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Mental Tools:

Reframing

Dark Times

To the Bad Girl Ballerinas out there who are hurting, this is for you:

Anytime you are ripped from your normal, comfortable life, whether through a breakup, a death, the loss of a job, an injury that prevents you from dancing, it can feel utterly gut-wrenching & heartbreaking.

Until you discover there is new life on the other side of that pain.

It's not always what you expect or what your ego wants...but it's usually exactly what you need to get to your next level of living.

Trust that the pain can give way to pleasure if you are open to the infinite possibilities in this life. Let the depth of experiences & emotions remind you that you are alive.

"...rupture often leads to rapture."

~ Christiane Northrup, M.D. (Goddesses Never Age)

As dancers, we are so used to being in control. Or, at least we have the perception of being in control. We control our technique through countless repetition in class and rehearsal. We control our bodies through strict dietary practices. We even control our social lives through rigid planning and calculated indulgences. We value consistency, order, and logistics.

So when some event, person, or thing comes along that throws you off balance and upsets that order...it can be quite a shock. In fact, it can be devastating. You thought you had everything under control...you thought you had everything figured out...but now this...

It can seem unfair, undeserved, unjust, and utterly disorienting. Your first instinct is to fear that you've failed. You've fallen behind and are somehow worse off than ever before. All the hard, diligent work you've done up until now has been lost and completely cancelled out. You've hit rock bottom, ground zero, and you'll have to start all over again.

You may have to start over - but not from zero...just with fresh new life. None of your past is lost, this is just your chance to walk uncharted territory and gain a fresh perspective on life.

When you are up against an identity changing crisis or obstacle, you just have to take comfort in knowing change is inevitable and a part of life. The more you fight it, the harder it will be for you to move on. Yes it's going to hurt...to the point of seeming almost unbearable at times. But sometimes the most exquisite beauty can come from the nastiest pain. It might take a few years or decades even to get on the other side of that pain...but it will come. And when that beauty manifests, you will see the pain as a necessary part of your growth.

In the meantime, let yourself appreciate your depth of experiences & emotions. You don't have to like the pain, and it will not be fun. But simply recognize it for what it is. Let it serve as a reminder that you are alive, that you are learning, that you are growing. Embrace the struggle, stay strong, and I'll see you on the other side.

Photo credit: Steve Vaccariello

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