Tuesday, October 17th 2017

Life is a ballet


BY VICKI WOODYARD — Life is a ballet, and although it looks and feels beautiful at times our toes are bleeding and we wake in the night with muscle cramps. All of this strenuous work creates beauty and it is well worth the effort. I have never danced as hard as when my small daughter was fighting cancer. She took ballet at the age of five although she had a large muscle missing from her right leg. It contained the tumor that had to be removed.

I had to stand on the sidelines and grimace as she tried to do what the healthy little girls were doing. She was thin as a rail and white as a sheet, but she persevered because what little girl doesn’t love ballet? I myself was going through beautiful motions of love for her, trying to give her a normal life until she died. It was well worth it. Our Swan Lake was the real thing and when all of the curtain calls had been taken, she never returned.

Many years have gone by since her death and I am still writing about it. I have let go of her but the lessons learned are still bearing fruit. I have learned to trust beauty, whether it is of the heart, body or soul. It is truth in motion and it requires immense effort.

I have no doubt but that the ballet of life has a master choreographer. Someone who knows who is wearing the new tutus and pink slippers; someone who trusts that the music will be sweet and that the slippers are well-resined before the performance. I never see Swan Lake without being moved.

The real can never be taken from us, but the illusion is poignant indeed. Every year there are new dancers in the cast and in the beginning it seems that nothing will come together at the right time. Certainly as I danced through my daughter’s cancer over a period of three years, I often sat on the floor and wept — but I always got back up and played my part.

I followed the doctors’ instructions to give her a normal life. That included her dancing, wincing and triumphing. Her teacher, of course, fell in love with her, as did all who came to know her brave spirit.

Love knows the steps that it must take in the ballet of life.

Vicki is a spiritual teacher and writer who lives in Atlanta. Visit Vicki’s website here for many more articles and meditations.

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4 Comments on “Life is a ballet”

  1. Vicki,

    I have been considering recently, as a matter of fact, what an awkward stomping about my particular steps in life can be at times. "Learn grace. Tread more lightly," I wrote to myself in my journal. "Learn a quiet heart." It is, it seems, my own way of praying. Thank you for writing and sharing about the ballet your little daughter's life was and that yours still is...and the dance that you somehow still dance together. Thank you for the reminder of your trust in beauty; and for the reminder that we all wake with those muscle cramps from time to time, trying to keep up with the dance. That's our humanity, isn't it? Thank you for lending your bit of grace.



  2. I talk about love knowing what steps to take in the dance of life. Ego never knows; it delivers one clunker, one turkey, after another. But should it get out of the way, and only love can accomplish this, the ballet of life is sheer ecstacy. Oh, there are tears and fears and physical pains, but the love itself soars above all of that. It is the elixir of healing.

  3. Hi Vicki,

    That was a beautiful piece.

    What you wrote certainly rang true and is timely for me. I'm in a period of transition, needing to find a direction, with multiple people involved in and affected by my decision-making. I'm learning--as you wrote--to trust, to let things unfold, learning that "love knows."

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts.


  4. Dear Vicki,

    I really admire the way you manage to "tell it the way it is" in a heartfelt way - whilst realising that, at all times, that the ballet is taking place on / in the stage of Awareness itself..

    It's great that your style of writing can touch others without leaving them "stuck" in the pain.

    Much Love,

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