Thursday, October 16, 2014

Back to the Beginning...

Playing on the last day of the week-long immersion
Next week, I will be teaching the last three classes in my current studio space. I've been in there for just over three years.

Buying the house next door so that Marcy and I could have more space was the final signal that I needed to give up my lease. I had been thinking about it for well over a year. Though I love the space, something about the way I have been doing this work was not working for me.

I had just sorta fallen into this typical studio model of working. It wasn't something that I decided from a totally awake place. Sometimes when things happen easily, we can mistake that for "supposed to happen." Sometimes we read meaning where there is simply coincidence.

Now I have a lovely (though smaller) studio space on the first floor of my house. I love love love this so much and am slowly transitioning the first floor into a place of deep exploration and creativity.

At the end of October, I will be heading to Kripalu for 8 days, and after that, I am taking the months of November and December to focus completely on my own practice and discern next steps.

I am heading back to the beginning...

When I returned to dance at the age of 40, for the first 9 months, all I did was my own practice. I didn't teach or share this with anyone. I would dance by myself every single day for 2 to 3 hours. I broke it up in to sections throughout the day and I spent time playing with different forms, from ballet to modern to tap to just my own thing.

I threw in strength training and some mixed yoga.

I became deeply immersed -- obsessed even. And I was so damn happy.

Looking back into my life, this way of being with dance started out so very young.

I did not take my first formal dance class until I was about 8 years old, but I had loved to dance for myself since I could walk.

And after I started taking classes, my primary way of engaging dance was still by myself. Every single day after school, I would head to the basement of our house where I had a small studio and I would put in my time.

For two whole months, this is what I will be doing: Dancing, walking, reading, writing, dancing...

I need to make next choices from this place of personal integrity -- where dance is just who I am and not "what I do."

I think things could get pretty damn exciting from there!
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, October 15, 2014

Strength Really Does Make Life Easier


I think really obvious things like the title of this piece have become super not obvious. We are a culture of talking heads. We live in the tiny cage that is our head. 

I used to say about myself that if you cut off my body, my head wouldn't notice. Now I can't say that about ME, but I sure can say it about almost every person I pass on the street.

This past weekend, Marcy and a friend and I went to the studio to clear it of its larger and heavier pieces as I prepare to transition to the next phase of my work. The steps to my studio are very high and very steep. They are like a test. If new students have too hard a time with them, I know they're not really ready for my classes. But they can also act like a prod...making people realize how much they need to be there.

So we were moving lots of heavy things. Up and down those steps, and even at the end, I RAN up them.

When I first started teaching in that space, three years ago, I wasn't, of course, as strong and healthy as I am now. My strength and overall health has just kept improving, and this weekend was a perfect illustration.

The steps were not ever THAT difficult for me, but carrying things up and down three years ago was a whole different thing. It was HARD. This weekend? Nope.

Then there were some items in my studio that when we first moved in, I had to ask Marcy (who is incredibly strong) to lift them FOR ME.

One of those items? I just threw it up on my shoulder and took it down to the car. Easy peasy.

At one point, I stopped and turned to Marcy, and said "I LOVE BEING STRONG!"

Yep. I sure do.

With my increased physical strength has come increased mental and emotional strength.

When you feel like you can DO ANYTHING, you really CAN do anything. You can make it through anything when you feel proficient and efficient in your physical body.

After this experience of this past weekend, I am more determined than ever to explore the edges of my strength. I'm not exactly sure how I'm going to approach this little project, but I'll let you know so you can join me!


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, October 13, 2014

Firewalking is a CAKE WALK Compared to This!


Firewalking might seem challenging and even scary, but it's just a matter of tapping into the group energy, taking a deep breath, and moving quickly. Quickly being key.

What I ask women to do is much harder and means really looking into one's self and there's no way to be quick about it.

The first time, years ago, that I asked some students to do this, I knew I was onto something important, because they immediately would burst into tears -- or refuse to do it at all.

During the Kintsugi Dance immersion week, I saved this for very far into our time together, so people would know that they were 100% safe and that I wasn't asking them to do anything that would bring them anything but deeper self-understanding.

And they got that in spades.

Women who thought they were completely over and done with certain issues discovered they were NOT.

Backing up...

When I first put mirrors in the studio, people freaked a bit. And then I watched as they did everything in their power to avoid looking.

We must be able to LOOK at ourselves. We must be able to confront that image in the mirror of this body moving.

This is not so we can criticize that body, but so we can come to appreciate it even more.

So that's what I do: I ask women to DANCE in front of the mirrors. For more than three seconds! I ask them to take a good look.

I tell them "Become fascinated by what you see!"

Which makes women laugh.

Laugh!

At the idea of being fascinated by what is essentially a miracle -- YOU, your body.

When they laugh, I know there's work to be done. I know there are probably tears to come. It's nervous laughter.

Then I watch as they flirt with the mirrors, getting close but not really looking, looking from their peripheral vision.

It takes time for them to look head on.

But when you do, when you dare to watch yourself moving, to really take yourself in, to look at yourself freely, without critical eyes, to just witness your beautiful body, amazing things happen that no hot feet will ever teach you.
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, October 10, 2014

Three of My Faves Now Available: Merton, Rilke, & Dorothy Day!


Marcy has now completed TWELVE dancing monks for her icon series and all twelve are available as prints. Ordering by October 31st guarantees delivery in time for the holidays.

The series includes the most recent four: Thomas Merton, Rainer Marie Rilke, Dorothy Day, and Amma Syncletica (one of the desert mothers).

You can also still order prints of the original eight: Benedict, Brigid, Mary, Hildegard, Miriam, Francis, Brendan, and King David.

(PLEASE NOTE: Prints do not go to the printer until AFTER October 31st. We have everything beautifully printed all at once by a local printer.)

GO HERE for all the information and to place orders!


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, October 9, 2014

MOVE Your Creativity IN and Your Pain OUT


When I am teaching, of course, my focus is 100% on the experiences that my students are having and how to get them deeper into their own experiences, how to help them witness what's happening for themselves, and how to process all of that.

My body becomes just another language tool to demonstrate and model processes that words can barely touch upon.

It is rare, therefore, for me to have any kind of breakthroughs of my own or for me to get body messages while teaching. It does happen but again...it's super rare. This is happening left and right for those around me, but I am there for them...not for me.

In the days following, though, things settle enough that I can finally hear what was happening in the background for my own self.

Tuesday night, I taught my first actual Kintsugi Dance class since the immersion had ended. (I had taught Kundalini yoga on Sunday night but that's so very different and rather mechanical compared to my dance.)

Right away Tuesday night, I could sense things were different, and I realized two things from my own experience of the immersion, and these two things come to me every freaking time I work on that level, whether it be as teacher or student. Every time I come home from Kripalu having moved and danced for MANY hours a day, I come upon these two lessons.

First, wow...dancing many hours a day does not deplete my creativity as one would expect but elevates and deepens it. Tuesday night, I had new moves, so to speak, and nothing is more thrilling to me.

If you're getting bored by your movement, you're not doing it enough. The more we move, the more our body/mind seeks out the new, but if we move in small amounts every day, it's not enough to trigger the boredom level that needs to be triggered for new to be sought.

Second, another wow...the more I move a day, the less my pain body speaks. Period.

Pain bodies need to be moved. Never let a doctor tell you otherwise.*  Historically, doctors have loved to tell women to go to bed. (Read your medical history; it's disgusting.)

(*Unless you're missing cartilage in your knee, for example. There are VERY RARE cases that call for limited movement. VERY RARE.)

I have some chronic issues in this body that have gone from horrible to slight over the years as I've been moving/dancing more. This body was born with some twisted bones and a shallow hip joint and some other stuff that make chronic pain a possibility.

Notice I said "make chronic pain a POSSIBILITY." Those issues do not guarantee chronic pain. The only thing that guarantees chronic pain is me not moving my ass.

So the more I move...those pains...they just disappear.

Creativity and pain both become issues with a lack of movement, and MORE movement makes all those issues just GO AWAY.

I'm the teacher of this stuff and I still freaking forget!
As I take some time to rest and recover from all that teaching, I am, again, not moving as much, so I will have to be mindful about adding more movement back into my days. Now that I have studio space in my house, that will prove less challenging as there are fewer and fewer excuses to hold onto, but even for me, again, the "teacher," this is a daily process of choosing what's most important to me.

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, October 8, 2014

Writing (to) the Body

The women of my very first week long immersion
So many breakthroughs happened around our sense of the physical self during the immersion that it will take months to process it all, but one in particular was stunning and though I won't share the details, I will share some of the outcome.

Linda (third from the left) had some very old stuff arise (all of us did) and it was hard, but she came up with this fabulous task for herself and I wanted to share it with all of you.

She decided, first, that she would be writing a letter to a part of her body that was acutely involved, and because it is a part of her that she realized she does NOT send any kind of love to, she was going to write a letter asking that part for forgiveness.

How beautiful is that?!

Then she decided she would be spending some time writing love letters to her body.

This blows me away. I would never think of such a thing and am so grateful to have had Linda with us on this journey to be this inspiration.

So there's your task.

From what parts of your body do you need to ask forgiveness?

And how could you incorporate writing love letters to your body into your weekly or monthly routine? Perhaps you could schedule this activity on the full moon or the first of the month.

Feel free to share parts of these letters with me in the Inferno, and if you're not in the Inferno (our super secret group on Facebook), feel free to ask me to add you!

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, October 6, 2014

Post Immersion/Training


That photo is from a time last week when local students joined my immersion/training students for a 90 minute Kintsugi Dance class. There are so many more photos to come!

And so many more thoughts, but right now my body is demanding a lot of rest and my mind is so clogged up with ideas, observations, insights that I can't seem to get any single one of them out in a coherent and articulate way.

So patience, grasshopper. (Right there? I am talking to myself.)

Patience, indeed. I took a walk at the cemetery on Saturday, thinking I should immediately get back to it, and it actually made me feel a little sick.

Taking an immersion of this intensity is definitely a huge challenge and I was aware of it as a student of many, but I had no idea what TEACHING an immersion like this would do to me.

I am thrilled beyond thrilled with how it went and I know now, for one thing, that this is the way this work is meant to be experienced.  I also know beyond a doubt that I am not teaching dance, if that weren't already obvious. I am teaching human freedom. Dance is one of the tools. My favorite tool but just one.

I also now know without a shadow of a doubt why I have always been interested in, well, EVERYTHING. When you're teaching people on this level, you NEED everything.

AND...immersion is the right word for this work because it's learning a language and the best way to learn a language is to dive in.
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.