Tuesday, 25 September 2012

What I want

I want my own will, and I want simply to be with my will,
as it goes toward action;
and in those quiet, sometimes hardly moving times,
when something is coming near,
I want to be with those who know secret things
or else alone.
I want to be a mirror for your whole body,
and I never want to be blind, or to be too old
to hold up your heavy and swaying picture.
I want to unfold.
I don't want to stay folded anywhere,
because where I am folded, there I am a lie.

R.M. Rilke

Monday, 17 September 2012

Finding the sacred

When I get tired, cloudy in my head and heavy in my body, I go back to my basics: gentle movement, and going into nature to watch it doing its thing, in its own natural time.
Apples will fall when ready, bees will pollinate when ready, blooms will hold all their colourful beauty until ready to rest.

This is one of my recipes to regain balance, something simple to do that I hold so dear. Get out, under the clement late summer sun or the cold overcast skies, whatever the weather get out and observe. I believe in nature, the seasons, everything having its time and place.  And if there is the chance to stroke a cat...

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Late summer's gift

Walking through the nature reserve after Nia, taking in all this wonder

Friday, 7 September 2012


Dancing though Life, Living Meditation and Life as Art are the triad of principle 5 of Nia, Awareness.
Do you think it sounds abstract, or airy-fairy, or hippy-dippy? Ok, this is how I exercised Awareness today:
As I walking from the train station back home today, I noticed how wonderful it was to feel the sun on the top of my head and back of my neck. For a moment I was intensely aware of my head being able to move thanks to my neck and spine, and I started just saying yes with my head as I walked in rhythm with my footsteps. Then I realised I was walking like an elephant, planting the whole sole of my foot instead of doing the gentler "heel lead" tai chi technique, so I changed from baby elephant ( they are cute, nothing against them) to graceful gazelle (in my mind, at least) and walking became so enjoyable. The sun, my head and neck, my stride, all of these together in my mind, I looked up and to one side and I saw these pretty wallflowers, their lovely blue colour going so well together with the green of their leaves.
There is beauty, there is pleasure, and awareness will bring them to you on a silver tray, you just need to be ready to accept them.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Anytime, anywhere - always with intention

I mentioned in a previous post that I was in Beijing for work (and that it was a bit of an adventure getting there), what I didn't talk about where the long days, the air pollution getting to my chest, the many hours sitting down in the same position taking appointment after appointment.
As a Nia dancer, didn't I have the means to heal myself? I only needed some space and music, both of which I did have.
But it wouldn't have been right to take care of just myself, so I told other ladies that were attending the same event about Nia, and they were curious to know more. One morning, I held and mini Nia class; we only danced to 4 tracks but I made sure to include a warm-up and a cool-down.

The next day we were far too busy socialising in the evening but the day after that, I gave another class in my room, this time longer, moving the furniture around to accommodate more people.
It was such a lovely experience, and we all got so much out of it that I was asked to give a class next year, during the same event, but using the hotel's gym so as many people as possible could benefit.
The body wants what it wants; to be healthy, comfortable, loose, and safe, and after a hard day's work, even as we think we are so tired that we can't face moving a finger, there is nothing like dancing to great music doing some self-healing.
No strain, no pain, but all the gain a body that is taken care of can get.

Monday, 3 September 2012

A change of attitude

I stress when I travel by plane, there I am no different from so many other people. Especially I worry when I am travelling for work and there are connecting flights and long hours ahead. This time it was a connecting flight from Amsterdam to Beijing that I missed, courtesy of bad weather at Heathrow that had us waiting on the runway for over an hour.

Last year that would have been a tragedy; I had a taxi waiting for me at Beijing airport, colleagues expecting me, appointments for which I was going to be late... but this year I made it into an opportunity. From the moment I knew I wasn't going to make that plane, I let all anxiety and worry come to the surface and then disappear by acknowledging that there was nothing I could do about it. It was like throwing my hands up in the air (Spanish style) and saying "ok life, do your worst, because I am going with the flow here".
And this is the result, the next morning (KLM put me in a hotel and gave me dinner and breakfast, I love that airline) I went into Amsterdam for a lovely and colourful stroll. A slow and quiet Sunday morning, all for me like a present ready to be opened. And a coffee and a brownie at the cutest café.

All the pretty buttons

Tiny restaurant in the basement

Massage therapy studio in heavenly corner

The Barber of Amsterdam!  I took it for you, you know

So let go, I say. Whenever you think the worst is coming, try and turn it around by looking into the possibility. And I eventually made it to Beijing.