JONAS CANTRELL: The hard part isn’t making the decision. It’s living with it.
—Law Abiding Citizen, 2009, F. Gary Gray.
LET ME TELL YA, undesired first-order consequences are the barriers we face up when we are about to make a decision. If we were able to focus on second-order or subsequent consequences, it would help us to achieve what we truly want in life.
I explain it with three examples.
I’ve been a ballerina for fourteen years, and I accomplished five years of ballet academy, missing the last one because my ankles didn’t allow me to execute ten fouettés en tournant.
Setting aside the fact that I got good grades, it became obvious to me from the very beginning that I had not talent to become a professional ballerina. And that’s why, I guess, that thought never crossed my mind.
Said all that, being a ballerina is a journey of an indescribable beauty. A journey that not only makes you learn and grow but also allows you to express yourself from the inner to the outer world. Yet you must be willing to tolerate some pain.1 Sometimes, great pain.
When I was a ballerina, I hated Mondays. I had to put on the pointe shoes—I used to buy either Capezio or Freed—and practice at the barre, which meant to practice some exercises to strengthen feet, improve flexibility, and find my ballon2. Meanwhile, I got slapped in my bum every now and then because my position of feet, arms, stomach, head, or some of them were inadequate. On the contrary, I loved Fridays. I used to dance contemporary ballet (also modern ballet, flamenco, etc.). This form of dance permits a greater range of movement, giving freedom to the performance. It does not mean you cannot dance modern ballet if you have not performed classical ballet. Yet, your dance would lack technique, grandeur, and stylized movements. In life, my Dear Readers, one must learn the strict rules first (trying to avoid the bullshit, if possible) in order to break them later. The same holds true for dancing. It implies to work on a great share of hours at the barre.
I didn’t first take the decision to be a ballerina. My Mom brought me to a dance school when I was two. From then until I moved to another city to study my career, I had some thoughts on quitting many times, above all, the times where there was no fun at all but just pain. It was hard to go back home exhausted, eager to crawl into bed, but instead had to put my bleeding feet in warm, salty water and do the homework.
So if I had responded negatively to the first-order consequences, I would have missed the second and subsequent consequences, which are:
Tamed hard work and responsibility.
Flexibility and stylized figure.
Live in the Now-Here.
One summer when I was in high school I enrolled to a typewriting course with two pals. It made sense for them because they wanted to study a secretarial course. Not much for me, though. Yet, at the time, I thought it could be useful to write the essays using the typewriter, until I got bored for two hours hitting the keys. QWERTY POIUY QWERT POIUY…
Life is a funny thing. I didn’t know I was training to become a writer. Ha! So instead of hanging out and having fun with other friends, I successfully kept going to that boring and mechanical classes. QWERTY POIUY QWERTY POIUY…
Now, I have some typing skills, and I understand that everything we do (or almost) is meant to be for a useful reason.
As I told you in the last blog—What I talk about when I talk about running—, I keep running, although painful sometimes, because of the second consequence. My heart pump-muscle strengthens; pulse slows; feet and legs become strong and firm; it energizes me; and it is a form of meditation and a particular way to discover myself.
(1) Which career doesn’t, right?
(2) As the law of gravitation pulls things downward, have you ever asked to yourself on the grounds of which law we should consider a ballerina performing a grand jeté? Sorry, no points for guessing.
Copyright © 2011 by THE PYTHAGOREAN STORYTELLER. All rights reserved.