Through Movement We Find Health

Everything Is Music

November 13th, 2014 · 2 Comments

Rumi says, “We have fallen into the place where everything is music.”

Pipe Organ - San Giovanni, LateranoEach organ in the human body plays its own unique music:

Heart beat rhythm, flute of bone, wind pipes of lungs and larynx, syncopation of joints, harp strings of tendon.

In Sanskrit, Nada Brahma means “the universe is made of sound.”

In physics, sound is vibration that moves through a medium creating pressure waves.  In physiology, sound is the body and the brain receiving and perceiving  those waves.

Have you ever perceived the sound of a drum or bass guitar inside your bones?  Bone is physiologically designed to respond to vibration, both the vibration of sound and the vibration of movement.

Have you ever felt, as Thoreau says:

“If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.”

Today our Nia class focus – drawn from the basket of cards we created on New Year’s Eve – was “Move with the Music.”  Our intent was “Balance.”

Whether you aGlowing Heartre moving to a different drummer, moving to the rhythm of your own great heart beating inside your chest, moving in harmony – or in dissonance – with the sounds around you, or, as we all are, moving to the great sound of the Holy singing its own name, the invitation is to move with.

To balance inner and outer, to balance left and right brain, to balance small self and big Self, add your voice, your unique sound, to the sound of the world.

Then, we can remember we already live in the place Rumi talks about:

Where Everything is Music
by Jelaluddin Rumi
translated by Coleman Barks

Don’t worry about saving these songs!
And if one of our instruments breaks,
it doesn’t matter.

We have fallen into the place
where everything is music.

The strumming and the flute notes
rise into the atmosphere,
and even if the whole world’s harp
should burn up, there will still be
hidden instruments playing.

So the candle flickers and goes out.
We have a piece of flint, and a spark.

This singing art is sea foam.
The graceful movements come from a pearl
somewhere on the ocean floor.

Poems reach up like spindrift and the edge
of driftwood along the beach, wanting!

They derive
from a slow and powerful root
that we can’t see.

Stop the words now.
Open the window in the center of your chest,
and let the spirits fly in and out.

 And, lastly, from that great peacemaking bard of the 20th century:

YouTube Preview Image YouTube Preview Image

→ 2 Comments Tags: Dancing Through Life · Great Music · Nia Class Focus · Ongoing Nia Classes · Poem of the Week · Uncategorized

Nia’s Energy Personalities

October 22nd, 2014 · No Comments

SelfHealingOne of the best things for me about Nia is that it’s not only a great fitness practice – but a great energy practice as well.

The sophisticated energetics of Nia are what made it possible for me to do Nia when I was totally disabled in my thirties by asthma – and to heal my body as a result.

Nine archetypal energy personalities comprise the neuroanatomy of the Nia Technique.

What Are Nia’s Energy Personalities?

Nia’s energy personalities are the essence of each one of Nia’s nine movement forms – from dance, martial arts and healing arts.

When Nia creators Debbie Rosas and Carlos AyaRosas were exploring how to move without hurting themselves, destiny led them to study these nine forms, which cooked all together inside their bodies to be born as Nia.

Sun Kick

 

 

 

 

 

 

Martial Arts
All martial arts arise from human beings observing the natural world over millions of years.  Every martial art is based in how a specific animal, plant, wind, water, or stone moves.

The martial arts teach you the energy intelligence of the natural world and the ability to sense in your body what is “just enough.”

Tai Chi brings you the energy intelligence of water, earth and wind, and teaches you to be centered and grounded in your body and your life.

Tae Kwon Do channels the energy intelligence of ferocity and so you can empower your voice with both “Yes!” and “No!”

Aikido offers you the energy intelligence of making peace with all things.

Maureen TJOM NGT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dance Arts
Dance arts invite you to express your individuality – through your unique body, mind emotions and spirit.  Dance has been part of ceremony, ritual, courtship and celebration since the earliest human, animal and plant cultures.

Jazz Dance kindles the energy intelligence of the uninhibited, sensual and fun.

Modern Dance imparts the energy of introspection, form and freedom.

Duncan Dance – from the lineage of Isadora Duncan – invites you into the energy of your authentic spirit, so you can soar freely through all dimensions.

Hand

 

 

 

 

 

 

Healing Arts
Nia as a self-healing practice provides space for us to regenerate and repair our bodies and our lives.  The healing arts are at the root of all dance and martial arts.

The Work of Moshe Feldenkrais educates you in the neurological intelligence of comfort as a strength.

Alexander Technique provides the energy intelligence of being aligned and balanced between heaven and Earth.

Yoga teaches you the energy intelligence of conscious alignment of bones and joints.

As applied energetics teacher Paul Richards says, “Energy follows the physical.”  In other words, whatever I do with my physical body, my energy body does the same thing.

The 13 White Belt principles comprise the anatomy of the Nia Technique.  Nia’s nine movement forms make up Nia’s neuroanatomy.

neuroplasticityThe extraordinary diversity the nine movement forms bring ensures my physical, mental emotional spiritual and energy bodies all receive the variety of movement nutrition needed for good health and well-being.

As Nia founder Debbie Rosas says, “The brain loves variety!”

Nia’s movement forms stimulate the brain in unpredictable and complex ways.  This is exactly the nutrition the brain needs to stay vital and healthy, stimulating the brain to create new pathways (neuroplasticity) and new brain cells (neurogenesis).

Come enjoy Nia’s nine movement energies in a Nia class, A Taste of the Nia White Belt workshop, or the Nia White Belt.

 

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Great Music: All Bolad’s Kitchen, All The Time

April 27th, 2013 · 2 Comments

I’ve just returned from my semi-annual pilgrimage to New Mexico where my husband and I study with our teacher, Martín Prechtel, at his amazing school, Bolad’s Kitchen.

Every morning we listened to fantastic music from all over the world – from Finland to Sudan to Uzbekistan.

In honor of the great, beating, courageous hearts of all peoples, all plants, all animals, all rocks, winds, soils and waters, we’ve been dancing all week to this playlist – hot off the press from Bolad’s Kitchen.

On the plane back home, I went through all my new CDs and measured the tempo – or what in Nia we call the 8BC time – for each song.  Then I plugged those songs into choreography from an existing Nia routine, Opal, and voilà!  A new routine is born.

Here’s the rockin’ play list:

  1. Koro Koni by Rail Band  – Album:  Belle Epoque Vol. 2: Mansa 
  2. Diby by Rail Band  – Album: Belle Epoque Vol. 3: Dioba 
  3. Biriya by Mory Kanté – Album: Sabou 
  4. Chatma by Tinariwen – Album: Amassakoul
  5. Konowale by Rail Band  – Album: Belle Epoque 2: Mansa
  6. Madan by Salif Keita – Album: Moffou
  7. Im Nin’alu by Eliyahu Sills and Qadim – Album: Eastern Wind
  8. Adolat Tanovari  by Sevara Nazarkhan – Album: Yol Bolsin 
  9. Soixante Trois by Tinariwen – Album: Aman Iman: Water Is Life
  10. Assoul by Tinariwen  – Album: Amassakoul

 

Rail BandRail Band built its fame upon the mid-20th century craze for Latin and Cuban jazz which came out of Congo in the 1940s.  Their amaing sound stems from the Mande Griot praise singer tradition, Bambara and other Malian and Guinean musical traditions that, as distinct castes, were not allowed to play music together. At their height of fame in the 1970s, the Rail Band played to sold out venues across West Africa, and launched solo careers for many of its members, including the legendary vocalists Salif Keita and Mory Kanté.

Listen to Rail Band play Konowale here.

salif-keitaSalif Keita is an afro-pop singer-songwriter from Mali. He’s known as the “Golden Voice of Africa,” has albinism and is a direct descendant of the founder of the Mali Empire, Sundiata Keita. His royal heritage means that under the caste system, he should never have become a singer, which was deemed to be a griot’s (bard’s) role. Fortunately  for us, Salif’s vision and destiny was otherwise.

Listen to Salif Keita sing Madan here.

Mory Kante 003 (c) Marc Ribes

Mory Kanté is a vocalist and player of the kora harp, born in Kissidougou into one of Guinea’s best known families of hereditary griot oral tradition storytellers and musicians. He was sent to Mali at the age of seven – where he learned to play the kora, as well as important voice traditions necessary to become a griot.

Listen to a medley of songs and as well as an interview en français with Mory Kanté here.

TinariwenTinariwen, meaning “deserts,” is a band of Tuareg Nomads from the Sahara Desert region of northern Mali who fell in love with the electric guitar.  The roots of the guitar, the banjo and the blues are in back-and-forth slave trade between Africa and the Americas. The band was formed in 1979 in Tamanrasset, Algeria, but returned to Mali after a cease-fire in the 1990s.  Ashland has been blessed with several Tinariwen concerts over the years.

Listen to Tinariwen play Assoul here.

QadimThe Qadim Ensemble plays sacred and folkloric music of the Near East.  Qadim is a word found in both Arabic and Hebrew meaning “ancient” as well as “that which will come.”  Their repertoire includes Arabic, Jewish, Turkish Sufi, Hebrew-Yemenite, Armenian, Greek, Ladino and Moroccan music, celebrating common musical and spiritual heritage while honoring great diversity.  We’ve been honored to have Qadim play here in Ashland at Havurah Shir Hadash.

Listen to Qadim play Im Nin’alu here.

sevara_nazarkhanSevara Nazarkhan from Uzbekistan plays the dotar – a two-stringed, Central Asian lute that is plucked not strummed. Nomadically, dotar strings were made from animal intestines. As the Silk Route became established and the dried fruits and animal skins that Marco Polo carried were traded for gems and Chinese porcelain, the strings were woven from silk.

Listen to Sevara’s beautiful song, Adolat Tanovari (Song of Adolat) here.

→ 2 Comments Tags: Great Music · Ongoing Nia Classes

Awareness of Ankles

February 14th, 2013 · No Comments

Etymology

The word “ankle” means “angle,” coming from proto-IndoEuropean meaning “to bend,” thus describing both the form and the function of this body part.

Ankle drawing

 

 

 

 

 

Connections

The ankle connects your foot to your shin.  All joints are connectors.  Joints connect two or more bones with each other.  Your ankle’s purpose is to join the horizontal energy of the foot on the earth with the vertical heavenly energy of your shin.

Sacred Space

Like every joint, the ankle joint is a space – the space between two or more bones.  Joint space is sacred space.  In Nia, sacred means “dedicated and devoted uniquely to a specific purpose, person or thing.”  In this case, the ankle is dedicated to providing your body with three things:  stability, mobility and balance.

SacredSpace

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stability and Mobility

The Body’s Way demands simultaneous mobility and stability and your ankles give you exactly that!

Your ankles provide stability to your whole body.  Somehow, the long, vertical person that you are does not topple over on your two itty-bitty feet.  We have our ankles to thank for that.

Your ankle also gives you mobility to run, walk, dance, skip and walk on tippy-toes.  But without the ankle’s stability working in tandem with mobility, we’d fall over when we do those very things.

KidsFeet

 

 

 

 

 

 

Balance and Your Ankles

Along with your eyes and your inner ear, your ankle forms one third of your body’s neurological balance mechanism.

Your ankle has specialized nerve cells called proprioceptors – that means “self-perception.”   Proprioceptors give you the ability to sense your body position in space.

Try balancing on one foot.  Notice how your ankle wiggles around.  You don’t have to think about making these movements.  This is just what your ankle does to keep you balanced.

When people sprain an ankle, they often resprain the same ankle again.  That’s because the injured ankle proprioceptors aren’t communicating clearly with the brain.

But it’s easy to retrain your ankle proprioceptors!  Once the sprain is healed enough that you can stand without pain, balance on the injured foot.  Hold on to something at first.  Gradually, it’ll get easier.  Once you can balance for 60 seconds without holding on, your balance is normal.

One foot in water

→ No Comments Tags: Etymology · Form and Freedom · The Body's Way · Through Movement We Find Health

Connection

February 10th, 2013 · 2 Comments

The focus of today’s Nia class was Connection.

The intent:  Consciously Embodying the Mystery.

They were chosen by the delightful seven-year old Aurora from the basket of cards we created New Year’s Day.

The etymology of “connection” is from com- “together” + nectere “to bind, tie, ” as in nexus, net, knot and node.

fishing-net

 

 

 

 

 

 

What makes a net powerful is not just the knots, but the spaces between the knots.  Indeed what makes a knot powerful are the spaces between the cords and fibers.

Kahil Gibran said:  “Let there be spaces in your togetherness, and let the winds of the heavens dance between you.”

Loose CT

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the human body it is equally the spaces in the connective tissue and its gluey, fastening properties that give our bodies their shape and their flexibility.

Our joints are spaces between bones – nodes where bones are knotted together by the connective tissue we call ligament and tendon.

As with bodies, so with hearts and minds.  Without the knot, space is formless.  Without space, the knot becomes rigid.  They need each other.  Like yin and yang, the capacity of the one resides in the belly of the other.

Some say the connective tissue web of the Universe is the dream of the great god, Indra.  At every knot is tied a pearl reflecting the light of every other pearl and reflecting the stunning mutuality of all things across time, space and consciousness.

Spider Web with Drops

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seek the sensation of connection in your body and your life – connecting with space, and connecting by joining with what you love.

→ 2 Comments Tags: Etymology · Nia Class Focus · Ongoing Nia Classes

Oasis

April 30th, 2011 · 3 Comments

As part of my Nia Next Generation Trainer (NGT) training, I have an assignment to adapt the choreography of an existing Nia routine to new music.  I chose the routine Canta, by Nia co-founder Carlos AyaRosas.  You can listen to the original music of Canta here.

My adapted Canta routine is called Oasis.  Oasis because by traveling on the musics of Earth-based cultures from around the world, no matter where we are from, no matter where we are in any moment, our nomadic hearts can rest, dance, and receive nourishment from the old-style songs and stories that inspired and buoyed our ancestors to keep going in order to bring us to this very moment, this very spot where we can be at home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Oasis” from the Greek through the Arabic, is originally from the Afroasiatic Hamitic language group.  It means “dwelling place.”  My hope is that through the oasis of Nia we can each be at home, dwelling in the oasis of our bodies on the Earth on the Island of Now in the Ocean of all Time.

The music for Oasis was inspired by my teacher, Martín Prechtel, who uses music from all over the world to teach what the modern ear may have temporarily forgotten but the body remembers at his school Bolad’s Kitchen.

Here is the playlist for Oasis:

OASIS
A Nia Routine by Rachael R. Resch and Carlos AyaRosas

1.  Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World
by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole from Hawaii.  Album:  Facing Future

2.  Pè Bawon
by Ti-Coca & Wanga-Nègès from Haiti.  Album:  Haiti Colibri

3.  Chaos Of Paradise
by Axiom Of Choice from Persia.  Album:  Niya Yesh

4.  Zayy El Nhardah (The Canal Song)
by El Tanbura from Egypt.  Album:  Between The Desert And The Sea

5.  Contact
by Edwin Starr from the United States.  Album:  The Best Of Edwin Starr

6.  Sar A Lay
by El Tanbura from Egypt.  Album:  Between The Desert And The Sea

7.  Msho Geghen
by Eliyahu Sills/Qadim.  Song form Armenia.  Album:  Eastern Wind

8.  Inana Raya Thauba
by Jahanara Laura Mangus.  Song from Israel.  Album:  Aramaic Sound Pilgrimage

9.  Don’t Ask Me
by Djivan Gasparyan from Armenia.  Album:  The Art of the Armenian Duduk

Here’s a great video of the Egyptian band, El Tanbura (although it’s not one of the songs from Oasis.)

YouTube Preview Image

 

Many thanks to Nia student Shelley Hovelman for coming up with the name Oasis.

→ 3 Comments Tags: Ongoing Nia Classes · The Road to Becoming A Nia Trainer

Becoming A Sensation Scientist: Awareness of Breath

March 20th, 2011 · 4 Comments

My journey of remembering that I am a sensation scientist began in the spring of 1995, when, by chance, I walked into my first Nia class in a fitness club in Portland, Oregon, and my life changed forever.

At the time, I was totally disabled by asthma.  I was a physical therapist but unable to work.  I was a dancer, but unable to cross the room to answer the phone.  With the highest doses of medications, including prednisone, I could barely breathe.

But after two years of Nia, my breathing improved 50%.  After seven years, I was off all asthma medications.  Today my respiratory function is 130% of normal.

Nia gave me the medicine I needed — the medicine of awareness, allowing me to discover my body’s way to heal.  But asthma is the sensation of suffocation, the last sensation I wanted to be aware of.

I needed more than awareness.  I needed the incentive to become aware and stay aware.  Nia provided that, too, through the medicine of the joy of movement.  Even when I was wheezing, the joy of movement and all around me during a Nia class was my reward, giving me an immediate return on the awareness I was investing in my breath and in my body.

Over a two-year period I conducted rigorous, trial and error experiments as a sensation scientist in the sacred laboratory of my body.

I am a Sensation Scientist

My principle finding was this:  There is a specific sensation in the lungs just prior to an asthma attack.  Like an aura before a seizure or migraine, but extremely subtle, this faint sensory precursor can be used as a signal to immediately stop or reduce movement intensity and thus avoid an asthma attack.  This reduces the inflammation in the lungs and generates the anti-inflammatory effects of exercise.  In this way I was able to sustain and gradually increase my tolerance to exercise and strengthen my lungs.

Secondly, I determined micro-movement was the best way for me to exercise.  I could maintain easy, comfortable breathing without aggravating my asthma.  Micro-movement also reduced sensory input to my nervous system, so I could put more awareness on the subtle sensations of my breath.

Finally, my breath also benefited from Nia’s emotional expressiveness.  Intuitively, I knew inflammation in my lungs was unexpressed anger and unexpressed tears.  Pleura, the membranes around the lungs, means “to weep.”  But ironically, I couldn’t weep or yell without provoking asthma.  The dance and martial arts that comprise Nia provided a safe, gradual way to move my emotional body.

Every two seconds, the breath is a teacher and an indicator of the health and wellness of the body, the mind, the emotions and the spirit.  In Chinese medicine, the lungs are associated with both grief and with joy.  I believe the joy of movement, the foundation of Nia, is essential medicine for everybody to experience the full vitality of the breath.

Feather in Sky

Here are my tips for becoming body literate by reading the voice of the body as breath:

(1)     First, simply notice your breath.  Notice your inhale.  Notice your exhale.  Notice if your belly is expanding when you breathe in, and relaxing when you breathe out.  After a while, notice the pause at the end of your exhale, before your inhale happens.  Just notice.  In this pause, the homeostasis of the whole body resets itself.

(2)     Understand that the rate, length and quality of your breath varies from moment to moment, and has a unique optimal pattern for every situation.  What is your breath telling you about the moment?  Are you energized, anxious, excited, tired, inspired, relaxed, hurried, grounded, timid or confident?

(3)     Respond.  Often, we can exhale longer.  We can sigh.  Often, the belly can gently expand more when we inhale.  In our high-speed world, we need the relaxation to the central nervous system provided by a softly breathing belly, a longer exhale and a pause before the next breath.



→ 4 Comments Tags: Essays on Self-Healing · Lungs · The Body's Way · Through Movement We Find Health

Thank You Portland For Making Me Who I Am Today

January 14th, 2011 · 11 Comments

This morning I flew up to Portland from my home in Ashland, nestled in the Klamath-Siskiyou mountains of southern Oregon.  Every where I look I am reminded of the story of my life, interwoven in these streets, layered in space and time and memory.  I lived and loved in Portland for eighteen years, after growing up in Brooklyn and going to college in Ohio, before I moved to Ashland in 1999.

On the cab ride into town from the airport, we pass Providence Hospital, where I taught my first regular movement classes as part of a dynamic physical therapy and endocrinology team.

As we cross the Willamette river I see an old stern wheeler, reminding me of my cotton-peddling ancestors who lived on the Mississippi at the turn of the nineteenth century.

From my hotel room on the fourteenth floor I can see south and west across the city, my old stomping grounds.  The south window looks up the Park Blocks toward the Oregon Historical society, where my father, George T. Resch, worked as book designer at the Press, and talked with my then future husband, Richard Seidman, about planting trees to offset paper used in book production, a desire to honor trees and the Earth that would lead to Richard and my meeting and marrying, but only after my father had died and himself returned to the holy ground.

Past the Historical Society is Portland State University, where I danced in PSU’s The Company We Keep and studied science on my way to becoming a physical therapist.  Through the west window, about a mile away, I see the neighborhood where I first lived in Portland in 1981, my old block on Osage Street marked from afar by the historic large pink Art Deco Envoy apartment building.

For lunch I order gourmet deli take-out from the young, artsy, urban wait staff across the street, and remember when I was a young, hip, artsy, urban wait staff in one of Portland’s first gourmet delis, Savoir Faire, a few blocks east.  That’s where I first met Jeff Stewart, now Nia’s CEO, when he had just arrived in Portland and was looking to start a restaurant delivery business on a shoe string.  Jeff and I met in 1983 – the year Nia was born in San Rafael, California.

Across the street from my hotel is the elegant central branch of the Portland Public Library, with its wide stairways and wide ears, holding all those books inside its big, old, intelligent head, a favorite hang out in my early days dancing in the dance studios of the nearby Pythian Building, where, tomorrow, gods give us life, I will begin the much-awaited, seven-day Nia Next Generation Trainer Summit at Nia Headquarters.

They call downtown the heart of Portland.  And I feel Portland in my aching heart, and to Portland I bow for making me who I am today.

→ 11 Comments Tags: Dancing Through Life · The Road to Becoming A Nia Trainer

Thank You, Body

November 29th, 2010 · No Comments

Thanksgiving 2010

Today I am grateful for my body and for life.  Thank you, body.  Thank you, life.

Thank you, body, for your innate wisdom, your brilliant body know-how, your splendid, spirally, multi-tasking intelligences, that always know where and  when and how to go, in the best, in the most difficult and in regular, everyday circumstances.  Thank you, body.

Thank you, bones, my flexible foundation, crystalline fluid matrix, uniquely dedicated to supporting me as I walk through life.  Thank you, joints, whose tiny spirals in the spaces between the bones move me.  Thank you muscles, the yin and yang of the body, in love with contracting and in love with lengthening.

Thank you, four-roomed house of my heart — room for love, room for grief, room for joy, room for fear, room for peace — right inside my chest.  Thank you, heart, for being devoted to beating all day, every day, never forgetting, and for being dedicatedly uniquely to me, to my body, to my life, to my purpose, to my loves and my griefs.

Thank you, lungs, for your dedication to breathing in and breathing out long spirally whisps of air, air from trees, air from plankton, each breath so intimate with the vast world.

Thank you, endocrine system, biological genius air traffic controllers, dedicated uniquely to coordinating the life of my physiology: “Incoming from thyroid to protein synthesis at 10 o-clock.”  “Roger.”  “Outgoing HPA runway from hypothalamus en route to adrenals.”  “Roger.”

Thank you, nervous system — central, peripheral, sympathetic and parasympathetic — for your never-ending little lightning storms dedicated uniquely to the purpose of thinking, tasting, smelling, hearing, wiggling, laughing, peeing, blinking, hurrying, sleeping, pondering, beholding.

Thank you, warm coat of my skin, largest organ of the body, dedicated to holding me in your arms, so that I’m not just a pile of shmutz on the floor.  Thank you reproductive system, thank you, creativity, dedicated uniquely to creating something for a time beyond our own.

Special thank yous to the diligent digestive system on this holiday of Thanksgiving and season of feasting, dedicated uniquely to the purpose of transubstantiation, chomping up other blessed lives so that the turkey or the tofurky or whatever you’re eating becomes . . . you!  We don’t generally think about it; but we do it every day.

And thank you, excretory system, for being dedicated to releasing from my body all that’s no longer needed following all my fantstic feasting.

Somehow, made of heaven and made of Earth is this third thing, the miracle we call the human body.  75 trillion cells dedicated uniquely to me.  75 trillion cells dedicated uniquely to you.  Thank you, body.

What are you grateful for?  Chocolate?  Peace?  Friends?  Immerse in it.  Bathe in gratitude.  Feel the waves of gratitude in your body.  Feel the ocean of gratitude, the interstitial fluid of the body, that bathes every cell.

Gratitude has a sensation.   Notice the sensation of gratitude itself, apart from whatever it is you’re grateful for.

Gratitude itself has a heart, a mind, a spirit and a body.  Let it in.  Gratitude is soft and big, but in its softness, it’s very strong.  Let it in.  Let it out.

Breathe in gratitude to each of your 75 trillion cells.  Breathe out gratitude from each of your 75 trillion cells.

The mitochondria in your cells are the generators and the regenerators of gratitude, dedicated every single day to making the energy of gratitude available for your whole body, and for your whole life.

Thank you, body.  Thank you, Earth.  Thank you, sun.  Thank you, moon.  Thank you, ancestors.  Thank you, rain.  Thank you, snow.  Thank you, air.  Thank you, night.  Thank you, day.  Thank you, now.

Thank you to every whirling subatomic particle in my body for being so dedicated as to make it all the way from the Big Bang to now, this very moment, right here in my body, the echo of creation creating itself again and again.

Say to yourself out loud, “Thank you.”  It’s good to say it out loud, so they can hear you.  It’s good to think it, too.  But when you say it out loud, you embody it, and thus your message travels farther — and deeper.  The body can hear you, people  can hear you, the Earth can hear you, Life can hear you — saying, “Thank you.”

I am grateful for:  The ones I love, Nia, food, rest, joy, love, dance, existence, peace, nature, the trees and the lichens on the trees, delight, radiance, blue sky, this morning, healing, the god in all of us, friendship, possibility, wonder, Life.

I’m grateful for the ability to say, “No,” and I’m grateful for the ability to say, “Yes.”

I am grateful for the body and the body’s way.

See the path before you, the path that is uniquely yours to dance through life on, and take a moment to bow in gratitude to that path, whether you know what it is or not, and to the mystery of your path unfolding step by step, dedicated uniquely to you.  May you be nourished, healthy and happy.

→ No Comments Tags: Nia Class Focus · Ongoing Nia Classes

A Good Day

August 31st, 2010 · 3 Comments

Today, at the end of class, we listened to “A Good Day,” the words of Brother David Steindl-Rast, the 84-year old Benedectine monk who, in 1965, was sent  by his abbot to pursue Christian-Buddhist dialogue.

You can read more about Brother David here and his connection with many spiritual traditions working for peace.

Brother David Steindl-Rast co-authored The Ground We Share: Buddhist and Christian Practice with the late Robert Aitken Roshi, founder of the Diamond Sangha and one of the founders of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship.  Robert Aitken died earlier this month in Honolulu at the age of 93.  At a book signing at Looking Glass Books in Portland in 1997, my husband Richard Seidman, one of Aitken’s students, had the honor of reading Brother David’s portion of  the dialogues while Roshi read his own parts.

Below is a video with Brother David’s words.

Today is a good day.

YouTube Preview Image

→ 3 Comments Tags: Dancing Through Life · Ongoing Nia Classes