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Spinning in Place

Disruptions come for us all, trying to throw us off balance. We can learn a thing or two from ballet dancers by finding joy even as our world whirls round and round.

Where do I even begin? Perhaps it all started with my last post, titled “Yet Another Interruption”, which spoke to how we handle interruptions and how they have implications beyond ourselves.


That has been my week. One thing after another, and unfortunately not the minor disruptions. The ones this past week tended to be the in-your-face, you-can’t-get-around-me, thorn-in-your-side kind of disruptions. And because of course, they had price tags attached to them too.

These things are a part of life. And when disruptions happen, sometimes we need a little time to ourselves before we brush ourselves off and assemble a plan.

Weathering these things, I realized I needed to focus back onto my theme for this year.

In the midst of disruptions, there is still joy. It may take a little bit of effort to recognize it, but joy is still all around us. It may be a wallflower in the overall chaos a day may bring—but it IS still there.

A ballet dancer can put this into perspective. If you have seen a particularly skilled ballet dancer, you will notice that they can pirouette or fouetté (spin) multiple times without losing their balance or even getting dizzy. Do you know how they accomplish this? Hint: they don’t have a superpower.

They spot.

When they are doing their pirouettes or fouettés, their eyes find a focal point (spot). They look at that point for as long as they possibly can before whipping their head around. As soon as their spin comes around, they find that same focal point as quickly as they can, and for as long as they can. Again and again and again. Until some choreographer orders that the turns must come to a graceful end and another move initiated.

Spotting has another benefit aside from not getting dizzy. It lets the dancer keep track of where their body is in space. That may sound odd at first, particularly to non-dancers. But it is all too easy to lose your bearings when you are whirling round and round, and to be clear, no one wants to see a dancer tumble off the stage.

You see, the pirouette is the disruption, and the spot is the joy.

Disruptions, like pirouettes, can quickly overwhelm your senses and take you down in a very unflattering way. They can make you feel lost, and even cause a physical toll.

When the disruptions start to spin and whirl, you have to spot the joy.

Find the joy wherever it may be and focus on it even as the fervor picks up in tempo and intensity. Setting your sights on the joy will keep you balanced and able to weather the steps until they change.

And it lets you know where you are in space.

When those disruptions are coming full force, how often do you lose track of time? Forget what you’re supposed to be doing? You have lost all sense of where you are.

Find your spot.

Find your joy.

Find your balance.

Find yourself.

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