Tuesday, December 16, 2014

2015 Daily Dance Double Dog Dare


That is a photo of Freedom.

Each of those dancers is moving to the same music AND using the same exact prompt that I provided. And yet...each of them is a distinctly unique human being bringing their unique understanding of the music and prompt to their movement.

They also bring their unique life experience and their own needs in that exact moment. Which is where freedom meets responsibility. To be truly free means to take care of yourself and not expect someone else to. To be truly free means to respect the body and how it is THAT minute, not thinking it should be something else.

This is the beauty of the work I am lucky enough to do. There is 100% permission for YOU to explore YOU. You're not exploring MY movement because you're not living my life.

It's all you.

And whether or not you feel comfortable claiming the tag of "dancer dancing," you ARE.

THIS is DANCE. (I am kinda YELLING that because I can't seem to get that through thick skulls.) THIS is DANCE: Expressing yourself through the language of the body, saying things that words can't say, allowing the body to speak for itself and about itself.

But to really understand this freedom, you have to dive into it.

As I like to say:

Freedom is not the absence of commitments.
Freedom is an inner spaciousness that makes room
for the commitments that matter most to you.


Dance done from the exploratory approaches I employ in Kintsugi Dance™ creates that inner spaciousness.

How?

As we move without knowing what's coming, we move through fear of the unknown.

As we move without any prescribed steps, we find our own path.

As we move honestly, we experience our emotions.

When we move this way, emotions can be felt and expressed and processed.

When emotions are felt and expressed and processed, we learn that nothing can hurt us, that we are stronger than we ever imagined.

When we learn that we are strong enough to contain anything and everything, then we have inner space, then we are free.

But...

There's always a but...

This comes at a cost.

We have to be willing to pay that cost.

And payment is commitment to practice.

That's it.

So I am inviting you to the 2015 Daily Dance Double Dog Dare.

ONE SONG.

That's it.

ONE song EVERY DAY.

And here's how much I want this for you: I will load up a song a day, Monday through Friday. And you just dance to it. NO MATTER WHAT IT IS.

Because sometimes when a song makes us uncomfortable or we think "oh! I HATE this!" -- that's exactly when we have the biggest breakthroughs.

Sometimes it just sucks.

But we go on to the next song and we keep moving. Because life.

So again, I'll be loading a song a day, Monday through Friday. On the weekends, just pick a song to repeat. Repetition is super good. You get different things out of a song each time you do it.

And the catch: You have to be in my private/secrete Facebook group, Inferno of Awesome, to get the music. I'll only be loading it there.

If you're not in that group, FIRST make sure you're my friend on Facebook, and SECOND (DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP), ASK ME TO ADD YOU. I won't add anyone without being asked. (Hello, Politeness.)
Time to dance, people! And NO MORE EXCUSES! Join us!




If you want to get a taste of how we create more happy, strength, and connection through the practice of Kintsugi Dance, you could join my super secret Facebook group, Inferno of Awesome. This group is invisible until you're added. FIRST, make sure you are my friend on FB, and SECOND, ask me to add you.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Push Versus Flow

Beautiful and FREEZING day at the lake
 I definitely thought that by this point in my sabbatical time that I would suddenly have gotten ANSWERS.

You know...that I would wake up one morning and just know exactly what I was supposed to do next. And how. And all of the details would come in a gorgeous glitter flood of awesome.

HA.

I am silly, aren't I?

Instead I've been working backwards. Rather than questions leading to any answers, they lead to more questions, and the questions keep getting more basic to my personality, my way of being in the world in general.

But I also resist those general sorts of questions and keep trying to drag it all back to "what work should I do now?"

That's when Marcy and I had beer date this week.

And for the one millionth time, I heard myself saying to her, "But I fear not living up to my potential! I am going to get to the end of my life and feel like I never did what I was capable of doing!"

Those declarations are usually yelled around the idea of making money. I, for some reason, as the majority of our culture, sees money making as some sort of indicator that I am on the right track with my work. (I know... le sigh...)

I still tie my self worth to product: How much money did I make? How many people did I teach? How many pages did I write? Etc.

And Marcy just wants me to learn to BE ME, to follow my passions, to create without pressure.

(Which is this weird sort of pressure, right?)

Eventually, somehow, we got to this point in our conversation where she told me I had two choices.

First, I could get up every morning and strictly follow a to-do list and have Big Plans mapped out and just keep pushing, pushing, pushing until my goals were met. That works for a lot of people. I'm sure it even energizes a lot of people.

Me? I think I just threw up while I was typing that.

OR she said, second, I can learn to go with MY FLOW. Get up in the morning with choices. Decide based on how my brain is functioning that day and where my energy is.

Which also makes me want to throw up.

The first choice makes me sick because it goes against my very nature, I kinda yelled to her, "SURE! That'll last a few days and then I'll just LOSE IT!"  (We've been there many times.)

It also goes against my aspie brain, which grabs onto a special interest for a while and then jumps to another and then to another and there is no telling how long the interest lasts or when the next jump will come. The positive part of this is that eventually all those interests kinda compost into bits and pieces that then sprout into something totally new.

The second choice makes me sick because it goes against the whole "MORE BETTER BIGGER FASTER" that I have obviously bought into.

I think how could I ever GET ANYWHERE if I go with the FREAKING FLOW?!?!

But here's the final answer: You can't be someone you're not.

So the real choice is do I resist myself or do I sink into who I am and just go?

Resistance is futile, sure, but I'm well practiced at it and letting go...not so well practiced at that bit.




If you want to get a taste of how we create more happy, strength, and connection through the practice of Kintsugi Dance, you could join my super secret Facebook group, Inferno of Awesome. This group is invisible until you're added. FIRST, make sure you are my friend on FB, and SECOND, ask me to add you.

Friday, December 5, 2014

When the World Sucks, What Can We DO?

An Annunciation Print in My Parlor
For me, the annunciation is all about saying yes to a calling. You're asked, sure, so there's free will involved, but you say yes...regardless of the fear and difficulty.

Right now, I'm thinking about this a lot more than usual. It's advent, of course, and I'm on sabbatical, of course, but the events of the last week or more involving the rubber stamping of police brutality as our accepted norm...that's what really has me thinking about the big yes of our lives.

I think most of us have been left with this profound sense of powerlessness.

And it's complicated...understanding your place in the bigger picture and what you can do, what you are called to do.

It's complicated on a personal level for each and every one of us. WHY are we doing what we choose to do? Why are we not?

All of that can go back to how we feel about our very existence. Writing for myself (and I know many will recognize this), I have struggled all my life thinking it's my responsibility to fix ALL that is wrong in the world. I can very directly tie this back to my childhood and little me thinking everything that was scary and violent in my world could be fixed if only I did the "right" thing.

It's easy to move in this world from a sort of Messiah complex when you've been abused, but that doesn't really help anyone, including ourselves.

My history with this is long.

As soon as I got to college, Penn State Main, and learned of the hidden homeless issue there, I founded an organization to deal with that. I got busy. It felt good. (State College happens to have had at the time -- 1987 to 1991 -- the highest rents in the state, including, yes, compared to Philadelphia.) We established myriad programs, raised money, did blanket and coat runs to larger areas. So much.

After college, I felt pretty lost for a long time, thinking my life only meant something if I were saving other lives (and I'm finding this is still one of my main drives and again...it's not really healthy).

In my late 20s, I ended up working for Pax Christi USA, the national Catholic peace movement. At the time, they were starting to focus most of their efforts toward racial inequality but they also worked on practically every other issue related to peace.

When I worked for the peace movement, I met some of the most not-peaceful people of my life. Activism is often linked to big, loud, aggressive anger, and again, that's not helping anyone.

Eventually my work became about teaching. And to this day, it still is.

But I feel called and pulled toward working in a way that is about creating more than teaching -- creative collaborations include an element of teaching, of course, but it's also very different.

And I find myself, again, for the billionth time in my life, thinking that the thing I really love most in this world -- dance -- is not "good enough" because it's not on the front lines.

Or is it?

There are many ways we can help without becoming martyrs and I think that's key.

I have been so impressed with, for example, the power of Twitter to serve up news that the "news" is no longer bothering with.

SOCIAL NETWORKING IS THE PEOPLE'S MEDIA.  Use it. Get out information when you come upon it. Share. Dialogue. Obliterate ignorance. #IgnoranceIsNOTBliss

But where does this leave dance or art or your love of business or your calling to ((insert it here))?

The point of working on ourselves is not just to work on ourselves, but it is the first step.

We can't help much if we're messed up and filling our own needs through activism. It wonks the transmission and gets in the way.

But the eventual point of working on ourselves is to take ourselves out into the world and create a world that is free and just for everyone. A world in which EVERYONE has the opportunity to fulfill their potential -- in whatever way that is meant to be.

So step one, get your own shit together.

Step two, do the work you were born to do because when you do that, you're setting ONE human free which becomes part of a chain reaction.

Step three, be an ambassador for a free world. Take your work to people who might not typically have access. Get it where it's most needed.

Right now, that's all I've got.

I'd love to hear other things people are doing to help and to integrate helping into their work and passions.


If you want to get a taste of how we create more happy, strength, and connection through the practice of Kintsugi Dance, you could join my super secret Facebook group, Inferno of Awesome. This group is invisible until you're added. FIRST, make sure you are my friend on FB, and SECOND, ask me to add you.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Everyone needs to move more, but if you're prone to depression or anxiety, you MUST move MORE than more. Fact.


And you have to SWEAT. And WORK HARD.

For more than ten minutes.

(You are worth more than ten minutes. Your mental health affects everyone around you.)

Let's back up.

Even when I'm in the midst of a downward spiral or a depression dip, I can usually get myself to do something basic like take a wee walk. (I've done this depression thing long enough now to know kinda how.)

Not enough. Nope. Not enough AT ALL.

And as someone who has natural cycles of depression, I have to learn this over and over and over...

In order to get the hormonal and chemical benefits that fight depression in the brain, you have to WORK HARD. You have to EXERT. You have to SWEAT.

The human body is made to do this daily ANYWAY, but in our special case, it becomes a life-saving necessity.

There's no way around this.

And? As soon as you start, you'll feel the benefits.

I'm on day three today of a sweaty morning routine and my brain feels SO. MUCH. BETTER.

That quick.

Anti-depressants can take up to two weeks to get working (and we won't go into all the awful freaking side effects and the fact that they don't actually FIX anything).

I'm not Suzy Sunshine blowing smoke up your arse on this one. All the research points to exercise being the most efficacious healing agent for depression and it kicks anxiety's BUTT.

If you need more science-y stuff, read this book.

Depression is a battle, people, and you need to Warrior UP!



If you want to get a taste of how we create more happy, strength, and connection through the practice of Kintsugi Dance, you could join my super secret Facebook group, Inferno of Awesome. This group is invisible until you're added. FIRST, make sure you are my friend on FB, and SECOND, ask me to add you.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Tweet! Tweet!

Cemetery walk
A few years ago I very casually shut down my Blisschick twitter and now I'm all like, WHAT WAS I THINKING!? It was a big and vital community, but at the time, I was feeling overwhelmed, and I started to just copy my Facebook stuff OVER to twitter, and I thought WHAT is that point of that?!

Which I still think. If that's ALL one is doing on Twitter, then really? Why bother?

At the time, too, I didn't have a wonderful smartphone so I was stuck at my computer if I wanted to tweet or interact.

No more of that. It would be like having a phone that's connected to the WALL or something! CAN YOU IMAGINE!?!? ((hahahaha))

So I am back on twitter. Click here and follow along!

Here's my thing/my promise that I shared on Facebook (ha) yesterday: I won't duplicate. I have interests (cats and dance, pretty much, as you already know), so my tweeting with be within those areas BUT I won't duplicate. Unless I think there's some super important reason to do so and that would be RARE.

Also! If you're on twitter and feeling like a benevolent sort of goddess, could you perhaps give me a shout-y introduction of sorts to your peeps? Trying to build up an exciting space takes time and patience and as always -- a little help from our friends.



If you want to get a taste of how we create more happy, strength, and connection through the practice of Kintsugi Dance, you could join my super secret Facebook group, Inferno of Awesome. This group is invisible until you're added. FIRST, make sure you are my friend on FB, and SECOND, ask me to add you.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

A Super Simple Floor Desk

Can you find all three cats in this photo?
Sitting is the new smoking is a popular thing to say and it has people doing all sorts of wacky things like the treadmill desk, which is crappy for you in its own ways.

A more accurate but less media friendly way to say this is: Sitting in the same position -- as in chair, sofa, car -- is bad for you like any habituated posture.

Sitting itself is not the culprit. As always, the culprit is the constancy, the sameness, the habituated patterns that turn us into statue-like versions of ourselves and over time decrease mobility, strength, and flexibility, increase osteoporosis, damage circulation, and the list goes on and on.

Sitting in different ways is key. As is standing and moving in different ways. Always looking for different. A mantra you would hear from me if you came to my classes.

So I have a computer desk that has a stool, upon which I can sit in a multitude of ways.

And now I made a quick Japanese inspired floor desk for my library with an old door and some garden bricks. It will do for now and looks kinda fun, I think.

Sitting on the floor is AMAZING for you as it activates all kinds of muscles happiness (which will feel like muscle grouchy and soreness at first).

If you sat on the floor right now right in front of me, I could read your body's issues in about five seconds. It all becomes VERY clear when you ask people to sit on the floor.

Tight psoas. Weak core. Tight hamstrings. Kyphosis. Etc. Etc. Blah blah blah.

Floor sitting is the truth teller. You can't hide on the floor.

I am awesome on the floor. Have always loved the floor. But have gotten even stronger there over the last few years of being conscious about HOW to BE on the floor.

Again...not just in cross legged. Changing it up is where the magicks reside, people.

Another awesome of my floor desk space is that it's not computer-ed.

This is a space for me, pens, paper, and my manual olivetti. No computer allowed.



If you want to get a taste of how we create more happy, strength, and connection through the practice of Kintsugi Dance, you could join my super secret Facebook group, Inferno of Awesome. This group is invisible until you're added. FIRST, make sure you are my friend on FB, and SECOND, ask me to add you.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Ain't No Mountain Low Enough


Today as I had tea with my very good friend, she told me she didn't know anyone as productive as me. I rolled my eyes. I know I did. Because that's what I do when people say stuff like that. But she ignored and persevered because she's used to me.

"So...when you get to the top of a mountain*, do you stop and look around and enjoy the view?"

(*For this metaphor to work, think of the mountain as a single project or single large goal.)

I stared at her.

"Or..." she started, but I interrupted, bursting out with, "There is NO TOP!"

Ah. I was excited by my response, like a very young child in school thinking they got the right answer.

Then I really heard what I said.

There. Is. No. Top.

WHAT?

Even mountain climbers -- the real ones instead of the metaphorical type like myself -- get to the TOP. They plant a flag. They take selfies. ((ha)) Then they go home and celebrate the fact that they survived, didn't lose any fingers or toes (or very few...), rest up, and THEN think about the next mountain.

As I started to journal about this after she left, it struck me that this could be the seed of the plant known as apathy and lethargy in my life.

Why start when you know there is no end?

Why begin when there is no place to stop and rest?

What is the point in doing when there will be no celebration of completing?

I may be quite productive, you see, but it comes in these INTENSE BURSTS of short-term productive. Then I am left wondering how productive I COULD be if I could maintain those bursts.

Though that is ALSO a story because in between what I think of as "good productive" (otherwise known as EXTREME producing), I am always producing SOMETHING but it's never enough or it somehow doesn't "count."

And thus the mountains-with-no-tops. I have to keep going for fear of stopping for good.

Wacky shit, this.

Effed UP.

And here we have learned reason number one billion why I am doing this sabbatical thingie...



If you want to get a taste of how we create more happy, strength, and connection through the practice of Kintsugi Dance, you could join my super secret Facebook group, Inferno of Awesome. This group is invisible until you're added. FIRST, make sure you are my friend on FB, and SECOND, ask me to add you.