First published in the BC Catholic Newspaper on September 21, 2021 https://bccatholic.ca/voices/lisa-rumpel/any-storm-can-be-weathered
Standing in first position, feet grounded on my soft mat and sunshine on my face, I felt the quiet release of stress. Experiencing mania again, I dug into my toolkit to find a self-care technique to help me find balance.
There are many ways for me to improve my mood. The motion of dancing changes my emotions for the better. This is something I have to attend to with the chronic mental illness I live with.
Dancing is one of my passions. I have taken lessons on many styles of dance: hip-hop, flamenco, ballroom, and ballet. I have been learning to move my muscles in new ways to get rid of extra energy or monthly blues.
When I dance or do any exercise, endorphins are released, causing positive feelings. It can feel like I flipped a switch in my brain to recalibrate. Thankfully, it is very effective.
This summer I joined an outdoor ballet class seeking the happy chemicals to find inner calm.
Suzy Q, ballerina and founder of The Ballet Lounge, brought a spirit of joy and acceptance to our class. Her little dog Gizmo accompanied her and cheered us. His fluffy little body leaned against my knees as I got to pet his silky fur. His presence soothed me and made me smile.
Reaching my arms above my head, I embraced the moment of dancing by the sea. I felt connected body and soul. In my mind I gave over my worries to Jesus to take care of.
Finding the outdoor beach side ballet class was such a sign of hope for me. A way to tenderly care for my body and soul.
We are integrated beings. When we calm one part of our bodies and mind, the rest follows suit.
My mood has been up and down like a sailboat tossed at sea. To survive the choppy waves, I need to take down the sails, put a life jacket on, and let the storm pass.
Jesus’ love is my constant. His comfort for me shows up in the hidden everyday. Smiles from friends, cuddles from little Gizmo the ballet dog, and reading the perfect Scripture verse.
We all carry scars and have our own mountains to climb. Jesus whispers to me, “I’ve got you.” And he can endure any storm. Any storm can be weathered with Jesus’ strength.
I whisper back to Jesus, “I trust in you.”
His call for us is to take up our cross and follow him. These are beautiful words, but to actively take up the uncomfortable and frustrating circumstances in my life is a challenge I face daily.
Carrying my cross on my own was never the plan. I need Jesus to shoulder it with me. It humbled me to ask for his help.
As St. Gianna Beretta Molla says, “The secret to happiness is to live moment by moment and to thank God for all he, in his goodness, sends to us day after day.” He surely sends me all the love and help I need for in every moment. I rejoice in all the little details he takes care of for me.
Jesus carries my illness and leads me to new life. So all I need to do is be receptive and trust. In dancing, I feel whole again. The Lord delights in my ballet moves and offering of trials.
May you too find the peace of Christ in events of your daily life.
Lisa Rumpel’s podcast The Will to Thrive: Stories of Resilience is available on popular streaming services.
“Cover me with sunshine. Shower me with good times.”Pink