Saturday, July 30, 2016

Self-Discovery: Beauty and Bread

"Everybody needs beauty as well as bread."

This has been a summer of self-discovery for me.  I've realized a few things: skinny isn't good enough (essay on this topic coming soon), everyone needs some sort of art form in their life, and rest is often underrated but so, so important.


"Skinny isn't good enough," is a thought I had one day as I was reflecting on my journey of Pilates.  I started doing Pilates on and off last February, but it wasn't until this summer break that I began taking it seriously.  I go to individual Pilates sessions twice a week with my trainer, and I've become obsessed.  I love that it doesn't aggravate my asthma, it makes me feel tall and strong, and my confidence has drastically improved.  I want to reflect more on this thought I've been having - skinny isn't good enough anymore,,, I want to be strong, capable, and lean.


As a teacher, it's so easy to get bogged down with the mundane tasks of life - survival, getting through the year, lasting until summer break.  As a music teacher, it's easy to lose sight of the beauty of music.  My students can barely read music, and getting them to do a simple crescendo/decrescendo is like pulling teeth.  I was on the brink of quitting my career forever.  I fantasized about being a clerk at Hobby Lobby or a checker at Publix.  I was burnt out, exhausted, and unmotivated.

And then I found the New York City Ballet.

In the past couple of weeks I've become infatuated with the New York City Ballet.  I've watched all their videos on YouTube.  I've determined my favorite dancers (Tiler Peck and Robbie Fairchild), and I've listened to podcasts that the dancers put out.  I've watched clips of all the side-projects the dancers are a part of (ex. Robbie Fairchild was the lead in An American in Paris on Broadway), and I even got my mom obsessed as well.  I declared that I wish I had been a ballerina, and I've researched dance classes for beginning adults in my town.  To put it lightly, I've become obsessed.

It's like a new passion was awakened inside of me.  A passion for ballet and the music they dance to.  A passion for expression and aesthetic experiences - something that has been missing from my life for several years.


This summer has actually been very busy, especially compared to last summer.  Last summer I was putting up almost daily blog posts, whipping out DIY after DIY, and also sleeping a lot and drinking a lot of tea.  This summer I have barely had any time to think, much less blog.

But the one thing I was missing - rest.  Rest for my body, mind, and creativity.  That might sound like an oxymoron, especially after I just spoke about having my creative passions reignited.  But honestly, any art, DIY projects, music, stories, etc. I could try to create right now would come out feeling forced and frustrated.  I have needed this time to just let my creativity rest.  Let my mind be free to wander and think about whatever I want.  I think there is a lot of good to come from just daydreaming.  Getting lost in thought.  And eventually, when the time is right, I'll begin to create again.

And the more I allow myself to rest, and the more I think about life and music and art, the more I want to keep learning.  I find myself not feeling the urge to pick up a paintbrush, but instead wanting to delve into a theoretical analysis of Bach's B minor Mass.  I find myself thumbing through old music history books and notes, reading for pleasure books like "The Conductor's Art," or "Choral Music Through the Ages."

Art inspires art, and the more I can continue to be inspired by learning, the more enriched my life will be.  Rest is good.  Let yourself rest every once in awhile.


John Muir said, "Everybody needs beauty as well as bread."  We all need art and self-expression.  Without it, life wouldn't be worth living.  I've discovered a few new things about myself this summer, and I've rediscovered my love, and need, for beauty and art.

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