Tag Archives: Healing.

New -No! MORE Ways of Thinking

Always jump in with both feet

Recently I had the opportunity to be present for a movement evaluation. This evaluation was for someone I know well and executed by an expert in her field. It was and continues to be a gift.

First, it brought to light more beauty and opportunities for growth for she who received the information. A more quiet light was also shone on something for myself; something I had not deeply considered for a number of superficial, ego-laden reasons.

I remember my very early ballet classes with Miss Ruth that began when I was 3. She was disciplined but gentle. I can’t see her image as a specific individual moving across the ballet studio. I’m not sure what I have is an image at all, more an overall sense of a body in motion. She was tall and willowy and she danced with such touching expression.  I would dance my hands and arms at night, lying on the floor, watching tv with my parents.

While I’m not a generally anxious person or a worrier, I do get brain jammed when someone stands over me waiting for an answer or execution – performance anxiety. The result looked like a “slow” learner. As a child, the longer I was in an environment, the better it did not get. I just fell further and further behind. At 13 I finally left formal ballet classes for what I promised myself was for good.

I continued to dance, though. I couldn’t not. I’d pick up steps or inspiration from what I would see on the stage, on tv or observing someone else’s class. I joined classes with a modern company in my 30s. It was fun and challenging but not as open as I’d wanted. Months later, my life changed (as life with children does) and while I was no longer in the modern class I continued to pick up information and material.

Fast forward to 24 hours following the evaluation. I may have picked up steps and moves and sparked creativity, but I didn’t pick up the basics that might have protected me from injury. All these years I’ve been dancing beyond my ability simply because I didn’t – I don’t – have the foundation on which to execute and build.

“When you dance beyond your ability, there is a higher chance of injury.” These words from a woman, who, at 54, is the healthiest ballet dancer I’ve ever met.

Errrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr! (That’s the slamming on of brakes. Aaaannnd the thinking and moving.)

As my wise daughter told me in response to my resistance to stepping back into formal dance classes and performing: You’re not that little girl anymore. You’re not clumsy anymore. You’re not slow.

I can be that little girl again, if I let myself slip back there.  She’s right, though.

I never gave up dance. I gave up the standard path. I also gave up the framework that might have prevented the multitude of injuries I have incurred over the years. So what now?

Back to ballet class.

This time I step into class not only as a moving body, but as an individual human; with a far richer sense of myself, I step in, not as a woman who has been dancing all of her life – as a beginner.

Mastering the basics. Every time I go back to step one, I enhance, enrich and deepen the potential for the skills, ability and knowledge I want to manage.

Back to the beginning.

Forever a beginner.

Always alert and ready to welcome the new – even if it appears to arrive in the form of the “old”. Don’t be deceived.


Stretching Nude Rear View

We cannot ask for the right to speak.

We cannot fight for equality.

We cannot wait for our turn; for the laws to pass.

We cannot ask for what is already ours.

“They” cannot give what is not their’s to give.

We cannot make anyone ‘get it’ or understand.

Until we live it. All of it.

Until we risk abandonment.

Until we risk discomfort that no one can relieve.

Until we are no longer willing to sell ourselves for acceptance.

Until we are no longer willing to obey what belongs to another.

There are no ‘good girls”, there are only women.

And there is no greater magic, power or element of change or healing than a woman.

Queen of Awareness – Just Call Me Grace!

Wind from Tornado F3

As I’ve written, I’m getting a lot out of my personal Practices. I’m regularly receiving life-altering information. I’ve even published a first-run online course (I never get tired of saying that!). All in all, I’m kind of quietly impressed with myself.

That was taken care of earlier today.

Let’s set the stage: I work in a “nest”. My body gets very out of sorts when I spend too much time at anything vaguely resembling a desk (that works out to about 30 minutes). It’s big pillows on the floor that I can arrange and re-arrange depending on the pleasure needs of my body, laptop, laptop tray, books for research, binders, mouse, cell phone, iPod and ear buds, water, hand lotion – you get the picture. The best thing about it is that it’s flexible so that I can change its shape when I notice my body’s request for a shift and it’s mobile.

Enter my son with a basket of clean clothes. He washed ’em, I’ll fold ’em. I reorganize what I’m working on, and I listen to my hip as I’m becoming vertical – I was sitting for a little while.

Then I promptly tripped over one of my binders! The sharp plastic spine edge caught the hem of my pajamas and gracelessly interrupted what had become my hapless forward motion.

My 22-year old son stood and observed, the very picture of potential sarcasm. “Way to work that awareness Mom,” he said softly with only a hint of smirk in his voice.

Tripping over binders, turning a kitchen corner too short and bruising a hip, whacking my shoulder on a door I only partially opened before attempting to walk through – it’s me, grace.

Licking my wounded pride (I like the ‘licking’ thing…), I folded clothes and went on to my movement practice.

Setting another stage: earlier I’d gone for a walk with a friend and I’d worn the wrong shoes. Not only do I have a host of little open blisters on top of both feet, but the soles of my feet feel like someone took a broom handle to them.

For my movement practice I thought it would be delicious to dance out on the deck. The weather was incredible; sunny and just warm enough to break a sweat without making the deck surface too hot to stand on. Beautiful! Trees beginning to fill out, tulips and daffodils everywhere.

My feet hurt.

Not enough to cry about but enough to look at today’s practice as a way to move in the way of my feet (little Nia joke). How can I move through this so that my feet heal?

The deck feels like it could give me splinters. And there are pine needles – operative word being “needles”.

You know where this is going, don’t you???

Yea, so I get everything set up – music, water, sunglasses and I start moving.

I was having a pretty good time, dancing in the sunshine, keeping my feet quiet as I placed them, step by step through the choreography. And, yes, the experience was as arduous as my attempt to describe it!

I caught sight of myself in the double glass doors and my first response was, “I look like I feel” – stiff and slightly disconnected. I was fully connected to my feet, but not the rest of me in between my brain and my feet. Now that I’ve had a chance to give the experience more room, I’m laughing.

The feet in my reflection must have been far, far larger than they appeared. Or the deck may have been covered in texture-less tree sap. Dance of the Tree Sap Fairies.  Yep, Dance of the Big Foot Tree Sap Fairies.

Just call me grace!

Permission to Be Exactly Where I Am

From time to time my son tells me that I am well-preserved! That’s his way of saying that I look pretty good for my age.

I don’t know about look, but I have been saying how young I feel in my body. This morning, 2 days after my Feldenkrais® session, I’m still moving like I haven’t been able to in several years.

I had gotten used to the pain and the diminishing range of motion.

A few minutes ago I sat down to send an email and realized I’d left the contact info on the kitchen counter. I popped up to get it and a virtual anvil smacked me right in the head:

Monday morning if I’d sat down and realized I didn’t have what I needed, I would have groaned internally at having to get up again and exerted the familiar effort to stand (forcing my hip flexors to lengthen against their will). Then I’d wonder how much of a stride I was going to get and how much was it going to hurt this time (not if, but how much). All this is in a split second of processing.

This time I know the quick processing was there but I didn’t mind a bit getting up again – I actually was kind of excited to do it. With ease. With so little effort. With no pain. Like I really don’t feel the effects of age.

I was aware of the changes that were taking place, but I had lost perspective on the scope.

This newly recovered ease isn’t free. While I’ve always been very present to my body, I am even more so through this experience. I want to remain in it for as long as possible. In other words I want to prolong the beautiful side effects of this treatment for as long as I can. It isn’t free, but I am absolutely thrilled to be doing the work!

I have a sense that my loss of perspective speaks not only the condition of my body but how I condition myself to view the condition of the world. How many times can you say “condition” in one sentence?! Ha! I think I’m going to leave it as it is…

With the upcoming elections, I know that I must look past beliefs that I’ve settled in with. Over the last two or three years I brought myself out of my political safe place. Like in my body,  I’ve been getting by – but do I want to just get by? I needed to make changes and there are changes in the world that need to be made.

To create change, I have to put something out there. Until very recently I kept my work mostly to myself. I’m an introvert and while I’m very warm and fuzzy on the inside, people don’t necessarily pick that up for awhile! I am a work in progress, how can I share what isn’t finished? I’m not accomplished or successful as culture defines it. I haven’t won any awards. I haven’t created a “method” – yet. I’m not on tv and I haven’t written a book. What if I put something out there and I’m wrong? What if I put something out there and it doesn’t work?

First, I started to tell myself what I’ve told other Nia teachers: the work does not have to be perfect for you to begin to offer it to your classes. It does have to be moving forward, but to wait for perfection may mean that the work never gets out there. Thank you, Stephaney Robinson.

Next, I accepted the fact that when I share in collaboration I learn more stuff. Often this “stuff” fills in some gaps I have and I like to think that maybe some of the “stuff” I share fills in someone else’s gaps. Rather than looking at someone else’s gifts and accomplishments as evidence that I am not enough – what I didn’t do, don’t have, can’t get, blah-blah-blah-Ginger – I’m now looking for balance. How can we nourish each other?

I have become fully aware that relationships – any and all relationships, are not about the 50/50 split. Ever. If I’m busy “keeping score” and thinking about who’s given or done more when the relationship has an organic ebb and flow balance, I’m going to miss the beauty. I’m going to miss the richness that is the person with whom I am dancing. Unless a relationship is completely and constantly out of balance – and it is possible to throw an organic flow out of balance by the anxiety and fear of keeping score – why not give it room for the ebbs and flows?

So how did I get to this point from giving you an update on my treatment?

My treatment results reminded me that I had lost perspective. I had accepted less than what was possible. Resisting collaboration was accepting less than is possible. I’ve got gifts, we’ve all got gifts. What good are they if I only share them with myself or my closest friends? I learned this not too terribly long ago:

I can have an idea that I think is great. Develop it and figure it’s ready to go. Then I talk it over with someone I trust and they either fill in the gaps I didn’t know were there (could be a proximity thing) or they ask questions I did not think to ask that I do or do not have the answers to. The fill-in-the-gaps is good. The question-and-answer opportunity is priceless!

Better that I have someone I trust ask tough questions and I get them covered than a potential paying client and I’m not ready to answer it. I still may not be, but I’ll be more comfortable with not having the answers to all the questions then if I had not put myself out there to practice.  Then, asking someone I know who isn’t my BFF. The emotional investment isn’t there and the questions feel more on-the-spot. Mmmm, another incredibly valuable learning tool!  And, how will I know where my next collaboration could come from if I don’t put it out there?

My learning curve is steep right now and I don’t imagine that’s going to change for awhile. That’s ok. It’s where I am and I’m usually pretty happy to be here. It was giving myself permission to be exactly where I am that lead me to some of the partnerships I’ve experienced and into the office of Julie Francis. Being where I am doesn’t mean I’m settling. It means that while I may be more in 2 hours by being what I am now – I can’t be anything else if I pretend to be anything but where I am.