Friday, October 5, 2012

Ballet and Perspective

This morning, I woke up angry.  I don't know why, and I don't think the "why" matters.  It happens to all of us, I guess.  I was tired.  I was feeling burned out and stressed out and just plain tapped out.  And yes, anything and everything that could go wrong did, not only because I burned breakfast and had a coffee explosion and was dealing with a finicky dog and a traffic jam and a late arrival at work all before 9am, but because I simply woke up, as they say, "on the wrong side of the bed."

I don't know about you, but on days when I feel like that, I realize (once I calm myself and gain some perspective) that it wasn't really about "everything going wrong" so much as it was about my looking for things to support my bad mood and confirm it.  Yet the reality is - my Keurig isn't evil and my oven doesn't have it in for me.  My dog, challenging though he can be, bases his behavior on meeting his needs, and not some sinister plot to destroy me.  I can laugh about it now, this overblown sense that such minutiae really does signal the end of the world, but going through a morning like that can sometimes set the tone for the entire day.  If I let it. So there is some personal intention in "bad days" - the way we label them, the way we often revel in staying stuck in them, even in the way we often curl so comfortably inside our own familiar misery and refuse to come out.

But today when I got to work, there was a link to a Youtube video on my Facebook page.  It was of a little girl named Clara Bergs doing ballet.  Though I don't often watch the endless videos and movie clips that hit my various social media platforms every day, there was something striking about the look on this child's face - it was intense and inviting - so I clicked "play."  What struck me immediately was that little Clara was not just doing ballet the way most ten year-old little girls do ballet in their living rooms.  She was literally mirroring the choreography of a professional ballerina dancing the title role in Copelia.  What's more, Clara suffers from autism and the genetic disorder DiGeorge Syndrome and has spent her short life so far beating all medical odds about her predetermined capabilities.  She was so graceful, her movements so precisely times with the professional on the television screen that it was as if they were working together.  And I believe, in Clara's mind, that is precisely what they were doing.

As I watched, I felt my mood shift from the anger and exhaustion I had felt less than an hour before to something like contentment.  Inspiration.  Perspective.  And it wasn't about comparative pain, or about chastising myself for feeling my feelings or allowing myself to acknowledge my desire to hide away from the world for a day rather than face it.  It was about seeing such pure, uncomplicated beauty in a little girl whose life, at times, must be indescribably complicated and scary and challenging beyond belief.  I wish I could thank this little girl for reminding me, with her graceful love of something outside herself, that no matter what, your day - and your life - is really what you make it.

Thank you, beautiful little Clara.

Until next time,
~ Hasky

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