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!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Be Persistent!

Today, there was a Pileated Woodpecker calling in our backyard. The Woody-Woodpecker laughter filled the air. And it filled my heart with joy!

Years ago, we lived in a lovely log cabin in the woods. While living there, I worked from home, creating jewelry. I developed a fondness for these giant woodpeckers. I would often hear them knocking and calling. I would see them right outside the window. One time, I saw a baby woodpecker, pecking the ground and pull a worm up from the earth. It was amazing and so cute. 

Then I began to see them and hear them all of the time, I mean all of the time. When I would go hiking, I would hear their laughter throughout the forest. I would see them flying through the trees. Once on a hike, a playful pair seemed to lead us up the trail with their undulating flight. No matter what forest I was in, they were there calling.

This made me think about the spiritual meaning of the Pileated Woodpecker. Was there a message in seeing these amazing birds so often? One things that immediately jumped out at me while researching, was that a Pileated  Woodpecker represented persistence. They will peck and peck until they find what they are looking for, that bug hiding under the bark. During my time at the cabin, I was really beginning my personal journey to self discovery and that was when I connected with the Pileated.  When I would be on a meditative hike and would hear the knocking, I would feel like I was on the right path. If I was questioning everything or thinking about quitting, I would hear their persistence. It became a great reminder to keep going.

I am going through a little struggle right now. I had to cancel one of my Nia classes this week. Not enough people were coming to pay for the space rental. I love teaching Nia and sharing the moves with everybody. So, to have to cancel a class feels sad. I want to teach my classes and grow my classes and this really feels like a step in the wrong direction. I am feeling frustrated.

And then I heard the Pileated. I walked outside of our downtown home, and there it was, right outside the back door, high in a Walnut tree. I stood there and watched as it called and cleaned itself. They have the greatest profile, with their wild red hair and long beaks.  It was awesome. And today, it was my reminder to be persistent~and I needed that. To keep knocking, keep pecking until I find what I am looking for.

 I find it is nice to have a reminder outside myself, that every single time I hear it, I say "thank you for the reminder".  

What's your version of the Pileated Woodpecker? Is there something outside of you, that when you see it, you are reminded of some lesson you need to learn? or are learning? The world can be full of cues, if we just pay attention.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Fresh Green Tips!

Today, walking home from sharing Nia with my Thursday crew, I saw this lovely evergreen gracefully blocking my path. The branches were hanging down, dancing in the wind, waving it's new growth in my face. It's bright green tips were a visual representation of all the effort that tree has put in to growing....

"Here it is, World, my fresh, bright green, new growth. All of the work I have been doing is paying off! Ka-Pow~I am growing!!!"

So I wonder, what does my new growth look like?  It isn't bright green, but it's there.  I water, feed, and nourish my body, mind, spirit and soul encouraging constant growth. I won't block your path and force you to see it, but I hope when you look at me you always see my fresh green tips!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Celebrate Me Everyday!

                    Here it is, the week of my birthday. Another journey around the sun begins.

I feel there is a magic surrounding birthdays, an energy that was created to bring each beautiful spirit into the world. Parties, celebrations and well wishes are amazing! There is an extra energy and excitement around me during the week of my birthday, and there always has been! It is a day to celebrate me!

I don't however feel that it is the only day to celebrate me, or show me you love me or buy me a thoughtful gift! To realize this was one of the best birthday gifts ever.

When I have celebrated my birthday in the past, it was such a big deal(I blame it a bit on the zodiac). I needed lots of gifts, attention, cards and words of praise. I felt a huge pressure to have a perfect day on my birthday, after was MY day. I feel like I also passed that pressure along to those around me. Creating a high pressure situation to buy me the perfect gift, in the perfect package, at the perfect restaurant. If you really love me, then you will know how to make it perfect, right? Oh my, I was is not always perfect.

Then 2 years ago, I had a shift in thinking about MY day.  I remember walking around with my loving partner trying to find the perfect place to eat that would really celebrate ME. Should we go spend $200 on dinner, would that help me feel special on MY day? Should we eat somewhere we never have before? That would express a new adventure on MY day.  We walked around for at least an hour trying to get "perfect". It was terrible, dumb and tiring for both of us. What I really wanted to do was go home, slip into my pajamas, cuddle up and order a pizza...which is what we eventually did. (and of course it was great! Pizza with someone you love can never be wrong:)

But on that walk home, I sobbed and cried and felt totally sad and drained. Why did I need this perfect day? Why did I need so much attention on this day? Why did I put so much pressure on a single day? The answer was simple~I need those things all of the time and 1 day wasn't cutting it. I became aware of my need to be loved. I became aware of my need to receive gifts that were thoughtful. I became aware of what I needed!  I realized I needed those things to happen all of the time. I want to feel special, all of the time. I want each day to be a perfect celebration of life, whatever form perfect takes! This realization was my gift that year! And what a liberating gift it was! 

So now, everyday is MY day. I want you to love me everyday. I am special everyday. I accept cards, gifts, and words of praise any time someone wants to give them to me. Why do I need 1 day a year to receive love?  Everyday I am happy to be alive and thriving. I live my life creating a world where love is given and received freely. I use my awareness to listen to what I need, and seek it when I need it, not only on my birthday. And, I treat others the same. I love others as I want to be loved~everyday!

I still love my birthday, I feel there is an energy, a magic, and power surrounding the day I entered the world! But now, instead of the perfect day pressure,  my birthday can be a day of celebration, play, and love. But I do not need this 1 day to be the only day I am celebrated...celebrate me every day!!!!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

I Love my Body!

When I tell my story of how I found Nia, self-healing my injured hip is what I lead with. I had 3 compressed discs in my lower spine, that were pinching the nerve causing chronic pain in my left hip. After the chiropractor told me not to do yoga or any other movement because it would make it worse, my mind (and body) said "wrong~I want to move". So I began my journey of self healing. I moved my body with awareness and intention and eventually....I healed it!

 But the part I don't often share is the part that is a little more personal, a little deeper.  Along with pain, I was also someone who struggled with a poor body image, and had all of my life. It was an all consuming feeling. When I would put on clothes, my 1st thought was "do I look fat?"  When I would walk in front of people, I would wonder " my thighs look fat, are they looking at my stomach?"   It was exhausting to constantly be thinking about how awful I looked.  And when you hate your body, it doesn't feel good. The only thing I felt, was fat. So, when I began my journey of self healing my hip, I also began my journey of loving my body. I often wondered what it would be like if I didn't waste so much time obsessing about how fat I looked or was or felt! I worked out~I ran, did yoga, cardio videos, weights. I would touch each part and say out loud "elbow I love you, hips, I love you". The problem was believing it 100% . I was too caught up in how my body looked, or was "supposed to look", to love how it felt. I would exercise, feel good, my hip was healing, but then I would see a picture of myself and would still think "You look fat."  I began my journey, but wasn't quite getting where I wanted to!

Then, in a search for something new that combined all things I liked to do~dance, exercise, and self heal, I discovered the Nia Technique. Nia is a movement that has 2 tag lines that really got my attention: 1~"Through movement we find Health"
2~"Love your Body. Love your Life."
Ok, the 1st one, check, awesome, I believe in it, I did it. I moved and I healed. But, the 2nd one~Whoa! Love my Body. Love my Life? Really? Ok, I want that!

So I stepped into my Nia journey....

I went to my White Belt Training in January 2010 and learned all about Nia. The awareness of my own body's sensation was empowering. The movement of every single part was liberating. The energy released was intoxicating. I was dancing, working out, sweating, feeling good, but what came in through the side door was love. By focusing on the sensations of my body and learning about the awesomeness of the human body, I found love. I love my body! I am not just saying it, I really love my body. It is strong, supple, complicated, powerful, and can moooove like no other!  Nia has given me this to me. I call it freedom. Freedom from the loop of negativity. Freedom from self judgement. Freedom from pain~physical and mental.  Now when I put on clothes, my question is "how do I feel in these clothes?" Now, I stand in front of people everyday, feeling confident, never worrying about what they think.  Living in my body is all about how I feel, how my body feels, not how it looks. And it feels good!

I can tell you I am a completely different woman than I was when I began Nia and the difference comes from loving my body. Yes I have lost weight, gained muscle, flexibility, and so much more physically, but the biggest change for me is the love. And when you love your body, you can heal your body, mind, and spirit. Love provides freedom. Nia has opened me up to freedom, from the inside. With that freedom, I can change the world!

I teach Nia to share the freedom that comes from living in a body that you love. It is my purpose to create freedom~for myself and for others. I am sharing my thoughts here in order to inspire you to seek freedom and to Love your Body!