Saturday, October 31, 2009

MusicBliss: Love, Love, Love

This man and his music is so Totally Cool that I am linking to this song even though the embedding was disabled and that annoys the heck out of me.

(Hello? Music Industry? The video is already free to watch on YouTube...ever heard of the power of blogging and social media to spread your product.) Excuse the rant.

And I've posted this before, but this Erie boy has so much soul. I could listen to him sing this every day. He needs to do more R & B.

(Besides the title seems appropriate for Halloween!)

Friday, October 30, 2009

Your Mind is a Troublemaker


Yesterday I had an amazing day.

I am slowly but surely increasing the time I spend every day either dancing or doing yoga. At Kripalu, I learned that my well of energy is much deeper than I have ever thought, and that diving into that well daily (rather than just sipping from it) makes me feel better on every level.

All of my fibromyalgia related pain just goes away. My mind becomes clear and I think better. My heart grows lighter.

I also had a breakthrough with my strength. Since I returned, lifting weights has been a real struggle. I haven't felt strong enough to do what I was doing before I left. (There are many reasons for this.)

But yesterday, about halfway through my first set, I realized I was smiling and that I just felt so in my body, so capable.

Yesterday evening, I was reading the newest book by Deepak Chopra and came across this idea:

It's your mind that started the trouble;
it's your body that will get you out of trouble...
your body lives in the moment...

Our minds categorize things, try to put things in boxes, create the concept of time and aging and all these abstracts that we use to hold ourselves back or down.

But our bodies...

Martha Graham is famous for saying that the body never lies.

We are spiritual beings having a physical experience.

I think a lot of people get stuck on the first half of that sentence.

There is a reason we are given this solid, physical form. It is to be experienced, to be lived through, to be expressed.

It is not just a vehicle for the soul. They are inseparable. When we (our minds!) try to separate the two, we get to a couple of dangerous places.

We either decide the body is to be transcended and then end up denying our human nature.

Or we decide the body is be our ruler and then end up denying our spiritual nature.

They are intertwined. Both/and.

When I fully inhabit my body...that is the only time I am fully inhabiting my mind, my heart, my soul, my life.

Are you denying an essential part of yourself, whether body or spirit?

(Photo & Text Copyright: Christine C. Reed, blisschick.net, 2009)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Habits of Depression


Suffering from depression and anxiety for a large chunk of my life means that I have some very well-worn Mind Paths that my feet are quite comfortable walking. Really, these paths were custom made for my feet; they fit just right.

Overcoming depression and anxiety is about overcoming the habit of walking on those paths when even just a wee bit of a bad mood strikes.

As soon as my brain detects what is a normal dip in mood for most people, it switches on some connections that have been strengthened over time. It lights the way to those old Mind Paths.

It is cutting these connections -- obliterating them -- and allowing those Paths to become overgrown that is this life's work for me.

I have fought long and hard and I have, for the most part, defeated this ugly, smelly, gargantuan Monster who wants nothing more than to eat me and spit me out and start all over again.

Finding my essence as a dancer and living from that essence has given me the Winged Feet I needed to escape that Monster's clutches and fly free, off the path.

But alas, that Old Path still exists. I have not flown free long enough yet for my body and mind to completely forget where they are located.

Yesterday morning, I awoke from a night of bad dreams. Not the sort of nightmares that I used to have but dreams filled with enough fear and anxiety to leave a taste in my mouth even after a good tooth brushing.

I can't link you to any particular study but there is a preponderance of evidence that bad dreams create a bad day. Our brains aren't that great at differentiating between real life and our imaginations so our bodies end up thinking that, yes, we were running from bad guys and yes, we were hiding in dark and scary places.

I awoke with this mood festering in my body. The sky was gray and flat. I scowled at the weather.

The mood grew.

I tried to do some exercise but the sort that is purely "exercise" and that bores me.

The mood grew.

Finally, Marcy sat me down for a good talk, and I realized that my Depression is a habit that my mind has not quite gotten over.

I have to be more vigilant, more aware, more Awake than ever.

My life is finally sparkling and shiny and new; there is no way that I will allow those Monsters to lure me back to those bad habits.

Creating new habits is an important part of getting rid of the old.

Around 3, Marcy and I started working together on my YogaDance homework. I was sweating and dancing and focused. We worked for two and a half hours.

And I was new.

Those Monsters hate happy; they hate fulfilled; they hate Engaged.

Monsters die in the light. And my essence? It just happens to be made of the stuff.

(Photo & Text Copyright: Christine C. Reed, blisschick.net, 2009)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

WishCasting: A Frightening Treat


I would not wish for candy. I would not wish for sparkling shoes (though that WOULD be okay). I would not wish for a night on the town.

For Wishcasting today, Jamie asks us:

What treat would you wish for?

I would wish for the courage and the strength and all of the stars aligning just right so I could treat myself to a three week intensive of study at the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance.

It's not cheap, to say the least. And it could only happen if I work hard enough to get into true dancing fitness.

So this would be a treat on many levels.

I would be treating myself to living my dream at its frightening, challenging, and ultimately fulfilling edge. For the first time in my life.

What about you? What treat would you wish for? What treat would change your life?

(Photo & Text Credit: Christine C. Reed, blisschick.net, 2009)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tasting Possibility


While at Kripalu, I stayed in a dorm room with 6 other women, and only one of those women was not also in the YogaDance teacher training. She remarked toward the end of our week there that our daily schedule seemed more like boot camp than was typical of Kripalu.

We all laughed. It was a bit like that, but we loved it.

Each day, we started at 6:30 AM with an hour and a half of yoga. Our days didn't "end" until 9 PM (and I put end in quotes because then there was reading and I would blog and journal, etc.).

All day long, we were moving and sweating. Our teacher training was experiential -- learn by doing. Not much sitting on our duffs and talking.

I don't think I have ever felt so good in my life. The week was difficult and there were times when I didn't think I could dance one more minute, and yet from somewhere, the energy kept coming.

All of my trigger point areas in my back were just gone. No pain anywhere. (Besides a little of the muscle aching variety!) I was flexible first thing in the morning. My brain was clear. I was focused.

I have been home just over two weeks, and I am desperate to get this back.

I know that there are massive differences between my time at Kripalu and my home life. Obviously. I love my home life. And balance is important.

But I felt so damn fantastic! I don't think that feeling that good, that focused, that directed is a bad goal.

Today, I tried some kundalini yoga for my morning wake up call. It didn't work. This surprised me; I am a kundalini yoga girl, for goodness sake. What the?!

Every day, I experiment a wee bit more; I tweak; I consider; I play.

Perhaps by the time I am scheduled to return to Kripalu at the beginning of December, I'll have gotten into a rhythm. Just in time to get it out of wack again! ha!

(Text & Photo Copyright: Christine C. Reed, blisschick.net, 2009, Kripalu Front)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Learning to Trust Process


One of the greatest lessons I am learning right now is how much it matters that you do what you were meant to do.

You say, "What!? Hasn't that been the point of Blisschick all along?"

Well, yes, it has been, but that doesn't mean I am any better at understanding it than anyone else.

I want to be clear here, though. I am learning this lesson on a whole new level.

Because, you see, until you do the thing you were meant to do, you can think you are getting it but you're not.

I love to write, yet it's not my Essential Self in the same way as Dancer, so with writing, it's always been about product.

Now I totally get what it means to love Process and not be that concerned at all with Product.

That doesn't mean that I am not still waking in the middle of the night and thinking to myself, "What the hell am I doing?"

It just means that now when I ask myself that, I respond, "Just be quiet. Trust. It's going to all work out as it's meant to."

And here's the real kicker: I believe myself.

Today, a Thomas Merton quote came into my Inbox that is perfect for where I have arrived:

"...today we are used to thinking that there are explanations for everything. But there is no explanation for most of what goes on in our own hearts, and we cannot account for it all. No use resorting to mental tranquilizers that even religious explanations sometimes offer. Faith must be deeper than that, rooted in the unknown and in the abyss of darkness that is the ground of our being. No use teasing the darkness to try to make answers grow out of it. But if we learn how to have a deep inner patience, things solve themselves, or God solves them if you prefer, but do not expect to see how. Just learn to wait, and do what you can and help other people." (From Merton, The Road to Joy)

And then shortly after reading that quote, I read this great post about simply doing what makes you feel strong and letting go of this silly idea that we can do, be good at everything.

And I breathe more deeply than I have ever breathed.

And I say thank you to the process.

I could spend days, weeks, years lamenting the fact that I ever stopped dancing to begin with, or I could trust that I have come to it in this way and at this time for a reason, and then just let it go and let it be.

If you gave into the thing you love the most, how would this change your relationship to the Process of Living?


(Photo & Text Copyright, Christine C. Reed, blisschick.net, 2009)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Bloggy Love!

Recently, two wonderful Chicks have bestowed some bloggy love on me that took these two forms:



The first came from Terra over at Schmetterling Yoga.

The second from Ingrid at My Peacetree.

And to spread the love, here are some new (to me) blogs that you might like:

Jess over at The Remembering Place

Michelle over at The Devil Wears Prana

And Heather has jumped back over to her older blog, Fumbling for Words

Enjoy!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

MusicBliss: DRUMS!

Punk drums, to be specific.

Because I love them.

Because I can't help myself.





Friday, October 23, 2009

Risking Comfort


This is a group shot of all the women in my Kripalu YogaDance teacher training, part one. It felt like an auspicious day to post it, because I just finished signing up for part two, which will run from December 6th through the 11th. At the end of that week, we graduate!

(I am in the back, standing row, wearing white.)

When I signed up for this class, it was a risk -- a risk to my complacent comfort.

I still wonder what drove me to finally do it. I had thought for many years of going to a Yoga teacher training, and I always backed out.

Dance being a component of this training obviously helped drive me forward.

Yet I wonder what gives people the courage to risk?

While there, I took risks daily. Some part of me had decided that to do this, I was going to go full out. No stopping. No standing on the side lines.

I did things that week, pushed boundaries, without hesitation.

The real lesson will come when I am doing that on a daily basis in my "real" life.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Finally Awake Enough to Know My Exhaustion


The work of being back in my body continues...

I used to say -- and with a laugh! -- "You could cut off my body and my head would never notice!"

So many years of sadness and depression and stress and anxiety and fear had effectively turned me into a Walking Intellect with little access to What Was Happening in My Body.

I would go all day without peeing and then wonder why I was in pain.

I would forget to eat or eat on automatic pilot.

I barely slept due to nightmares.

I wonder, sometimes, how I have made it this far in relatively good health.

All along, I have been trying to "fix" myself through the intellect too. I have read enough, I again joke, to qualify for my PhD in Psychology -- or perhaps one in religion or mythology. I have been looking on dusty library shelves for answers since I was about twelve.

Fifteen years ago, meeting Marcy was the first part of my physical awakening. Soon after, I found yoga.

But only since I have rediscovered Dance -- not even six months ago -- has the real body healing begun.

I was loving Marcy and our life together and our animals and doing yoga still from that familiar and safe feeling place of Gray Matter.

As soon as I put on those Capezios, something big happened. I felt lighter, more joyful, less...mired down by Gunk.

Then the week away at YogaDance teacher training truly broke me open.

The Awakening that began with Marcy and our life seems to have come to some Critical Point at Kripalu.

It was a bit like my soul -- wandering lost for so long -- saw that my body was once again loved and warm and comfortable and decided to drop by. Literally. I know the moment it happened even.

While doing a Dance Prayer, My Soul -- that thing with feathers -- fluttered over my head, the place where all my fear and sad has resided. Seeing the crack in me, the crack through which all those emotions I had hidden from were shining, leaking out...seeing that crack in as opportunity, She came back home to me.

My Diamond Center.

My Bleeding Heart.

Whatever traditional image you want to use, I am a New Person.

And it turns out, I am an Exhausted Person.

I have written about this a bit before, but now it finally feels Real and makes sense to me.

My whole life has been about the power of Will and pushing through. I have worked from a base of Tired on everything from the mundane tasks of daily life to getting an M.A. in English to writing this blog.

It has all simply felt like Work that Needed to Be, Had to Be Done.

I have never felt refreshed.

But when I dance, I feel myself shedding that Exhaustion.

I know this will take time and it will take Extreme Care and Awareness.

But Finally, Finally, I am awake enough to know my Exhaustion. I am Awake enough to finally Wake Up.

(Photo & Text Copyright: Christine C. Reed, blisschick.net, 2009, Cafe at Kripalu)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

SharedBliss: Troubadours of Divine Bliss


These two women are so amazing that I want to just immediately give them the floor. You can print this interview out, and you'd have a Free Guide to Bliss.

You can find their website here, their facebook here, and their myspace here. (DO take a listen; I think you will love!)

Hang on for the ride!

Describe the components of your Bliss Path: the things/activities/structures that help you to be brave and choose bliss every day.

Our Bliss Path is one that begins upon waking. So many of us awaken with a feeling of dread, with a to-do-list, with an alarm that startles us out of our dreams and into our jobs without a moment of pause for our purpose.

One of our morning rituals is to take that pause to consciously set intention for the day, so that we can segue from our dreams into daydreams. This time can be during the "snooze' many of us take or just a moment pause before putting our feet on the floor. For us, it is just a moment to ask the Great Spirit for Guidance, to offer up gratitude for another day to serve, to commit to honor the process (when anything feels like work), and to trust that each person, place & thing that crosses our paths in this day is not a coincidence but rather an opportunity to engage. We strive to live that bliss consciousness throughout each day.

In choosing to live a bliss filled life, what sacrifices or choices have you had to make that have been particularly difficult? Are there sacrifices or choices coming up in the near future?

The Universe wants to unroll the red carpet to us...we simply need to take some steps. We let go of many material needs and possessions. We have less, so we need to work less. We live in a small cabin without running water but we feel as if we live like Queens! It is necessary that we live simply and sometimes that feels like a sacrifice but truly it is a choice.

As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe
will be simpler; solitude will not be solitude,
poverty will not be poverty,
nor weakness weakness.
~Henry David Thoreau

Our mantra is "FREE YOUR DREAM"...that means to remove the barriers and blockades to Following Your Bliss and set your dream free! The only reason we do not all live a bliss filled life is that sometimes credence is given to the things that take us on a detour from the path and keep us in bondage from our bliss. These things can be relationships, debt, things, jobs, addiction, and anything that feeds fear and not love.

Everything we possess that is not necessary
for life or happiness becomes a burden,
and scarcely a day passes that we do not add to it.
~Robert Brault

Debt, for instance, is that thing that keeps us playing the lottery in hopes that "if" we win we can do what we've always dreamed we would do. If we eliminate our debt by making choices that feed the dream rather than feed our material need, we truly do win!

When we made the choice to become Troubadours, we realized that we could not fulfill our dream to travel around encouraging other people to free their dreams if we did not commit to setting our dream free. We don't buy things we really don't need; we don't have cable/satellite TV; we buy most things at thrift stores,we try to keep everything very simple. So, we began to make choices that sometimes felt like sacrifice, but when we took those steps the Universe truly rolled out the red carpet to us and always provided for every need and taken care of us!

“The sacrifice which causes sorrow
to the doer of the sacrifice is no sacrifice.
Real sacrifice lightens the mind of the doer
and gives him a sense of peace and joy.
The Buddha gave up the pleasures of life
because they had become painful to him.”
-Mahatma Gandhi

Describe your ideal, bliss-filled day.

The ingredients are just knowing that we wake up with another opportunity to engage & embrace this life. Just feeling the deep peace of walking our path and living our purpose. Not being a "paint-by-number" set with a plan of what the ingredients would be in the picture perfect day but being an open canvas ready to be brushed and colored by the Great Artist's hand. A day filled with deep prayers for peace and love within and for every being. A day with service to the heart needs of others at a crossroads. It would include time to take action for re-membering the circle - so we initiated www.MightyKindness.org that brings together and strengthens all of the goodness being done for our community. The day would hold laughter, dancing, music, a visit to the gardens to prepare a healing meal, and end in each others arms as we dream of flying!

"I arise in the morning torn between a desire
to improve the world and a desire
to enjoy the world. This makes it hard
to plan the day."
~ E. B. White

Each day is like a surprise party...all we have to do is show up, be fascinated & celebrate. Life is a cosmic cocktail of bliss & joy...just be an empty vessel in which the spirit may pour, add bliss & stir.

Do you have a daily spiritual practice that gives you the strength to live your own path?

Our favorite ritual each day is the time we take to do devotions. We choose to do this in the morning, but the time is not important - it is just taking the time that is important. It is when we read from the books that will remain dogeared passages in our hearts. It is when we listen to music that splashes like a wave in side our souls. It is when we talk and walk in our garden, which is truly just a metaphor for the garden of our spirits, and remember to root deep, tend to the weeds, remember the seed, and stretch toward the light to grow...stretching in long stretches in silence.

Some presents/presence to open from RUMI...these remembrances give us the strength to live our path...

Invite beauty and gratitude…

“Today, like every other day, we wake up empty and frightened.
Don’t open the door to the study and begin reading.
Take down a musical instrument.
Let the beauty we love be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.”

Invite the present moment…

“Keep walking
Though there’s no place to get to.
Don’t try to see through the distances.
That’s not for human beings.
Move within
but don’t move
The way that fear makes you move.”

Invite silence…

“There is a channel between voice and presence,
A way where information flows.
In disciplined silence the channel opens.
With wandering talk, it closes.”

Invite flow…

“…Your hand opens and closes, and opens and closes.
If it were always a fist or always stretched open
you would be paralyzed.
Your deepest presence
is in every small contraction and expansion,
the two as beautifully balanced and coordinated
as bird wings.”

How does your relationship to your body affect your bliss?

We truly believe that our bodies are a temple. Our bodies are evidence of our spiritual condition, so what we put into our bodies and how we feel about our bodies manifests in our spirits. If we take things that are negative into or onto our bodies physically and mentally, they manifest as sickness, as depression, and as poor self image.

We must take it easy on our selves by setting realistic and measurable goals, we must confront thinking distortions, by identifying childhood labels, and by stopping comparing ourselves to others. Don't let anything or anyone dilute your bliss.

If we are feeding our our spirit positive things, it manifests as bliss.

It is vital that we do not let our bodies/self image be one of the barricades to our bliss.

We do this by developing our strengths, learning to love ourselves, giving ourselves positive affirmations, remembering that we are unique, remembering to laugh & smile, and by realizing how far we have come.

Self-image is not permanently fixed. Part of our self-image is dynamic and changing. We can learn to develop a healthier and more accurate view of ourselves, thus changing the distortions in the mirror. Self-image change is a process occurring over a lifetime. A healthy self-image starts with learning to accept and love ourselves.

Was there a specific moment (or moments) in your life when you decided to break out of the cage and fly free, as we like to say in the land of Wild Women?

We wild women are Troubadours of Divine Bliss. We met 24 years ago in a spirit-filled, holy rollin', charismatic church where Renee's Dad was the Pastor & Aim Me's Dad was a Deacon. As the Hatfield & Mc Coy's of the Pentecostal world, Aim Me's Dad ended up kicking Renee's Dad out of the pulpit.

We lost faith in religion & gained faith in the Spirit, and like Thelma & Louise, we headed for the cliff of surrender. It felt WILD but it felt wonderful!

In 1995, we had the WILD WISH of being Troubadours of Divine Bliss, Street Performers who travel around encouraging Revolution of the Spirit & Courage of the Heart. Renee had a dream she was playing an Accordion, so she got one. Aim Me learned two chords on the Guitar & Bliss was born.

We followed our destiny to the streets of New Orleans where (wrapped in battery-operated Christmas lights) we debuted as Christmas Carolers in 1995 on the corner of Royal & Toulouse in the Big Easy. Since then we have traveled all over the U.S., Canada & Europe Freeing our Dream and embracing life in pure delight...our WILD WISH keeps coming true!!!

What gives you a sense of your Wild Woman self? What helps you to become less tame? Take risks? Put your concept of self on the line and challenge your boundaries?

Simply put, if we remember all the people and things that have told us you can't do it, you won't do it, you're not good enough, you don't have what it takes, you'll fail, you'll never make it...then ask ourselves if we want to be "THAT" person stopping ourselves and the answer is always "NO"! Nothing will make us escape the lion tamer and run quicker. Nothing will make us cut that tether and soar higher. Nothing will keeping us from beating our wings against the cage faster until the door breaks open and we fly free! We hold the key to the cage we're locked inside. Why would anyone imprison themsleves? Once you've tasted just a sip of unfettered freedom and peace, it seems impossible to go back. You become the moth drawn to the flame of true living.

NEVER be the one to dismiss your bliss!

What is the Wildest Thing you have ever done? What Wild Thing would you like to do? What is your Wildest Wish?

In 1998, we decided to take our bliss to street perform in Europe. So, with only $100.00, no set shows, one-way tickets, and fearless hearts, we flew off to Europe. The universe honored us being brave, and we backpacked through Europe for 6 months touring 6 countries singing our bliss on the streets, in homes, village concerts, schools, clubs, and festivals all along the way.

Wild Wishes = Being Brave + Following your Heart

Our wildest wish is that everyone would be at peace, follow their bliss and that this life would be the big circle of celebration that has been offered to us.

What advice would you give to women who are still trapped by fear and expectation and feelings of obligation? How would you advise that they set their Blissfully Wild selves free?

Embrace Life in Pure Delight...that is BLISS! Be fascinated more than fearful. Be expectant rather than have expectations.

Remember that you ARE the master of your fate, the Captain of your Soul- YOU are steering the ship. Sit in stillness and nurture yourself the way you would your newborn baby. Women are so good at caring for others but not themselves. Feed yourself Love. Feed your heart peace. Feed your mind postive thoughts and bliss fool visions. Seize every moment as an opportunity to re-create your Life, your Self. Be so tender when you fall, as you would a child, and lovingly scoop yourself up saying,"It's alright. You're going to be OK. I'll take care of you." Then run right back out to play! Surround yourself with healing, loving inspiring people and take time to sit in silence.

Be a wonderfully wild woman who plays every part & let's every part play. For a metaphor for this, please watch this "I Love Lucy" clip...it's the one where she's stomping the grapes.

It's such a great metaphor for dancing in the vat of this life when things seem a little squishy, icky, too much & too hot to handle. Watch how she trudges through it at first & then starts dancing & being goofy. Watch how her face changes from ewwwwwww to aha. Feel blissfully reminded to weave some more "Lucy" moments into this life!

All of these moments are like grapes fermenting in the vat of our spirit. Life is just that thing between that is poured from the bottle into the glass. We get to choose from which bottle we pour. Drink from the wine that moves you...the one that makes you dance, smile & make silly faces, the one that makes you intoxicated with Spirit.

"The cup wants to be lifted and used, not broken but carried carefully to the next. The cup knows there is a state for you beyond this one that comes with more vast awareness. The cup looks still but acts in secret to help. Sometimes you pour cup to cup, nothing happens. Pour instead into your deep ocean self, without calculation".--rumi

The juice of this time is just fermenting in your cask & it will pour a wine so divine we'll all be drunk & dancing with all of you Wild Women.

Oh, look, you've got something squishy between your toes...hmmmm, evidence of BLISS;-)

You are worthy to be loved and love abundantly. You are worthy to forgive and be forgiven. You are worthy to hold the Kingdom of Heaven within.

Be brave, hold your head up high, your Spirit's high enough to reach the sky.

May we all awaken to Love and never dismiss our bliss,
your troubadours of divine bliss

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Duh...It is in the Doing


Having been lucky enough to have rediscovered my core, my center, my essence in dance, and having been lucky enough to go to part one of YogaDance teacher training where I was seen, witnessed, and affirmed in that, I come home to an Old Me that is achingly transforming into the Real Me.

A very good friend of ours referred to my transformation as a "Transfiguration," and I love the body reference inside that word. I also love that it has a much more spiritual feel on the tongue and that it makes me think of the brilliance of the Sun.

Along with this high and mighty transfiguration, though, is the reality of one WhineyChick. One ResistantChick. One PainInMyAssChick, to put a fine point on it.

Take what happened this past Sunday as one small example.

I was sent home with homework to tackle in between our part one training and the part two to come at the beginning of December. This homework includes practice teaching. We were each given a CD of music that we will then use as our example teach in December.

Being the perfectionist I am, and knowing myself in terms of "performance," I knew I did not want to over-practice that CD. I don't even want to work on it until late November so that it feels "fresh" in December.

This means that for my initial practice teaches, I need to make my own music playlist. An hours worth of music.

No big, right?

Wrong!

Oh, the drama! The angst! The gut wrenching! The cries of "I can't do it! There's too much choice! Where do I start?"

Poor Marcy, you are thinking, and you are right.

She tried to help by compiling suggestions, but that wasn't right either.

Eventually, we found ourselves working together and succeeding in creating a truly masterful, seamless list. (We both LOVE music and know it well.)

We had so much fun. Of course we did. This is fun. This is my life's calling. This is my Heart's Deepest Love.

A lesson Marcy tried to tell me became so clear that day:

It is in the Doing that I find myself, that I remember myself, that I am myself.

It is in the Doing that it all makes sense.

It is in the Doing, after all, that we live.

(Photo & Text Copyright: Christine C. Reed, www.blisschick.net, 2009, Chair at Kripalu)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Flying through Storm Fronts of Fear


I am going through so much change right now, experiencing so much growing pain, that my skin aches.

I have overcome a lot in this life, and I have felt fairly proud of myself for my emotional accomplishments in particular. Beating severe depression and anxiety is not something that everyone manages. And I say that with compassion because I have no idea why or how I have been one of the lucky ones.

That seemed like enough to me, whether I was consciously admitting it or not. My internal Story went something like this:

I have had a hard time. I have come from great sadness. I now have love and happiness. I should not expect any more. It is okay for me to just settle in and ride it out from here.

But now...oh, now...

Now it seems, I am also getting to become the person I was meant to be.

I have never known such hard work -- and this coming from a girl who overcame the thought that she might live to her middle thirties and would be sad until then.

To face all of my fears, to step out of a comfortable nest, to spread wings I had never used before and hope beyond all hope that they would work.

To find that they work and then to find that all the weather is not clear. There are storms still to navigate.

What keeps me going is those moments when I fly above all the weather and see the bright sun and the blue sky and the expanse that I know now is my birthright.

But, wow, the pain of that. Totally unexpected.

(Photo & Text Copyright: Christine C. Reed, www.blisschick.net, 2009, Storm above Berkshires)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

MysticBliss: Wild Woman Brooks Hall


This past Friday, mere hours before I was to leave Kripalu and head home, I got to meet, (too) briefly, with Brooks Hall of the blog, Yogic Muse.

Now, if I have any instincts about Brooks, she will be slightly uncomfortable with the fact that I have posted about her on MysticBliss day and she will wonder if she really qualifies as a Wild Woman.

But that is for me to decide (ha!), and I decide Yes!

Brooks is fearless in her excavation of the Self through Yoga. She shines light where most dare not look.

During her week at Kripalu, she wrote some insightful pieces, including this one on repressed anger.

She also happens to be a good writer. Check her out if you never have.

And thanks, Brooks, for asking to meet. It was the perfect ending to my week -- communing with a Kindred Soul.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

MusicBliss: Pink Martini's Diversity

Pink Martini is a big band/jazz ensemble out of Portland, which describes itself as a group of Music Archaeologists. (OH! And they have a new CD coming out this month!)

They do pieces from all over the world and they are consummate musicians. Amazing, really. Marcy and I have had the privilege of seeing them live -- twice.

To show their diversity, first:




And second:

Friday, October 16, 2009

The Unexpected Bliss of Goddess Leonie Allan


This week, my Inner Introvert needs some serious down time and rest, so I have the honor of presenting a series of guest bloggers writing about Unexpected Bliss.

Last but not least during this wonderful week of writing by wonderful women, I am proud to post the ponderings (excuse the alliterations) of the Gorgeous Goddess Leonie. You may recall, she was interviewed by me here. Here website and all her goodness can be found here.


Just like the swoops and curves of our journeys, bliss has its own way and time of appearing in our lives.

My love and I have always believed that no matter what happens, Great Spirit is guiding it, giving us whatever blessings and lessons we need at the time. Some days, our intuition speaks to us, telling us the movements that are about to be born into our lives. Other days, life is a beautiful mystery, giving us its own sensual unveiling in its soft, slow time.

I did think, however, that I would know immediately when a new soul decided to make its way into my womb. Being as sensitive to my body’s energies as I am, I thought for sure I would know when something new came through. In the first month of “trying” (but we didn’t call it trying - we called it WAHOO! NO CONTRACEPTIONS! THIS IS FUN!), I thought for sure I was pregnant. The way my hand rested softly over my belly, the presence of a new, soft, singing child spirit around me. And then the feeling left, and weeks later, my moontime came. We shrugged softly, and gave the experience to grace. All things, in their own perfect time.

The next month, when my moontime came, I asked my beloved when we should begin to worry. His answer, in that beautiful sage way of his was:

All in its own time... we don’t need to worry...

I went home and visited my family’s farm. We made a bush rock labyrinth in a field by a river. In the centre, we placed a large healing amethyst crystal. I bathed in the sea. When I returned, back to my love and our little cottage, I stopped eating wheat, sensing it didn’t help my sweet ovaries do their beautiful work. I received energy healings from my favourite healer, Hiro Boga. And we kept on living our beautiful, precious lives, with as much joy, gratitude, and grace as we could stand.

A month later, my love & I were eating vegetarian kebabs at our favourite table at our favourite place. And I was giggling, telling him my moontime was late, but I definitely, definitely wasn’t pregnant. I would have known if I was! And as we ate, I felt a bit nauseous, and I thought “Well isn’t that funny!” And I giggled again, and told my love that I was nauseous, but definitely, definitely wasn’t pregnant.

I will definitely know when I am pregnant! I don’t feel pregnant! I’m happy just to wait for my moontime to come again!

And he smiled, and his eyes crinkled around the edges, and there was a little light in his eyes.

That look was more telling than any pregnancy test.

Well my love... my guides told me a couple of weeks ago that we were going to expect a child soon... maybe it’s time for a pregnancy test.

And he took my breath away in that moment. We got a pregnancy test (“Just for fun!” I told myself! “I’ll know when I’m pregnant!”). And as I sat in the bathroom, two blue marks instantly appeared, as if by magic.

And tears swum to my eyes.

My child is coming... it really is coming...

And my love grinned and cried.

We are three months and one day pregnant today.

And like all the most beautiful lessons and blessings in our life... our child came through as my own unexpected bliss. In the seven weeks since that day eating kebabs, our child has already been my teacher: that sometimes we won’t know it all, and mostly, we don’t need to. That the greatest blisses are usually unexpected, and are carried by the winds of change, sitting softly on the wings of Great Spirit.

Great Spirit gives just what we need, just when we need it.

All in its own soft, sweet, sacred time.



(Photo copyright: Goddess Leonie Allan)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Unexpected Bliss of Writer & Artist Christine Valters Paintner


This week, my Inner Introvert needs some serious down time and rest, so I have the honor of presenting a series of guest bloggers writing about Unexpected Bliss.

Today, we are joined by Christine Valters Paintner, the beautiful mind behind Abbey of the Arts. When I first happened upon Christine's blog, it felt like a spiritual homecoming, and I know I would not be where I am with my own path had I not found her deep, wise words. Christine, knowing it or not, helped to nurture within me a more sophisticated understanding of the mystical aspects of Christianity and Catholicism, in particular. I had been meandering down that road, but she handed me a sturdy walking stick.


“O die Kurven meiner Sehnsucht durch das Weltall” /
“O the curves of my longing through the cosmos”
-Rainer Maria Rilke, from Uncollected Poems
(translated by Edward Snow)

When BlissChick first asked me to write this guest post with the suggested topic of “Unexpected Bliss,” my mind immediately flashed to a moment from the summer before last.

My husband and I had been on a five-week ancestral pilgrimage, visiting the landscapes of our genetic roots. We were on the train from Munich to Brussels, after nearly a month in Austria and Germany, when a man joined us in the compartment where we were seated. He immediately began talking with us in German, making friendly conversation. “Ich spreche nur ein bisschen Deutsch” I offered in response, I speak only a little German.

This wasn’t entirely true, I speak more than a little, but less than a lot, so this phrase was a way to warn my new conversation partner that I wouldn’t catch everything but I was willing to try. He smiled enthusiastically and continued on, barely pausing for breath.

I grew up in New York City where my father worked for the United Nations. He was born in Latvia, the land of his paternal ancestors and had to flee at age twelve when the Russians occupied. His family went to Vienna, where his mother’s parents lived and spent the rest of his adolescence in Austria before eventually coming to the United States.

When I was a child, my father would often insist on speaking German at home, “auf Deutsch bitte,” he would say to me, in German please. As a general rule I was a rather unrebellious child, except in these instances when I would often refuse. I’m still not exactly sure why. But our conversations were frequently back and forth, in English and German, each of us pretending not to understand the other.

We traveled quite a bit, returning to Austria every year or so to visit family, but my German remained rusty from lack of regular practice. I regret those stubborn childhood ways. My father died soon after I finished college, and it was nearly twenty years before I had the opportunity to return to Vienna.

Speaking German again over our month of travel, even with all of my stumbling, touched something in me I still can’t quite fully express. It opened up a longing in me, a riverbed of memories shaped by the words of another language. I suddenly could feel myself connected to generations of ancestors for whom German expressed the ‘curves of their deepest longings.’ I began to discover that the shape and trajectory of those longings threading through the cosmos dwelled inside of me and called me forward. That moment in the train I was overcome by joy in discovering that my ability exceeded my self-perceived limits. I was also moved by grief over the nearing end of our trip and my years of neglecting this language which beats in my blood.

My father used to repeat a Czech proverb: You live a new life for every new language you speak.

I am rediscovering within myself whole worlds I had forgotten were there. I feel as though I have re-opened a locked room, one filled with dust but also radiant with sunlight illuminating old, forgotten photos and letters. As my mouth forms these words, I become aware that these were the very sounds which emerged from the mouths of my ancestors to gently comfort one another, to whisper secrets, to cry out at night after a great heart-rending loss, to utter their most essential truths. The nuances of language express the soul of a people.

My unexpected bliss has emerged from the call to begin once more to inhabit this other life. I step through the door again.


(Photo Copyright: Christine Valters Paintner)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Unexpected Bliss of Author & Spiritual Mentor Janice Lynne Lundy


This week, my Inner Introvert needs some serious down time and rest, so I have the honor of presenting a series of guest bloggers writing about Unexpected Bliss.

Today, we are joined by author and spiritual mentor Janice Lynne Lundy, who has two blogs -- one here and the other here. The thing I admire about Janice is her openness and her accessibility, and now I find out she is a fellow Bird Watcher.



I have a sacred space I created for myself—a special place just for me, where I can sit comfortably and enjoy a little slice of paradise. I can breathe and “be,” nary a “To-Do” or “should” in sight.

My Eden is a small porch, overlooking a 50-year old perennial garden, complete with a hand-built fieldstone wall and an array of ever-changing visitors who inspire and delight.

Finches and mourning doves fill the garden with song. Hummingbirds, jays, and cardinals arrive in a flash of color. Chipmunks scurry along the wall, and an occasional solitary fox sneaks through to the field beyond. My fondest desire is to sit and savor the glory that is here: pale, pink climbing roses, waving purple iris, nuthatches and chickadees flitting around, building nests in the cedars that line the yard.

I am in heaven on earth in this place.

Any one of us can create something similar—an outdoor sacred space that fosters peace of mind and heart. In fact, it just may be one of the most important things we can do for our self and our well-being.

“The impulse to carve out a zone ... for reflection has its roots in ancient cultures,” writes Ruth LaFerla in Spaces for Silence, “yet it flourishes today with a new vitality ... An oasis of calm amid the myriad distractions of contemporary life is important ... More than that, it may serve as a refuge, a place to come to terms with the pressures and anxieties of an uncertain world."

My garden-view porch has become that for me: a doorway into the peaceful places I know lie just below the surface of my ever-busy mind.

And when I can get quiet, really quiet, miracles happen. Bliss arrives.

One day, a few summers ago, as I sat there in my wicker rocker, quiet prevailed. Out of the corner of my eye, I spied a slight flicker of color and feather. A white-breasted nuthatch had come to call, resting its tiny body upon the fountain less than six inches from my hand. He sipped from its flowing waters and sat, just as I was, taking everything in. Minutes passed and together we savored the morning, two contented souls at peace with ourselves, one another, and the world.

Since that day, I have taken my porch sitting to a new level: as a form of spiritual practice, to see how very quiet I can make myself, in body and mind. And if I’m succeeding, they come.

A tiny chickadee will land on the climbing rose near the fountain. She’ll wait to see if I am calm enough for her to pay an intimate visit. I sit, breathe, observe, and attend to my inner self to create a landscape of peace. She hops in, taking delicate sips from the pooled water. Be still my heart!

Then just the other day, I was extra still, effortlessly so, and it invited the birds to something more. After drinking, my little visitor hopped into the fountain and took a bath, just inches from my arm. She allowed the water to trickle over her back. She did a little dance around the rim and flicked off the excess with a flap of wing. Unexpected bliss! I shared a shower with a chickadee.

May inner peace prevail within you, for the gifts—such as these I’ve experienced with my feathered friends—are great. May you find your bliss today.

(Photo Credit: Janice Lynne Lundy)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Me, Interviewed by Jamie Ridler

Go here to listen to a podcast interview of me by the Shiny and Significant Jamie Ridler.

I don't usually like listening to myself, but this time, Jamie made me feel so relaxed that I dared to take a brief listen and ended up sticking around until the end.

Yep, it felt a little strange to be giggling at my own stuff!

The Unexpected Bliss of Yogini & Teacher Ana Brett


This week, my Inner Introvert needs some serious down time and rest, so I have the honor of presenting a series of guest bloggers writing about Unexpected Bliss.

Today, we are lucky enough to have the insights of Yogini and Kundalini Yoga Teacher extraordinaire, Ana Brett, who I interviewed here. (She also graciously responded to a body image discussion we had here.) You can find her website here.

Ana's post is full of wisdom and a mantra teaching at the end that we all could use.

Bliss & Tell

In scanning my memory for a moment of recent unexpected bliss, it occurred to me that what I have been discovering is that bliss is right here, just under the surface, everyday! And it was becoming increasingly easy, after bouts of stress, to tap, or ease back into, that source in a moment's notice!

Not that my life isn't stressful. It's been a roller coaster lately -- three family members suddenly hit with serious illnesses. Because of this, I've had some real lows. Such deep sadness has grounded me in a way in which I'd not been grounded before, although I wasn't sure if I'd ever get my joie de vivre back!

Then, I finally reached a breaking point where I had to surrender to the thought, "Let go and let God." Give up the worry. Accept that life can be both tragic and ecstatic in turn, and painful twists in the road are an inevitable part of the journey.

And then this curious thing happened. I suddenly noticed, after some time had passed, that I felt light again. I started to laugh more. I started to worry less. After having my worst fears realized, I felt a new strength, because I had handled them. I had survived! This new strength made me feel like superwoman! Ready for any crisis that may come my way.

And, because the pain had touched me on such a deep deep level, I had contacted my core Self in a way I hadn't before, and gosh that core me is strong! So, once the wave of craziness receded, I was left with this newly forged connection to a part of me which is an inner strength and guide and whom I know is there as a quiet observer to catch me when things get crazy again.

Acknowledging the beautiful polarities of life one arrives at this equation: The level of pain one goes through exists in direct proportion to the level of bliss waiting to be tapped.

The root cause for unhappiness is not so much what's happening externally. Our own minds obscure our bliss. When I had surrendered in my bout with sadness and grief, and gave myself over to it, my feelings of joy and bliss returned. The Saints and Sages of the ages have given us methods to tap into our bliss and mind our own minds.

Here is a meditation I have been practicing for mental tranquility. It has helped me to remember that pain/pleasure, gain/loss, and even life/death, are part of the same flow. Enlightenment is when we know ourselves to be part of that flow and are able to construct a raft of inner discipline so that we can ride the current and not be pulled under.

This meditation will help you tap into your the ever-present source of bliss inside of you!

Meditation for Mental Tranquility

Even three thousand years ago, people found that tranquility & bliss were elusive propositions. In fact, Buddha's disciples prevailed upon him for a cure for their minds' erratic natures. Buddha taught them this meditation called Man Subhavee Mura Kriya, which means, discipline which is pleasing to the mind.

Your hands are at sternum level, six inches in front of your body, forearms parallel. Your thumbs and middle fingers of each hand are meeting fingerprint to fingerprint. Fold your index fingers in so that they meet each other along their length from the first joint to the knuckle.


Your eyes are 1/10 open looking down and in towards the tip of the nose. Inhale through your nose, hold your breath and repeat Sat Nam (Truth is your Identity) mentally 12 - 15 times. Exhale through your nose, hold the breath out and repeat Sat Nam 12 - 15 times.

Start with 3 min. and build up your time of practice over time. Sit in silence for a few minutes afterward and bask in bliss!

(Photo Credits: Ana Brett)

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Unexpected Bliss of Artist Kelli Bickman


This week, my Inner Introvert needs some serious down time and rest, so I have the honor of presenting a series of guest bloggers writing about Unexpected Bliss.

First up is one of my absolutely favorite artists, Kelli Bickman, who I interviewed here last year. Her website is here.


My primary bliss did not start out as bliss at all.

It was s plate full of terror with a side scoop of anxiety chased down with a cup of salty tears. I found myself 40 years old, pregnant, broke (and in debt) in NYC, and in a relationship full of chaos. It didn't matter that I had studied with spiritual masters all over the world, meditated in remote caves in India, lived in a nunnery with Tibetan Buddhist nuns, and knew myself to be showered with true magic almost every day of my life. I was a wreck. I cried to the moon and back.

How was I going to make this work?

I asked the Universe for guidance and received answers in strange places...overheard conversations on the street, songs on the radio, and random pages in books spoke to me and guided me.

Major adjustments were made and after 14 years of a bohemian artist life, I moved out of my West Village apartment into a well lit loft one hour north of the city. We (my niece and I) now had abundant light, a washer and dryer, closets and SPACE TO BREATHE....modern conveniences! A blessing to no longer live in cramped quarters with a kitchen the size of a linen closet and pipes that clanked so loud in the night you'd think someone was in the basement slamming a jack hammer into them as some kind of heroin junkie joke. I was half-way to bliss and working to get my life together to prepare for the future.

It is said we know not the light unless we move through the darkness. Life is like that. I now know that I am strong, and powerful, and able to reach into my inner core and draw upon resources I never knew existed with fierce determination.

My daughter was born on January 17, 2009. The moment I first laid eyes on this tiny innocent wrinkled pink creature I knew she was the most amazing work of art I have ever created. All of my fear and terror was for naught. No one could have prepared me for the feeling of unconditional love I have experienced since becoming a mother. There is more joy and happiness in my life than I could possibly have ever imagined.

Every day is a new adventure where giggles, hugs, and discoveries abound. Laughter and smiles cover us like a well loved blanket, and I can't even imagine what life was like before having a child.

My daughter has reminded me of so many teachings...to be present and enjoy every moment because those moments go so quickly, that a hug and kiss go a long way toward making things better, that feeling good is feeling god, and that most of the things I thought so important before were all small things.

Now, it is a small thing that is so important to me and her name is Isabella Grace.

(Photo Credit: James McGlaughlin)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

MysticBliss: Wild Woman Marge Champion

This past week at Kripalu, someone brought up Marge Champion. The name meant nothing to me, but it does now. This woman is my new hero, my new model for living.

Marge Champion was married to Gower Champion and they were an important dance team during Hollywood's greatest dancing era, the 1940's and '50's. (You know of my love of the films of Gene Kelly and many others.)

But this is not why she is my new hero.

The comment about her was this: "At the age of 90, Marge Champion is still taking four dance classes a week."

FOUR.

At NINETY.

Suddenly, all my age-related excuses seem rather ridiculous.

Thank God.

Here is a lovely black and white film of Marge and Gower dancing, redone to the Magnetic Fields' song Nothing Matters When We're Dancing (and how true is that!?):


Saturday, October 10, 2009

A Song that Changed Everything

(I am writing this from one of the ickiest places on the planet -- NYC's Port Authority -- so if there are any errors of any kind, please recall my hellish circumstances. I am experiencing a harsh transition from my week.)

So many things happened at Kripalu this past week, but the song I have here for you was integral to the biggest, most transformative, magical moment of all.

We each got to spontaneously create and perform a Dance Prayer, not knowing what music we get.

Well, there was something Divine at work here, because I could not have gotten a better, more powerful, more evocative song if I had spend months looking for it for myself.

And I adore Sinead O'Connor...but had never heard this particular song.

I still am unable to describe what happened and I may never be able to, but take a listen.


Friday, October 9, 2009

The Day Made of Molasses

Molasses is thick and sticky, and today, after so many intense days of hour after hour of dancing and so much to learn and so much emotional content to process, this day (Thursday) felt pretty much like Molasses.

My energy level was low, and my brain felt turned off. I was certainly not alone.

Molasses is sweet and nutritious, and this day was that also.

Friday is our last day of training, and I know it's going to be hard to say good bye to this amazing group of women -- regardless of the fact that most of us will be returning to Kripalu at the beginning of December for part two of YogaDance Teacher Training.

For next week, I have some amazing guest bloggers lined up and ready to share their wisdom with you!

This Chick? She will be sleeping...

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Happy Happy Day!

I am away on a very significant day.

October 8 is the day that Marcy and I celebrate ourselves, and today...

We are 15!

Let me tell you...Marcy deserves all this growth I am getting this week (and over the last year). She is my own personal angel. If not for her...

And It Just Keeps Gettin' Better

You know how nervous I was about this YogaDance teacher training, and I think many of you know me well enough by now to know that I was excited laced with an ample serving of trepidation and topped with a dollop of skepticism.

By Sunday night, though, all of that was just gone, and by Monday, I wouldn't have believed you if you had told me that I had felt all of those things.

Then Tuesday came and Blew. Me. Away.

And I thought to myself, "If that was the pinnacle of this experience, that is just plenty for this Chick. I will go home happy and energized and inspired and ready for more."

And then today happened (Wednesday).

It was such a powerful and transformational day that I'm not ready to write about it for fear that it will come across as pure hyperbole. And it wouldn't be...think Fantastic times about a million.

Not exaggerating. Simply not.

But I need time to process all of this, to really take it in, to really understand it.

My God. What might tomorrow bring!?

Question for you: Have you ever experienced a true epiphany? An instantaneous awakening of any kind?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Crying is So Darn...Predictable

I'm not a crier. When I do cry, I like it to be very, very private, and I like to "get it together" as quickly as I can.

Of course, with Marcy, this is completely different. She is my safety and my support, and she has witnessed more rivers of snot than I would like to remember.

We've had a bit of crying here at the training. To be brutally honest (which I always am)...at first? This totally put me off.

I thought, "Come on...so predictable," followed by a judicious roll of my eyes as I turned away from all that...embarrassing emotion.

Then. (As if you don't know what is coming.)

Far into Monday, there was a moment -- brief because I got it together -- during a relaxation after some intense movement, that there were a few tears. Tears I had no understanding of. It's not like the movement brought back some memory or brought some specific feeling into my body...it was just a few tears, seemingly out of nowhere.

I wrapped my arms around my head, a clear indication to others that I had no interest in being approached or "soothed."

Then a couple of images: me, very small. Short dark hair. A dress from when I was about five. Knee socks. Skipping. Dancing.

Okay. But still, get it together, I commanded, and I obeyed.

"I don't want to be one of them." I told myself.

Then today (Tuesday).

Holy crap.

We had a different teacher, a male, for our afternoon, open-to-the-entirety-of-Kripalu YogaDance hour.

He was powerful and much more toward the dance end of the spectrum.

I was a puddle.

He used some (old) Michael Jackson that made me go into a zone and I was nailing it. Everyone in the room disappeared and it was just me and Michael and movement.

Two women (and another later) -- whom I respect here -- walked up to me and told me some things. Some wonderful, affirming, life-giving, water of life types of things.

Then we went into a standing relaxation and more tears came. I fought them. They kept coming. I was so happy that I couldn't process it fast enough.

I moved to an out of the way space...to get it together, of course.

Regardless of this need of mine to have major boundaries with my emotions, there is something massive shifting in this Chick. Massive.

How about you? Have you ever felt so happy that you bawled uncontrollably? What made that happen?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A Little Different Today Compared to Yesterday

The title of this post is my own personal Understatement of the Year.

Oh, the difference a day makes. Twenty four little hours...

I am sitting in the cafe again, having eaten dinner and waiting for the last teacher training session of the day at 7:30, and there is a pink and orange exploding sky over the mountains of the Berkshires.

My experience here started to change last night when we had our first "intro" session.

I walked into that room and what were they playing but "Everybody Dance Now!" by C & C Music Factory. Only my Favorite College Song Ever!

And proof that at least one of my fears was unwarranted: this would not be a week filled with foo-foo "yoga music" and drumming. Oh, no, these teachers were going to let us ROCK.

The music aside, my introvert buttons were pushed -- hard -- for the first 20 minutes. You know -- saying hello and all that crap. (Giggle)

I have taught enough to know how necessary those beginning exercises are, but I am usually the one inflicting the pain.

But then we started to move. And move I did.

I left that class SHINING. I remembered Why I Was Here. I remembered Who I Really Am.

I am taking good care of my introvert though. I find time to be alone. To do my other thing: write.

After last night, I was 90% sure I would be back for part two in December. After today, I am 110% sure that I will be back -- and more than just December. It leaves me breathless with a chest full of butterflies to think ahead, too, to February and the Spiritual Bellydance training.

Sigh. Sigh of the very best kind.

A follow up question for all of you: When was there a time when you forced yourself to do something, dreaded it, and then ended up loving it, transformed by it?

Monday, October 5, 2009

An Introvert Outside Her Box

This is just a brief post -- and later there will be pictures, I promise -- to let you know that after 18 icky hours on bus after bus after bus, I have landed safely at Kripalu Yoga Center, eager to begin my YogaDance teacher training but feeling icky sticky and quite displaced.

But that's the idea, right? To push myself. To stretch these wings and see how they work in different wind streams.

I have been here, as I write this on Sunday afternoon, for all of one hour and am still awaiting my room and a blessed, blissful shower.

I know I have to breathe through all this initial fear, all this gripping, all this reaction.

It's hard.

I am immediately repulsed by a hundred little things. Looks, words, bits of overheard conversation, the quiet whisper-voice thing that everyone seems to affect.

But I keep reminding myself that much of this is my Introvert, Screaming from the Ache of the New.

I keep reminding myself of what I learned through many difficult deaths and my reemergence from an intellectual atheism: that I really would rather be "with" the "freaks" than with the cynical know-it-alls.

By the time many of you read this, I will be in or done with the first couple of actual sessions. I will have eaten proper meals. I will have slept. I will be clean, for goodness sake.

I am thinking I may have gotten an attitude adjustment by then.

I'll write more at some point tomorrow.

In the meantime, how do you all react to the Drastically New?