Thursday, August 28, 2014

Trust Schmust

Rock stacks by Marcy
(they got even crazier and more awesome after this)
I'm not a big Course in Miracles girl (just because...I have other paths), but OUCH! Some of the quotes from that stuff just hit the target right in the center, including this one:

"Patience is natural to those who trust."

You see, I am NOT patient.

Marcy is the opposite. She is patient like those rocks in that photo. Long term, settled patience.

She tells me all the time, "just trust it...it's going to work out..." And she is always right but I never learn.

I still am waking up at 3 AM and tossing and turning until six.

This from the person who created "Breathe & Wait" as the CORE of her modality, Kintsugi Dance.

Breathe.

And.

Wait.

Breathe and wait for the body to lead the way.

Rather than thinking movement, ALLOWING movement.

BEING like water.

Flowing rather than muscling through or forcing or expecting.

I've gotten really good at this with my dance.

This is the work, though, and it's the importance of long term commitment.

You might think you're getting somewhere with the work when you're in the studio or in a class or being guided by another like myself.

But you're REALLY getting somewhere when you don't need any of that to DO the work AND when the work starts to spill out of the studio, out of the practice and into your life.

And this can take...a little while.  ((ha))

You can now learn how to teach dance as a spiritual practice! My first teacher training is coming at the end of September! Just visit the "Teacher Training" tab at the top of this page.

If you want to explore more deeply how to create an at-home dance sadhana (spiritual path) practice, 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.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

What Kind of Person Are You?



That sweet bracelet was a recent gift from one of my teen students at the residential center who was being discharged and sent home. She gave it to me suddenly and right off her own wrist and just smiled and kinda jogged away, leaving me -- very atypically -- a bit speechless.

I had no idea even just a short while ago that this was the kind of person I am -- someone able to get through to these tweens and teens who have had such difficult and sometimes horrendous lives so far.

This is to illustrate the importance of allowing our stories about ourselves to EVOLVE.

I've written here about the idea of being aware of the story of your life and the power you have to CHOOSE that story and not be chosen by it. (It's one of my favorite posts, actually.)

Today, I wanted to take this to a different place.

What kind of person are you?

I love this question and I love the sentence we're going to play with because it's short like a mantra and it feels prayerful and it can be used in the moment to remind you to remember who you really are and that you're not whatever bundle of negative crap your piling on yourself in any one instance.

So...fill in this sentence. Fill it in with the most positive version of yourself. And this version really exists, trust me, or the words wouldn't come to you. All you have to do is look back over your life through this filter and you'll find all the evidence you need.

You can fill it in a couple of times and you can keep working with it -- again, allowing it to evolve.

Fill in the blank:

I am the kind of person who  ________________________.

Here are some of mine that came to mind right away as examples:

I am the kind of person who feels fear and takes action anyway.

I am the kind of person who gets ideas and then makes them happen.

See?

Your turn!
You can now learn how to teach dance as a spiritual practice! My first teacher training is coming at the end of September! Just visit the "Teacher Training" tab at the top of this page.

If you want to explore more deeply how to create an at-home dance sadhana (spiritual path) practice, 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, August 22, 2014

Introducing: Kintsugi Dance!


(Feel free to share this in any way.
Your help in getting the word out is appreciated beyond measure.)

Over the years my work has slowly and steadily been evolving from my initial training in Let Your Yoga Dance with my beautiful and wise mentor, Megha, to something more...me.  The work really started to change after my life-altering intensive with Western Butoh artist, Maureen Fleming. I am STILL unpacking all that intensive did for/to me, and I am gathering the courage to go through it again.

But it was within the last six months that something fundamental happened and I could feel that the transformation of me and the work had reached some important peak. Not that there won't always be evolution but I knew I had gotten somewhere...important.

Everything felt more solid. I could feel my feet, grounded in the work in a new way and grounded in my own knowing.

And I knew it was time to finalize a name.

I've been calling this work Reed Dance Sadhana, but that name just sorta happened and it worked for a bit but I was uncomfortable with it for a few reasons.

I knew the work was worthy of a provocative name that made people gasp a little or at least made them curious.

And so finally, Kintsugi Dance.

This feels right all the way into my bones.

It honors my most profound influences and it sounds...magical.

Perfect.

A new website with be coming this Fall.  For now, you could go and like my new Facebook page.

You can now learn how to teach dance as a spiritual practice! My first teacher training is coming at the end of September! Just visit the "Teacher Training" tab at the top of this page.

If you want to explore more deeply how to create an at-home dance sadhana (spiritual path) practice, 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, August 21, 2014

Do You Love Me?

Frontier Park
When I wrote the title of this piece, I imagined us all looking into a mirror as it was said.

There's this perennial idea that we can't really love others until we love ourselves, but I know a lot of people who are "working on" loving themselves who, it seems to me, love others.

Is this possible? Or are we fooling ourselves by acting as if we love and mistaking that for love?

I sure see a lot of "love" out there that looks a whole lot more like obligation.

These questions are swirling around me lately as I work more on LIKING myself.

You really, really like me...

There's so much about me that I have spent a lifetime judging as too much, not enough, bad, stupid, wrong, silly, unworthy.

And it strikes me... Do I bring that to my relationship with others?

If I am being honest (and that's what I am doing here), then yes...I definitely bring all of that to my relationships with others.

Tough stuff to admit, that.

But if I am blocked in any way internally, there is NO WAY it doesn't affect how I see others.

(This goes for you, too, in case you're not making that connection.)

If I cannot allow myself to BE MYSELF, if I cannot embrace that internal freedom, then I cannot extend that to others. 

And that is true love: allowing yourself and others to fully be themselves, to not have any demands, to know that you are independent human beings sharing space but not becoming enmeshed, not extending your needs into the territory of the other.

Knowing that and fully embracing it...that is what I am working on right now. Every day.

Repeat after me: I am an independent human. I matter. I am my own person as are all the people around me. My happiness does not count on another's behavior.

I think we all might need some sort of recovery group...

You can now learn how to teach dance as a spiritual practice! My first teacher training is coming at the end of September! Just visit the "Teacher Training" tab at the top of this page.

If you want to explore more deeply how to create an at-home dance sadhana (spiritual path) practice, 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.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Burning it Down

The Gorge
I am back from teaching my second and last-for-this-season week-long workshop at the Chautauqua Institution. This second workshop went remarkably well. The women were amazing and dove right in on the first day. By the middle of the week, their energies were dancing together and I was, as so often happens, wishing I was filming them.

This work is good and yet...I am feeling the temptation to burn down all that I've built and take some serious time to contemplate and discern where I really want to head in the coming years.

Very likely I won't actually burn it all down. There's too much goodness.

But the impulse remains very strong, which means it's here to tell me something very important.

And so I am wondering...have you ever done this or been tempted to do this and what happened? Tell me your stories.

You can now learn how to teach dance as a spiritual practice! My first teacher training is coming at the end of September! Just visit the "Teacher Training" tab at the top of this page.

If you want to explore more deeply how to create an at-home dance sadhana (spiritual path) practice, 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, August 11, 2014

My Body is My Temple & Words are My Religion


I came across this piece about the work of Denise Levertov, a poet I've never spent any time with, and it turned out to be not just a breadcrumb but the very golden string I needed to find to get back to the center of my own maze.

For the past almost six years, I have been focused on this body and its dance and that has been as necessary to my healthy survival as air and water. No exaggeration.

But for the past two years, I have felt this whisper...almost annoying in its insistence...a physical sensation of need at the edges of my consciousness that I would push away because I didn't "have time"...a whisper reminding me that I am Poet as much as I am Dancer and that both are essential, one not more than the other.

Two halves that are more like yin and yang in that they are inseparable in ways that I do not yet understand but can intuit.

Yet Dancing's needs of me remained too strong for Poetry to have any power over my day to day choices.

More accurately, teaching dance was taking all the energy. It's a communal act and it takes everything this extroverted introvert has in terms of the doing and then the recovering.

I could not imagine finding the space or the breath or the quiet necessary to hear Poetry. She can be so very quiet and shy.

But then Denise Levertov. That article that I did not even finish the first time through led me to ask Marcy to get me a book of her work from the library. I have no idea why. It's a mystery.

I found a poem entitled Annunciation, and since that particular moment in time -- that story of Yes -- is so powerfully present to me, I read it.

And there was Poetry, sitting next to me and no longer whispering but speaking strongly enough that I had to get pen and paper.

And every time I crack open the Levertov, there she is again, and now I have the start of three very good poems awaiting more of my attention and I know there is more where those came from. I can feel it now...not whispering...speaking louder and louder, demanding as strongly as dance.

I can feel myself closing the door to the room where she sits for fear of being overwhelmed by her needs, but now I know that she is in that room waiting and that I will visit frequently, more and more as I take some time off from teaching later this year.

I am curious beyond curious about what she has to offer me this time around -- the me that is embodied in a way that me before could only dream of. How will that level of embodiment affect the writing and how will the writing affect the dance?

I cannot wait to get started on this new marriage of forms. I cannot wait to live the devotion of this twin practice.
You can now learn how to teach dance as a spiritual practice! My first teacher training is coming at the end of September! Just visit the "Teacher Training" tab at the top of this page.

If you want to explore more deeply how to create an at-home dance sadhana (spiritual path) practice, 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, August 7, 2014

Our Big Adventure: The Space Between Us

Another from the Gorge
I picked that tree photo before knowing how I would start this piece and then the tree told me...

Trees packed too tightly together, of course, won't grow to their full potential. They need space to reach toward the sun and space for their roots to get their share of water.

People are the same.

Though from what I am learning about myself in relationship and from what I observe around me, it seems we've lost that bit of knowledge and turned ourselves away from our tree nature and into more of an entangled ivy where you can't tell where one strand begins and another ends.

And if you look at all the unhappiness in the world, well, I think we need to spend more time learning from trees.

This all brings to mind the words of Khalil Gibran:

“Let there be spaces in your togetherness, And let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. Fill each other's cup but drink not from one cup. Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf. Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone, even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music. Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping. For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts. And stand together, yet not too near together: For the pillars of the temple stand apart, And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow.”

And so we come to my announcement of our Big Adventure. FINALLY!

Today we will sign the financial papers to purchase the house right next door.

Yep. Through all of this, the house next door happened to be for sale.

A house we have always coveted if not just to have more backyard for some fruit trees, but also a house we have coveted for other deeper reasons, teasing one another that we would do better if we could live in separate houses and then spend time together but not ALL the time.

A shared separateness that allows for our creative lives and for our different needs.

I need more time and space for my spiritual practices. There is a monk inside of me who needs silence and not just when I go on an occasional retreat.

Change and transition can be difficult. Figuring out the details can be overwhelming.

But overall, I am beyond excited for this next phase of my life.

Just within the few weeks since we decided to do this, I have experienced profound levels of self understanding that would not have come otherwise.

I will be writing about this, of course, from my perspective as an Aspie (who feels utter relief), from my perspective as a 45 year old woman who has never once lived totally on her own (even though Marcy IS right next door...and we are surrounded by friends but you know what I mean), and from my perspective as a creative who will be changing how she works so that she might work more deeply, starting with turning the entire first floor of the house into my in-home studio and doing all my daily living on the second floor (there will be pictures of that transition!).

Oh, my...the places we'll go...

You can now learn how to teach dance as a spiritual practice! My first teacher training is coming at the end of September! Just visit the "Teacher Training" tab at the top of this page.

If you want to explore more deeply how to create an at-home dance sadhana (spiritual path) practice, 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.