Thursday, January 17, 2019

Because Life is a Dance

Years ago in 1998, a friend turned me on to Joseph Campbell, specifically the series of interviews of Mr. Campbell by Bill Moyers.  I was captivated!  So much so, that I changed my life direction:  from  dance performance, choreography and teaching to body-mind transformation, which eventually led me to study and teach yoga, become a life-coach, study nonviolent communication, and create Transformation Playground Dance.  I offered my first free-dance and journaling classes in 2001, and called it Transformation Dance.  Years later I taught under the name of Dance Journey, offering regular classes in St. Louis, as well as movement classes at a treatment center for people with eating disorders.  Today I call it Transformation Playground Dance.

"People say that what we're all seeking is a meaning for life.  I don't think that's what we're really seeking.  I think that what we're seeking is an experience being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonances within our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive..." * 

That's the kind of dancing, the kind of moving, and the kind of living that interests me.  When I listened to Bill Moyers and Joseph Campbell and their explorations of meaning, stories, cultures, and myths, something in me was touched.  I remembered my fascination with learning and various dance and even martial arts techniques throughout my dance career.  I had noticed that moving in different ways, with a different focus and intent, changed how I experienced myself in my body.  This was unexpected.  I wondered - Just how many facets of me are there!?

Later, I went on to study with Kathlyn Hendricks, a psychotherapist, movement therapist, and teacher/trainer for individuals, couples, and coaches interested in conscious relationships, embodiment, and creativity.  From her, I learned that bodifying -- trying on movement in a way that matched my inner state -- was a way to move through stuck experiences in my body, relationships, and work-life.   This only reinforced my calling to facilitate people to put our bodies into motion.
◯ "The whole world is a circle.  All of these circular images reflect the psyche." * 
I also am fascinated with cycles.  Whether it's the cycle of the an inhalation and exhalation, the cycle of a traditional prayer, seed to plant, the moon, I discovered something interesting in dancing specific aspects which are part of a greater whole.  So often we get stuck in duality:  focusing on something being right, and something else being wrong, less than, bad, or forbidden.  So inherently it seems to me that dancing something is a way to experience it fully to unlock the gifts of it, and intending to include a full cycle of movement is a gateway to wholeness.  It turns out that this is a key tenant of Tantra, and non-dual embodied spiritual awakening.  Who knew?
MOYERS:  "Then heroes are not all men?
CAMPBELL:  "Oh no.  The male usually has the more conspicuous role, just because of the conditions of life."  * 
Originally to me it was just play.  And it still is!  Although now I have a greater cognitive understanding of why this type of play is so liberating, powerful, and often life-changing for people.

* Quotes are from The Power of Myth, Joseph Campbell with Bill Moyers

- Read more about Transformation Playground Dance here.
- Join me next Tuesday evening January 22, at 7:15pm at Yoga Source in St. Louis to dance.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Writing to Bridge the Gap: Lifting, Lifting

Writing to Bridge the Gap

Lifting, Lifting

There are many ways which we can close off inhabiting our bodies in a protective maneuver to try to reduce pain and suffering.  Thomas Huebl refers to these coping mechanisms as childhood heros, because of the protective function served by these originally intelligent movements.  Over time, what was once actively creative recycles itself, no longer within conscious awareness.  

Since rising above our difficulties is often equated with spiritual maturity, Lifting, Lifting makes a distinction between rising above in a way which is resourced in wholeness vs. avoidance and closing as a traumatic, survival mechanism.  We can't fully respond when we have closed off a part of ourselves, since the very process of shutting down and disowning our experience creates inner fragmentation, and negates the possibility of a response that is grounded in wholeness.

The good news and the bad news is that what is disowned will find a way to express, through our own behaviors or in relationships.  What is disowned lives through us individually, through the generations and through our culture.  Life wants to move!  

Waking up in our bodies is a process of discovering these unconscious loops of once-creative protective processes, appreciating their once-necessary protective function, and releasing the habit in favor of newly emerging creative movements.  

Lifting, lifting,
I don’t want to drop…
It’s scary down here!
And unpredictable.
Can’t I just hide?
If I hold myself up,I will be ok.  
Positive, inspired.  Loving.  Lovable.
All the good things people taught me to be.
When I drop, I become real.
And, what will happen then?

Monday, December 31, 2018

Appreciating what has been; Welcoming what is Emerging -- Happy 2019!

In 2018, I increased my capacity to receive and moved deeper into an experience of interconnection. I learned that I can endure losses and be ok; that I can fall, and be held. My trust multiplied exponentially. 

I appreciate the many loved ones who generously shared your presence and love with me this year. 

I appreciate conscious, loving community in Ottawa -- who acted like their presence and support was no big deal, and which to me was miraculous. 

I appreciate my family in Oklahoma, beautiful loving, supportive people who are always present in my roots and in my heart. 

I appreciate the online courses I took this year: three from Thomas Huebl, two from Jeff Brown, one from Seth Godin, and one from Judith Blackstone which all made a significant impact.

I appreciate Kathlyn Hendricks’ example of turning everything into creative expression.

I appreciate loving friends scattered all around the world. 

I appreciate the beauty of this life I have been given, the presence of the divine, and the opportunity to continue to experience, grow, contribute, and collaborate. 

I am excited about 2019! 

Here’s to restoration and re-weaving what needs to change within us and in our world, and grounding in love, joy and abundance all along the way <3 p="">

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Facing, Accepting, Choosing & Taking Action!

Learn more about the process, at:

Friday, December 14, 2018

Embodied Transformation Is...

Noticing and savoring your body, your breath, your own well-being.  

Tuning into your breath to journey ever more deeply inward, and welcoming whatever is arising in your experience within your body.

Connecting with your true inner wisdom, which reveals the wholeness and beauty and unique essence of who you are at source,

Discovering and disentangling from the wrong beliefs that you are flawed, or wrong, or bad, which cause you to suffer, and attuning to deeper intelligence and creative possibility.  A key is to make this shift in your whole body-mind system; not just in your mind.   

Grounding and strengthening your connection with your source so that your connection is stable and reliable.   

Feeling more and more at home within your body. 

Expanding and expressing your source and essence so that all of  your life is infused with essence.

Taking regular, easeful and effective actions to create and step into the life of your dreams.

Learning from your interactions and life experiences so that you can continue to evolve, connect, discover, create and grow!

Gifts, Challenges & Contributions of Empaths

Empaths are plugged in, with subtle senses in the "on" position.  Although the capacity to attune to subtle energies is a gift, it can feel like a curse, leading to overwhelm, emotional flooding, over-stimulation, and difficulty in relationships. 

Empathic sensitivity is a gift of the heart.

To enjoy the gift of an ultra-sensitive, awake heart, practices for integration, embodiment, as well as relational boundaries are needed.

Enlivening the discernment and intuitional capacities in the brain center and empowerment in the navel center is a movement toward balance.  When these centers are active, an empathic heart center is less likely to be experienced as overwhelming as the other centers will also be contributing to perception and experience, and support the integration of awareness, feeling and body sensations.

Empaths (and all humans) need an embodied sense of  "I am" which provides a stable ground of connection and resting at home in the body.  The more at home we are in our bodies, the less likely we will get lost in surrounding energies.  Embodied meditation practices as well as movement practices like yoga, dance, and martial arts are physically grounding and support integration.

Healthy responsibility, the ability to respond to what is happening now, is enhanced when grounded in the body, and supports relational boundaries.  Authenticity and resonant listening practices differentiate me and you, holding our (perhaps) differing perspectives while still maintaining a unified ground of compassionate understanding, or at least a desire to understand. This is a matured expression of the gift of the heart:  we are still one, made of the same star-stuff and deserving of compassion and understanding, and at the same time we are separate with our own perspectives, experiences, history, development, needs, and values.  The more fully we inhabit ourselves, including physical as well as subtle embodiment, the less we need the training wheels of rules and external boundaries.

From within our embodied selves, we have greater capacity to experience and thus to respond to what's happening in the surrounding environment in a healthy and effective way.  Embodied, integrated empaths can feel into the larger networks and systems of our culture, without losing themselves or being overwhelmed.  In order to make needed changes in corrupt systems, we must first feel and discern what is occurring, including what is in / out of alignment.  This is one of the beautiful contributions that empaths have to offer the world.  Empaths can feel and reflect what is sick or not functioning with integrity in our world, related to the environment, education, banking, etc.  Discerning and speaking to what is out of balance is the first step in taking responsibility for a more aligned possibility, where each of us who is willing can respond and move into action with what is ours to do.  Living in this way, we can make our own lives better as well as create a world aligned with love, restoration and evolution for all life on our planet.

Thank you to all the sensitive empaths for being here, and walking your own path to integration, embodiment, and relational integrity!

Friday, December 7, 2018

Create a Context of Discovery

Noticing and choosing our context is an advanced practice which we can gain competency in through practice.  One definition of context is:  the circumstances that form the setting for an event, statement, or idea, and in terms of which it can be fully understood and assessed.  Since context is often invisible to us, consciously bringing in a healing context is empowering. 

For example, many of us have a context of 'something is wrong with me.' With this context / belief running in the background, we will try to make sense of our world by criticizing ourselves. This is actually a misguided attempt to help ourselves. Unfortunately, it doesn't work!

In order to heal and grow, we need to allow our perspectives to expand and shift.

Discovery is a powerful context which brings freedom.  When we're in a context of discovery and feeling stuck, practicing discovery creates an opening to not only notice how things are, but also to expand our perspective and release participating in repetitive, painful ways.  Discovery creates the possibility of seeing in a new way, and trying something new.  When we're in a context of discovery and feeling happy, opening to discovery creates even more enjoyment of our experience through our senses, and greater receptivity to fresh insights which empower us.  Regardless of what the experience is and whether we like it or not, practicing discovery supports healing and growth.  

To create a context of discovery ask yourself: What can I learn about (fill in the blank) that I don't already know? Then be open to discovering a new, helpful insight which takes you in a positive and empowering direction.