Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Final Post Here but Not the End

We are at the end of Blisschick, but the beginning of something that I find extremely exciting, Girl on Fire.

Please head on over, and if you like, subscribe.  (The subscribe button can be found at the bottom of the blog page.)  Also, if you like, please share!  Starting over like this is feeling very intimidating, to be honest!

I've written different pages over there about my own story, the concept of the studio, how I think about movement and teaching, and of course, the classes and schedule for my teaching in Erie.

One of the things that has been amazing here at Blisschick has been the quality of my readership. I could count on one hand the amount of times in the 1,089 posts that I got comments that were anything but kind, smart, inquisitive, and engaged.

Thank you!  Now goFind your passion and light up the world!

Monday, September 26, 2011

As Blisschick Comes to an End, True Bliss Blossoms

That little clump of roses is possibly the last of the roses for the year. I went outside yesterday with scissors to cut some flowers to put beside my Our Lady of Guadalupe statue, and I could not bring myself to cut these last few. Everything else was just done, and this made me a bit sad.

"No more flowers for Guady." I said to Marcy as I came inside.

But then, looking toward the park from our kitchen window, even through the window that I can see from here, where I type, I notice hints of red in the leaves of the trees.  A little bright yellow here and there.

I love fall, I remember, and the last of the roses doesn't feel quite so sad. As summer ends, fall begins.

I am going to be launching a new site that is connected to my real-life work more directly. I am excited about this. I have felt...a bit of restriction with blisschick for some time now.

But I am also sad. I have written here for over three years, starting on April 15, 2008 with this post that has within it so much foreshadowing it almost takes my breath away.

I may be announcing the new site as soon as tomorrow, maybe not until Wednesday. Blisschick will stay right here, all the archives accessible, but I will not import it into the new blog.  I want a really fresh, clean slate.

Like the green, muddy earth of Spring.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

"Things change, Kundun..." or How Did All of this Happen in Under Two Years?!

I am writing content for a new site (coming soon!), and I wrote a new "about me" page, in which I told the story of my transformation in the last few years.

Few. Notice I said "few years."

I wrote in my "about me" story that three years ago I was just getting ready to go to Kripalu and change my life forever.

Nope. It was TWO years ago.  Here is one of the pre-Kripalu posts.

On the second day of October, year 2011, I will be teaching my first class in my very own studio space.

On the second day of October, year 2009, I was just getting ready to embark on this amazing journey.

So fast!  Breathlessly fast!

And when I left for Kripalu, I could not have had any freaking idea what lay before me. I thought it might

It turned out to be transformational in so many ways that to describe it just sounds like crazy, over-hyped nonsense.

But it was that big.

So I have to wonder, as I embark on this next leg of this journey, what lies ahead? I cannot, as evidenced by the past two years, have any clue.

Just opening this studio is a dream come true but I know that even more awaits me.

In two measly years, so much as happened.

Let's make a list!

  • I was still having a hard time getting out of bed on most mornings. Anxiety and depression ruled my world.
  • I, in no way, felt fulfilled. I felt stuck. I felt like I would never ever meet any part of my potential as a human being.
  • I felt lucky to have all the love I had in my life, but I was not living in gratitude for it, that's for sure.
  • I mostly felt frightened and superstitious.
  • I thought if I dared to ever want more than comfort and safety, that all I cared about would be taken from me as punishment for my greed.
  • I was drowning in stories of my past.
  • I would get moments of relief, but mostly, I was in emotional and mental pain.
  • I could not see how this was hurting Marcy -- that's how lost I was.
  • I had very few friends and the ones I did have...many of them were toxic or highly needy. You know, people I could "take care of" so that I could feel an ounce of good about myself.
  • I was physically so out of shape and uncomfortable in my body that, for a while, Marcy and I talked about how I would need a CANE soon! YES! A CANE! I had hip issues and was lucky enough to find an amazing PT in Cleveland...but IMAGINE! I thought I needed a cane!!
Well...sadly...that list could go on and on, but so could this one:

Post-Kriaplu and Presently:
  • If I ever have a hard time getting out of bed in the morning, it's because I AM SLEEPY! From being so ACTIVE and ENGAGED in my life!
  • I feel constantly and wonderfully challenged. I feel that I am able to experiment and push myself and experience the edges of my potential as I push them further and further.
  • I have so much love in my life and now the people whom I love ALSO feel loved and seen and taken care of.
  • I mostly feel interested, intrigued, awe-struck, and faithful.  Those are my predominant states of mind.
  • Now I see fear and anxiety as something to walk through.  As an invitation to learn more about myself and NEVER as something to STOP me.
  • I am no longer mired in my old stories but making new ones every day.
  • My brain is a tool. It is healing. It no longer works against me.
  • Marcy is now able to be more HERSELF, since I am not sucking all our energy.
  • I am surrounded by so many friends! This is a HUGE MIRACLE. I HAVE FRIENDS! And they are interesting, engaged, open, loving humans! We have an amazing community.
  • I am stronger, more graceful, more balanced, more creative in this body than I even was at 16.
Two years.

"Things change, Kundun," his teacher tells him in the movie. And then, he snaps his fingers.  Things change and they change fast.

If we are open to the possibility and willing to do our part.

I have been scared shitless through most of this, but I did it anyway.

So can you.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A Peek at the Process

A tiny step that feels significant...I thought you would like to see these!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Rewriting the First Noble Truth to be the First TOTALLY AWESOME Truth

I just wrote about how I almost killed all the new awesome in my life with anxiety, and I have been trying to pay closer attention to my approach to the current challenges of starting a small business since I discovered that basically I was approaching it via FREAKING OUT.

Part of how I got myself into a more grateful approach to my challenges was by filling my brain with the work of people who focus on that, like this guy and this guy in particular.

I have said it in the past and I will probably say it again a million times to myself and to you: I would rather be happy with the freaks than sad with the cynics (who mistake themselves for the intellectuals).

One of the things that has come up for me is the Buddha's First Noble Truth, translated in a couple of ways, including "Life is suffering" or the softer, lighter attempt, "Suffering exists."

Well, no shit, Sherlock.

I realized, when thinking this through, that using the First Noble Truth as a foundational belief is really getting us nowhere.  Or at least, a lot of us.

It can easily be used as an excuse for staying stuck. (Notice I did not say, "It is ALWAYS used as an excuse for staying stuck.")

I know too many people who have crap happen, and they throw up their shoulders and say, "Well...Life IS suffering after all.."



Let's think this through.

If your foundational belief is "suffering exists," (which is really like a no-brainer), what does this do to your outlook?  What does it do to your approach?  Do you then tend to see more suffering because you expect it?  Do you hold onto suffering like a badge?  Do you become "too comfortable" with your suffering?

I certainly was approaching a lot of good in my life expecting eventual suffering.

I could barely be happy about having my own studio, for goodness sake, waiting for a shoe or a hundred to drop.

I wonder what "suffering exists" as a continual mantra does to our hearts?  What does it do to our willpower?

I have decided not to say that anymore.

First of all, I do not agree with it in a fundamental way.

I think life is beauty, truth, love, joy.   I think shit happens -- some really difficult shit -- but I also believe our Joy is so big that we are quite capable of finding good even on our worst days.

For the most part, we wouldn't survive if shit happening were the day-to-day norm.  We wouldn't even want to get up in the morning, much less feed ourselves or...breathe.

Second, I also believe that, in large part, you get what you expect.

So it seems uber-important to make sure our internal mantras are in alignment with what we want from life.

So let's rewrite the First Noble Truth, shall we?

The First TOTALLY AWESOME Truth:  Life is Joy. Joy exists.

Repeat that over and over and see how you feel at the end of the day.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

How I Almost Killed Awesome with Anxiety

I was invited to teach at a wellness event in wine country!

If you've been reading here over the last few weeks, there is a lot of AWESOME happening in my life right now.

In person, though, you wouldn't know it to be around me.

Until yesterday when I finally noticed what the heck was going on and put a quick stop to it and made an about face in my approach and attitude.

I realized this thing I was doing and I think it's rather Big and that a lot of us tend to do it:

I was using Big Happy as something to be anxious about rather than something to feel grateful for.

Yep, instead of walking around grinning like an idiot about this amazing thing that has somehow kinda just happened to me, I was walking around with a frown and a forehead crease, picking at my cuticles like I was digging for gold.

This approach, of course, has to do with fear.

I fear that this will not last.

I fear that something will go wrong.

I fear that I will fail.

I fear, I fear, you fear, we all fear...

Those fears are about control and the illusion that we have any.

Here's the thing: I left a situation a short while ago that was not working out for me.  I took a risk. I could have stayed, but it was bad for me physically and it was hurting my students.  I left.  I didn't want to.  Staying would have been easier and it came with a certain level of...certainty.

Within days, though, of showing even a small amount of belief in the work I do, someone was already thinking of me and how much my work would be perfect in this space we are going to move into on October 1st, the Girl on Fire Movement Studio that is currently being birthed on paper.

Did you notice something there?

I barely had anything to do with the Awesome that happened.  I put out some serious intention, took a really simple risk, said Yes to the Universe in a rather whisper-y, wimpy way.

And then...AHHHH!!!! ((cue the angel songs and the bright lights))

The studio was pretty much dropped in my lap.

Not "pretty much."

The studio was totally dropped in my lap.

What did I do about this?

I started gripping, that's what I did.  I started believing I had the Control and the Power.


This studio is happening and it feels like it's happening without me because it is.

It wants to be born.  Like a human baby, it's coming whether I think I'm ready or not.

I can freak out (which is the approach I have chosen thus far) or I can enjoy the miracle of this unfolding.

I can just say "YES!"

I can...wait for it...because it is, like, totally revolutionary...

I can opt to just. have. fun.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A Tiny Glimpse at Kundalini Yoga

Intro to Short Spinal Series/Kundalini from Christine Claire Reed on Vimeo.

Ta-Da!  A tiny, one-take video of me and three of my committed students practicing a short spinal series plus a little extra something that I would normally do later in the class.

Even when I am teaching something like the new meditative ballet fusion class that I have created, I always start with Kundalini yoga inspired spinal movement.  It strengthens the core, creates fluidity in the spine, and is just generally a great warm up for any movement to follow.

I highly recommend this as a quick warm-up series before hatha yoga classes.


(OH! If you love the music that is in the background, it's by the amazingly brilliant avant-garde cellist, Zoe Keating. Buy her stuff!)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Door Number One

That is the door to the steps that lead up to my new studio.  We still have a couple of weeks before we can get in there and get to work, but there is plenty to do in the meantime.

The first time I walked through this door, I had no idea what lay beyond. I had no idea that the space I had dreamed up in my head was through a door in the side of a graffiti-ed building.  I had no idea that my ideal studio would be above a tattoo place.

If I had allowed preconceived notions and fears to guide me, I don't know if I would have even opened this door.

What door in your life do you need to open and walk through?

For what reason are you hesitating?  What fear keeps you waiting for what looks like the perfect door?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

One Thing Leads to Another

Steps up to the studio/Graffiti will stay!

I am very uncomfortable right now.

Yesterday, we got some things from a helpful and generous friend for the studio. We loaded up the car and headed home, where I proceeded to lift something quite heavy.

I am strong, for sure, but that does not mean I am built for heavy lifting (yes, I do it "correctly"). Also, as Marcy is constantly reminding me, I make my art and my livelihood with this body; it is my instrument and I must take better care.

I torqued my lower back a bit. I am okay; it will be fine. I am sore today but this is not the discomfort of which I am really speaking.

My lower makes sense.  This is the first chakra area, and I am certainly feeling unstable, uncertain, wobbly, out of control.

Out of control.  That is the big one.  As if we ever are in control...

It seems as though I take one Big Step and then I am asked to take ten more.

My voice that likes to yell, "Stay small! It's safe!" is at it again.  It is whining up a Whiny Storm of grand proportions.

And in all of this, I sit and wait, knowing it will pass, but in the meantime, I am so damn uncomfortable.  I want to scream, "STOP!" and listen to the Whiny Chorus and do as they say.

I keep getting back to, "Isn't it Big Enough to open a studio, to have a space, but now I have to open my mind to Ideas about the space that are different and much bigger and more challenging!?"


I do.


But yes is my word.

Damn it.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Wine, Chat, & (Paint) Chips: The Next Step in Building a Studio

This Friday, we are having some of my movement students over for a brainstorming party. There will be wine and snick-snacks and lots of giggling and chatting.

This studio is happening because of a bunch of women who are committed to the practices and who are courageous.  If not for them, I would not be living this life.  The studio is really theirs, and I want them to feel like that from the first moments.

One of the very fun things we will do is have them mark the backs of paint chips, and above you can see the color palette we will be working with.

The peacock range is for the main teaching/moving room and the pink range is for the tea and chatting room.

Yes! You heard that right!

There will be an actual separate room for sitting around and talking after class. I am so excited for this. I am so very excited to think we are not just building a studio but a special place for connecting and bonding on a much deeper level.

Monday, September 5, 2011

And So It Begins

It is blurry but I think you can see my excitement. (And it's blurry due to my wiggle-osity not Marcy's photo taking techniques.)

I am sitting in the stairwell that leads up to my new studio.

My. New. Studio.

That graffiti behind me is staying, because I like how wacky and unexpected it is. Also, the artists who did the graffiti in the stairwell are considered to be quite awesome and I respect their art enough not to mess with it.

And so it begins.

At this point, I am making lists lists lists of ideas and strategies. I have been contacted by a few women who, I think, will make great partners in this endeavor, who bring interesting and different.

My studio, you see, is not a yoga studio but a movement studio.  The differentiation is important to me, because I think "yoga studio" brings all sorts of assumptions and expectations with it.  There may be some yoga here but it will only be a fraction of the offerings.

Girl on Fire Movement Studio is a women's space for "passionate play and fearless fitness."

Here we go!

Friday, September 2, 2011


Toby likes new kitten Rumi just a little

At 7 this evening, I go to sign my lease for my new studio. I am feeling so very nervous.

The story making, anxiety ridden part of my brain keeps trying to convince me that somehow this is all going to fall through, that it is most certainly not meant for me to be this happy, this lucky, this fulfilled.

So today is about a morning full of teaching and then hours of petting cats to soothe my inner negative beasties.

If you are feeling at all nervous or anxious today, I thought a kitten photo would help.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

A Week of Firsts, Fears, & Freaking Fun

If it weren't for the fact that a lot of the "firsts" of this week had to do with relaxation, I would be one overwrought, freaking-out introvert!

Somehow...this week fell into place in the weirdest way.

I visited my dear friend, as I already wrote about, and she, unbeknownst to me, scheduled us for pedicures. Which I have never had. (And those are my tootsies up there enjoying the warm soak.)

I can get pretty freaked out about people...touching me so this was one for pushing buttons and boundaries (more to come of those!), and yet I am at a place in my life where I know that boundary pushing is not only good for me but tends to turn out Great!

Which this did. It was amazing. I wanted everyone to just shut up and not speak, because my feet were in HEAVEN and they wanted the rest of me to join them. Wow. This seems like such a super awesome bit of self-care for a dancer or movement educator since we ask so much of our feet.

Then I got home and the very next day, I had a full body, real-deal massage. Again, TOUCHING!  ((startled face inserted here))

And it, too, was amazing, and I am so thankful that I now see Fear as a Guide so that I know when Fear rears its ugly head, I should either talk to it or chop it off. Either way, I should not ignore it or run the other way.

I then had a meeting with two wonderful women that pertains to my new studio space coming in October, and THAT went so well.  I felt super BIG. Like a total adult in ways I have never felt.

Continuing with the TOUCHING theme...yesterday, I experienced Thai Yoga, which is, I think, quite possibly my new FAVE.  (If you live in Erie, I highly recommend these women and they are running a special right now.)

And now...DRUM ROLL...the biggest FIRST of all...

Tomorrow evening, I go to sign my lease for my studio space. I could VOMIT. Really. I am this sickening awesome mix of totally fearful and completely excited.

Wanting to vomit with fear and excitement!? I think that means I am on the right path!