Retiring – Healing – Learning to Embrace a Normal Life

Retiring – Healing – Learning to Embrace a Normal Life

For years after retiring from ballet, I trained myself not to talk about ballet.

When something so fully consumes one’s life and then … it is surrendered up to the Gods for the experience of a mere mortal life, clinging to what once was … that is no longer … can cause tremendous suffering.

I knew that constantly looking back would only cause me to be in pain. I knew that the only doorways were forward.

I knew that it was up to me to use self-discipline in ballet now in other ways. I knew that magic was everywhere and that it was going to be up to me to find the other manifestations that were possible.

At least I had my magical childhood memories as anchors to the subtle realms of nature, and I had a deeply personal understanding of energy and how all things carried wisdom.

And I was not alone. I had never been alone. The angels and guides had walked with me through this life and had managed to help in all ways, from the mundane to the most powerful moments in this incarnation.

The guides and angels had asked me not to dance a step for three years to break myself of the habits that were like an addiction to overdoing and pushing myself beyond what was reasonable.

Ballet does that to every dancer. It shows you the limitations of your body, mind, emotions, or spirit and then asks you to do more.

Terpsichore is the Raven that sings, “Always More!”

I knew that the last years of ballet were literally killing me. I could feel it in my body.

I knew if I did not stop, it would kill me. I did not know why, but that voice inside could not be silenced.

I thought that it might be the voice of the Epstein Bar Virus from Mono that caused my Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I knew that my body was constantly fighting a virus that did not want to die.

What I did not know was that I also had an ascending aortic aneurism and that, like many other famous artists and athletes, I had a ticking timebomb in my chest.

My extreme flexibility was one of the markers that indicated a protein deficiency marker in my body that allowed all muscles, tendons, ligaments, and other tissues to be more stretchy. The wonderful flexibility of this body that was perfect for ballet could also end up being a nail in my own coffin. I just did not know that at that time.

All I continued to hear from the angels was the crystal-clear message that I must stop and not dance or exercise at all for three years.

Any dancer reading this right now knows what a terrible task that would have been.

Even when it was for my own good.

But somewhere deep inside, I knew that it was necessary. And I did what I was told.

In other countries, there are whole organizations that help dancers retire. There are many reasons for that.

On one level, ballet keeps us childlike, open, malleable, idealistic, and dreamy. On another level, the degree of mental, emotional, and physical discipline demanded in ballet is so all-consuming that is impossible to replace such a thing with anything resembling a normal life.

Dancers understand why it is so difficult for warriors to come back after war and to have a normal conversation with normal people.

Everything that comes out of the mouths of most people feels shallow, trite, self-involved, and meaningless. Most conversations out in the real world are to fill in the silences.

Where for me … entire volumes and books are energetically exchanged in the silence from a glance, a toss of a head, or the slight movement of a hand.

Most people spew the chaos in their minds out their mouths and do not realize that it carries little or no value in the greater scheme of things.

Most people do not have dreams that have such a strong and demanding purpose that they move the soul to seek out, find answers, consume knowledge like a starving lion, and discover where the magic is hidden.

Most people are just surviving.

Most dancers and artists are constantly striving.

Letting go of that striving makes us not know who or what we are anymore.

Dancers know they are unique and a special breed of human.

Retiring can feel as if one goes from being unique to being a … eunuch.

Just like a eunuch gives up their ability to have children by having their sexual organs cut off, dancers feel as if they, too, have to cut off a part of themselves to fit into normal society.

Dance and war are very similar in that we are all in the trenches with others for days, weeks, months, and years.

That causes a type of bonding that we have with each other that is very real. However, it operates from the perspective that each person recognizes the edges that others are upon.

We respect and understand the level of discipline that each person carries and the talents and skills that they are constantly attempting to improve, mixed in with the personal limitations that they are also trying to overcome and the current emotional states and particular personalities that the soul is working with.

I knew I needed to work towards my new business, being a massage therapist and a healer.

And I had a new relationship that was very time-consuming. Especially when most of my life, I had really avoided having any type of personal intimacy at all on a sexual level.

I was curious about all the healing arts and all the tools of transformation that allow the soul to escape the clutches of the ego and the chains of our societal norms.

I passionately threw myself into seeking the teachers and techniques that would allow me to be of service to humanity in new ways.

It was a lovely distraction from letting go of ballet.

It demanded much of my attention, and as it was a very different focus, it challenged my mind in intuitive ways that were exciting and added depth to my natural insight.

I had a goal. Now, I know this will sound crazy … but my goal was to gain 10 pounds. I wanted to have a slightly rounded tummy. After having a completely flat stomach my whole life, I thought having a small pooch would be sexy.

But my body was also exhausted from the constant stress and strain of ballet, and the last year of ballet, I had shifted over to being vegetarian as my body just could not digest complex proteins in things such as meat, eggs, and dairy.

If I ate those things, they were coming out the other end in whole pieces. And the horrible cramping I was getting at the same time was a clear indication that my body was rejecting certain foods.

So, I became a Vegan-Vegetarian for the next five years and was a Vegetarian for ten years.

It was not some moral issue! I literally could not eat certain things.

Only years later did I learn from a specialist on chronic fatigue syndrome … that I had done the perfect thing because the virus lodges in the liver and it does not allow the body to break down protein. Because of that … all proteins turn toxic and rancid in the system, and that backs up the already weak liver. Eating too much protein could have literally killed me or made me sicker.

I did not realize how much toxicity I had accumulated in my body nor how the toxic stress had been (literally) killing me.

I knew if I did not stop dancing that I would die. I knew that I was so deeply exhausted and that I had to make many radical changes.

The diet change was crucial to reclaiming my health and well-being.

Once again, the guides and angels showed me the path, and I was willing to step on that path and do what I was told without question.

I am grateful that I know how to listen to that soft voice inside.

I started slowly feeling better, and my body was rebuilding itself around a new premise that was calling to me. It was clear that one cannot be a good healer if one is not willing to do the work required to heal oneself.

I did not realize that between the diet and the lack of exercise, I was losing weight … and muscle mass.

It was not until some of my new friends made comments, such as: “Suzanne, you are looking a little scary thin!” That I stepped on a scale and discovered that in wanting to gain 10 pounds, instead, I had lost 15 pounds. Now, losing muscle mass is a big part of that, but it again showed me that my family’s pattern of demanding thinness was more insidious than I realized.

I had been raised in a household that did not appear to restrict food … but there was a demand for everyone to not overeat and to fit into their clothes.

Even to this day, my mother is still the same size she was when I was a child and can wear clothes from when she was in her twenties.

I realized that even in my going organic and eating very balanced that I did not know how to feed myself properly and to eat consciously.

That started me on a deeper spiritual path to notice what I was eating and why.

Meditation became a part of the journey to recognize the parts inside that felt as if I did not deserve to be healthy or happy.

Ballet was my happy place, and now I was struggling to find a natural place to be in this world authentically and with others.

Dance is euphoric and much like a drug. Now, I was looking for some sort of way to get that “high” back, but life was not going to give me that old path or door.

I was to learn much about my own mind, my own beliefs, and the karma that I came in to learn and experience.

In leaving the delusional and imaginative world of ballet behind, I was going to find many other worlds that would give me so very much more than I expected.

But that will be the next book.

~Suzanne Wagner~


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