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.

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