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Choices We CAN Make

Just wanted to say…

You are so worth every bit of luscious love and care you can muster up and give to yourself. You are you. And that is gorgeously right. 🙂 

There are so many decisions that life makes for us, that we have no control over. So I think it is so important that we take the time to think about what satisfies us in life.

At some point our journeys are going to end. Not much we can do about that. But we can do quite a bit to create satisfaction while our journeys are still operational! Take the time to ask yourself if you are happy with how things are, and if you are not, then ask yourself if there is anything you can do to change that. There may be some tiny little moment in your day that you can tweak that will make all the difference. Or you may realise that you want to make drastic changes. 

Make sure you are giving yourself the best chance at happiness. Make sure you are choosing for you.

I don’t mean this in a fluffy, life can be perfect if you just think positively enough, kind of way. But I do believe we are all making choices every single day that have results one way of the other.

Whether they are small or big, they are still our own choices to make and they still have outcomes that you create.

P.S: Obviously I know like throws upon us, different challenges, some seemingly impossible ones. This message was just about the choices we CAN make.

🙂

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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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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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The Nutcracker, My First Ballet, an Amazing Gift, a Night to Remember and a Big Thankyou

I don’t really even know how to begin writing this post. I never thought I would be writing this post. I am still in shock about what has happened over the last four days. I keep mentally pinching myself…

When I wake up — “Did that really just happen?”

While I’m making tea — “Did that really just happen?”

As I’m writing this blog post — “Did that REALLY just happen?”

Better fill you all in, huh? Okay, so here is what really just happened…

I had written my last blog post about how I had finally, after many failed attempts, managed to get a ticket to see Queensland Ballet’s The Nutcracker. I had only been able to buy one ticket and it was for two night’s time. This meant my girls and hubby weren’t going to be coming with me, but I decided to try and get over that as at least I was going to get there. I was going to see my first live ballet!

Needless to say, that night and the next day I was a little excited. It was a big shopping and appointment day in town for us, but I hummed along on my ballet buzz.

We busily tried to organise everything, where we would sleep, what time we would leave (as it is a five hour drive for us to get there) and what the hubby would do with the girls while I was seeing the ballet. We knew the girls would have to have a pretty special night out with dad to make up for missing the ballet, so we decided on a Daddy/Daughters date night.

Something that was so beautiful to me was my daughters’ attitude to it all. They heard that I was going to the ballet and they didn’t even ask if they were going as well. Not once. They just got super excited for me. They jumped up and down on our lounges and ran around like crazy creatures squealing that their mum was going to the ballet. They asked me what I was going to wear and suggested that we go ballet clothing shopping for me the next day. They wanted to help me choose the outfit. They took a photo of me holding my ticket up. And they got themselves excited about their daddy/daughter date.

I couldn’t stop thinking about how this amazing thing was happening.

Then, something amazing-er happened….

On Thursday afternoon I got a message from Queensland Ballet. They had heard that I was going to see The Nutcracker, and were excited for me, but they didn’t want me going on my own, they wanted my hubby and girls to come with me, and wanted to offer me the purchase of four tickets that I wouldn’t have been otherwise able to get. Four tickets, all together, so that we could ALL go to the ballet!

I’m going to be honest now. As I read that message from Queensland Ballet, I cried. I became a blubbering mess. It just felt like such a kind gesture from them, and I was blown away that thought of doing that for me. For us.

So, now we were all going to the ballet. My girls were besides themselves with excitement and Dave was thrilled as well.

More planning. More chaos.

The next day we were off. Off to see The Nutcracker five days before Christmas. Our very own Christmas miracle.

We took our camper-bus so we could stay by the beach somewhere on the way back. It was a long drive up but no-one complained. We were all on top of the world.

We got to Brisbane a little later than we would have liked. Quickly got changed into our up-dos and hailed a cab. We arrived at the Playhouse Theatre at 6.30, an hour before the performance started. I popped over to the Box Office and picked up our tickets.

I couldn’t hold back the smile that crept onto my face when I looked down at those tickets in my hand. Four tickets to the ballet. Bliss.

We went for a riverside walk. Grabbed some food. Watched a group of hip hop and break dancers practising their stuff, and as we walked back towards the theatre we were blessed with two amazing buskers, one singing beautiful opera pieces and another playing the cello. Bliss.

We got back to the theatre. The bells rang. The girls looked at me with glistening, hopeful eyes, and I nodded that it was time to take our seats. Their faces filled with Christmas-morning-esq joy.

At this point I still didn’t know exactly where our seats were. I knew we were in the stalls, and in the back row. But I didn’t know which side we were on.

Turns out we weren’t on any side. Our seats were smack bang in the centre of the back row. (We had the lighting/technical control guys in the booth right behind us.)

The Playhouse theatre isn’t huge, so we weren’t a long way back from the stage. It was awesome. An amazing view. And as I sat down in my seat I thought to myself: “Is this really happening?”

That thought was quickly interrupted by my eldest daughter whispering hysterically that Li Cunxin (Mao’s Last Dancer) was sitting six rows in front of us. I looked, and there he was. Someone who’s story often inspires me to believe, despite restrictions, was right there, about to watch the same live ballet as me.

Damn, could this night get any better?

I love the rumble of the audience in a theatre before lights down. There’s an energy to it that just envelops you and makes the silence that follows it all the more tangible.

So the conversational rumble rumbled. The lights dimmed. Silence fell.

And right in that darkened moment of anticipatory silence, at exactly the same time, the daughter on my right grabbed my hand and the daughter on my left grabbed my shoulder.

They were gripped to what might follow. And what followed didn’t disappoint. Not. One. Bit.

This being my first ballet, I realise that I have no other experiences to draw comparisons from, but I LOVED this ballet! The Nutcracker story is a wonderful one for both adults and children alike. The choreographer, Ben Stevenson, purposely put a lot of humour into this one and I think it paid off. It was very cute, funny and clever.

But it was also very beautiful. My eldest daughter and I both cried during the Snow Queen pas de deux — WAS SO BEAUTIFUL!

The flower dance was beautiful. Amazing costumes! So pretty.

When the Sugar Plum Fairy entered the stage I felt myself take a deep breath. I have heard so much about this role and I have seen it on youtube etc. and the music is always so touching. I heard myself thinking that I was about to finally see this role and hear this music performed live. She started to dance. I started to cry again.

Does it sound like I enjoyed myself, yet? 😉

I loved it all.

If I had to pick a favourite part it would be the Sugar Plum Fairy pas de deux. The choreography moved me. The music moved me. I held my breath at times watching this one.

It was over before we wanted it to be. I could have sat there all night. (A ballet marathon — someone should get onto that idea!)

It was such an amazing night. We were the last to leave the and I was already thinking about when we could come back.

I was also thinking, as I sat, looking at the lowered curtains, how I could possibly describe how this night — this whole experience — had made me feel. I wondered how I could put that into words.

We left the theatre. Walked down the steps and out onto the street. Back into the real world. And my eldest daughter said, with awe in her voice: “Wow, mum, I feel so transcended after seeing that!”

That’s how you put it into words.

I don’t know who it was, specifically within Queensland Ballet, that thought of and approved the idea of offering us those amazing tickets, but I want to thank you anyway. What you did was more than just thoughtful.

You transcended us. You transcended us from the menial, and from the difficult struggles we have faced this year.

Thank you.

We also realised that we need regular transcending and have noted the opening date of Romeo and Juliet next year. 😉

The whole thing was a beautiful, amazing, memory blazing night. It ended with us parked next to the ocean at 1.30am. The girls were tucked up, sweet-d
reaming in the bus. And hubby and I drinking tea outside, under the stars. Both of us thinking — “Did that really just happen?”

Luckily I have these pics to prove that it did 🙂 …

BB

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Hold the Phone… I'm Going to the Ballet!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

OMG, I almost can’t breathe! Actually… I’m truly not breathing right. Let me breathe for a sec…

Okay, breath back. So after just publishing my last post on my failed attempts to get tickets to see The Nutcracker at QLD Ballet, I decided (because I am either an eternal optimist or a glutton for punishment) to try again.

There was a ticket. But this time there was only one ticket left and it was for the evening performance in two days time….

AND I GOT IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OMG! I’m going to the ballet! And I’m going to see Teri Crilly dance it, too!

Before making the purchase I was very nervous about going solo to my first ballet, but my darling husband gave me the nudge along. And miraculously our dodgy rural internet connection fired up nicely and got me through the checkout. Which means I’m going to the ballet on Friday night! OMG!

Will be sad that my girls and hubby can’t come but we will take them to see the Christmas windows while we’re in Brisbane and then they will have a Daddy-Daughters date at the movies while I do The Nutcracker. 

Did I mention that I’m going to the ballet? Did I mention I’m going to see The Nutcracker?!? Holy macks! I can’t believe it. I don’t even know if I got a decent seat. It is in the Balcony. I have no idea what that even means. But who cares? I would swing from the ceiling if it meant seeing the ballet live!

Wait… did I just say that out loud? I’m “seeing the ballet live”? Cannot. Believe. It. 

What am I supposed to wear? OMG, OMG!

Dreams are coming true on Friday night. How beautiful is that. Here is a photo of me with my printed-off ticket to The Nutcracker!

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P.S, apologies for the annoying amount of OMG’s in this post but it is kind of an OMG moment, right?

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Me and The Nutcracker Ballet

Some will remember a while back I wrote about my plan to get to the Queensland Ballet’s The Nutcracker at the end of the year and my plans to get to the Brisbane Bloch store at the same time.

I was going to get to see my first ever live ballet AND buy a pair of ballet shoes that actually fit, on the same day. It was going to be awesome. It was going to be my end of year treat. It was going to be an insanely amazing experience.

We didn’t get to buy tickets before the show sold out, so we were relying on last minute ticket sales, but I wasn’t too worried because I was told by QLD Ballet that tickets would keep coming up, and they did.

Unfortunately most times the tickets came up, I either wasn’t home to access the internet and purchase them (or able to call and purchase) or I was sick and not online at the time.

I wouldn’t mind any of this too much. I mean, I am devastated that my perfect end to the year isn’t going to happen, but that’s okay. That is seriously a first world problem.

But something I do mind, something that I am very peeved about is that twice during this period of frenzied online ticket purchase, I have lost tickets because of our slow rural internet connection. I mean that I have jumped online, seen the available last minute tickets, chosen the time, selected the seats, had said tickets in my QPAC website shopping cart and been trying to get through the checkout, but failed to do so within the allocated timeframe because of our slow rural internet connection — and lost the tickets.

The second time this happened was today. There are only a few days left of the performance and I thought for sure there would be no more tickets becoming available, but I checked anyway — and there were tickets! AMAZING! There were only two tickets, which wasn’t ideal as I wanted my hubby and girls to come with me, but I was desperate by this stage. I was just going to buy the tickets and then deal with logistics later. Turns out, this wasn’t going to be an issue, as I lost the tickets in my cart, again, due to our internet not loading fast enough through the checkout. Can you believe that? Argh!

I’m very disappointed. It feels unfair — yes, I can hear the tiny violin playing too 😉

In any case, this trip won’t be happening. I’m sure we’ll get there next year. And I’m sure it will be an insanely amazing experience when we do.

I do want to thank QLD Ballet for helping to clarify the whole last minute tickets thing for me. And company dancer in The Nutcracker, Teri Crilly, for notifying me, via twitter, on some occasions when tickets became available. That was amazingly generous. (Not that they read this blog, but you know, putting it out there anyway.)

I look forward to getting up to see a QLD Ballet performance, and hopefully something Teri is in, too. And I will be sure to tell everyone ALL about it when it happens!

For now, as long as my end of year treat is with my family, all is well. 🙂

BB

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The Nutcracker and a Bloch Store

Something odd struck me yesterday. Despite my current immersion in ballet, I haven’t actually stepped inside a dancewear shop in 26 years, and I have never been to the ballet. How very un-ballet-ish, of me. Something must change. And something is going to change…

This December I will be doing both, on the same day! I will be seeing The Queensland Ballet’s The Nutcracker AND I will be visiting the Brisbane Bloch store to stock up on ballet stuffs. That is going to be an AMAZING day, I feel as though I literally cannot wait, although I know I have to. 

Has anyone else seen The Nutcracker? What company did you see it performed by? What did you think? Any favourite moments?

As a child my dancewear was always bought from Bloch (I know, I know, poor me), and living in the inner city of Sydney, our closest Bloch shop was in the Queen Victoria Building. Visiting that Bloch store was like visiting some magic place, full of inspiration. Everyone who entered was already hoping and dreaming, but after a visit to Bloch, as they were leaving, they were hoping and dreaming a little harder. Well, at least, that’s how it always felt to me. 

When I started my journey into beginner ballet, I danced in socks, a tee-shirt and some winter tights I had, for the first few weeks. I wanted my focus to remain on what my body was doing correctly or incorrectly, not how pretty I looked.

About three weeks ago I decided to upgrade my ballet gear. I bought a pair of ballet shoes, a leotard and some tights online (not from Bloch). Wasn’t a great experience and I will wait until I can shop in person before buying more gear. 

I have checked out the Bloch ballet flats and I’m so excited to see which pair ends up feeling perfect for my feet. Will it be the stretchy Zenith, the leather Prolite II, the Pump canvas, or the Pro Elastic canvas? I like the outer feel of leather, but I am enticed by the idea of a canvas shoe that wraps snugly onto my foot, so I may go with canvas if that feels a lot better. I’m interested in anything that enables a lot of foot motion and I want a split sole. Picky much? lol.

These are the Bloch ballet flats I have been looking at: http://www.bloch.com.au/72-womens-ballet-flats

THIS IS THE BALLET I WILL BE SEEING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Don’t worry, I promise to be more cool, calm and collected on the night. Okay, that’s not entirely true. I promise to TRY to be more calm and collected. I expect I will probably be shaking in my boots from excitement and nervousness. OMG I hope I don’t get NPS (nervous peeing syndrome)? Where you get so nervous that you suddenly need to pee as soon as something begins! Um … awkward. Just kidding! Sort of. 

The Queensland Ballet’s The Nutcracker, here: http://ballet2013.com.au/shows/the-nutcracker/

So, Bloch Brisbane and Queensland Ballet — see you in December! 

Gotta go pee now….