Monday, February 6, 2012

The Ballet and the Bonsai

borrowed from:
This holiday season, a wonderful opportunity was presented to me.  After a hiatus from the stage, I was invited to perform as the Sugar Plum Fairy in the Nutcracker. I recognized this as an exciting opportunity and a great challenge. But I also thought that shifting my focus would involve sacrifices.  I suspected that it would cause a number of ripples in my daily life and I wondered if it would disrupt my long term plans. I remembered the roller coaster of being a performer and compared it with the relative calm of being a gardener...Was returning to the stage going to be a triumph or a setback?  For these thoughts I paused before I accepted the job. The job turned out to be more than I hoped, more than I feared or wondered. A perfect fit really.

However, when I returned home after nine days of 'ballerina-ing,' I found my Cerissa Rose bonsai nearly dead.  Parched soil, leaves brown and falling off, even a tiny bud dried up before it could bloom.  I couldn't help but see it as a tangible example of the change in my priorities. I worried that in my absence other priorities had been forgotten. 

Recently, I told this story to a friend. I was expecting a lecture about responsibilities, about letting go of old priorities and moving on to new ones,... but instead, after I finished the story of the ballet and bonsai, he asked if the tree made it.  I paused again and then answered happily "Yes! Well I did need to cut back the dead parts, but it's alive."  And then he said, "Well see? The point is, it survived. You're doing everything now."

He's right.  You can shift the balance of your life without becoming totally unhinged.  There are false starts and beginnings. There are losses and endings.   There are great stories in which we only play a tiny role, and mysteries that never add up. The question becomes:  How much do you believe you can have and how open you are to getting it?

"Once you get over the fear, it's a cinch," she said.  --Monique Duval


  1. Laurie, your writing continues to totally amaze me. You must have an "old soul" in such a young body... If this gardening gig does not work out for you, you can write the next big "self help" book !!!

  2. I'm so impressed that you could be the sugar plum fairy in another state and be back in your home all in nine days! holy cow, i'd need like three years to learn the part! you're a genius with your feet and with your hands. Brilliant.

  3. What wonderful words. thank you Sara