Coming Home to Our Life

I stand at the barre during my friend Rosa's ballet class. 

And Rosa is a superb teacher. 

She does not want you to look like Margot Fonteyn or Mikhail Baryshnikov. Rosa wants you to look like you. 

It doesn't matter what anyone else is doing, she tells us. Listen to your knees. Listen to your back, your body. Listen, she is saying, to yourself. 

So we demi plié and grand plié. My ankles can barely turn out, my feet can barely arch. The rest of the class pliés beautifully down to the floor and I do the very small bend my legs and back allow. Which is okay; I feel at home in my little movements. It's a rare moment of being in agreement with my body. 

And as we move from first position to third position, I think it would be wonderful to have a Rosa voice on our shoulder out in the wild of the world. Reminding us, again and again, It doesn't matter what the others are doing. Your job, hard though it may be, is to listen to your own self. 

Which is like a homecoming, isn't it? Our work isn't to live like her or him or anyone else. Our work is to live like us. To listen to what our life is telling us. And to act in agreement with it. 

Class ends. I thank Rosa, tell her she's superb. She returned me a little more to myself. And there are few better things than being at home with yourself in the wild of our world. 

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Caitie Whelan