The mind is powerful.

Jilissa often tells us, “The mind is more powerful than the body.”
Usually in the fact that our body will tell us we can’t do any more, but if we set our minds that we can, we will.
Yesterday, she took a slightly different approach.
We were doing a new move that I don’t remember the name of. It involves brushing through with the back foot, beating to the front, and closing in the back; all in one smooth movement. What we were doing was turning in our standing leg when we tried to brush the working leg. She asked us why. I answered without thinking, “because it feels like it’s in the way.” Normally, I wouldn’t answer. I wouldn’t want to look stupid. But I said it before I could think, and wouldn’t you know, it was the right answer for the analogy.
Our mind thinks our foot is in the way, when it really isn’t, so our mind is trying to tell us that we can’t do this move, or that it isn’t correct. That’s not the case.
We have to retrain our mind so that we can properly execute this move. We have to remind ourselves of what we know is true, even when it seems like it’s not right.

The first thing I thought of when she said this?
Romans 12:2
“Do not conform<span class="crossreference" style="background-color: white; font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(C)”> to the pattern of this world,<span class="crossreference" style="background-color: white; font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(D)”> but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.<span class="crossreference" style="background-color: white; font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(E)”> Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is<span class="crossreference" style="background-color: white; font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(F)”>—his good, pleasing<span class="crossreference" style="background-color: white; font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(G)”> and perfect will.”

Renew your mind.
Remind yourself of what is true, even when what’s around you is lies. very convincing lies.
Prove yourself wrong.
Just because you think it doesn’t mean it’s concrete.
Find what is. Remind yourself of that.
Don’t let go of it.

You’re only as good as your foundation.

Yesterday everyone seemed to be off on their pirouettes and plies. So, of course, Jilissa worked with us on them.
She went on to tell us the importance of getting a good plie to be able to get around in your turns, or get distance in your traveling steps. If you don’t push into the ground, then you won’t be able to do things the way they were intended. We often just keep our heels off the ground–whether it be out of laziness, the tempo being too quick for us, forgetting, or any other number of excuses. It doesn’t matter.
We’re only as good as our plie.
The plie is the foundation of these moves. If the foundation is shaky, everything else is affected.

Where is your foundation?
Is it in people? Only to get shaken when they fail you and let you down?
Is it in your ability? Only to crack when you find yourself inevitably falling short?
Is it in things? Dependent upon creations that eventually malfunction?

Or is it in Christ Jesus? The One who will never fail us. The One who never leaves us. The One who wants us to succeed more than we want to. Our Peace, our Protector, our Joy, our Motivation, our Deliverer.
If you build your foundation on the solid Rock, then you’re sure to stand. You won’t be shaken when everything around you seems to crumble.
Your foundation will be sure, and upon it you can glide beautifully through all the other moves life has.

Pointe Shoes.

I got my first pair of pointe shoes today.
Now that I’m not in the store, I’m becoming more and more nervous, so I’m leaving them in their bag and box until Thursday’s class when Jilissa can see them.
I may just be psyching myself out.
The lady who fitted me pointed out that I’m missing the second knuckle in my last three toes on my left foot.
I just laughed.
Of course, there’s gonna be some sort of complication.
Hasn’t that been the air of my entire ballet “career”?
The wreck
The arthritis
The physical therapy
The fevers
The sickness I’m still battling and don’t understand.
The scheduling
Not to mention all the hurdles at the beginning:
Pigeon-toed
Taught incorrectly
Mixing front and reversed movements interchangeably
No knowledge of vocabulary
Overwhelming anxiety
Doubt and everything else mental that can come ones way.
What’s a few short toes on one foot?

Then she told me something I hope I never forget.
“You know what all that tells me? That you’re a fighter.”
She continued on and pointed out how hard I’ve worked to get where I am, and with that tenacity, I’ll always meet my goals, I can always succeed.
So, I’ll hold to these words, as I build new callouses and learn new things. As I have pain I inevitably will have to work through. As things seem questionable, as I struggle. I will fight.
And the fight will be worth it.

Perfection.

Jilissa made a good point in class yesterday.

“You’re never going to be perfect.”
She’s right.
No matter how hard we try, it is physically impossible to be absolutely perfect.
She followed it up with this,
“So, if you can’t be perfect, you might as well enjoy what you’re doing. You might as well have fun!”
She also added,
“Just because you can never be perfect doesn’t mean you shouldn’t strive for perfection.”
I think there’s a scripture about this. I tried finding it, but I don’t remember what it is.
But it proves it’s point.

Ballet is all about perfection. It’s about technique, it’s about specifics, it’s about being exact. And no matter how close to perfection someone may get, they’re never going to be fully perfect. There will always be room for improvement. There will always be new things to learn and tweak.
So don’t beat yourself up if you can’t get it exactly right every time.

But, this doesn’t give us excuse to be lazy.
Even though perfection is impossible, we should still strive to be our best. Why would we want to do anything half way? And honestly, even if you don’t have everything exact, as long as you love what you do, it’s going to show. People are going to enjoy watching that.

In dance, as in life,
Perfection doesn’t matter, having heart does.

lately.

Yesterday was a pretty rough day for me health-wise.
I started feeling pretty sick, and wasn’t sure how I would be able to hold up in dance class.
Not gonna lie, I considered skipping.
But I love it so much that I figured I’d go, and if I had to take it easy or bow out early, I’d do that.
I’d rather do what I can than not try at all.

Jilissa is still out of town, so we had another sub.
I’m assuming by the turn out yesterday that Thursdays are going to be our slower days again.
Honestly, I’m okay with that.
It took me a little bit to endure through the icky feelings. My knee held up alright until pointe class, but the pain didn’t last long. Honestly, all the stretching and working of the muscles felt good.

We only had about ten people in the Beginner/Intermediate class, five in pointe, and only two of us in advanced. Granted, some of the dance staples were out of town, but even so some of them have a schedule conflict with Tap.

I was pretty excited that advanced was only two of us. And that the other one was Sarah Miller was better still. She’s better than me, but it’s still a level I can keep up with. I loved getting the exposure and being able to try new things. Also since there were only two of us, Christy was able to focus on us more and correct more things. We were able to fine tune and learn a months worth in one class.
I left there feeling like I could conquer anything. Like I can still succeed in class. Like all this work and effort is paying off.
I’m excited to see where this semester goes.

On Wednesday, I got a sneak peek of what the advertisement is going to look like for the dance festival the studio puts on. They used my pictures and it looks AWESOME.
I’m so excited 🙂

Get Dedicated.

If you’ve been following this blog, you’ll know that My goal is to get on pointe. Not just get on pointe, but to eventually succeed on pointe. I started back in dance at the age of 23 with the goal of getting on pointe by 25–two years.
Now, in the moment, two years seemed like forever and felt impossible. Almost as if it would never get here. It felt as though I wanted it so badly that there’s no way it was possible.
I was scared.
I was taught wrong, pigeon-toed, hyper extended, (without knowing how to use it.) had no knowledge of the actual ballet terminology–in short, I was in way over my head.
But, you have to start somewhere.
I kept going, despite getting in a car accident a few weeks after my first class.
Despite being diagnosed with arthritis in my knee.
Despite physical therapy sessions.
Despite doctors telling me my foot isn’t broken, but I should probably stay off of it.
Despite sunburns and fevers.
I kept going.

Last September, I told Jilissa about my goal. I asked her if she thought it was possible. Her reaction made it clear that I’ll have to work hard if I want to try and make that goal. I was able to get into two classes a week, helping me accelerate. I looked up dance videos, I practiced, I started walking after work with a lilttle cardio mixed in to try and at least do something more.
After summer’s first class, Jilissa issued us a challenge of sorts. Telling us directly that she wouldn’t put me up on pointe if we didn’t plie, keep our heels down, and get our spot down.
Challenge accepted.
I worked hard. Coming in early to practice pique turns, stretching extra, standing turned out whenever I can. Anything I could think of.
I started looking into a gym membership, but I was clueless about what to do when I got there, where to go, etc. I asked Sarah T for some help with this since she was doing a ballet boot camp with us. She recommended a gym and helped give me the confident nudge I needed.
I got a membership and started going every day that I could after work.

I knew our last class of summer was really important. We needed to show improvement if we wanted any hope of getting on pointe in the fall. Make it or break it time.
Of course, this was the day that my equilibrium was thrown off. I couldn’t seem to get a spot to save my life, even though I knew I had before. And even if I wasn’t getting it exactly, I was definitely improved. But was it enough?
I had mentally prepared myself that I may have to wait until January. What about my bucket list? I guess it would still be okay because I would be 25. It could still count, right?
At the end of the pointe class, Jilissa looked around the class and said, “Before we end class, I need to see Hannah, Isla.” about a second and a half passed and my mind raced with a million thoughts and emotions. This was it. This is the moment. This is the moment it all has boiled down to. I had no clue what would happen.
I was numb.
“…and Emilee. The rest of y’all, if you’re not staying for advanced, have a great break and we’ll see you in two weeks!”

She said my name. Oh my gosh, she said my name.
You would have thought I had auditioned for a leading role in a prestigious company or something. And even thought we hadn’t been told what she wanted to see us for, we all knew.
Or at least, we hoped.
“We’re going to be gone for two weeks. Then we have two weeks before labor day. Those two weeks, I want y’all to stay on flat shoes to get you back into the swing of things. But before labor day, I’ll give y’all your permission slips to get your pointe shoes.”
We all tried to contain our excitement. Act cool, girls. Just act cool.
“Now don’t just do nothing these two weeks. You don’t want to lose everything you’ve worked so hard for this summer. Do your releves, degeges, your toe exercises. Make sure you’re stretching every day. Every day.”

We thanked her and went into the hallway where everyone else was.
Then we freaked out with excitement.

I did it.
I did it.
I made my goal.
My hard work paid off.

I know it’s gonna be painful, I know the work and dedication has just begun.
But I did it.
And we get our permission slips 2 weeks before my 25th birthday.
I did it.

Motivation. Dedication. Hard work. Lots of sweat and tears.
The Lord showing me life lessons all along the way. Showing me that I am capable of doing this. That He is in me and that makes me able. That the Holy Spirit is inside of me and He is the author of all creativity. Therefore, I could do this simply because of Him being in me.

It’s a wonderful thing.

I am so excited.
I just want to keep improving. I want to get better. I want more flexibility, more strength, more improvement.

This is just the beginning.