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Beyond Dreaming

Posted on: February 5, 2016 by Naomi M. Pridjian | No Comments
Beyond Dreaming

Beyond Dreaming

“To dance is to be out of yourself…larger, more beautiful, more powerful. This is power, it is glory on earth and it is yours for the taking.”
—Agnes De Mille


Four months have passed since my last entry in the Finding Lost Dreams stories on this blogI started that series sharing my love of ballet and ended with my first experience of performing on stage. I wanted to follow up the series with the here and now, but really didn’t know how to sift through the stream of idea fragments that wandered through my brain. None of them seemed to have substance and would evaporate as soon as I paid them any attention. I’d be gripped with emotional and mental paralysis. I simply didn’t know how to segue into the current stream of my life as an aging woman, standing somewhere between there and now.

The blog was threatening to turn into a memoir. Having lived seven decades, the prospect was a bit daunting to say the least. Lots of bloggers write memoirist journals about this and that, and have a following of interested readers. I am beginning the last chapter of my life in a youth oriented, death-denying society, so I don’t expect a great deal of interest in the trials and tribulations of aging. But what is not generally known on the younger end of the spectrum is this: while the body ages physically, the psyche connects more deeply to the person we’ve always been from the start. The Phoenix possibilities are there for the taking. I am seven and seventy, paradoxically aging physically, while connecting ever more deeply to the person I was always meant to be.

“The afternoon knows what the morning never suspected.” —Robert Frost


When I turned sixty, and then sixty-five, I expected to sail slowly and gracefully onward. A year later I was diagnosed with a stage four, cancer. For the next ten years, everything in my life began seismically shifting and changing. There have been times when I’d look in the mirror and wonder: who could that old lady looking back at me possibly be?


Somewhere in the middle of those ten years, I stumbled into InterPlay dance, and then into ballet—the unfulfilled passion of my childhood. From my first plié and tendu at the barre, I felt a deep affinity for the order and discipline of ballet. Life made sense in class.


Ballet was a deeply fulfilling, spiritual practice, but my uneven level of achievement troubled me. Since private instruction wasn’t available at the school I was attending, I found another with a dedicated adult program where technique is stressed for every student regardless of ability, and where I could work on problem areas privately.

The Russian system is taught at this school, so I must learn and relearn a great deal. It is hard work, but I don’t have another lifetime ahead of me, so I take three classes, plus a private class each week. It is exhausting. I have to tune out the seven year old and listen to my aging body’s need for recovery and rest. It’s not about finding a lost dream anymore. It’s about wholeness…feeling connected to what I think of as the source, or ground of all being, which I experience most profoundly in beauty…particularly the beauty of form and function.

“Our biological rhythms are the symphony of the cosmos, music embedded deep within us to which we dance, even when we can’t name the tune.”
—Deepak Chopra


Ballet delivers this in spades and is increasing in popularity among adult Dressing Room Selfie beginners as well as returnees. There is a strong movement of older adults in the UK referred to by the press as Silver Swans(Not sure I like that reference very much, but guess it draws readers.) Here in the US, we have our teen/adult beginners with a broad range of ages with precious few silver swans. In my classes, I am still the oldest student. One day there will be many more in my age bracket as the baby boomers catch on, but in my neighborhood at present, it’s just me.
Thankfully, there are no recitals in the adult program at my new school, so there will be no photos to post for authenticity. This selfie in the dressing room will have to do for now.

“There are shortcuts to happiness and dancing is one of them!”—Vicki Baum


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