Get Back to the bar, (Barre)

The stresses of life can make me feel out of balance. Owning my own business, 2 aging parents with dementia, etc. are just a few of my examples. You have your own.

My daughter was a dancer all throughout her growing years and became very good through talent and hard work. I can remember her Russian dance teacher telling the students - after a rough practice session - “Back to the barre!” And they would immediately go back to the barre, regain their focus, strength and confidence that they needed in order to try again.

What is your “Back to the barre”? It is a good question to ponder. Mine is plants. I need a regular session of digging in the dirt and noticing a plant’s miraculous beauty and ability to grow to get back to myself. 

I read Richard Rohr daily and this week the subject has been about our walk with nature. I will quote him quoting someone else. I hope that is allowed.

“Psychologist and wilderness guide, Bill Plotkin, believes—and I agree—that to “save our souls” we need to reconnect with nature. To rediscover who we truly are—and who our brothers and sisters are—we must become intimate with our natural surroundings. The wisdom of nature can’t be understood with our thinking mind. We have to experience it with our being and let it speak to us through all our senses.

Plotkin's own mindful walks support his insights:

“Wandering in nature is perhaps the most essential soulcraft practice for contemporary Westerners who have wandered so far from nature. . . .

The Wanderer allows plenty of time to roam in wild nature, and roam alone. Maybe you start out on a trail, but if the landscape allows, it won't be long before you wander off the beaten track. Because you are stalking a surprise, you attend to the world of hunches and feelings and images as much as you do to the landscape. 

. . . You will get good at wandering, good at allowing your initial agenda to fall away as you pick up new tracks, scents, and possibilities. You will smile softly to yourself over the months and years of wanderings as you notice how you have changed, how you have slowed down inside. 

Through your wanderings, you cultivate a sensibility of wonder and surprise, rekindling the innocence that got buried in your adolescent rush to become somebody in particular. Now you seek to become nobody for a while, to disappear into the woods so that the person you really are might find you. [1]”l

1] Bill Plotkin, “Stalking a Surprise,” “Wandering in Wild Places, Part 2,” Friday, September 8, 2017. Pronouns edited by CAC; see for original text.

Adapted from Richard Rohr, A Spring Within Us: Daily Meditations (Center for Action and Contemplation: 2016), 6

This reminds me of one of my favorite novels. The Signature of All Things, by Elizabeth Gilbert who also wrote Eat Pray Love, one of my favorite biographies and who wrote Big Magic, one of my favorite self-help books. 

So my encouragement to you all and to myself is to get back to the barre. I need to find myself some dirt to play in today.

Lorrie Hastings (Lulu)