Tag Archives: connections

Awareness of Music and Creativity

Colored Bubbles

I’m taking an online creative writing course, Courting the Muse, offered by Cassaundra W. Bennett. One of my writing assignments suggested that I listened to music with which I am unfamiliar. I listened to a musical arrangement that was a bit different from my usual listening choices.

I listened to an a capella piece performed by Anna Kendrick using plastic cups as “accompaniment. At first listen, I didn’t care about the cups. Anna has a good voice and I was totally engaged by the lyrics.

I’ve got my ticket for the long way ‘round
The one with the prettiest of views
It’s got mountains, it’s got rivers, it’s got sights to give you shivers
But it sure would be prettier with you

I like the tone of her request for this person she’s singing to join her. She doesn’t beg; there’s no angst or anger in her voice. The person she’s singing to means something to her but she’s strong enough in herself to go without him.

Her offer is almost off-the-cuff. Or perhaps simply relaxed. Maturity and a bit of humor,  “you’re gonna miss me when I’m gone, you’re gonna miss me by my hair, you’re gonna miss me everywhere, oh, you’re gonna miss me when I’m gone.”

I hear hope with enough experience to know that she may not get what she wants this time.

After a few listens, the cups relinquish their side. She is someone who has just enough to get by. She doesn’t need any more; doesn’t want any more. She’s playing cups. Would she play something else if she could?

Letting go. She’ll let him go. If I shift how I listen, I can hear a mournful tone. She knows she’s already lost him, but she has to ask anyway. She is brave enough to ask and courageous enough to hear the answer. She’s willing to be vulnerable; strong enough to be vulnerable. She is strong enough to resist following another.

How vulnerable am I willing to be? Am I strong enough to be as vulnerable as I am?

I got my ticket for the long way ‘round
Two bottle ‘a whiskey for the way
And I sure would like some sweet company
And I’m leaving tomorrow, wha-do-ya say?

I’ve got my ticket for the long way ‘round
The one with the prettiest of views
It’s got mountains, it’s got rivers, it’s got sights to give you shivers
But it sure would be prettier with you


Scene from the movie Pitch Perfect, Anna Kendrick – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jcl_FkA0qJA

Entire song; song only – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n06IejXZZFs

Awareness of Secrecy

Hiding Snake in Wallpaper

I’ve never been a good keeper of my own secrets. I can keep my mouth shut for others, but if you know what to look for, you can see my life on my body.

I don’t like keeping secrets.

The “keeping ____ close to the vest” – hate it.

When I am keeping secrets, I can’t say how things really are. I’m greatly uncomfortable with that. When I live like that I stop talking altogether. (I’ll bet some of you can’t even imagine that!!) What’s there to talk about? Everything is connected. Ripples everywhere. For me, secrecy is akin to lying. Then, if I lie about one aspect of my life every relationship I have is based on fiction. My mother was a phenomenal secret-keeper. Ironically now that she no longer recognizes me she is both unable to keep any more secrets while keeping the secrets that would help explain how she  got to this place. When I was a teenager we were friends. Now, as her life comes to an end, I realize I never knew her.

I hate secrets.

Why would I keep secrets?


Is there another reason for keeping secrets?

Playing games instead of open and direct communication.

Snow came today and it occurred to me that if it snowed long enough, it would hide everything. We would no longer be able to see what is beneath the snow.

The world looks sparkling, clean and beautiful. Snowflakes fall gracefully; fearlessly floating into relationship with what is below.

We have outrsnow too. That which hides what we fear to have seen.

Somewhere along our journey we learn to hide what is unique. We learn was is acceptable and from there we filter what we allow to be seen and heard. We conceal what we believe will not be tolerated.

What we only share with a select few – if anyone at all. Experience lives and breathes in the body. Experience manifests as sensation. It can become locked in when we become stuck. Locked within, it passes through a metamorphosis until we choose to perceive what has been internally digested as the “way we are” – part of us.

On this path we choose illusion over truth. When truth is so uncomfortable that self-deceit is a relief – the metamorphosis is complete.

It turns us inside out, this metamorphosis; this constant burning of fear. Misguided vigilance makes a sacrifice out of our truth to serve our secrets. We sacrifice who we are – our ability to show up – to serve fear.

We will preserve our secrets/fear and secrecy/fear at the risk of all else. We lose our selves and the ones we love and who love us.

Fear of scarcity.

Fear of abandonment.

Fear of loneliness.

Fear of failure.

Fear of looking foolish.

The steps we take to prevent what we fear are the very steps that ensure the nurture, feeding and manifestation of what we fear.

What we deem unwanted:








Is both Unique and Collective.

We so often feel alone in what we keep secret when the reality is that we are not alone at all. For being unique in ourselves, how we experience life and what we fear is remarkably ubiquitous. Ultimately the walls we build with our secrets are walls that keep us from ourselves.

If I can’t connect to myself fully then how can I ever hope to connect to another?

Hiding Monster Under the Bed

“Passion”, A Lab for Every Body on Sunday!

Inspired by a series of conversations with black belt Nia guide Andrew Mills, I started exploring different formats with the intention of first helping my students learn Nia choreography more easily. Feeling the need to take the concept “live” I invited my students to help me test the early version. They agreed and were wonderful!

On Sunday, September 30 from 1-3pm, I’ll be sharing the first Learning Lab of this type.

We’ll be learning The Base moves for the Nia routine, Passion.

This Lab is perfect for a new-to-Nia students, as well as veteran students and new Nia teachers.

Dedicated to Awareness of Body Sensation, let’s create a relaxed, fun atmosphere. We’ll “walk” through the Nia Base Moves that make Passion the pleasure-filled fitness experience it is. We’ll explore just enough technique to create a foundation for success and I’ll share my “new toy”*, a tool that puts the intensity level of each and every class of any type in the palm of your hand.

I love doing this work and I’m honored to offer this first Lab.

The Passion Lab will be offered at the beautiful, serene Clarus Center in Warrenville. I love this location; gorgeous, warm hardwood floors, floor to ceiling windows and doors that open out to a bank of marsh grasses and wild flowers surrounding a huge pond settled against a tall line of trees. At Clarus we get to dance with coyote, ducks, geese, racoons and whoever wants to join in and if it’s cool enough, we’ll have a fire in the fire place.

The Lab cost is $35. You’ll go home with the Passion Home Practice Packet including the music CD so that you can practice at home.

To register, contact me, either by email – Niaspirit@yahoo.com or call/text 630-290-4814.

This Lab for learning the Base Moves is a first step from which many other learning opportunities can grow. Next, we’ll explore the Passion Moves for Core and the Upper Extremities of the Body. Then? How about the 9 Movement Forms followed by The Body’s Way?

All you have to do is show up and your body will do the rest!

I’d like to express deep gratitude to my students for their patience and willingness to step into the unknown with me while I figure things out, and for trusting that I would.

Thank you, Andrew.


*I introduced my “new toy” in my last blog post, What Is Movement Alchemy And What’s In It For You?


Sole Practice, my one-on-one sessions are beginning in October in the same amazing Clarus location. You can get more details about Sole Practice at http://www.movementalchemy.com. Click on Ooze, Melt and Drip and then on Sole Practice.

Systemic Integration – Systemic Movement

If you wiggle your toes long enough, your calf muscles will get tired. If you don’t want to wait that long, you can stand up and releve’ until your calf muscles won’t let you rise anymore. Unless you’re a ballet dancer, chances are good it won’t take as long.

Why am I suggesting you perform weird exercises?

Those weird exercises are easy examples of how one part of your body, your feet, are connected to another, your calves. If you don’t feel like getting up you can squeeze and release your hand in and out of a fist until your forearm gets tired. Either way, watch what happens. To make the experience richer, place your other hand on your forearm while you squeeze and release your fist. To further integrate your nervous system, as you did when you added sight and touch, sense for pressure as your fist tightens or your calf muscles shorten as you rise to the balls of your feet.

What do you hear?

If you’re releving (is that a word?!) – you may begin to hear your breath. And, or,  the creaking of your ankle joints.

If you pay attention you may notice that once your calf muscles begin to fatigue, the larger muscles above begin to contract more noticeably than they were before. You may not have felt them earlier. Not only that, but your core – the muscles that support your spine all the way around your body will also begin to work in order to keep you upright. If you find that you are struggling to maintain perfect upright balance and you are leaning forward a little, the muscles in your upper back and neck will also kick in to prevent the weight of your head from causing you to topple. All that from some little movements in your feet!

Ok, now right after your finish one releve’, bend your knees and sink closer to the ground. The muscles that surround your upper leg are going to begin to make a statement. You’re using some of the largest muscles in your body, so don’t be surprised if your heart rate increases.

After you rise again, pretend you’re holding a basketball in your hands and “shoot” it into a basket high over your head and in front of you, making sure that the ball rolls off of your finger tips as it leaves your hand.

Put all of those moves together. Make sure your eyes are following the ball. Ok, now just one more thing: when you’re finished with all of that and the ball is in the basket, look over your shoulder as though someone standing behind you just called your name.

Repeat that same sequence in ssssloooooooowwwwwwww motion. How did that feel? Different from the faster version? Keep it super slow and your releve’s can alternate so that your rising on one foot at a time. Repeat the same movement pattern in slow motion 4 or 5 more times.

Now move it at your natural pace. How does that feel? Is it a relief to have momentum working with you instead of fighting against momentum? Faster is easier… Interesting…

You may have just integrated more of your body’s systems than you usually do


You created systemic movement!

Why did I just bother with all that?

First to suggest that moving systemically is not a foreign concept. It might help to think of systemic integration and movement as the relationships that occur between your body parts. Second, to add a little dimension to the idea that fitness has to be fast. For variety, for balance and to train your body in a different way – to truly cross train all of you – keep your attention on your entire body and change your speed.

What if you put that pattern, fast and slow, to music…