Tuesday, November 18, 2008

November 2008

Alchemy of Transformation

This is the season when we turn inward, get slower and quieter. And right here, right now, that doesn't seem to be the course of life. Instead, an upsurge of energy, movement, possibilities. And so we must follow... pardon me, I must follow. I hear the call... and I follow it.

A quickening... the river is getting faster. Hang on, let go? Hang on, let go? Maybe sometimes one, sometimes another. Both-and. Both hang on and let go. And you'll know which one is right in the moment... you don't have to "try" and figure it out. When you need to know, you will. Pardon me, when I need to know, I trust that I will know.

It's that newfound (or maybe "re-membered") faith of mine. The one that made me say to God when I was 7, 8, 9, 10?: "God, I'll come back to you when my mom and dad die. I promise." And then I walked through the rest of my days alone, and man, was it scary. I know, I know, God was there all the time, in fact, maybe he was even carrying me, but I didn't know that, and that's what matters. I didn't let God in, I turned away, and so I felt alone... and scared.

I am no longer alone, and I am no longer scared. Oh, well, sometimes I'm alone (and I really like those times) and sometimes I'm scared (it feels really bad in my body when I'm scared). I call "scared body" "fear body" now. As in "love body vs. fear body". But why do they have to be against one another, fighting one another? How about both-and? Is it okay to sometimes fear and sometimes love, if I take the opportunity when I'm in fear mode to really find out what I'm scared of, and to ask, "Am I still scared of that?" and then to really LISTEN to and then live by the answer.

And so... today I'm in love body. I'm going for a tandem ride with a new friend in Glenwood Canyon outside of Aspen, and I'm making a birthday cake for another new friend of mine. Cheesecake, chocolate peanut butter cake, carrot cake or hot buttered rum cake?

See what I mean about a quickening... 2 new friends in as many days. But I have the spacetime to share with them... to find out what we have to learn from the other.

I am still following the Yes...

Sunday, November 16, 2008

October 2008

Vibe Tribe!

Last month's fundraiser event for Maat Hetep, a Village of Peace in Ghana, West Africa, was a gigantic success!! We raised over our goal of $5000 and more than 100 people joined in the celebration of the International Day of Peace. All together, we drummed, we danced, we ate African-inspired food, and Vibe Tribe made their debut performance. Rochelle Norwood, visionary and girl-in-the-field for Inside OUT Africa is now in Ghana, implementing the plan for a Village of Peace and dancing once again with Africana Dance Ensemble

Vibe Tribe, an intentional dance troupe comprised of 7 Roaring Fork Valley women from Glenwood Springs to Aspen, ranging in age from mid-20's to almost 60, continues to dance for peace. Our next "gig" is at Rifle Middle School, as part of their cultural awareness days, during which we will perform our African routine and teach the students some African dance moves.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

September 2008

Open Space

I've said "no" to two things in recent weeks. One was a relationship, the other was a business partnership. Both of them didn't feel right in my body, as evidenced by exhaustion, aching joints, inertia, and a closed-down throat chakra. Quite literally, I didn't have my words, and as you may know, I usually have my words and use them quite loquaciously. And I didn't have my words because I wasn't living my truth and if I'm not living my truth, then I can't speak my truth. It's all connected, you see.

So I spent the month of August rather shut-down and closed off... it's darkest before the dawn, I'm fond of saying.

And then, when the emotional and spiritual pain reached its threshold, I acted. It's my Truth or my Life. I spoke my truth to the man I was in relationship with, saying, "No, this isn't working for me," and I spoke my truth to my business partner, "This is your path and your passion, but it's not mine."

And as I said "no," I made space for "yes." It was in Nia that I found my "no" when I first started dancing in 2001. I had to say "no" for several years on the dance floor before I found my "yes."

It's been two weeks since I said "no" and in the time and open space since then what has begun to trickle in is the feeling state I am creating for my life: Beauty. Simplicity. Warmth. And as I have gotten clear on how I desire to feel, the possibilities of what that looks like in concrete form have begun to take shape.

And at this point, I remain open to them all.

Friday, June 6, 2008

June 2008

Follow the Yes...

Every morning, before arising from underneath cozy covers, I do a 10 minute free-write. I find that this leads me to my focus for the day. Some foci from the past week:

peace. presence. process

and today's focus:
Follow the Yes!

For me, following the yes means paying attention to the little signs that present themselves all the time, if i am only PAYING ATTENTION! (Do you remember the e-tiquette that tells us that ALL CAPS means SHOUTING?!?) so i really meant to write, "PAYING ATTENTION!"

Are you?... paying attention that is... right here, right now? Where do you feel your body in this moment? How is your breath? I have been goinggoinggoing since last Thursday, and as I ask the question, "How is your breath?" I immediately feel my own and I realize I'm breathing only in my head.

So I invite you, right here, right now, to breathe with me... to inhale deeply, sensing the air, cool, as it comes into your nostrils, sensing your belly expand as you fill it with chi, with life force... inhaling all the way up your chakra elevator, passing through energy centers that are the color of the rainbow-- red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet. And when you reach the penthouse, violet and vibrating, right at the crown of your head, I invite you to hang out with me for a moment... 1-one thousand, 2-one thousand, 3-one thousand... and look around at the posh and luxurious surroundings, and feel yourself a part of it All.

And then, ride the chakra elevator down, down, down past the red root cellar and along both legs. Sense the tingling alive energy of your legs as you release the exhale through your feet. And know that as you exhale the chi that was just in you, you are returning it to Mother Earth-- you are feeding her, nurturing her, appreciating her.

With just this breath, just this one breath... you have said a big "Yes!" to Life.
Keep following the yes...

Monday, May 26, 2008

May 2008

Lost & Found

For once, I am at a loss for words. No, more truthful is this: sometimes this (being at a loss for words) happens, especially when I am feeling not-so-buoyant. Right now is one of those times...

One trick of writing that I picked up somewhere along the way is this: just write. Put pen to paper (or in this instance, hover digits over keys) and write whatever comes to mind. Eventually, something of value will come. Or maybe not... but at least you (I) showed up.

One of my students asked me on our drive home from the retreat in Paonia (which was both great fun and informative in that deeply personal and soulful way), if I felt "responsible" for my students' experiences in class.

It felt like an important question, and as an answer didn't come to mind immediately, I told her I was going to take a few moments. As I sat with it, what came to me was this: No, I don't feel responsible for my students' experience, but what is important to me is that my students feel moved to bring all of themselves to class. To me, bringing all of one's self means showing up; being present in body, mind, spirit, and emotions; dancing one's Truth, even if it's ugly, loud, or messy; and having the courage to feel one's heart, and then to express that through movement.

On that day, that was my truth.

The next several days came and went, and "responsibility" came up again, and then again, until I said, "Okay, okay, this responsibility thing is something to look at!" So I looked, and discovered a different answer, a deeper layer, perhaps. Yes, I do feel responsible, maybe not for my students' experience, but for my own. I expect to show up the way I desire my students to show up: present in my body, mind, spirit, and emotions and having the courage to feel and dance the truth of my heart.

However, as I've come to understand, me showing up as a teacher is different than me showing up as a student. As a teacher, it is my responsibility to hold the space, so that my students feel safe to allow their truth to come to the surface for transformation or release.

As a student of Nia, I found this safe space, and in it, I bloomed. I found a joy I had never felt before, I found a voice that had gone underground years ago, I found a power that was all mine, and I found my spirit that had finally, finally found its most exuberant expression.

I guess I could say I was lost, and now I'm found.

And you? You don't have to be lost to find ever-deeper and richer facets of self, that's just my story. You, being given the space to explore, what have you found/what will you find as you attune to your body wisdom, take risks, and transform?

Debbie Rosas, co-creator of The Nia Technique, says, "Be a roving, blazing question mark in Life."

What you seek, you will find...

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

April 2008

An Athlete of God
dancing back The Art of Discipline

I read a quote by Martha Graham this morning that inspired me as I watched the dawning sun rise over the ridge:

"I believe that we learn by practice. Whether it means to learn to dance by practicing dancing or to learn to live by practicing living, the principles are the same. In each, it is the performance of a dedicated precise set of acts, physical or intellectual, from which comes shape of achievement, a sense of one's being, a satisfaction of spirit. One becomes, in some area, an athlete of God. Practice means to perform, over and over again in the face of all obstacles, some act of vision, of faith, of desire. Practice is a means of inviting the perfection desired."

I remember the obstacle I faced when I first began my Nia practice almost 7 years ago: it was that of being a beginner, of not being perfect, of feeling clumsy and 2 steps behind my teacher and of not feeling beautiful in this dance that should be beautiful. Something BIGGER in me kept showing up, despite the nigglin' of my ego: "You're not getting it... you don't look good... you're not perfect." The "BIGGER" in me, I believe, was my spirit. My spirit saw the vision, kept the faith, and had the desire to, again and again, dance and be danced.

I followed my "Yes!" and I kept showing up, week after week, until beginner turned into novice, not perfect turned into good enough, clumsy turned into getting it, and not beautiful-looking turned into beautiful-feeling. My discipline paid off, my perseverance and reaching for something outside my comfort zone has made my life richer, deeper, wider and way more lovely.

And now, I am being asked to stretch again, to "answer that voice in my head that says, 'I want more.'" Sometimes, to have the more, we have to first empty out to create space for the more we desire...

"Space is grace," one of my students said to me when I told her that cutting out two classes has resulted in a slew of opportunities flooding my way-- opportunities that address my desire for more. And the obstacle I face now is one of the mind-- my mind-- as I realize that it is my thoughts that create my feelings that create my reality. Right here, right now, I am in the practice of choosing good-feeling thoughts as I realize just how responsible I am for what I manifest based on my thoughts and therefore, my feelings.

This morning, as I sipped my green tea and contemplated my day, I felt proud to be an athlete of God, training in this new discipline of right thought, good feeling and vital manifestation.

Monday, March 3, 2008

March 2008

arlyn deva
Shadow ~ Light Yin ~ Yang Contract ~ Expand

It was the didgeridoo healing session on the beach one morning in Mexico that changed it all for me. Through a not-so-fluent interpreter, I understood that this sound healing would harmonize my chakras and balance my emotions. Forty-five minutes later, I left feeling heavy, grounded, slowed down. And as I slowed down, I became connected to earth energies and a deep place within myself.

In the month since the session, as I have gone to ever-deeper places of stillness and introspection, one thing has become clear: life as I live it now is not sustainable-- physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally I cannot support teaching 7 classes a week.

I came to this valley a year and a half ago with visions that I would introduce Nia to Glenwood. I was here but a month and a half when Fate let me know that I would be sharing Nia not just with Glenwood, but with Carbondale, and shortly thereafter, Aspen. Initially, I resisted these changes to "my plan," but in hindsight, I soon realized just how fortuitous this unexpected twist in the road was, not only for me and Sol Nia, but for my students in Carbondale and Aspen who came to class and "got" Nia just as I had.

And now, Fate seems to be working her way with me again, and I am in this new (for me) practice of trusting that all is well and the Universe is benevolent and letting go of control and remaining open to possibilities. I am also beginning to play with my powers of manifestation using visualization, appreciation and expectation. I have my wall of inspiration (visualization), that I am adding images and words to practically daily now; I awaken in the morning and my first thought is, "What am I grateful for in this very moment?" (appreciation); and I have been "acting as if" (expectation), feeling my way into the emotional space of what my life will feel like when I have manifested my dreams for my future.

In the end, it's all about balance for me-- about accepting both my shadow and my light, working with both my masculine and feminine energies, and embracing both my contracted and expanded states of being.

For the past year and a half, Sol Nia has been my everything: my passion, my bread and butter, my relationships, my work, my play, my mornings, my nights, my weekends. And now, we are both seeking balance.

If I see Sol Nia as the child I initially envisioned her as, then we are both feeling the need for this stay-at-home mom to go out into the world and explore other gifts, other possibilities... tipping the scales back into balance.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

February 2008

I would love to live like a river flows...

carried by the surprise of its own unfolding

I am learning about going with the flow and being in the moment and the surprise flavor of mango applesauce... from an 8 month old.

When I let him, baby Kai is my biggest teacher. To Kai, every experience is new and it seems egg yolk mixed with breast milk is yet another surprising flavor (who knew!). Today, as I strapped on snowshoes, with him strapped to my back in one of those baby backpack contraptions, he was hanging nearly upside down, struggling to keep his head erect. And then, release: he relaxed into the moment and lay his head on my back... going with the flow.

Last week, as I sat in stillness waiting for the inspiration for a class focus, I heard the river below me, moving, constantly moving. I thought of the quote above, "I would love to live like a river flows..." and I said to myself, "Let go... let go of the bank and let it be easy. There is nothing you have to do but let go..."

Later that same day, inspiration came from another source, Abraham, who speaks of upstream thoughts and downstream thoughts. Upstream thoughts keep us stuck and unmoving, trying hard to swim against the current. Downstream thoughts (even if we judge them to be negative thoughts) are taking us in the right direction in our life, as we move through what we need to move through.

In Nia, we have a principle called "Dancing through Life," and it is about being mindful of sensation in the body as we seek pleasure with every movement we make throughout the day. Today, I danced through life with Kai on my back in National Forest land, making Abominable Snowman footprints in the fresh snow. As I headed down the hill, I felt in my body just how easy and Joy-Full it is to head downstream, to live to walk to dance to love to play... like a river flows...

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

January 2008

manifesting. acting "as if". destiny.

Inside of you is a dream... waiting to come true.

What is this brilliant and beautiful life that is unfolding before you? What is the ground that you have found and the earth you are preparing? What do these next 12 months hold... these next 12 months that are pivotal in the unfoldment of your brilliant and beautiful life?

That's just it... you get to choose. At the end of last Saturday's class, several students said, "I know I'm preparing for something, but what that is, I don't know." The not knowing is fine... for awhile. But there comes a time when the time is right and you are ripe to ask two little questions that will make you feel seen, heard and known... self meeting Self.

Ask yourself, "What do I want?" followed by the more essential question, "What does my deeper self desire?" and then get quiet... and still.

In her book, Women Who Run with the Wolves, Clarissa Pinkola Estes writes, "It is said that all that you are seeking is also seeking you, that if you lie still, sit still, it will find you."

Begin in the not knowing, sit in the silence, and then enter into the manifestation process, using "walls of inspiration" (more on that in this Saturday's FREE! class). Manifesting flows naturally into acting "as if", an embodied "trying on" of that which you are in the process of manifesting. And finally, acting "as if" becomes just that- acting- as you move into a gracious and grateful acceptance of that which has been your destiny all along.