Sometimes Life Gives Us Second Chances

by Aileen

Ballet Dancers

Opportunity dances with those who are already on the dance floor.
~   H. Jackson Brown Jr.

The Back Story

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post about auditioning for the ballet, The Nutcracker, and several days later I received the results of that audition.

Most fortunately, I was actually cast in the production! At first I was a little bummed when I learned that I would be dancing in the mice scene, which is in the style of modern dance and not my beloved classical ballet. However, I do really enjoy modern dance so It didn’t take long before I was excited again and dove into the rehearsal process with enthusiasm and a happy heart.

Second Chances

Last week, on a gray and rainy day, a little ray of sunshine popped into my mailbox, it told me to be at the dance studio at 2:00 pm on Saturday to audition for the role of understudy for the Snow Scene in the Nutcracker.

I actually read it three times to be sure I was reading it correctly. I couldn’t believe it! The show was already cast and I was given another shot to dance the choreography that I love!

If you don’t know what the role of an understudy is, it’s the backup performer who learns the role and is ready to perform it in case something happens to the current and active performer. Although the understudy rehearses the parts, memorizes it and is ready and on call, he/she may never actually perform the role. You just never know.

Well, my big Saturday finally came and for some strange reason, I was not feeling my usual awkwardness or nervousness. I was just filled with a calm joy.

I went through the morning preparing for the audition with a peaceful state of mind, not worried about the outcome, just excited about the opportunity to perform. Perhaps this was the reason for my calm excitement or maybe it was just because I already didn’t have the part and felt there wasn’t much to lose.

When 2:00pm arrived, the temperature outside was intense. It was one of those October heat waves what would sometimes distract me from accomplishing a personal goal I had planned, but that day was different. My mind was crystal clear with no inner chatter, just perfectly clear. I simply put on my pointe shoes, tied my ribbons, warmed up, and went for it!

The audition started right on time and we were told the combination twice, marked it (practiced it) once and then danced it full-out and quickly moved on to the next combination.

Normally I have difficulty picking up choreography that fast, but on that day, through each step, I had a calm laser focus that never wavered, a relaxed concentration. My body was centered and my placement was on. At the end, I left the audition knowing I gave it my best and felt serene about whatever the dance gods determined.

Life’s Little Miracles

This past Wednesday, I received the email that I had been patiently waiting for. Did I get it?

Yes! I got it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I will actually be dancing the part! I’m not an understudy! I’m really going to dance in the snow scene!

I don’t think I have ever screamed with excitement so loudly at my computer screen before. I had to read it a few times to make sure I was reading it correctly.

To dance in the snow scene of the Nutcracker has been a long time dream of mine. Having had my first ballet lesson at age 23 there wasn’t much of chance that this could happen. I’ve had many wonderful dance performances over the last several years, but a full-length classical ballet, hasn’t been an option before now. There’s something about being given a chance to live a childhood dream decades later, long after it’s been deemed not possible, that gives it an extra kaizen sweetness.

It makes me think of the first stanza of Emily Dickinson’s Poem, “Success is Counted Sweetest”

Success is counted sweetest
By those who ne’er succeed.
To comprehend a nectar
Requires sorest need.

….

It may only be October, but it’s snowing happy snowflakes in my heart. I am officially one of the happiest persons on the planet right now!

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{ 41 comments… read them below or add one }

Jane Rochelle October 8, 2010

So very happy for you … my eyes welled up reading this, and knowing your happiness. Thanks for sharing the peaceful excitement you experienced. It’s a beautiful thing we can all work toward.

I thought of you last night when I was in my second tai chi class. I concentrated so hard on learning where to put my hands and feet, and had great appreciation for the task ahead of you … learning your steps, hands, arms, head and neck, even to your fingertips. Ballet. My guess is that it will be like dancing a dream, and the parts will come to you effortlessly. Congratulations, you deserve each glistening flake that falls upon you.

Smile, and be happy.

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Aileen October 8, 2010

Thank you Jane!!!

I’m happy to hear that you are venturing into tai chi :) how wonderful!

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Heather October 8, 2010

Congratulations- your story is so very inspiring- Good on you! I am sharing your excitement :)
Heather´s last [type] ..Currently working on…passing on Jay’s message that Knowledge is Power

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Aileen October 8, 2010

Hi Heather, thanks for stopping by & thank you for sharing in my excitement :)

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Eileen O'Shea October 8, 2010

Hi Aileen,
This post really made my heart smile. I’ve been in kind of a rough patch and the joy of your experience came through your words to my spirit. All the best to you!

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Aileen October 9, 2010

Eileen, I’m glad the joy was contagious enough to reach your spirit. Sometimes that’s all the spirit needs to lift us up and carry us to a place where we feel life’s flow of good things happening. I sincerely hope your spirit lifts you and keeps you where all is flowing beautifully.

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Sandra Lee October 8, 2010

I’m so happy for you! This is such an inspiring story!
Sandra Lee´s last [type] ..My magic potion for knocking anxiety on its head

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Aileen October 9, 2010

Thank you Sandra!!

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Lyman Reed October 8, 2010

So awesome, Aileen! :) What a cool followup… congratulations!
Lyman Reed´s last [type] ..Personal Development Five for Friday – The Doing and Being Yourself Edition

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Aileen October 9, 2010

Thank you Lyman!!

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Angela Artemis October 9, 2010

Aileen,
I’m so happy for you! That is wonderful news. I think you were calm because inside you “knew” that this part was meant for you – even if your rational mind didn’t acknowledge it. I also think when we stop getting so wound up over things happening the way we think they should and just let and enjoy the process we achieve better results. You go girl!
Angela Artemis´s last [type] ..The Day Beauty Came to Visit

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Aileen October 9, 2010

Thank you Angela! I hadn’t thought of it that way, but I can’t help but agree with you on this, ” I think you were calm because inside you “knew” that this part was meant for you — even if your rational mind didn’t acknowledge it”

Brilliant insight and advice, “when we stop getting so wound up over things happening the way we think they should and just let and enjoy the process we achieve better results. ” I’m actually writing this down on a bright colored note-card to remind myself to just be in life’s process and let it unfold.

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Katie October 9, 2010

Aileen, this is amazing. It sounds like it was meant to be and something inside you knew it. Wonderful news. You are awe-inspiring!
Katie´s last [type] ..If Babies Could Talk What Would They Tell You

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Aileen October 9, 2010

Thank you Katie!!

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The Exception October 9, 2010

Okay – I am sitting in my office smiling away!! It is just so exciting for you to have this part Aileen!! I love it for lots of reasons. Sometimes I think that we try so hard when we want something that we try too hard. If we relax and do the “thing” because we love it and with the idea that it is fun and we have nothing to lose… we are relaxed and do our best. Sounds to me like the director (or whomever) saw something in you the first time and decided not only to take another look but to give you the part!!

Happy dancing day!
The Exception´s last [type] ..Grace is

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Aileen October 9, 2010

You stated it brilliantly, ” Sometimes I think that we try so hard when we want something that we try too hard. If we relax and do the “thing” because we love it and with the idea that it is fun and we have nothing to lose… we are relaxed and do our best.” It’s time for me to quiet my mind much more, surrender more, and enjoy the process much more than wishing about how it may turn out. Thank you for reminding me!

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Suzanne October 9, 2010

Hello Aileen, I’m fairly new here.

I just had to comment to say, “WOO HOO, YAY!!!! Congratulations! And most importantly, keep enjoying yourself through all of your practices and performances.”

TCOY (take care of you)!

~ Suzanne
Suzanne´s last [type] ..Quote to Reflect Upon Oct10

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Aileen October 9, 2010

Hi Suzanne, thank you for stopping by and thank you for your fantastic comment of well wishes! Great advice, “keep enjoying your self through all of your practices and performances.” I will, I promise!

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Linda October 9, 2010

I’m toes are tingling for you, Aileen!
I think your approach can apply to writing too.
If I fret about a post it takes for ever but just occasionally, it all seems to happen,
when I’m not trying too hard.
I can imagine how you felt… fantastic!
Linda´s last [type] ..How To Solve Your Problem With A Little Help From Your Friends

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Aileen October 9, 2010

Hi Linda, I agree with you completely! It does apply to writing – I have the same experience, when I fret over a post or I want to write something really special it can take me weeks to finish it. If I keep clear then the writing just flows a million times easier. ” it all seems to happen, when I’m not trying too hard.” – you said it and I need to officially stop trying so hard at things. this moment forward!

:)

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Rhonda October 9, 2010

I’m new to you and your blog, but I wanted to comment to tell you congratulations!! おめでとうございます!That’s very exciting news!! Does this mean you will be in BOTH scenes now? It doesn’t matter, because you are dancing in the part you wanted to be in and your heart is light and filled with joy! It comes across in this post and it makes me smile big for you! I had 12 years of dance training growing up, and I remember the audition process, it can be very nerve-wracking. Since you went through it with grace and ease, the part was your to take…I’m doing a happy dance for you! Congratulations again!

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Aileen October 9, 2010

Hi Rhonda, thank you for visiting and thank you for your wonderful comment!

Yes! I’ll be in both the Mice and the Snow Scenes :)

I love that you’re doing a happy dance!!

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Farnoosh October 10, 2010

Aileen, so first ballet lesson just last year at 23? ;)! Wonderful wonderful news. you know, it’s strange – I could’ve sworn I left a message for you telling you to be sure to have a photographer around on your big day (and hope that you do end up getting on stage of course! Well, no matter – it must’ve been my jet lag….I am very happy for you! And can’t wait to meet you in PERSON :)!
Farnoosh´s last [type] ..Louisa May Alcott- “Little Women”

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Aileen October 12, 2010

ahh yes, just last year at 23 :) hahaha – we get to meet live and in person tomorrow, very exciting!

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Joy October 10, 2010

Happy Snowflakes indeed! Such amazing energy in this post…thank you for the inspirational story..and congratulations:) What fun when we allow magic to have space in our lives:)

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Aileen October 12, 2010

Thank you Joy. I do love your words, ” What fun when we allow magic to have space in our lives” ahh yes let’s allow for plenty of magic!!

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Precious October 11, 2010

Aileen ~ I’m a firm believer in second chances! Your story is a beautiful illustration of how preparation, “not worrying about the outcome”, and opening oneself up to infinite possibilities can lead to some pretty amazing experiences. Again, congratulations and here’s to a dazzling debut. Namaste’ ~ Precious

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Aileen October 12, 2010

Thank you Precious!

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Lance October 11, 2010

Aileen,
How wonderful and awesome is this!! And I love reading this – and how you have done this – all from starting at 23!! Your excitement just jumps off this page…and THAT is contagious!!

Let it snow!!!
Lance´s last [type] ..Sunday Thought For The Day

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Aileen October 12, 2010

Thank you Lance!!!! Yes, yes, “let it snow” :)

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Alison Kerr October 11, 2010

Aileen, there are tears of happiness in my eyes for you. How fantabulous that you went for your dream and believed and just lived with the joy of it and you are living it. You are an inspiration!
Alison Kerr´s last [type] ..What to do with fall leaves

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Aileen October 12, 2010

Alison, thank you!!!! “fantabulous” I like that word :)

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Belinda Munoz + The Halfway Point October 11, 2010

Wow, Aileen, what a truly joyful thing this is!!! I got goose bumps reading this entire post. I love how beautifully you embraced the audition and how calm you were at the end of it knowing that you gave it your best shot.

Congratulations! And thank you for sharing your joy!

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Aileen October 12, 2010

Thank you Belinda!!

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Tess The Bold Life October 11, 2010

Aileen,
Congratulations! This is fabulous. Don’t you love dream come true stories? Especially when they’re your own;) Woot woot!
Tess The Bold Life´s last [type] ..Fabulous Female Bloggers that Are Changing the World

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Aileen October 12, 2010

YES, I do love “dream come true stories” :) thank you Tess!

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Zengirl @ Heart and Mind October 13, 2010

Aileen,

I am so happy and delighted as I my got part myself :-) See I told you things will be better next time, but you did not had to wait and this is best news! and could not have happened to right person! Yeah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1
Zengirl @ Heart and Mind´s last [type] ..Honoring Beautiful People with Beautiful Heart!

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Cristina November 8, 2010

I know I’m late on this, but I want to thank you for sharing such an inspiring story, and say…Congratulations!!!!

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Aileen November 9, 2010

Thank you Cristina!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Living the Balanced Life November 15, 2010

Congrats on making the part! My daughter is a dancer as well, I can well imagine your joy to finally get to dance in the Nutcracker!
I am also working on my second chance…
Bernice
Living the Balanced Life´s last [type] ..My Story Part 1-My quest for a balanced life

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Aileen November 16, 2010

Hi Bernice, how wonderful that your daughter is a dancer!!!!
I am very happy that you are working on your second chance! They do happen and it’s more than possible. I will hold the feeling of your joy and relief of having your second chance – I’ll hold it in my mind and heart – knowing it will come to fruition.

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