Life As Art

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I hosted and focused a “Life As Art” event on June 15th.  Everyone from my Nia community along with a few local Nia teachers who have come to my classes were invited.  Thirteen originally responded with a fourteenth student calling to say she was compelled to be at this event and would I still accept another participant — and of course I did!!

We began at my Sacred Space Studio where we danced to an incredibly sweaty Beatles routine with the focus of Life As Art — the dance of creating patterns. There were 19 dancers — the studio was full of energy!  The fourteen participants then met back at my house at 10:45, had some yogurt and fruit (readied by my wonderful husband), and gathered on our deck. I handed out the “welcome” packets that contained an journal, an envelope, 3 pieces of art paper, a gemstone, the 13 Nia White Belt principles with a specific “affirmation” respective of each, information about Zentangles, and a few select adages for the day (one on the dance of energy, one on Choices and one on leading a fascinating life. I directed everyone to look at the contents of their packet and then the contents of their envelope. The envelope contained one of three topics: Magic, Trust, or Surrender; 2 Zentangle squares, 2 body tattoos — everyone received “I AM” and then one other word (Passion, Breathe, Gratitude, etc. from Conscious Ink. Lastly (but not leastly) two letters of the alphabet.

I had everyone look at which topic they had and invited them to find their other group members — there would be 3 groups of 5. The way they found their groups was to strike up a conversation using their specific word. For instance, one of the participants had the word “magic” and struck up a conversation with a group of 4 or 5 folks by saying “isn’t this property just magical” — 4 of the 5 people said “YES it is magical”. And thus the first group was formed. The second group formed quickly from someone speaking about “trusting that the weather would hold out”; and the third “surrendered to the anticipation of how the day would unfold.”. There was one group who only had 4 members — I became the 5th member of the group who only had 4 members. 

The participants were invited to take some time to walk the property. The weather was perfect (unlike the forecast which was for rain and storms all day); we have lots of areas to sit and meditate or take photos or simply to admire the beauty of nature. I walked up to the “ridge” where I could have an overview of our property. Different ones were walking together and looking at the flowers, plants, garden sculptures; others were sitting alone journaling, some were stopping to take photos. It was an incredibly rich panorama of spirited blessings. Truly magical. 

We all had lunch together (provided by Frank…the food was incredibly delicious), and then broke up into our individual groups with the assignments of creating Zentangles — one person started a pattern and passed it on to the next person in the group until all 5 participants had a chance to create a pattern (there were 2 Zentangles for each person within a group) — along with Zentangling the group was invited to create on one of the sheets of art paper (or all 3 if they wished) their own “dance of energy”.

We came back together and shared our Zentangles and our artwork. Anita suggested that we share the vision for each of our “dances of energy”…which was an incredibly rich experience to listen to each person’s creative expression. Magical. We all sat together in our living room and shared why we thought we were in the particular group we were in — I suggested that it was not by accident and no coincidence that they were in their specific group. The trust and surrender from each person was indeed a magical experience. One person from each group read the related poem from that specific group (Magic, Trust or Surrender). 

Our closing ceremony was to take the 2 letters of the alphabet they had each received and make a statement, “Now I Am __________ ___________. There were 3 participants who only had 1 letter — those 3 participants got to choose any letter of the alphabet to go along with the one they received. A very creative experience indeed (especially around the Q, X and Z!!!!). 

After the event had completed, we sat around and sampled Frank’s wine and had gluten free chocolate chip cookies!! Not everyone was available to stay (or leave and come back) for dinner, so we all hugged and said our so-long, farewells. Several came back with a guest and we had a lovely dinner — again provided by Franko. The weather was PERFECT. The last person to leave was Catherine and as she drove off, the rain started to come down softly, only to turn into torrential rains and 60 mile and hour winds. It rained and stormed all night. 

Incredible experience. I am blessed, truly and magically blessed through trust and surrendering to living in the moment and allowing spirit to open the doors of creative expression. I am so thankful for everyone’s participation and we will do it again!!!

Transformational Movement

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Nia is transformational movement.  Was it my subconscious that led me to Nia?  Perhaps it was through the wisdom of the Universe that I found Nia.   I originally thought I was drawn to Nia because it is done barefoot … or maybe it was the music … or perhaps the invitation to express creatively while moving.  Whatever the case, I am infinitely grateful for the opportunity to teach Nia…to share the wonderous benefits (which go waaaaay beyond the physical realm) and to become part of a world-wide community of people who share the love of dance…who actually embody conscious transformation.

Marilyn Gordon, Director of Life Transformation Associates, says, “The divine art of conscious transformation can happen in the flash of a moment and can change the entire outlook of our lives. Even though we set ourselves free at one moment, doesn’t necessarily mean that we set ourselves free the next. We have to keep working on it, keep at it, keep on remembering the transformational work we came here for and keep on bringing the light to every aspect of ourselves.

It is for this reason that I found Nia.  To be a shaman, a healer, a catalyst for others to find their way in this crazy world; to invite others to “remember the transformational work we came here for” — and what better way to bring that invitation than through the expressive, creative art of dance and movement.

A Nia class is not just a cardiovascular fitness practice — although it is definitely that!!  Nia is a lifestyle practice as well.  One begins to feel good about themselves and begins to notice the little things in our lives that keep us from stepping fully into our greatness.  We have within us an inherent “greatness” gene.  It’s always there…sometimes it gets hidden or tossed to the back recesses of our beingness; nevertheless, it is there.  

In a Nia class — at least in MY Nia classes — there is an hour filled with love and laughter and moving the body in ways that perhaps it has never moved in before and in moving the body, the mind and heart awaken to a different voice…a unique and expressly personal voice that beckons the invitation to rise up my love, my fair one, and come away.  So many people in the world have a less than divine sensing of who they are, yet the divine self waits for the layers of self-denial, self-doubt and low self-esteen to fall away, revealing the beauty and grandeur of Being.  

This is my purpose…my sacred livelihood.  To engender change, to be a transformative force in my world…and thus in THE world.  Nia is my platform, my mode of transportation…transformation is an ever-moving destination — one that brings me much joy as I dance through life.  My Life As Art.  Won’t you join me in the fantastic journey?  The first stop along the way is “Love Your Body.”

Letting Go, No Judgment

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I am constantly amazed at Nia’s ability to draw forth from me more of my creative in-the-moment capabilities.  

Last week I was attending the Blue Belt Nia Intensive with Caroline Kohles and Winalee Zeeb.  My first time through the Blue Belt Intensive was in September of 2003, so here I was 10 years later revisiting Communication, Relationship and Intimacy (the cornerstones of Blue Belt).  There is a great deal of information that is shared in Nia Intensives…academic as well as somatic.  

Being a Black Belt since 2008, I was under the mistaken impression that I would be “reviewing” the Blue Belt principles…HA HA HA.  Yes, certainly reviewing was part of the process, but WHOA Nellie…embodying the principles was never so evident.  Amazing, magical, wonderous, marvelous, ecstatic rippling waves of recognition occurred as I moved with and was moved by the physical realm, the mental realm, emotional realm and spirit realm (lovingly referred to in Nia as BMES).

Winalee and Caroline are two of Nia’s original Trainers.  Along with energizing the Intensive with their own spirits, what they offered to me or what I took in from them was the essence of letting go, letting go and letting go.  No judgment.  Such a seemingly simple thing to do…if I’m holding on to something and let it go, I no longer am holding on to it…right?  Ahhhh grasshopper, there is much to learn about letting go.  And I’m having the time of my life right now doing so!!!  

Another of the fantasmagorical life-changing moments from Blue Belt was the two phrases:  “what am I bringing to the relationship?” and “what can I bring instead?”  Life-changing…opens up a whole new world.  

Last, but not least, I’d like to say that I have had the opportunity to not only witness, but be in full experiential mode with this letting-go-no-judgement-what-am-I-bringing-to-the-relationship-and-what-can-I-bring-instead way of living as I taught my Saturday and Monday Nia classes after returning from the Blue Belt.  On Saturday, I took a routine I had been working with for a couple of weeks and decided to do totally in-the-moment choreography using Nia’s 52 Moves.  My plan worked beautifully.  I received lovely feedback from many of the students in class that day.  So, I decided to do it again on Monday.  Oh how the Universe loves to creatively play with me.  My iPod froze up.  What to do, what to do.  What am I bringing to the relationship?  Anxiety.  What can I bring instead?  Joy!!!  And of course the fact that my good friend and fellow Nia teacher, Kathy Rink, was in class that day, had her iPod with her and after a moment of “trying” to decide what Nia playlist to use, she offered that she had a “Chillout” playlist.  OMG.  Can I?  Should I?  Dare I teach in the moment without even knowing the music?  It took about 5 seconds for the Universe to kick me in the butt and utter the words, “Go for it, Kathy.  Put it on.”  

Perfection.  Magical.  Creative.  Holy cow.  No judgment.  I let go.  As a Black Belt, this should be second nature to me (ooops…is that a judgment?).  I’ve taught individual “songs” before in the moment.  And only one other time just prior to attending my Black Belt Intensive in 2008 did I teach an entire routine without knowing the music (ala Mary Carol Rick’s divine playlist).  Five years later, I do it again with an ENTIRELY different experience.  In 2008, I was so totally aware of all the mistakes, the tendencies, the this and the that.  In 2013, no judgment.  Totally present.  JOY lead the way.  The Nia 52 Moves provided the platform.  Life As Art. So cool.  I want more.  And guess what???  I can have it!!!  YAY ME!!!