Monday, 28 May 2012

In a Zen garden...

... there are 15 rocks, but only 14 can be seen at one time. There is always something hidden, and there are more things in this world than those to be seen with our eyes. The same with our bodies; the hair, skin and flesh we see are the veneer to bones, connective tissue, muscles, tendons. So much beauty inside and out, such perfection of mechanism.

I like this garden, one of my favourites in Kyoto. Such a peaceful afternoon in Ryoan-ji.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

My (imperfect) evolution

We were told (thanks Dorit) at the Intensive White Belt training "Nia is a lifestyle practice, you will incorporate different elements of Nia in your lives, not just the dance and the movement". I don't know how it happened, but a few months ago I stopped drinking cow's milk and eating meat. It just didn't feel right for me, so it wasn't a sacrifice or even a conscious decision.
I've been "threatening" with becoming a vegetarian since I was an angsty teenager. What a wicked thing to say to Spanish parents (think of all that serrano ham and chorizo going to waste); it would have been like becoming a pariah at family reunions. But it never came from the heart, and I kept on eating meat for years. And now, without any fanfare, goodbye meat, hello tofu. I'm still eating fish though, until I organise myself and figure out a diet or eating plan that will give me all the nutrients I need and then will be goodbye fish. But this post isn't about what I do and don't eat, it's about how I felt today when I read a quote from His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. It was as if my heart had expanded in my chest and was filling every single corner with recognition, intention, respect and purpose. The quote was so powerful, the quote was this: My religion is simple. My religion is kindness.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Insa-dong Street, Seoul

Not a hostel for crabs (at least I don't think so). But maybe it's for Cancerians only...

The most eye catching restaurant entrance in Insa-dong, Seoul

I am loving Seoul, I wish I had more free time to explore! On to Japan tomorrow. There has been a lot of self-healing in between meetings, discreetly of course, as it's not good manners to freak out hotel staff by breaking into free dance in the middle of the lounge bar. So looking forward to having a bigger space than my small room, although there are slim chances of that in a Japanese hotel. Just realising how lucky I am at home, with my big living room/kitchen.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

No boiler? No problem!

I'm not going to say that Nia can make your problems magically disappear, but it can certainly put an interesting spin on things.
This morning I found out that my poor boiler had given up the (metallic) ghost and packed up. No boiler means no hot showers and also no clothes being washed properly in hot water. As I am a few days away from a trip to Korea and Japan, this wasn't good news. A few months ago that scenario would have been akin to the end of the world, and while today I can't say I was madly pleased, I took this morning as an opportunity.
This morning was my chance to wash with water boiled in a kettle, to begin my morning movement in a different way, to pay attention to my legs, feet, underarms, face... tweaking my usual manner of washing myself.
And then I thought how wonderful it is to have hot water every morning and how I've always taken it for granted, so I said "thank you" to the boiler gods and started thinking that I may need to go clothes shopping in Japan. 
Oh well, if I must sacrifice myself...

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

After the rain comes sun...

... and after a long day at work, sitting down at my desk, comes my Nia practice. And I can hear my body saying yes, finally, thank you! As my optometrist once (very wisely) said "Our eyes were not made to stare at computer screens all day long, but to look at mountains, trees, and stars"; so our bodies are not for being still, tied down to swivel chairs while the tension accumulates in our shoulders - so high they can almost touch your ears - and our legs are almost forgotten.
My body doesn't need much to be happy, a bit of love for my shoulder blades, my lower back and my neck and I feel so much more energised. I listen to what it has to tell me and what it needs, and then we move together, naturally.
Tomorrow I will start doing the bars for Passion, the Nia routine, after having played the music in the background and free danced stages 1-6 for three weeks. But that's tomorrow, now is time to look at the mountains, trees, and stars.