Monday, July 18, 2011

The Ballerina...

The story of this quilt is starting to take further shape in my heart.  

I wasn't quite clear on why a ballerina until I finished her up.  

When I start a project I usually have a pretty good idea why I picked the subject matter I did, but this quilt is different.  (This seems to be a recurring theme with this quilt - it is different from the quilts that have come before it. It has come to represent a new way of doing things - a new potential.)

I woke up and knew this quilt had to come immediately.  I knew all the pieces of the puzzle and elements I wanted, but the why's I didn't know.  

When I start working on a piece I already have a pretty good idea of what I'm going to walk away from it knowing about myself, but all the personal contemplation still comes.  I usually have an idea of what part of myself needs a little work and attention.

I started this quilt without giving the first real thought to why I would want a swan or a ballerina.  It wasn't until after the stencils were done that I gave any real thought to the swan or the ballerina.  

The swan imagery made sense quickly.  

I started reading about swans in mythology and why I would be drawn to the imagery.

I couldn't connect with the ballerina. 

I just knew it had to be a ballerina.

But why?

Then, I saw the movie Black Swan and I almost decided to not make a ballerina.  The pressure of being a ballerina was just too much.  

Each time I sat with it trying to figure out what to do in place of it - if anything - nothing came.  

It HAD to be a ballerina.

Now I know why I had to persevere and make one.  Her imagery makes sense to me after spending a week piecing her together and forcing myself to think about it.

Ballerina's are graceful.  

They are beautiful.  

They look like angels when they dance and they work SO hard to look like the air carries them across the dance floor.  

They never stop striving to be better dancers.  

They dance because they have to.

But there is that dark side of being a ballerina.  

It is hard on the body.  

It is hard on the mind.  

It is a difficult practice to be a ballerina.  

There is a commonality of everyone looking the same.  

The dance moves don't change.  

The practice remains the same, yet somehow, they have to stand out.  

They have to continue to work hard.  

They never give up.

They are always pushing themselves to the next level.

I think life is a lot like this.  We work so hard to have the nice family house with the white picket fence and all the latest gadgets inside.  This is not what brings us joy, but we certainly think it does.  We are blinded by consuming and we have to work hard to shine or to even feel like we shine.

There is the potential for suffering every moment, but with a lot of hard work and practice, we can learn to appreciate the hard work of being different, of standing out.  

We have to train our minds and our bodies to rise above our weaknesses and dance through life with the beauty of the ballerina.
We have to have discipline and train ourselves to see living in a new way.  

We have to train hard.

The outcome, is stunning... 

We transform into something beautiful.  

 We learn to see life as a gift of grace.  

And the dance becomes easy and fluid.

For me and for now, the ballerina represents the discipline and skill it takes to transform from the ugly duckling into the beautiful swan.  

It is the willingness to DO THE WORK.

And when we do, we look like angels dancing and skipping along our path of life.

 The story will continue to evolve and the magic continue to flow as I further learn to embrace the work and the discipline.

For now, I'm off to quilt!

Until tomorrow!

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