Monday, December 17, 2012

I'm a Mormon - Ness, a Dancer and Artist

The term "Mormon" is a nickname for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Although members of the church don't usually refer to themselves as a Mormons, it comes with the beliefs as people has identified those associated with the church by that term since the last century. Our beliefs are of far greater priority to members of the church, than having to carry the nickname "Mormon" and to many it soon becomes a badge of honor, because of what it stands for. 

Mormons come from all walks of life and being a Mormon does not make life any less interesting, although it does involve making choices in life. Ness, a dancer, artist and Mormon, has made some very interesting choices in life and here is what she has to say about it all: 

About Me: Hi, I’m Ness. I live in London, England, where I work as a dancer. I perform, teach and choreograph with various contemporary dance and theatre companies. I also work as an aerial dancer, which means I get to fly. The feeling of being suspended mid-air makes me happy. I love my work because I am physical everyday, I work with other creative people and together we create dance pieces by playing with our ideas, I often see students experience light bulb moments in my classes and I regularly travel. As well as traveling for work, I also travel out of choice. My brother and I have just travelled from Guatemala to Peru. I enjoy seeing how other people live and interact because it reminds me that the culture in which I live is just one way, not the definitive way to live. I never tire of seeing new places, in fact, whenever life starts to feel monotonous, I just have to look at my world map and propose a travel plan to myself to feel refreshed and excited again. I love scuba diving because it feels like underwater flying. I love cycling at dusk, that’s like flying too. I love jumping on trampolines with my nieces and nephews. I love laughing with my family and friends. I keep a funny book to remember all the funny moments I experience so that when life doesn’t feel so colourful, I can be reminded of funny times and laugh again. I hope to be able to dance/run a mile/turn a cartwheel forever! 

Why I am a Mormon: Only when I have a reason to do a particular thing, can I commit to it. As I have attended church, I have heard a constant emphasis and invitation for everyone to find out for themselves whether there is validity and truth in the teachings. And so I have spent time finding my own reasons for living as a mormon…I find the teachings of Jesus Christ (found in the Bible and The Book of Mormon) to be irresistible. When I study them I feel inspired to be my best self; a bit kinder, more patient, more generous and fair. When I try to align my life with Jesus’ teachings, I feel centred, peaceful and able to be positive about others and situations in which I find myself. Central to these teachings is that change is possible, that no one need remain in negative cycles. I believe that change is possible and I am grateful for a faith that teaches that principle. 

How I live my faith: Living my faith translates into my daily life with meditative prayer and study of the scriptures when I wake up. I also pray in odd places at odd times of the day, as I need. Doing this strengthens my reasons for living a mormon lifestyle because the peaceful feelings I experience are refreshed and not just a memory of something I felt once and have to try to remember. I enjoy attending church where I have the opportunity to interact with people who are often very different to me, but with whom I share faith. I learn a lot from having the opportunity to teach lessons or give time to organizing activities for people of all different ages at church. I enjoy the way I am invited to help a certain group of people for a certain period of time and then it changes to a different assignment. Each invitation teaches me something new about others and about myself. I have fond memories of helping others in my church community, and being helped by them. For me, the church is a great place to learn to love others and sometimes feels like an extended family. 

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