Why the Ice Bucket Challenge is Not for Me

Unless you were recently roused from a coma, chances are you’ve heard of the Ice Bucket Challenge.  Videos are all over television and social media of people dousing themselves in icy water and daring their friends to do the same.  The stunts are to raise money for ALS, commonly called Lou Gehrig’s disease.

If you don’t know what the challenge is exactly, or anything about ALS, I’m not surprised.  Most of the videos and posts I’ve seen are pretty vague about the “rules” and even the benefits of the exploit.  I suggest you look it up if it intrigues you.

I haven’t been “challenged” as of yet, but I have decided I will not be participating in the Ice Bucket Challenge, or donating to ALS, should this fad come around to me.

A few things before I get called a heartless and uncaring person:  Is Lou Gehrig’s disease a horrific ailment? Yup.  Do the sufferers deserve awareness, research, and work toward a cure? Absolutely.  Is this trend raising money for the cause?  It sure is.  Do I support donating to worthwhile charities, whether it is by giving your money, your time, or whatever you have available?  You bet your ass I do.

But, honestly, ALS does not affect me.  I don’t know anyone who has it.  I don’t know anyone who knows anyone who has it.

In short, I’m not passionate about it.

There are lots of things I am passionate about:  music and arts education, animal welfare, the military, marriage equality, AIDS research  . . . the list goes on.  Every year, I donate to charities and volunteer at functions that support these causes.  Because they are important to me.  Because I care about them.  Because PASSION for them compels me to do it.

And if someone asks me to donate to a charity that I don’t feel passionately about, or that I am not familiar with, or that can’t tell me how the funds will be spent, I politely decline.  And you should too.  Philanthropy is about doing good that you believe in; it’s about finding what drives you and making things better as a result, even if it’s in a small way.

I won’t donate to a cause simply because I see some gimmick on the internet.  Or because someone I know dared me to.  Or because the whole world knows about it and thinks I should.

If you’ve taken the Ice Bucket Challenge and donated, good for you.  I hope your money is spent wisely and leads to healthier, happier lives.

But I also hope you donate or volunteer for a cause that YOU choose.  Something that lights a fire in you.  Something that is deeply important to you.

Would my view on the Ice Bucket Challenge change if one of my loved ones was suddenly struck down by ALS?  Possibly.  But that’s one of the great things about passion for a cause: you can have as many as you like.

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Out of the Mouths of Ballet Instructors

Madame to me last night:

“I can tell you were in theatre, because you know how to work what you’ve got.”

That right, friends.  I am working it!

Oh, and I also did a pas de basque last night.  Well, sorta.  I definitely attempted and/or stumbled my way through pas de basque.  And did not fall over.  YAY!

Ballet . . . and farming?

Spent most of today baling hay (those horses Just. Keep. Eating.). 

Screenshot (21) (Seriously. This shit is heavy.)

In case you’re normal and have never farmed hay before, here’s the cliff notes version of the process: 

  • Cutting and raking – Hay for horses has to be dry to avoid molding.  While cows have multi-chambered stomachs that can basically ingest old shoes (and moldy hay), horses have extremely sensitive digestive systems that require a bit more finesse.  This step can take a few days depending on weather to make sure the hay is ready for baling.  Luckily we have a farmer who share-crop the land and he handles this step.
  • Baling – A trailer (like the flatbed in the photo) is hooked to the tractor and baler with people (read: me) to catch the bales.  We use the small square bales, which can be anywhere from 40-100 pounds each.  Each bale is caught from the baler and stacked for the first time (that’s right, the FIRST time.  Stay tuned).
  • Unloading – The thing about those fancy looking stacks of hay on trailers is that you can’t really store them.  So regardless of whether we are keeping the current cut (like today) or selling it (next cut), the hay has to be unloaded and stacked AGAIN in its final home. This is more often than not a dusty loft with zero ventilation.

In the midst of all this hay-baling funness, I started thinking about ballet.  I really think doing this kind of work has helped me in my ballet classes – or maybe my ballet classes have made farm work easier?  I find myself in a nice demi-plie to lift a bale into place.  My improved core strength helps me balance on the swaying, bumpy trailer.  And I know my stamina for both keeps getting stronger and stronger.

I suppose this is what everyone means by cross-training??

Do you find ballet creeping into completely unrelated tasks and activities and improving them?

Brain, get out of the way. Feet are working.

Ever feel like you could be a beautiful dancer if only your brain would turn off and let you?

That’s been my ballet class experience for the past 2 weeks.  Something’s got to give (preferably not my ankle again. . .)!

Let go.  Think less, move more. Screw up, but keep dancing.

Those are my goals for this week.

Oh, and also to get some new shoes, cause mine are dying fast. =)