Movement as Prayer

The body says...

I’m currently reading a book entitled, “Help, Thanks, Wow: Three Essential Prayers” by Anne Lamott.   Ms Lamott, for this book alone, has risen to the top of my favorite authors list.  

Three prayers:  Help, Thanks, Wow.   Lamott describes in real life situations how a simple prayer of “Help” or “Thanks” or “Wow” to the Universe brings about change.  Ahhhh…change.  No wonder so many prayers fall short of their mark…not many folks are willing to change or make changes.   When I was little I thought if I prayed everything would be alright.  But things weren’t alright, not always.  Perhaps it was my bartering that made my prayers a little less substantial.  “If you will only do this one thing for me, God, I promise I’ll never….(fill in the blank).”  Tsk. Tsk. It was my end of the bargain that always fell short.  The Universe more often than not answered my prayer.  What was I doing wrong?  Could it be that I wasn’t taking responsibility…that I was assuming that all I needed to do was ask the Powers That Be to do something and I didn’t have to do anything in return?  Well, gee.  I was young.  Come on.  Give a girl a break.  HA.  How about 10,000 breaks?  

I’ve grown up to some degree since those days of  bartering…of long lengthy prayers about what I would do “if only”.  These days there’s no bartering.  I just need to move my body. My movement becomes my prayer.  Simple.  When I find that I’m desiring something…I move my body.  Help — in the freedom and form of Nia.  When I want to express gratitude …I move my body.  Thanks — in the freedom and form of Nia.  For those awe-inspiring magical moments (which happen more often than not)…I move my body.  Wow — in the freedom and form of Nia.

“The body says what words cannot”.  — Martha Graham

No words are necessary.  Just the passion, the love for moving and dancing and wiggling and shaking, for making shapes and the love  for expressing the unique spirit that inhabits and animates this human form; the love for using my mind to imagine and visualize, the love for using my emotions to feel.  Movement as prayer.

Help.  Thanks.  Wow.  Thank you Anne Lamott for simplifying prayer.  Thank you Debbie Rosas Stewart and Carlos AyaRosas for allowing Nia to come through your bodies, minds, hearts and spirits into the world so that Life could set me on a path of discovering the Joy of Movement and that Movement As Prayer…IS ceaseless prayer.  Now I Am ….  Sacred.

 

 

 

 

 

The Gift of Awareness

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This is about my encounter with fear and my gratitude for the gift of awareness.

I have for many years touted the magic and wonders of alternative healing techniques, herbs, and nutrition.  I have not gone to a regular medical doctor in over 7 years.  I know my body.  I trust that my body will let me know when something is not right.  I live with the aches and pains of osteoarthritis in my hands and knees (and probably other areas of my body, although it seems to center in those two areas).

I teach Nia.  For those of you who are familiar with Nia, you already know the abundance of education — somatic and academic — available through Nia.  I’ve been teaching for almost 12 years…I’m forever grateful for the amazing benefits of being in my body — the awareness of sensations, the clever imagery, the deep and cleansing feelings and emotions, the plethora of creative opportunities to express my unique spirit — all contained within one hour of a Nia class — and also in everyday living.

So, with all of this, and more, to support my experience of being fully in my body, why is it that at the first sign of something unfamiliar in my body I sense, feel and imagine FEAR?  Fear is not something I am opposed to or am devoid of…certainly not.  But when it comes to my body, I’m pretty darned aware of what’s going on.  I know when I eat wheat…my belly will bloat and I’ll be uncomfortable.  I know when I eat sugar I can expect a rush followed by a distinctive low.  I know if I attempt to maintain a Level 3 energy level for an entire Nia class, my body will let me know I’ve done too much.  

This past week, I came home Tuesday night after a great Nia class. There was nothing experienced out of the ordinary all day, nor anything out of the ordinary in my Nia class.  Yet when I got home I noticed a severe pain in the index finger of my left hand.  By morning my hand had swollen, in particular the first two fingers (my index or desire finger and my middle or balance/power finger — just an interesting sidenote).  Not only swollen on the knuckles on the back of my hand, but on the pads of the palm of my hand around those two fingers.  Not just swollen, but in SEVERE pain.  On a scale of 1-10, the pain was a 10.  I thought I had broken my finger(s) somehow. The pain radiated down my entire arm into my elbow.  I was fine at work on Tuesday, fine during Nia, fine driving home.  It was really a mystery.  What to do?

By Wednesday late morning it was apparent that I needed to see a professional.  I was going to have to cut my wedding rings off if my hand continued to swell.  My husband drove me to an Urgent Care facility.  The doctor asked me the usual questions.  I couldn’t remember hitting my hand, I couldn’t remember an insect sting or bite.  He was concerned about “gout” (Gout??  Really?  My grandfather had gout so bad that his leg was amputated and 2 weeks later he died).  The doctor wasn’t sure it was gout since I didn’t have all the symptoms.  The next suggestion was that perhaps it was an “infection”.  (Oh great.  I’m in a hospital with an infection.  A friend of mine had gone in to the hospital with a routine infection and died from sepsis.)

Let the mind games begin.  Fear loves mind games.

I have not taken antibiotics for a multitude of years.  They destroy the good flora in the intestines.  I grew up on antibiotics, being a pretty sick kid most of the time.  I was done with that scene.  Yet, when the doctor suggested antibiotics, I jumped at the opportunity.  Fear said YES, you must. 

I took 2 doses of the antibiotics and my body said “NO, stay true to what you know”.  That was the message.  By Friday morning I was still in pain, the swelling had not diminished.  I called my acupuncturist, not expecting to be able to be able to get in.  She was leaving town later in the afternoon but she had an available appointment.  

No fear.  I know acupuncture and how it works with my body.  I trusted.  An hour after the acupuncture, the swelling AND pain had diminished 50%.  Shortly after the acupuncture appointment, the pain was SIGNIFICANTLY reduced.  The swelling was down 75% but the end of Friday.  I could freely move the joints in my last three fingers.  The middle finger was moving quite a bit, still a little stiff in the index finger, but it no longer looked crooked, I could straighten it almost all the way out.  Hallelujah.

I want to also mention my husband’s relentless love and caring; the wonderful compassion and enfoldment of many of my Facebook and personal friends who offered many suggestions and Reiki/energy distance healing.  Gratefulness to the Universe for reminding me to listen to the voice of my body.

Today is Sunday and although there is a bit of a “pins and needles” feeling in my index finger occasionally, I can fully extend it and there is just a teeny bit of swelling on the “pad” on the palm of my hand beneath my index finger.

The gift of Awareness.  Listening.  Being.  Responding. Choosing Love, not fear.

So what was it — the swelling and the pain?  Who knows?  Maybe it was a spider bite.  Maybe it was gout.  It’s a mystery.  My mind wants to know EXACTLY what it was.  Spirit says let it go.  This morning, I’m drinking my Mayan Mojo (a coffee alternative), some Nettles tea, alot of water, taking my Celery Seed, my anti-inflammatory enzymes and my probiotic.  

My body thanks me.  The Universe thanks me.  And I am grateful.

Clarity

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As mentioned in my blog from New Year’s Day, Crow Woman is the Guardian of Sacred Law.  I did some reading this morning (after getting 8 hours of sleep — FINALLY!) regarding the significance of Crow Woman from a Native American standpoint.  I have Native American heritage (Ottawa/Ojibwe).  The Ottawa considered the Crow to be messengers.  In Cree lore, Crow Woman lived between two worlds, bringing messages through dreams to her tribe.  

“Her messages are not always welcome or immediately understood but their impact is clear.”

The relationship between Crow Woman, my Sun Sign Capricorn and my 13 Moon Signature White Planetary Mirror holds significance for me.  Crow Woman and the goat of Capricorn both draw forth images of living between two worlds while White Planetary Mirror’s responsibility is to be a reflection of death.  Death, in my humble opinion, is not to be feared.  It is ultimately a letting go of what no longer serves our purpose.  When the physical body can no longer contain our immense spirit, it passes away.

Death is not something I find talked about regularly in a conversation with friends, yet every moment of every day we find ourselves in the process of letting go or needing to let go of something that is detrimental to our overall survival.  It always comes down to choices.  We choose to eat what we want to, whether it’s deemed “good” or “bad” for us.  We choose to get involved emotionally and mentally with the ways of the world which then affect us physically.  Becoming consciously aware of what we think, say and do — every moment of every day — is not just important, but paramount to our personal health and healing.

When I talk to friends about their choices — what they put in their bodies:  food, smoking, pharmaceuticals, alcohol; and what thoughts, words and actions come forth from them) the message is not often not welcomed or understood. Yet one of my purposes on earth is to create opportunities for people to look more deeply inward, to let go of those things that keep them from their true identity — and it is also to allow them to be who they are without judgement.   So, Crow Woman I am — walking between two worlds.

Clarity — mental, emotional and physical — is my focus for 2013.  Clarity around boundaries.  Clarity with absolute awareness (realization) — there’s no sense in focusing on clarity if I’m unwilling to act with integrity on the visions that appear, holding sacred my responsibility of bringing balance to my world while being unattached to the things of the world.  Indeed the world’s way are not my ways, but I do live IN the world — I have a body, a mind, a heart and an immense spirit which contribute to how the quality of my life unfolds.  I am Crow Woman, Guardian of Sacred Law.  Sacred Law:  What one expresses into the world creates the world.  

I hold the power to transform.  I am not afraid to use it.

The dance of life.  Come…come and dance with me.  Create, let love radiate, be the truth of who you are.