city-girl eyes.

I suppose that’s part of why, during those desperate times two years ago, I chose ballet as my relief. I was seeking something to find happiness in, as everything was so bleak at that time, but looking around me then, I couldn’t find anything that felt like home. It all still felt so foreign to me then, like I was house sitting in someone else’s life.

Things have definitely changed since then and I think my ballet journey is part of that. 

Exploring something new away from the property made me look at where I was. The geographical reality helped me to see and accept where I am at with more ease.

And it’s the house sitting thing from above that really got me. I realised how scary that is, the possibility that I was just house sitting in someone else’s life’s? Holy crap, how terrifying is that?!

Well it’s terrifying for me. I don’t want to reach the end of my life and look back only to realise that I didn’t own my life, that I just house sat someone else’s.

With this in mind I moved forward, and continue to move forward, always reminding myself that I own my life and asking “What do I want to do with it?”

So that’s my message today….

Don’t house sit someone else’s life. 

You’re life. You’re canvas. Paint it however you like.

P.S: The first animals we got on our property were six chickens. We adored those girls. Until we found out they were guys. 

We had six roosters. 

They weren’t peaceful or stress free. And we weren’t sad to see them go.

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Rollin' Along

Finally got me a foam roller — woohoo! Can roll out those tight muscles. 

Feels gee-or-geous!

Here’s a pic of my new toy, and another pic from a photo I took on a bridge the other day (for anyone who isn’t following the fb page).

Hope everyone’s doing great!

🙂





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Low Self-Confidence — What's the Point?

Low self-confidence. What’s the point?

I’ve struggled with low self-confidence a lot in my life. Crushingly low at times. It seems to have been one of the big lessons I have had to explore on my journey. And it’s a tricky one at that.

An important thing I have learned about low self-confidence is that there’s really no point to it. It doesn’t take you anywhere. It doesn’t help you grow or feel good about yourself.

It usually immobilizes you, stopping you from moving forward in the direction you want to go by creating the “I can’t” internal dialog.

And the irony is that you NEED to be saying “I can” in order to move forward.

You don’t need to know what you’re doing all the time. But you DO need to be able to move forward. You need to be unlocked and free to have a go.

Be confident that you can learn. You can step forward.

You can.

Low self-confidence gets in the way of that forward movement. It has no productive purpose. There is no point to it.

None. Nada. Zip.

So let it go.

Let. It. Go

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Capezio Review — 1

Dear readers,

I am so excited to be presenting you with a review of some lovely Capezio dance gear I have tried recently. Enjoy! 🙂

First up…

Leather Juliet Ballet Flats

Firstly, I know that some of you are big on how products are packaged and some of you are not so concerned with all that. I am usually not altered one way or another by packaging and I didn’t think I would be mentioning it in a review, but I have to say, I squealed a little when I saw the most gorgeous little Capezio boxes that these ballet flats come in. OMG. I think it actually did impact my immediate impressions. Speaking of which…

Immediate Impression:

Very nice.

Straight out of the packaging, the general feel of these ballet flats is SOFTNESS. Everywhere.

The outer is a light creamish pinkish coloured leather. And the leather is super soft.

Inside is lined with a soft brushed polyester/cotton fabric that creates, yes, more softness. They have heel and ball-of-foot pads on the inside as well that add to a shoe that was obviously designed and made for comfort. SOFT comfort!

Another important first impression  –>  PRE-SEWN ELASTICS! Loved this feature. Obviously that is not going be perfect for everyone as our elastic length needs all vary, but it worked for me.

How they fit and feel:

Taking all the above in consideration, it makes perfect sense that when I first slipped my feet into these flats it felt like my feet had slipped into really comfy slippers or socks. Not ballet slippers, just regular comfy, nurturing, relaxing slippers.

The heel comes up a little higher than other flats I have worn. This doesn’t really feel either here nor there for me. Doesn’t change the level of comfort  at all. It’s just something I noticed that was a little different.

A feature I particularly love about these shoes is their diamond gusset which makes the arch of the shoe hug the arch of your foot. Arch hugging is the bomb! It feels awesome when a shoe hugs your arch but more importantly you can see how much you are working your feet when you can see that arch clearly. So it’s really a wonderful tool.

So they feel great.

I fit their size 8.5 in length and their M (medium) width.

I have a very narrow foot and am always surprised when a ballet shoe fits my foot. So I was very surprised when I tried these shoes on. Especially seeing the only width choices were medium and wide. I was a bit worried about that but these fit like a glove.

How they look on (are they stylin’?):

Yes! I absolutely reckon they’re stylin’. I think the combination of the diamond gusset and the super soft fabrics they have used, create a really fabulous looking shoe. I mean anything that shows your foot off to its best ability will look good.

How they perform:

These shoes felt really good while working in them. There were no places that became irritated or sore. The soft and comfy theme continued. And I continued to love the arch hugging support.

I did notice that my feet became quite warm in them. Not hot. Just warmer than I am used to. I think this is due to the soft inner lining fabric. This wasn’t something that would stop me from wearing them, but I did notice it.

Do I recommend them?…

I highly recommend these shoes if you’re looking for a super comfy shoe that helps you feel what your feet are doing.

The only downside I can see to these shoes is that your teacher might really push your feet hard because they will be able to see exactly how hard you’re working them, and how much harder you could be working them. But then you will only improve, so that downside is really an upside.

The Capezio Leather Juliet …

You can find these ballet shoes here: Leather Juliet

Ultra Soft Transition Tights (style 1916)

Immediate impression:

Pink. Soft. Nice thick waistband. A generally nice first impression.

Seriously, they look really really pink when you first see them. Much pinker than my photo shows. But they don’t look that pink when you put them on.

How they fit and feel:

I have pretty long legs. I tried the long/extra long size and they covered my length just fine. They feel really comfortable on. Very soft. And the thick waistband doesn’t cut into you. I love this.

They fit and feel good on and as you would expect when purchasing ballet tights.

How they look on (are they stylin’?):

They look good on. They lose their very pink colour and become more of a white colour. The fabric doesn’t do anything weird as it stretches.

So I suppose, yes, these ballet tights are “stylin'” as much as any ballet tight can do.

How they perform:

I love it when I don’t notice anything about tights while I’m working. If I finish my class and I haven’t had to think at all about my tights, then that to me says they are good tights.

These are good tights. They didn’t itch, the crotch didn’t drop, they didn’t catch on themselves as I moved in and out of fifth position and my sweat didn’t show up.

Crotch drop and sweat? Damn, ballet tights are the height of glamour aren’t they?

Do I recommend them?…

Yes. Definitely recommend these tights. Nothing bad or wrong about them in my experience.

Capezio Ultra Soft Transition Tights…

You can find these tights here: Ultra Soft Tights

Camisole Leotard

Immediate impression:

Lovely! This leotard is black with a light pink trim. The black is a nice good quality dark black, rather than a faded black. It feels soft to the touch, has a moderate leg line, a full front lining and some lovely decorative detailing on the back.

How it fits and feels on:

I love the way this leotard feels on. It feels soft and smooth with plenty of stretch. The straps didn’t cut into me, nor did the leg line.

It fits the way you would want a leotard to fit. No awkward surprises. No straps falling off my shoulders. The length was appropriate.

Even though they call the leg line medium, this is the lowest leg line I have used so far and I really liked it. I’d like to go even lower as I really like the boy-cut/50’s fashion look.

I also found the double front lining very secure. I really liked that element.

How it looks on (is it stylin’?):

I love the look of this leotard. As I said above, I really like the leg line. I like the smaller straps too, and I LOVE the back — I like the lower line of the back as well as the decorative detail.

I also like the colours. The black and pink is a bit of a modern mix and I like that.

Yes, I believe this is a stylin’ leotard!

How it performs:

This leotard was great while working. It didn’t become lose. Nothing on it became irritating. The straps didn’t cut into me. The leg line didn’t ride up where it isn’t wanted. It coped with my load of sweat.

I really liked how soft the fabric felt on me while I was working. Ballet is such hard work, it’s nice to wear something soft and smooth while doing it.

Do I recommend it?…

Yes, absolutely. I definitely recommend this leotard.

The Capezio Camisole Leotard…

You can find this leotard here: Camisole Leotard

Hope you enjoyed reading this review as much as I have enjoyed these products.

xxx Zoë

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Seriously. Shake it Off.

YOU ARE AWESOME.

YOU ARE JUST RIGHT.

YOU ARE ENOUGH.

Don’t worry about what other people say. Just be you. ‘Cause that’s what the world needs. Just you being you.

And to back me up on this concept I’ve recruited my fan-girl-crush Taylor to share her awesome words of truth.

P.S – Check out the video. It’s the outtakes of Taylor with the ballerinas shooting her video and it’s fabulous. I especially love seeing the ballerinas at the end of the clip shaking it off. Such a gorgeous pick-me-up.

Advice from Taylor:

I stay up too late, got nothing in my brain
That’s what people say mmm, that’s what people say mm
I go on too many dates, but I can’t make ’em stay
At least that’s what people say mmm, that’s what people say mmm

But I keep cruising, can’t stop, won’t stop moving
It’s like I got this music in my body and it’s gonna be alright

‘Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play
And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate
Baby, I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake
I shake it off, I shake it off
Heartbreakers gonna break, break, break, break, break
And the fakers gonna fake, fake, fake, fake, fake
Baby, I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake
I shake it off, I shake it off

I’ll never miss a beat, I’m lightning on my feet
And that’s what they don’t see mmm, that’s what they don’t see mmm
I’m dancing on my own (dancing on my own), I’ll make the moves up as I go (moves up as I go)
And that’s what they don’t know mmm, that’s what they don’t know mmm

But I keep cruising, can’t stop, won’t stop grooving
It’s like I got this music in my body saying it’s gonna be alright

‘Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play
And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate
Baby, I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake
I shake it off, I shake it off
Heartbreakers gonna break, break, break, break, break
And the fakers gonna fake, fake, fake, fake, fake
Baby, I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake
I shake it off, I shake it off

I, I shake it off, I shake it off
I, I shake it off, I shake it off
I, I shake it off, I shake it off
I, I shake it off, I shake it off

Hey, hey, hey, just think while you’ve been getting down and out about the liars and dirty, dirty cheats in the world you could have been getting down to this sick beat

My ex-man brought his new girlfriend
She’s like “oh my God”, but I’m just gonna shake it
And to the fella over there with the hella good hair
Won’t you come on over, baby, we can shake, shake, shake

‘Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play
And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate
Baby, I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake
I shake it off, I shake it off
Heartbreakers gonna break, break, break, break, break
And the fakers gonna fake, fake, fake, fake, fake
Baby, I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake
I shake it off, I shake it off

I, I shake it off, I shake it off
I, I shake it off, I shake it off
I, I shake it off, I shake it off
I, I shake it off, I shake it off
I shake it off, I shake it off
I, I shake it off, I shake it off
I, I shake it off, I shake it off
I, I shake it off, I shake it off

Big thanks to Taylor for having a personality independent of what other people think of her and for just generally rocking.

Take care everyone.

Bush xxx