Tag Archives: Balance

STOP!

Yin Yang B 10 Tree of Life

In a previous post, I wrote about BE-ing and creating a balance with DO-ing.

I am here to take my own advice and BE what I say. Walk the talk.

During the past month I have found myself in a mind jam. Much, much, much going on! Half a dozen projects to work on! (I do so love projects.) Music to map and choreograph, books to read, absorb and practice from, speeches to write , practice and deliver, 7 or 8 Nia classes to teach,  blah, blah, blah. Oh, yea, and posts to write.

I’ve DONE all the above, except the one that requires stillness, quiet and rich introspect. That would be the post writing – just in case you weren’t sure!

Experiences whirling around me. Sensations rushing through me. Emotions heightened, speaking in clear voices and in voices I have to strain (or quiet) to understand.  Discoveries arriving and departing without full and conscious acknowledgment. Yes, present to a conversation, but allowing it to be a filable item, not integrated.

All without gratitude.

Frankly, this past month has been a time management and organizational mess and I had to quiet myself in writing this to find the root of the “mess”.

Exactly.

Quiet.

I had to stop.

To Be in my life. To truly live my life.

Rather than the whirling, rushing, straining, striving, arriving, departing and general airport-ness of late, Stop.

Wait. In relaxed awareness. Listen. To what whispers. Look. And see. Be still. And be fully present.

How about those neutrinos?!

Feeling my own vibration; the rhythm that is my way to Be in my life. Inviting the rushing by to become a washing over – Be-ing in the moment, not watching its taillights.

The ability to multitask does not serve me here. Perhaps it is a skill best reserved for rare occasions. I touch many “things” but with no real sense of discrimination. I do not, can not see deeply. In the maelstrom I cannot learn. There is no receiving only an outpouring of energy.

Balance is not to be found in the constant outpouring of energy. Balance will be found in receiving so that I will not find myself gasping for air;  weary in body, mind, spirit and emotions; overwhelmed by the smallest endeavors.

BE-ing. Nourishment for the whole self.

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Keeping Brain and Spirit Fresh and Vibrant

Brain Sx for Beginners

Also known as the Joy of Awkwardness.

Do something different – really different.

By “different” I mean pick an activity that makes you feel totally uncoordinated.

Do it at least 6 times.

If you wind up loving it, keep doing it.

And pick something else you don’t know how to do.

If, after 6 sessions you still feel awkward – keep doing it.

Rinse and repeat for the rest of your life.

It’s not about looking cool, in control, graceful or like a pro. That may come with practice.

It’s about giving your brain something it doesn’t know how to do so that it can learn and change – a process called neuroplasticity.

It’s about practicing mental agility and flexibility for increased ease and personal power in the journey of life.

It’s also about courage.

It’s not easy to be willing to look like a beginner as an adult.

It’s creating balance; something like eating a variety of foods. Balanced nutrition means eating a little bit of almost everything.

A balanced life is not about time-management; figuring out how to get everything done. A balanced life is not about professional obligation. It’s not about externally defined personal obligations. Self-care becomes a priority.

A balanced life begins with self-care in body, mind, emotions and spirit. Living a life that is in alignment with your values; not your spouse or partner’s values, not your parents values – your values.

Living a life that feeds and nourishes you first. When your nourished, you can nourish the world.

It begins with the Joy of Awkwardness.

That Secret, Part 2 of a 2-Parter

Yin Yang B 5 Sun Moon

What’s the Best Kept Secret to a Balanced Life?

Part 1: Movement.

The thing about moving is that you have to keep doing it to be able to keep doing it. Do you still do the things you did when you were 12? Why not? Because you’re older? Aging is not a pathology, but we’ve made it into one.

When I say ‘movement’, I’m not talking about a walk around the block while you hold a conversation so you don’t have to think about what you’re doing. I’m also not talking about creating movement at so high a level that all you can think about is not dropping to the floor in exhaustion.

My dad is 87 and moves like he’s 30. It’s no accident but he didn’t fully realize the value of what he has been consciously doing throughout most of his life. I have a friend who is close to 90 and she gets up and down from the floor all the time with as much (or more ease) than her children!

So what does that mean?

It means cultivating a fully connected relationship with your body. A relationship the likes of which you may not have had before. And here’s where the second part comes in: Awareness.

Part 2: Awareness – paying attention.

When I suggest ‘cultivating a fully connected relationship with your body,” I’m not talking about a relationship in which you relate to your body through your thoughts and ideas about your body. I’m talking about a relationship with your body through your body.

This means flat out paying attention all the time. This means being present to yourself as body and others all the time.

Being Present means that you bring all of you every time. It is a practice.

Being Present is a way of taking care of yourself and only when you are taking care of yourself can you truly take care of others or your obligations.

Not taking care of yourself or sacrificing your well-being “for others” is not noble, interesting, attractive, medal-worthy or brave. It’s self-defeating, demoralizing, manipulative and it hurts everyone around you. I know this from doing it and experiencing others do it. Being Present allows you to care for yourself in any relationship and still be there for others.

What is the most efficient way to learn to Be Present? This one is easy.

Movement.

Go ahead, try it.

Why? Movement causes Sensation and we are never more present than in Sensation.

Any Movement?

Any Movement that does not cause pain and harm. That defeats the purpose. Technically that can almost be a ‘yes’ answer. Without opening it up to movements such as hitting yourself in the head with a hammer, the idea is that whatever movement you choose can be done without causing pain and harm. Make sense?

We are never more in-the-moment then when we are moving in relationship with everything around us; moving as connected BE-ings. That excludes texting while walking or reading while eating or eating while watching tv. Most of us do it, it just doesn’t count as moving as connected BE-ings. It is moving while we are paying attention to ourselves moving.

It is moving while we are paying attention to ourselves moving.

Encourage and develop our ability to move with increased sensitivity.

 Move as a connected part of the space and in relationship with every object,  not as a separate body moving through space and around objects.

Rather than moving ourselves as though we are individual objects moving through space, we move as part of the space.

Movement brings us into deeper relationship with our world. It is not the world “around” us, it is the world within us and we are within it.

If you really want to make positive changes in your life, this the secret.

Easier than it may sound, and more difficult than you might think.

It is moving while we are paying attention to ourselves moving. And feeling. And thinking. And creating. And…

Why is Movement, Awareness, BE-ing Present, paying attention, and cultivating a deeply feeling relationship with your body important?

How does it create Balance?

Tomorrow is another day…

Best Kept Secret EVER to a Balanced Life

Orchid in Zen Garden

The best kept secret to living a more balanced life:

is not synching your bluetooth

is not managing your work schedule and/or your home schedule

is not hiring a nanny

buying a new iPhone

or learning to do anything faster

it’s not squeezing in “one more thing” before you leave the house.

Those are better suited for keeping your life out of balance.

So what is the best kept secret for a life in balance?

????

It’s not as difficult as you might think and it’s not as easy as it’s going to sound.

Come back tomorrow for more.

Feel free to “Follow” and the next post will come to your inbox!

 

The Sensation of Conflict

Sit Still.

Exercise – Move more.

The human back is it’s most vulnerable in the sitting position.

Still your body.

Still your mind.

Monkey mind. Mind chatter. Focus issues.

It hurts, be still. It hurts more, be still longer. It still hurts, see a doctor. I have pills. Now I can sit with less pain as long as I take the pills.

Control your emotions (which means exactly what? Suppress? Repress? See a therapist?). Manage your energy (not that I’m going to communicate to you how to do this. Again, therapist?). Why are your shoulder blades so tight?  Why is your neck always stiff? The two commands in this sentence remind me of telling a child to ‘be careful’. What the hell does that mean anyway? Stifled. Muted. Shut down. Restless. Frustrated. Conflict.

The above reminds me of television in which delicious rich ice cream is advertised, followed by an ad for a weight loss program. I have to be able to eat ice cream and still be thin. Guilt. Shame. Isolation. Conflict.

I keep reading that we need to learn to be in stillness. First of all, clarity is needed here. In terms of movement, we are still far, far too often. Stillness of the mind is what is needed. In an interview included in the video Inner Wave, Gabrielle Roth suggested that in order to still the  mind, we must move the body.

It’s not as if we’re not in a shortage of thinkers. We tend to think too much. Thinking about the meaning of life (does there really have to be a meaning?!) rather than living it. Thinking about my purpose, rather than allowing myself be drawn by what is important to me and what I’m good at. What will the neighbors think? Thinking about the “right time” until there is no more time at all. Thinking about what he meant by that or thinking about how she feels about this rather than asking them and living closer to truth than an imaginary world. I’m not even going to step into a debate about what is truly important to be thinking about as opposed to dangers of self-absorption.

It looks as though we have created “exercise” in order to counteract the results of “sit still”. And it’s fun too, right? For some of us, it is. For others, they hate it so much they take the consequences of being sedentary. Interestingly, as children we all play (with few exceptions) and we don’t often complain about it.

It’s when we stop playing that our bodies and minds become less flexible. I’m not talking about our adult redefinition of play – adult version of play, which, for the most part speeds up the deterioration of the human self. I’m talking about silly games, games that make us laugh so hard that we risk needing a change of clothes. Chases that take us nowhere but leave us deliciously exhausted for about 5 seconds. Imaginary beings that do exactly what we want them to in worlds that only exist in play. Getting lost in the story. Thoroughly engrossed in the search or the ‘perfect’ hiding place.

For no other reason than it’s fun.

When children play they fall down from time to time, skin knees and elbows and occasionally break bones usually as they’re learning. It’s not until adults step in and begin registering them for formal sports program that the path is altered. It’s not until adults step in and start treating them like little adults. Left to themselves, children will run and play until their bodies are tired. Then they stop, drink out of the garden hose or grab a snack from the cupboard and go back outside. If it’s been a particularly tough play day, they may sit down and watch some tv or play a video game. Then, back to play. It’s when we, the adults tell them to keep playing;  they can rest when the game is over, or they can wait to have a drink until half time or go to the bathroom until whenever it’s convenient, that we teach them how to disconnect from their bodies. The process of disconnection starts younger and younger. Conflict.

Disconnection starts early, so that when they’re 20 they’re willing to pull all-nighters in school. So that in the 30s and 40s they are willing to forsake rest, healthy nutrition, mental and emotional wellness as well as their families for the job.

Even at this point, though, the body will still express the sense of dis-ease that registers as stress. I’m not happy. I hate my job. I can’t wait for the weekend and even though no two Mondays are ever the same, I dread them all as I drag myself back to work; the thing that sucks the joy out of my life and and strangles my soul. I’d much rather be doing something else, something more fun, but… Conflict.

Our bodies register the lack of ease, or flow in our lives. We would rather be doing something “fun”; something that feeds the soul rather than depletes it. So why don’t we?

Don’t even say ‘to pay the bills’. Careers aren’t built to pay the bills. Jobs that don’t interfere with a life in balance are what pay the bills, right? C’mon, be more creative.

What if we were all having fun? What if we all chose to make a living at what makes us happy most of the time (nothing’s perfect). What would happen?

Our medical visits might decline which means our medical bills might decline.

We might not have to live with the gut-wrenching guilt of hating what supposedly sustains us while having no time for family or self. Possibly our need for antacids might decrease. Our need for over the counter pain relievers might decrease.

We know the sensation of conflict. We know it so well that almost everyone I meet will either admit to being extremely uncomfortable with conflict or their behavior shows me that they can’t manage conflict at all.

Is it possible to live without conflict? As ‘good’ as that may sound, it may create imbalance, however, is it possible to live without so much deep, unresolvable conflict? Better? A little conflict creates growth – we’re not all perfect; our every word a choice of genius, a little calling out keeps us honest and our perspective a bit more clear.

What are we going to do about it?

How do we create balance?

What is it worth?

What is Movement Alchemy? And What’s In It For You?

Why am I here?

Why did I create Movement Alchemy?

What do I have to offer that will benefit you and others?

I’m here, I guess because my parents liked each other alot!

Seriously, I’m here because I can help you heal.

Movement Alchemy describes the transformation through movement that is accessible to every body.  Transformation that honors every body in its uniqueness and life history. Movement Alchemy is the culmination of the work I’ve done; the different disciplines of movement, the variety of injuries I’ve befriended as well as the various methods of healing I’ve explored.

Movement Alchemy is…

  • Nia classes, an energetic, fun way to get fit, connect to community and get your dance fix! 52 Moves fuse the energy of martial arts, dance arts and healing arts for a perfectly balanced fitness program.
  • Labs and Workshops that are perfect if you are new to movement or Nia. Labs and Workshops that are also rich opportunities for all of you veterans and teachers to dive more deeply into your somatic practice with others in the Nia community.
  • Sole Practice, one-on-one sessions that incorporate your personal body history and natural movement style. This information is a treasure map that will lead us on a journey of mind, body, spirit and emotional fitness, well-being and pleasure.

Why should you come and get it from me?

First, I am head over heels in love with your body!

It’s the truth and I’m pretty shameless about it! I’d like to hear about your experiences with movement, and your body history.  I’d also like to share tools to help you increase your awareness of body sensation. Awareness is the foundation for any change, whether you want to increase strength, and flexibility or get faster and increase stability. I’ll share tools that will improve your ability to  move more easily, release pain, heal and reach your goals.

Second, I’m a gifted teacher.

That means:

1. I can do what I claim.

2. There is nothing I would rather do with my time than share my love of movement with you. I bring 15+ years of experience moving bodies and a passion for exploration and movement adventure. I speak Sensation, the language of the body and with a little practice, you will too!

3. I have a new Toy and I can’t wait to share it!

On a personal note, recently I caught myself wishing I had stepped into this earlier in my life. I just didn’t have the juice I have now; the fuel, the excitement that gets me up every morning (and Movement Alchemy won’t fully manifest until October!).

What is it? This fuel?

I love my body! I love the way it moves. I love the way it feels and these two concepts feed each other.

The more I love the way I feel, the more I want to move and find ways of moving that result in loving the way I feel!

The Joy of Movement, Nia White Belt Principle 1. It is the sensation of Joy flooding my body. The sensation that says, “oh yea, this is the way I want to keep doing it”.  It was through Nia that I discovered The Joy of Movement, but it is not limited to Nia. I discovered the Joy of  Running. After 25 years of doing it-hating it-doing it-hating it, I applied Principle 5, Awareness. I ran and listened. When it didn’t feel good I made tiny changes, I tweaked – I kept my mouth closed but my teeth apart so my jaw would stay relaxed. I lengthened my stride; that did not feel good and I started counting steps again. I checked my ego, shorted my stride and slowed my pace. Ah, Joy returned. When I felt like I could run for hours, I was there. My body would ask me to run. I was slow, at first, but it felt really good and I was happy to be outside. Before long I was faster. I quietly kept up with the speeds of some more serious runners and found my pace not far from theirs. Ok, this really works!

Nia is much of what I share, but Movement Alchemy is how the big picture comes together.

Nia. Dance. Running. Basketball. Golf. Business. Relationships.

Strength. Flexibility. Agility. Mobility. Stability. Longevity.

The Balance of Yin and Yang, masculine and feminine energy within each one of us and out in the world.

Oh, yea about that new toy?!

This toy is actually a tool that gives me the power of choice; the power to choose how I’m going to use my body in any given moment. Learning to use this tool has made a huge difference in my conditioning and how my body looks. I’ll bet learning to use this tool would make a big difference in your movement practice; profession, hobby or sport, whatever your fitness, experience or skill level. At the same time, you will develop what I call your deep core reserve of stability.

Curious? Good! Come see me.

Too far away for live and in person? That’s ok, we’ve got this thing called technology. Contact me and we’ll figure it out.

A Sensory Practice

Sensation Vocabulary

These are words that are either clear adjectives or words that evoke sensation and may be used to more clearly communicate the language of the body.

These are words that make sense to my body.

This list was inspired by a similar offering from Debbie Rosas Stewart and Carlos AyaRosas in their work in Nia as well as contributions from other Nia teachers.

Powerful          Quick             Achy            Soft            Showy          Sassy                   Loose               Jangly               Slippery

      Weightless                Precise               Free                 Centered             Light                  Graceful            Liquid

Energetic        Sloppy             Crispy               Electric            Lively                   Expressive               Empty            Warm

Full       Fluid          Heavy           Responsive           Solid              Playful             Tight             Linear             Bound

Sharp         Mechanical          Wild           Yang            Masculine              Stuck         Slow          Connected              Sexy

Flexible           Rooted              Strong               Aggressive              Floaty            Mushy  

Languid              Cold             Prickly

Stable           Yummy        Hollow             Yin            Feminine          Bubbly                Fit                  Relaxed            Weary

Adventurous             Alert             Bold              Fidgety              Hot                Calm  

Luke-Warm             Unsteady                   Weak

Fluffy         Stimulated              Wide               Sticky             Vibrant               Oscillating            Unstable              Tense

          Juicy            Dry            Coarse          Silky         Velvety         Crunchy          Smooth             Taut             Rigid

Shivery          Slinky           Feline             Open             Closed           Circular            Agile            

Curvy            Still               Subtle

Confident            Organic              Expansive            Edgy           Stuck         Coooool             Deliberate

Accidental            Restless          Awkward

A few of these words are usually associated with emotional states.  Avoid this association by remaining body and sensation-centered.

Practice:

You can play with this list by paying attention and using the words to give voice to your body’s communications. You can also pick one word at a time and move each one. Sense these words in your body rather than thinking them. How would “crunchy” move? How does “mushy” move? If it doesn’t come right away move on without judgment. If you don’t get anything, it’s ok.  Go through the list then move on with your day.

Go back to this exercise at least once a week.  Awareness takes practice.  Give yourself the time you need to adapt. It will come. When you practice, play without a mirror.  This practice is an avenue to discovering Your Body’s Way or your body’s nature.  This practice will heighten your sensitivity to your body’s well-being. In turn, this practice can also heighten your awareness to the world around you. Discovering Your Body’s Way is a tool for taking your wellness, fitness and performance to a higher level as well as re-connecting to life in a global way.

This is all about sensation.