You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Hope & Inspiration’ category.
For the past few weeks I’ve been taking an “Intro to Ballet” class. The course is 5 weeks long, meeting every Saturday, at the Maryland Youth Ballet. This is my second go ‘round with taking the class and now I’ve added “Beginning Ballet” 1-2 per week. I love taking theses classes! Not only is ballet beautiful but what I love the most is that it helps me to SLOW DOWN and focus on one beautiful thing—my body in poised, elongated and sustained movement.
I tend to think, work, walk and move at a fairly rapid pace—all the time (SN: I do everything rapidly except eat; I’m such a terribly slower eater). It’s nice to change that up and get a reasonable workout at the same time. What I’ve learned though, as I’ve added these additional classes during the week, is that the technique of ballet is WAY MORE intense than I thought. Initially my thinking was, “Oh, I’ve done modern and African dance before. I can just transfer those skills into ballet. Give ‘em a little modification and I’ll be fine. No prob.” (le sigh) Then I cashed in that reality check.
Ballet is quite unique unto itself and requires a great deal of concentration (for me anyway) on so many things at once: posture, carriage, turnout, pointed toes, tucked bottom, straight knees, square pelvis, …wait, are my arms in the right position? And, what’s the pas again? (…) Simple things such as body weight and placement are so completely different in ballet than it is in modern, African, or hip-hop—the forms of dance that I am much more familiar with, and it all must be performed while wearing a cheerful countenance and making it appear effortless. How fun!
Lol. No, seriously, it is fun and I’m enjoying it immensely. Even when I don’t perform all of the movements correctly or my arms are in the wrong position, I can still find joy and beauty in the experience. I appreciate all that my body has done and continues to do for me as I age (yes, I’m at the point where those thoughts creep into my mind). For example, I’m thankful for the strength that comes from my legs AND for the need to focus on toning my thighs to improve my technique. I love the gorgeous lines created by my legs in sous sous (demi pointe) AND I realize the added stress placed on my knees when holding some of these positions.
I’m so very thankful to still have full range of motion and the ability to keep growing. I relish the challenge of using my body in a different way in a mixed-gender dance space that’s overflowing with dancers of all ages and varying body types, ethnicities, abilities, and motivations to explore ballet.
It’s a wonderful, exhilarating feeling.
Marie Claire’s @ChimeForChange video is such a huge inspiration. Not only does it promote positive, effective use of social media to connect women and girls around the world, but it also encourages women and girls to use their voice for change: education, health, justice. Here are some quotes from the video:
Social media is definitely a fantastic door. – Salma Hayek
You can spread messages that lead to a revolution. – Arianna Huffington
Women have a voice; they have a voice that can’t be stopped. – Jada Pinkett Smith
Over the years, the best thing that has happened for me is that I decided to mentor other advocates within the movement to end violence against women and girls, and I chose to be mentored myself by other fierce, thoughtful, influential, and ambitious women. We cannot sustain ourselves within this crisis-oriented and trauma-related work by being an island unto ourselves. I strongly encourage anyone to build professional and personal mentoring relationships that will help nurture their professional progress and growth as a human being.
Having a mentor, or group of mentors, provides space to hear and learn from others that have YOUR best interests at heart; that can teach you new skills; that can expose you to networking opportunities; and that can help you strategize and understand how to navigate the politics of feminist work and movement building. Mentoring someone else helps you realize your own resilience, shows you that you have more to teach and share than maybe you thought you did, and oftentimes, it can help remind you of why you remain committed to this work.
Experiencing a mentor relationship can significantly increase the chance for each of us shine, present our best, do our best, be successful, and experience the desires of our hearts. Seek one out today!
One celebrity worth celebrating
Kerry Washington: Quintessential Renaissance Woman – A woman that passionately pursues all endeavors with intensity, who embraces all that she is and uses her culture as inspiration.
Since the movie, Our Song, I’ve loved Kerry. I love that she has been active in the movement to end violence against women and girls, that she campaigned to help the President win re-election, and that she continues to push boundaries in fashion, film, and TV.
She rocked on the Katie Couric show (in her fabulous red pumps and One Billion Rising tee!) as she talked about her role on the hit TV series Scandal, the controversial movie Django Unchained in which she played the lovely Broomhilda Von Shaft waiting to be saved, and about V-Day’s Movement: One Billion Rising being held on February 14 to say no to violence against women and girls.
Watch it all here!
4 Sources of inspiration
- Remembering my roots. I come from very humble beginnings. No matter how accomplished I may become, I carry with me the hardworking ethics and values of a poor, working class family background. The picture above is the house and land I grew up on.
- People who speak up on behalf of women and girls. I’ve been blessed with a mother that is giving, loving, and welcoming to those in need. Her spirit of helping others, especially her desire to see young girls do better, continues to shape my life choices.
- Women-owned start-ups. Starting my own non-profit has long been a dream of mine. I admire women that are able to find their passion, have a vision, and nurture it into a thriving business. One day I’ll be counted among those amazing women.
- Well-written words.
3 Books on my winter reading list
- Start Something that Matters by Blake Mycoskie
- Black Cool by Rebecca Walker
- Cupcakes and Cashmere by Emily Schuman