Thursday, April 25, 2013

Comfortable Body

I love being aware of the sensation of moving comfortably in my body.
Today, I was walking down a hallway and I became aware of how good my body felt.
My feet were rolling from heal to toe, my toes breathing in with each step.
My tail was gently swaying from side to side, creating space for my spine, freedom for my belly.
My arms were gently swinging, hands brushing my thigh, moving me forward.
My eyes were looking up and out through a window, seeing the clouds float on by....
I was aware of the space within and around my body.
I was feeling tall, powerful, elongated, and yet, small compared to the world around me.
Today the awareness of comfort in my body brought a smile to face and my heart.

What sensations are connecting with right now? Are they pleasurable? If not, tweak, move, wiggle
your body until they are. Pay attention to your body and allow the sensations to bring a smile to your face.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

I Am Enough

I am constantly asked what else I do besides teach Nia. What an interesting question. I am asked by my students, friends, other Nia teachers~what else do I do? Do I have a day job?  I don't know that people would ask a lawyer what else they do. My chosen life path does not seem to be enough for other people. I think it might be the money or my lack of stress, but it is something that people don't quite understand.

This question has followed my around most of my working life. I live in a college town and there is a certain expectation that if you are a server in a restaurant, for example, you are also a student. It isn't enough for people that you are just a server. This expectation used to make me feel like I wasn't enough. I was working a creative job in retail and was embarrassed to say that was all I did. Or when I was creating my own jewelry line, I felt like I needed to be doing more and my answers would always dance around the question. I would always have some back-up answers like I am thinking about going back to school or I am also working on a website or.......they were honest answers, but only because I felt like I wasn't enough.

My negative reaction to this question came from my own self doubt. Even though I was working a job that satisfied me in many ways, I also felt like there was more. So when people would ask what else I did, I internalized it and made it personal. I was missing something and people were constantly calling me out, even though I don't think that was their intention. I didn't understand that my worth is more than my job. I do so much more than the thing that earns money. Then I stepped on my Nia path and things began to shift. My work and my life began to blend together into one beautiful work of art~my life! I was on the path to creating a sacred livelihood. (read this post to learn about my sacred livelihood) I have discovered my gifts and abundance and I no longer feel the sense of lack, I am enough.

I do not work a traditional job that earns buckets of money, and so people still ask me what else I do, the shift is in my answer and my body's reaction. I no longer feel a gut reaction to come up with more. I answer honestly what I do and don't need to fill the answer with "well....I'm working on this, maybe doing that" .  Now ,when people ask what else I do besides teaching life changing, healing Nia movement classes, my answer is living my life, being creative every day, continuing my journey through life, studying the body, building a community, playing, caring for our home, being a loving partner, and deepening my relationship with Nia.
Living a life I love is enough. I am enough.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Why do I dance?

I recently saw a post on the "Conscious Dancer" facebook page asking the question "Why do you dance?" I don't know that I have ever answered that simple question. I have always just danced. I have had no formal dance training, but I get asked all the time about my dance background. My dance background includes dancing around the living room as a child to my Mom's Elvis records, dancing on my Junior High Drill team, and dancing at bars.I am always the 1st one on the dance floor. I just truly connect with my dancing spirit and always have. 

So why? Why do I dance? What is it in me that has always felt the need to move to the music? 

I dance to quiet the crazy in my head~movement is my medicine! This is at the top of the list for a reason!
I dance to have fun~Yahoooo!
I dance to let go~I can't hold on to negativity when my body is in motion.
I dance to feel free~I feel absolutely free when I am dancing.
I dance to escape~I leave the world behind and let my body get lost in the music
I dance to exercise~My heart rate is up, I am sweating, I am using allllll of my muscles!
I dance to create~My body is a work of art and I can use it to create a masterpiece with every song.
I dance to heal~Again, movement is my medicine! I have healed my aches and pains with movement.
I dance to inspire~I hope to inspire other people to find the joy of moving their amazing bodies.

When I found Nia, it was the perfect fit for my dancing spirit. Nia has given a form to my dance, but is still allows me the freedom of my own expression. By understanding how the body is designed to work, I can dance with knowledge and intention. There is science behind the dance. What a gift I have been given to know the joy of dancing in a body that I love, and that loves me and rewards me with the sensation of pleasure.  I love it everyday when I step in to a Nia class or my living room and dance~dance~dance.

Why do you dance? or Why don't you dance? I know not everybody feels the way I do. People dance for different reasons. Some people don't think they can dance at all or feel self conscious when they dance. I invite you to let those thoughts go, put on your favorite song and move however you want to move. I believe that dancing can change the way you feel about your body and your life. Moving your body to music, letting go for even 3 minutes a day CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE! So I invite you to dance, in anyway you want, just dance ("it'll be ok....doo doo do do just dance":) 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Now Story!

What's your story? What is it that story you tell yourself that prevents you from being the best you you can be? The story that is on repeat, that can sound like an excuse or justification for why you can't "I can't do this because....".  The story that you always tell yourself and others about your life that is doing nothing to make it better. This story can be limiting, exhausting, and make you feel stuck. Or it can make you feel better, like a pacifier or comfort blanket. But we all change and grow and need to be constantly creating new stories for the body and life we are in RIGHT NOW !

The story that I tell myself that keeps me stuck involves money and doing what I love. I am stuck in the story that I have to earn money and that I have to earn it doing something that satisfies my body,mind spirit and emotions and my bank account. We live in a world that requires money, but I also live in a world that demands happiness. I have to make money to do what I love but I want to do what I love to make money...and so the story goes. I don't want to settle on a job just to make money. They have to go together for me.

I have found what makes me happy! Nia! Teaching Nia, living a sacred livelihood through the principles of Nia, learning the anatomy of the body, sharing the gift of living in a body I love~Nia! The trouble is, I am not earning any money.  Oprah always said if you do what you love the money will come....but dammit Oprah! I am still waiting.  I have found what makes me happy, what satisfies my spirit, calms my crazy mind, and makes me a better person~Nia. But, ugh, show me the money.

As a Nia teacher, my classes aren't as full as I would like them to be. I spend a lot of energy (and money) educating myself, learning new routines, anatomy, all the principles of Nia (so far). I want to be able to teach Nia and earn enough money to only teach Nia and continue to learn and grow with Nia. I am not doing that right now, money wise. Here's where the story kicks in. I should get a part time job to earn money and take the pressure off Nia having to be my income. But, if I do that, I will take energy away from Nia and I won't put as much into it as I want to. Working for other people drains my spirit.  But to continue to do Nia I have to earn money....and round and round I go! I have played out this story so many times, feeling stuck each time.

This is my story. My record that is on repeat. And it is exhausting.

So how do I change my story? Live in the now! Nia has taught me to live in my Now Body. I can take this idea and apply it to my story, and live in my Now Story. I don't need to keep retelling the past and stay stuck there. That story is no longer serving my greater good. What am I doing right now? What story am I creating, not re-telling?  Right now I am teaching 2 new classes that have people in them. I am focused on learning about the body through on-line continuing education.  Do I have enough money for today~right now? Yes! (shew) Am I doing my best?(I think this one is the key) Yes. Do I feel like I am doing all I can to make Nia successful in my life? Yes. So, what if that is my story~ Today I am learning and growing in my practice of Nia with enough money for today! Then, when tomorrow comes, I live out tomorrow's story. Live in my Now Life! And how exciting that my NOW story can constantly change and grow and shift!?!!

This is a challenge that I am ready to accept. It will not be easy. I have lived with this story my entire adult life, but I am ready to let it go. I am ready to be my best ~Right Now! How about you? What's your story that is keeping you stuck? Are you ready to let go and live in the Now?

Monday, August 6, 2012

Hold the Space

I recently went to Maine for 2 weeks and had the most interesting time. It was amazing and it threw me for a loop. It was breathtakingly beautiful with mountains, rocks, ocean, and pine trees. We hiked up and down the granite mountains of Acadia National Park. It was the most physically challenging hiking I have ever done. It was straight up and straight down and then back up....and....well back down. Amazing!

During this hiking, my brain and my body were able to be silent. There was no talking, even though I was not alone. There was no thinking, outside of where to step next. This was a new experience for me, this silence. It was a chance to let go of constant noise and create space inside me. Things got to move through me and then clear out, my thinking body was out of the way.

This is just what I wanted to happen. I was really needing some space and distance to give me a fresh perspective on my teaching, my relationships, my life. I have been feeling a bit disappointed by things and I needed a new perspective. I was cluttered and this vacation was a great opportunity to clear the clutter. And oh my~ did it ever! That physical challenge, silence, and wide open views of the ocean, created an enormous amount of space in me. As I hiked, each step left something behind that I no longer needed to carry.

I am not the 1st person to clear out the clutter. I am often hearing things like clear your mind, remove the clutter, quiet your thoughts and I have never been very good at that. I have improved this skill but my brain is very busy! But then~wow~I did it. I was able to be quiet and make space.And the quiet was amazing and restorative.

The thing I was not ready for was the empty space left where there was once clutter.

Now I am back and I feel, well, empty. I was NOT expecting that. I feel lonely, disconnected, low, drained. I thought I would return from this journey more open, energized, and ready for what is next. I feel like I created this space and it is there for all the goodness to flow in, but that is not what is happening. I feel empty. I feel like what I left on that island was all of my filler, it's now more bare bones and more vulnerable. It has also shed a light on what I was filling myself with before and how I need to re-evaluate some things. It has really made me pause.

I feel a need to react. I want to fill my mind, the space, with as much activity as I can to push away the lonely feeling. Fill it with anything that will make me feel better, connected, busy. It doesn't feel good to feel empty. And, I see this in other people, filling their lives with clothes, food, music, activities...anything that will fill the space and help them not feel empty or alone. These things are not what my spirit needs. I want my emptiness to be filled with wisdom, sensation, love but I am not sure yet how to get just what I am seeking.

So what do I do? I wait and hold the space...

I have created the space, cleared out the cobwebs and now I need to hold it until I find the right things to fill it.Waiting for the right things to come in. When negativity or the easier way creep in, I focus on holding the space. I can see the wide open world inside of me. I am on a journey and I am open and I am ready. It is a challenge. I am seeking, working, listening and waiting. I am letting myself know that the empty feeling is temporary and it is a sign that new things are coming, but I have to hold the space for them so when they arrive, there is room. I would hate to miss an opportunity for greatness because my mind is full of negativity. This is an amazing moment for me to listen, slow down, pay attention and be mindful of what I let in. I need to hold the space.

With Space~
I am open to possibilities
I am open to positive energy
I am open to love
I am open to new opportunities
I am open to growing, blooming, flowering
I am open to joy
I am open to community

I am holding the space.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Ordinary insect, extraordinary light

June has arrived and so has summer. A summer evening in Indiana is magical. The sounds, smells, and tastes are all somehow enhanced by the heat.  One of my favorite feelings in the world is being at one of dearest friend's farm, sitting on the patio looking out over her 15 acres of land. Drinking, eating, and feeling the humidity settle in on my skin, I sense peace. And as the sun goes down, the magic begins. Looking out over the fields, I can see the fireflies begin to flicker. Just one at first and then it is a field of flickering, floating, dancing lights. They are a community calling out to each other and lighting up the world in front of me.

To see a firefly up close during the day is not that impressive, it is just an ordinary looking insect,but once the sun goes down, it is their time to shine! They transform the night sky into a world of dancing, floating, flickering magic. Creating a world that seems to be outside of our reality, a world of wonder.

I am from Indiana, and have lived here most of my life (with a few brief exceptions) I think I look like I am from Indiana! I am tall, strong, sturdy. I have an open, welcoming face. I was recently in Portland, Oregon and a woman that was from the Midwest now living in Seattle said "You look like home to me". Just seeing me across the studio, she knew I was from the Midwest. While this doesn't sound very glamorous, it is true. I am not saying I am not beautiful, I just don't have any physical features that jump right out. I am an ordinary looking woman from Indiana.


I believe that I have an extraordinary light inside me, and when I am being authentic, it creates magic, light,and wonder.When you see me move, my light glows. When you see me smile, my light glows. When I wrap my arms around you in a compassionate hug, my light glows. When I dance Nia, my light glows. And when my light is glowing, I transform into an extraordinary woman from Indiana. And my light is calling out to my community....join me, find me, light up with me!

I believe everybody has a light inside them and when they learn how to make it shine, they become magical, powerful, attractive, amazing! What makes you glow? When do you light up? When do you become extraordinary?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

To create freedom

My journey with the Nia Technique has been a lovely journey of self discovery and growth. It has changed my view of everything in the world, from the way I sense my feet to the way I have a conversation with a friend.

One of the most illuminating tools for me from Nia is White Belt Principle #11 "Creating a Sacred Livelihood". Nia asks "what do you devote your life to? what drives you? what inspires you? what is that single purpose which gives purpose to everything else? What is your purpose in life? In Being sacred "Each success feels like a step into your greatness—into the presence of your own grace and divine light"  It is a tool that helped me find what motivates me. It has help me be in line with me! It has allowed me to see down the right path and to sense when I am off that path. So what does it mean to create a sacred livelihood? 

Sacred "to be dedicated or devoted exclusively to a single use, purpose, or person." Creating a Sacred Livelihood is about consciously bringing your gifts to the world through each choice and action in a way that creates a life of happiness, a sense of purpose, and a sustainable state of health and well-being. Discovering your unique purpose will help illuminate your path—and like your body, your purpose will evolve as you evolve. With every thought, choice and action, you are creating something new, a new ripple to impact the world. ( 

Using Nia as my guide, I listened to my body and discovered what I want my life to be about. What are the sensations from my body as I move through this life? When do I feel good, when do I feel trapped? What makes me smile? What makes me "in the zone"?  For example, when I have to work a job where I have to be at a certain location everyday from 9-5, my body literally hurts, leading to my energy level decreasing, my creativity disappearing, and I become sick. My body is telling me, this is not sacred to me so don't do it. It is not furthering my greatness.

So when does my body feel good?  About 5 years ago, I listed 3 things I would do if I didn't have to earn the almighty dollar. I wrote down dance, be creative everyday, and exercise. When I am doing any of these things, my body feels good, my mind feels calm, and my energy is high.  So here is a step on my sacred order to find my purpose, I should dance, create, and exercise every day. 

Another step along my path to being sacred is releasing myself from the feeling of being trapped. I have often felt trapped by the pressure of the world around me. Trapped by money, I have to earn money to live. Trapped by expectation, I should have a "career". Trapped by pain, my body hurts. Trapped by low body image, I feel "less than" when I think about my body.  The feeling of being trapped was crippling. I could not thrive while trapped. I needed to free myself, and I knew that I should dance, create and exercise in order to do it.

So, what does this mean? I like to dance, create,exercise and I want to be free. I have an empathetic spirit, an unique, strong energy and an eye for beauty. How do I put that all together into livelihood? How can I do these things everyday and how can they can they lead me to my greatness? For me it is Nia. Nia allows me to be creative everyday, playing with music, movement, clothes. It is dancing and sweating, which quiets the crazy in my head. It allows me earn money, ease pain, love my body. But why do I do Nia? It is my tool, but why am I doing it? What is the purpose, the sacred purpose, the reason I do anything? When I listened, the answer was...

To create freedom. 

My sacred livelihood statement is "My life's purpose is to create freedom." I dance to create freedom for my body, mind, spirit and emotions. I teach Nia to create freedom for the bodies in my class. I seek knowledge to create freedom for my brain. I create jewelry to create freedom for my creative spirit. I share food with friends to create freedom for my smile. I share my words to create freedom for my voice. I seek to feel free....never trapped. When I feel trapped, my body lets me know! I receive the messages of fatigue, pain, feeling drained and anxious. When I feel that way, I look at what I am doing and I ask myself  "is this creating freedom?" No, then what can I do to change that? To create is my guiding light. 

What is sacred to you? What unique gifts do you bring? What makes your soul soar? what drives you? when does your body say "oh yeah ~this is what we should be doing"? If you listen, your body will tell you! When you figure that out, the trick is then to do it ALL THE TIME!