The choice to pay attention, to invest in the experience we are having in the moment, is one of the most essential parts of the practice we do together. Shining the light of awareness gives us a view of what’s happening that we didn’t have before and allows us to be more skillful in our responses. Raise awareness to release attachment and reveal spaciousness, creativity, possibilities, healing.

Below are our playlists for the week – as well as the notes about the songs for which I adapted choreography. If you’d like to listen to them, you can find almost all the music on Spotify where you can listen for free! And in general, please let me know if you have any questions about any of the music we dance to!

And first, some announcements of things that are happening!

Share Your Word for 2019 … and Be Entered to Win a Nia Pendant
Every year, I choose a word as my focus. My word for 2019 is CLEAR. As part of embodying it, I am clearing my spaces … inside and out. I haven’t worn this this Nia pendant in a long time and I’d love to share it. I’d also love to make a piece of art that celebrates our 2019 words. So, in the comments below please write your word and your name (or you can email me at sjmnia@gmail.com), then I’ll make a piece of art with our words (no names)! I’ll enter everybody who gives me their word by Monday, January 21 and draw one for the pendant (if you want to have your word as part of the art but don’t want the pendant, just put an askerisk next to your name)!

Mindful Self-Compassion 8-Week Course with Laura DeVault & Anna Vanhoy
We live in a world full of environmental challenges, political upheaval, and divisive rhetoric. Our sense of well-being can get worn down, especially if it is dependent on our latest success or failure. Mindful self-compassion takes a different approach. When you turn toward your feelings of distress with compassion, you can limit self-criticism and offset its negative effects, enabling you to achieve your highest potential and a more fulfilled life. (You might even get a better night’s sleep.)
Every Monday from 1 – 4 PM for 8 weeks, starting January 21, 2019. $450 includes 8 classes, plus a half-day retreat on Sat., Feb. 23.
To Register, contact Maureen Otten, 434-220-4686 weekdays 9 – 5, or email Anna and Laura at info.mscdv@gmail.com. For more, go here. https://www.facebook.com/events/1927255664236835/

Buddha Cat & More at the Cville Arts Cooperative
My book and art is on display at Cville Arts Crafts & Art Cooperative (www.cvillearts.org) on the downtown mall at 118 E. Main Street (near the fountain and next to the mosaic sofa)! This beautiful, eclectic gallery offers a variety of art and crafts made by all Virginia artists. My display is in the back gallery so you can see all the artists’ work on your way to mine! I am honored to be included in this talented gathering of artists and hope you’ll shop there soon.

Buddha Cat on Amazon
Buddha Cat is now also available on the world’s largest retailer! You can find both Kindle and paperback editions! AND if you are already a reader and fan, PLEASE would you write a review? A review is one of the most powerful things you can do to spread the word. Find the book listing here! Thank you for your energy and support!

Buddha Cat Available at Local Stores!
If you’d rather not order online and/or if you’d like to support an independent bookstore, you can find the book at some local establishments! Please go to my web site to find a complete listing of where to find Buddha Cat and more! http://www.susanmcculley.com/book-art-happenings/#/new-page/

Yoga Retreat in Mexico with Lynsie McKeown ~ February 9-16, 2019
It’s time to say YES to you and your well-being; to put you first. Join Lynsie McKeown, February 9-16, 2019, for 8 days of daily practice, luxury villas, delectable meals and immersive experiences in paradise. This retreat is designed to nourish, support and celebrate YOU. Immersed in beauty and nature, you’ll experience the benefits of a complete practice; asana (vinyasa tantra), pranayama, guided meditation and Yoga Nidra (a deep state of restoration, relaxation, and awareness). Body, mind, heart and soul will be rejuvenated. You’ll leave feeling full—full of more joy, motivation and inspiration to carry you through the rest of your year. Find out more here.

Author Fest 2019 at the Waynesboro Public Library
On Saturday, March 16 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., the Waynesboro Public Library will host its 5th Annual Author Fest. The event is free for both authors and the public. Buddha Cat and friends will be there. More information and details to come!

As always, please let me know if you have questions or how I can help more.
Dance on. Shine on.
Susan sig

Monday, Jan 14, 2019, 1045am ~ Awareness Changes Everything

Out Of Town 5:20 Cantoma (Passing Through choreography)
Leaving Babylon 6:42 Bluetech (Journeyman choreography)
Back Home 5:19 Fishtank (Takshaka Pt 1 choreography)
In This Love Together 5:12 Michael Bernard Beckwith (Takshaka Pt 2 choreography)
Shadowman 6:36 Afro Celt Sound System (Drumming Up a Storm choreography)
Release Yourself (DJ Tampinhas Remix) 5:48 Antoine Clamaran
Just Say Yes 4:41 Snow Patrol (Maha Lakshmi choreography)
Quiet 8 4:45 Sheila Chandra
Gravity 4:06 John Mayer (Dark Waters choreography)
Miasma 4:35 Bill Mize (Lavender Hill Floorplay)
Wiarthul 5:55 Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu
Dark Waters 4:35 Bob Holroyd
Lavender Hill 4:33 Lex van Someren
Ascension 4:52 Lex van Someren

Tuesday, Jan 15, 2018 ~ Awareness Changes Everything

Out Of Town 5:20 Cantoma (Passing Through choreography)
Leaving Babylon 6:42 Bluetech (Journeyman choreography)
Back Home 5:19 Fishtank (Takshaka Pt 1 choreography)
In This Love Together 5:12 Michael Bernard Beckwith (Takshaka Pt 2 choreography)
Shadowman 6:36 Afro Celt Sound System (Drumming Up a Storm choreography)
Release Yourself (DJ Tampinhas Remix) 5:48 Antoine Clamaran
Just Say Yes 4:41 Snow Patrol (Maha Lakshmi choreography)
Quiet 8 4:45 Sheila Chandra
Gravity 4:06 John Mayer (Dark Waters choreography)
Miasma 4:35 Bill Mize (Lavender Hill Floorplay)

Wednesday, Jan 16, 2018, 11am ~ Awareness Changes Everything

Out Of Town 5:20 Cantoma (Passing Through choreography)
Journeyman 6:41 Bob Holroyd (from AO)
Leaving Babylon 6:42 Bluetech (Journeyman choreo)
Drumming Up a Storm 6:01 Bob Holroyd (from AO)
Shadowman 6:36 Afro Celt Sound System (Drumming Up a Storm choreography)
A-YO 3:28 Lady Gaga
Maha Lakshmi 5:19 El Cosmo Group (from Sky Dancing)
Just Say Yes 4:41 Snow Patrol (Maha Lakshmi choreography)
Contigo 3:25 Federico Aubele
Gravity 4:06 John Mayer (Dark Waters choreography)
Miasma 4:35 Bill Mize (Lavender Hill Floorplay)

Thursday, Jan 17, 2018, 840am ~ Awareness Changes Everything

Fragile 3:53 Sting (Passing Through choreography)
Journeyman 6:41 Bob Holroyd (from AO)
Leaving Babylon 6:42 Bluetech (Journeyman choreo)
Drumming Up a Storm 6:01 Bob Holroyd (from AO)
Shadowman 6:36 Afro Celt Sound System (Drumming Up a Storm choreography)
A-YO 3:28 Lady Gaga
Maha Lakshmi 5:19 El Cosmo Group (from Sky Dancing)
Just Say Yes 4:41 Snow Patrol (Maha Lakshmi choreography)
Contigo 3:25 Federico Aubele
Gravity 4:06 John Mayer (Dark Waters choreography)
Miasma 4:35 Bill Mize (Lavender Hill Floorplay)

WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT NIA?

For more information about Nia and this rich system of training and learning? Everything Nia is at http://www.nianow.com…
If you’re traveling or moving, you can find a teacher or classes wherever you’re going.
Interested in teaching or deepening your practice? Check out the Nia White Belt Training. They are offered all around the world so you can find one near you or where you may want to go!

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My word for 2019 is CLEAR. As part of that, I have discovered the work of Stephanie Bennett Vogt through her class on The DailyOM called A Year To Clear which is based on her book of the same name. I am loving it. I am looking at the spaces around me (and in me) with different eyes and am slowly letting go of what I don’t need and doesn’t help me move toward the purposeful life of creative connection that I envision.

Part of the reason that her work resonates with me is, well ahem, it is exactly the way I talk about movement and health and creativity.

One thing she says:

Awareness changes everything.

Yep. I couldn’t agree with that more. The more I pay attention, the more I invest in being fully with whatever is happening, the more my experience is transformed.

She also says:

Clearing raises awareness.
Clearing releases attachments.
Clearing reveals a spacious part that’s been there all along.

I would add that not only spaciousness is revealed but other things that may have been hiding in the weeds of my days and my stuffed-to-overflowing t-shirt drawer. Things like healing and compassion, creativity and relaxation, possibilities and joy.

So turn on awareness. Practice awareness and get curious about what you find. Let’s change everything.

The process of putting an intention into practice — or changing any habit or pattern, for that matter — is a cycle of Yang/masculine/doing (Set Intention & Put Into Action) and Yin/feminine/allowing (Non-Identification & Compassion). Our humanness means that our minds will wander and we’ll lose our focus on our intention. It’s just what happens. The cycle of actively setting and embodying an intention and then gently and kindly bringing ourselves is where, as Sharon Salzberg reminds us, the magic happens.

Below are our playlists for the week. If you’d like to listen to them, you can find almost all the music on Spotify where you can listen for free! And in general, please let me know if you have any questions about any of the music we dance to!

And first, some announcements of things that are happening!
Mindful Self-Compassion 8-Week Course with Laura DeVault & Anna Vanhoy
We live in a world full of environmental challenges, political upheaval, and divisive rhetoric. Our sense of well-being can get worn down, especially if it is dependent on our latest success or failure. Mindful self-compassion takes a different approach. When you turn toward your feelings of distress with compassion, you can limit self-criticism and offset its negative effects, enabling you to achieve your highest potential and a more fulfilled life. (You might even get a better night’s sleep.)
Every Monday from 1 – 4 PM for 8 weeks, starting January 21, 2019. $450 includes 8 classes, plus a half-day retreat on Sat., Feb. 23.
To Register, contact Maureen Otten, 434-220-4686 weekdays 9 – 5, or email Anna and Laura at info.mscdv@gmail.com. For more, go here.

Buddha Cat & More at the Cville Arts Cooperative
I’m delighted to announce that my work has been accepted at Cville Arts Crafts & Art Cooperative (www.cvillearts.org) on the downtown mall at 118 E. Main Street (near the fountain and next to the mosaic sofa)! This beautiful, eclectic gallery offers a variety of art and crafts made by all Virginia artists. My display is up ~~ you’ll find it in the back gallery! I am honored to be included in this talented gathering of artists!

Buddha Cat on Amazon
Buddha Cat is now also available on the world’s largest retailer! You can find both Kindle and paperback editions! AND if you are already a reader and fan, PLEASE would you write a review? A review is one of the most powerful things you can do to spread the word. Find the book listing here! Thank you for your energy and support!

Buddha Cat Available at Local Stores!
If you’d rather not order online and/or if you’d like to support an independent bookstore, you can find the book at some local establishments! Please go to my web site to find a complete listing of where to find Buddha Cat and more! http://www.susanmcculley.com/book-art-happenings/#/new-page/

Yoga Retreat in Mexico with Lynsie McKeown ~ February 9-16, 2019
It’s time to say YES to you and your well-being; to put you first. Join Lynsie McKeown, February 9-16, 2019, for 8 days of daily practice, luxury villas, delectable meals and immersive experiences in paradise. This retreat is designed to nourish, support and celebrate YOU. Immersed in beauty and nature, you’ll experience the benefits of a complete practice; asana (vinyasa tantra), pranayama, guided meditation and Yoga Nidra (a deep state of restoration, relaxation, and awareness). Body, mind, heart and soul will be rejuvenated. You’ll leave feeling full—full of more joy, motivation and inspiration to carry you through the rest of your year. Find out more here.

Author Fest 2019 at the Waynesboro Public Library
On Saturday, March 16 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., the Waynesboro Public Library will host its 5th Annual Author Fest. The event is free for both authors and the public. Buddha Cat and friends will be there. More information and details to come!

As always, please let me know if you have questions or how I can help more.
Dance on. Shine on.
Susan sig

Monday, Jan 7, 2019, 1045am ~ Intention & The Magic Moment~ AO Skydancing

Passing Through 5:19 Bob Holroyd
Journeyman – AO 6:41 Bob Holroyd
Takshaka 10:42 Makyo
Drumming Up a Storm 6:01 Bob Holroyd
Denmark 5:07 Chemical Brothers
Maha Lakshmi 5:19 El Cosmo Group
Adrift in Kerala 6:07 Bob Holroyd
Dark Waters 4:35 Bob Holroyd
Lavender Hill 4:33 Lex van Someren
Ascension 4:52 Lex van Someren

Tuesday, Jan 8, 2018 ~ Intention & The Magic Moment ~ AO Skydancing

Passing Through 5:19 Bob Holroyd
Journeyman 6:41 Bob Holroyd
Takshaka 10:42 Makyo
Drumming Up a Storm 6:01 Bob Holroyd
Denmark 5:07 Chemical Brothers
Maha Lakshmi 5:19 El Cosmo Group
Adrift in Kerala 6:07 Bob Holroyd
Dark Waters 4:35 Bob Holroyd
Lavender Hill 4:33 Lex van Someren

Wednesday, Jan 9, 2018, 11am ~ Intention & The Magic Moment ~ AO AY Dancing to AO Skydancing Choreography

Out Of Town 5:20 Cantoma (Passing Through choreography)
Leaving Babylon 6:42 Bluetech (Journeyman choreography)
Back Home 5:19 Fishtank (Takshaka Pt 1 choreography)
In This Love Together 5:12 Michael Bernard Beckwith (Takshaka Pt 2 choreography)
Shadowman 6:36 Afro Celt Sound System (Drumming up a Storm choreography)
Crosseyed and Painless 5:29 Angélique Kidjo (Denmark style freedance)
Gold Dust Woman 5:02 Fleetwood Mac (Maha Lakshmi choreography)
Hanuman Baba (Dub Farm Re-mix) 7:25 Krishna Das (Adrift in Kerala style freedance)
Gravity 4:06 John Mayer (Dark Waters choreography)
Miasma 4:35 Bill Mize (Lavender Hill choreography)
10 Questions for the Dalai Lama 3:15 Peter Kater

Thursday, Jan 10, 2018, 840am ~ Intention & The Magic Moment AO AY Dancing to AO Skydancing Choreography

Out Of Town 5:20 Cantoma (Passing Through choreography)
Leaving Babylon 6:42 Bluetech (Journeyman choreography)
Back Home 5:19 Fishtank (Takshaka Pt 1 choreography)
In This Love Together 5:12 Michael Bernard Beckwith (Takshaka Pt 2 choreography)
Shadowman 6:36 Afro Celt Sound System (Drumming up a Storm choreography)
Crosseyed and Painless 5:29 Angélique Kidjo (Denmark style freedance)
Gold Dust Woman 5:02 Fleetwood Mac (Maha Lakshmi choreography)
Hanuman Baba (Dub Farm Re-mix) 7:25 Krishna Das (Adrift in Kerala style freedance)
Gravity 4:06 John Mayer (Dark Waters choreography)
Unchosen 3:54 Jesse Cook (Lavender Hill choreography)

WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT NIA?

For more information about Nia and this rich system of training and learning? Everything Nia is at http://www.nianow.com…
If you’re traveling or moving, you can find a teacher or classes wherever you’re going.
Interested in teaching or deepening your practice? Check out the Nia White Belt Training. They are offered all around the world so you can find one near you or where you may want to go!


The practice of setting an intention is a way of consciously making a difference in our movement, our lives, and in the world. We make a difference whether we realize it or not. Setting an intention is a way of choosing the difference we want to make. (Check out last week’s post for more on this including a genius quote from Jane Goodall.)

What’s interesting, of course, is that we are human. Even if we set an intention, we won’t be able to stay with it. Not all the time. (Even though we know that it’s impossible, writer Leo Babauta suggests aspiring to that goal in his post Mindfulness All The Time. It’s a good read and I recommend it.) We’ll get distracted, get pulled into habit, go on auto-pilot. We’ll get pulled or pull ourselves away from our intention. That’s just the way it goes…for everybody.

The cool thing is that getting off track is not a bad thing. It’s actually fantastic. The moment that we find ourselves no longer connected to the intention we set is what Sharon Salzberg calls The Magic Moment (read her wonderful blog post about it here.) In her post, she’s talking about following the sensation of the breath in meditation as the intention. She writes,

if something arises — sensations, emotions, memories, plans, whatever it might be — that’s strong enough to take your attention away from the feeling of the breath, or if you’ve fallen asleep, or get lost in some incredible fantasy, the moment you realize you’ve been distracted is the magic moment.

It’s in that magic moment that we have the opportunity to really practice. We have the chance to begin again and to choose our intention again.

Stephanie Bennett Vogt teaches the A Year to Clear course that I’m taking right now (you can check that and other offerings at the Daily Om). She says that when creating a new practice, changing a habit or endeavoring to make any change, it requires four things:

Intent
Action
Non-Identification
Compassion

Her approach is that we need all four in order to create real and lasting change. If we only have Intent and no Action, the thought or desire just stays in our head. If we just have Action and no Intent, the action is unfocused, and arbitrary. If we have intention and action but don’t have non-identification and compassion, we’ll beat ourselves up when we get distracted and we’ll tend to quit.

I see it as a cycle more than a list. I see Intent as being the first step, knowing what we want to happen. Then Action is essential for embodiment and manifestation of what we want to occur. The Non-Identification (or as Buddhists would say, Non-Attachment) is not getting hooked on the outcome. Non-Identification is an allowing for things to unfold as they do without fighting against it. And then Compassion is the recognition that we are human and that we’ll forget and mess up in any number of ways and that’s just part of the process. I see it this way:

The Magic Moment happens with the Non-Identification and the Compassion: it’s when we realize we’ve veered from our intent in some way and that it’s time to return to it and make another action.

This mindful practice that we do together is impossible. No one can do it. And that is the whole point. It’s not about being perfect or never messing up. It’s about realizing we’ve lost our intention and then gently, kindly, beginning again.

You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make. ~ Jane Goodall

Happy New Year, EveryBody! Thank you for being part of the mindful practice that we do together (either in person or virtually).

Jane Goodall’s quote has been in my mind and heart all week and I notice how even small choices in how I spend my time, money, and energy reverberate out in my personal sphere and beyond. Intention offers the opportunity to be clear about what kind of difference we want to make in the world.

With that in mind, choosing a word for the year is a simple and powerful way to rudder decisions to align with your highest values. My word for this year is CLEAR. What’s yours? I’d love to hear.

And if you are looking for a way in to finding a word, this New Year Meditation on Insight Timer is lovely. Find it here. 
– New Year Meditation.

Below are our playlists for the week. If you’d like to listen to them, you can find almost all the music on Spotify where you can listen for free! If you would like to hear the Dan Wilson song, What A Year for a New Year, please send me a message. It’s unpublished and I have permission to share it. And in general, please let me know if you have any questions about any of the music we dance to!

And first, some announcements…

Buddha Cat & More at the Cville Arts Cooperative
I’m delighted to announce that my work has been accepted at Cville Arts Crafts & Art Cooperative (www.cvillearts.org) on the downtown mall at 118 E. Main Street (near the fountain and next to the mosaic sofa)! This beautiful, eclectic gallery offers a variety of art and crafts made by all Virginia artists. My display is up ~~ you’ll find it in the back gallery! I am honored to be included in this talented gathering of artists! Please do some of your holiday shopping at Cville Arts!

Buddha Cat Now on Amazon
Buddha Cat is now also available on the world’s largest retailer! You can find both Kindle and paperback editions! AND if you are already a reader and fan, PLEASE would you write a review? A review is one of the most powerful things you can do to spread the word. Find the book listing here! Thank you for your energy and support!

Buddha Cat Available at Local Stores!
If you’d rather not order online and/or if you’d like to support an independent bookstore, you can find the book at some local establishments! Please go to my web site to find a complete listing of where to find Buddha Cat and more!

Yoga Retreat in Mexico with Lynsie McKeown ~ February 9-16, 2019
It’s time to say YES to you and your well-being; to put you first. Join Lynsie McKeown, February 9-16, 2019, for 8 days of daily practice, luxury villas, delectable meals and immersive experiences in paradise. This retreat is designed to nourish, support and celebrate YOU. Immersed in beauty and nature, you’ll experience the benefits of a complete practice; asana (vinyasa tantra), pranayama, guided meditation and Yoga Nidra (a deep state of restoration, relaxation, and awareness). Body, mind, heart and soul will be rejuvenated. You’ll leave feeling full—full of more joy, motivation and inspiration to carry you through the rest of your year. Find out more here.

Author Fest 2019 at the Waynesboro Public Library
On Saturday, March 16 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., the Waynesboro Public Library will host its 5th Annual Author Fest. The event is free for both authors and the public. Buddha Cat and friends will be there. More information and details to come!

As always, please let me know if you have questions or how I can help more.
Dance on. Shine on.
Susan sig

Monday, Dec 31, 2018, 1045am ~ Intention: What Kind of Difference

Words (Feat. India.Arie) 4:03 Anthony David
Always Waiting (fest. Irina Milkhailova) 7:08 Kaya Project
Quero Saber (fest. Orieta Pines) 6:29 Rodney Hunter
The Word 2:43 The Beatles
Walk Into The Sun 5:21 Dirty Vegas
Moon & Sun 6:02 Dalminjo Fjörd Fusioneer
What I Be 4:45 Michael Franti & Spearhead
Deeper (Into Places) (Silk Spinner Mix) 6:23 Afterlife
Fallin’ High 6:00 Safri Duo
The Difference 3:50 The Wallflowers
Good Intentions 3:16 Lyle Lovett
What a Year for a New Year 4:06 Dan Wilson

Tuesday, Jan 1, 2018 ~ Intention: What Kind of Difference

Words (Feat. India.Arie) 4:03 Anthony David
Always Waiting (fest. Irina Milkhailova) 7:08 Kaya Project
Quero Saber (fest. Orieta Pines) 6:29 Rodney Hunter
The Word 2:43 The Beatles
Walk Into The Sun 5:21 Dirty Vegas
Moon & Sun 6:02 Dalminjo Fjörd Fusioneer
What I Be 4:45 Michael Franti & Spearhead
Deeper (Into Places) (Silk Spinner Mix) 6:23 Afterlife
Fallin’ High 6:00 Safri Duo
The Difference 3:50 The Wallflowers
Good Intentions 3:16 Lyle Lovett
What a Year for a New Year 4:06 Dan Wilson

Wednesday, Jan 2, 2018, 11am ~ Intention: What Kind of Difference

Words (Feat. India.Arie) 4:03 Anthony David
Always Waiting (fest. Irina Milkhailova) 7:08 Kaya Project
Quero Saber (fest. Orieta Pines) 6:29 Rodney Hunter
I Can See Clearly Now 2:43 Johnny Nash
Walk Into The Sun 5:21 Dirty Vegas
Deeper (Into Places) (Silk Spinner Mix) 6:23 Afterlife
What I Be 4:45 Michael Franti & Spearhead
Fallin’ High 6:00 Safri Duo
Doctor My Eyes 3:21 Jackson Browne
Cool, Clear Water 5:28 Bonnie Raitt
What a Year for a New Year 4:06 Dan Wilson
Somehow Familiar 3:40 Fabrizio Paterlini

Thursday, Jan 3, 2018, 840am ~ Intention: What Kind of Difference

Words (Feat. India.Arie) 4:03 Anthony David
Always Waiting (fest. Irina Milkhailova) 7:08 Kaya Project
Quero Saber (fest. Orieta Pines) 6:29 Rodney Hunter
I Can See Clearly Now 2:43 Johnny Nash
Walk Into The Sun 5:21 Dirty Vegas
Deeper (Into Places) (Silk Spinner Mix) 6:23 Afterlife
What I Be 4:45 Michael Franti & Spearhead 72
Doctor My Eyes 3:21 Jackson Browne
Cool, Clear Water 5:28 Bonnie Raitt
What a Year for a New Year 4:06 Dan Wilson
Somehow Familiar 3:40 Fabrizio Paterlini

WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT NIA?

For more information about Nia and this rich system of training and learning? Everything Nia is at http://www.nianow.com…
If you’re traveling or moving, you can find a teacher or classes wherever you’re going.
Interested in teaching or deepening your practice? Check out the Nia White Belt Training. They are offered all around the world so you can find one near you or where you may want to go!

This quote from Jane Goodall struck a chord with me. She said,

You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.

There have been times in my life when I’ve turned my eyes away and decided that my choices didn’t really matter in the big scheme of things. Sometimes I convince myself that it doesn’t really matter if I buy water in plastic bottles or don’t send a thank you note or don’t vote in all the elections. There are so many people and the world is so big, what difference can it possibly make if I leave the lights on or don’t write to my senator about the latest injustice? So I throw up my hands and figure it doesn’t matter.

On the other side, there have been times when I have poured myself, dedicated myself, committed myself to what feels like skillful and right action. My choice, for example, to eat a whole food plant-based diet and not to eat meat or factory-farmed eggs is grounded in my understanding of the catastrophic impact of livestock farming on the environment and that meat is unnecessary for good health. I know that the diet I choose is better for the earth, for my body and it’s definitely better for the animals but when I see that well over 90% of Americans eat meat and a lot of it, I feel the utter futility of my choices. Why bother recycling or writing a blog every week or being kind to strangers?

I’m a drop in the ocean. A grain of sand in the desert. Nothing I do or don’t do can possibly make any difference whatsoever.

And yet my body knows this isn’t true. The small choices I make every day to move mindfully, to drink plenty of water, to sleep and breathe and take care of myself does make a difference. Just one week of sitting in a car and not eating / sleeping / hydrating / moving as I usually do showed up in all kinds of discomforts.

My mind knows this isn’t true. The daily choice to meditate even for a few minutes ripples out in how I approach the world and myself.

My heart knows this isn’t true. My intention to connect with people — my family and friends, my students, my co-workers, cashiers and waiters and delivery folks — has a powerful impact on my sense of my community and my place in it.

I am a drop in the ocean and at the same time I am, as the 13th Century Persian poet Rumi said, “[I am] the entire ocean in a drop.”

I know in my bones and breath and heart that I am connected to everything. My choices matter. This is why I set an intention at the beginning of every class. This is why I choose One Word at the beginning of every year. I know I can’t help but have an impact on the world around me. I get to decide the kind of difference I want to make.


IMPORTANT NOTE: All of this is not to say that I’ve got all this figured out and that when I set an intention I always do it all the time. In fact, that’s absolutely not the case and that’s actually a great thing. We’ll dance with that, my friends, next week.

This week, the practice was all about the presence. I found myself tipping in and out of being in my body and in the moment and cascading into the future or the past. I wonder how it went for you?

As I mentioned in a couple of classes, I’m not much of a Christmas-y person but I do love the song Little Drummer Boy as it speaks to the gift of bringing our unique selves as the greatest gift of all. And I discovered a new version of the song that rocked my world. You can check out the video here.

Also helpful to me this week was Leo Babauta’s post about navigating stressful holidays (or any other stressful time). You can find that post here.

You can find our playlists below. If you’d like to listen to them, you can find almost all the music on Spotify where you can listen for free! Please let me know if you have any questions about any of the music we dance to!

acac Holiday Hours + Nia Classes
Monday, December 31
Albemarle Square & Downtown: 5:00am – 6:00pm
Susan teaching 1045-12noon at The Square
Tuesday, January 1
Albemarle Square & Downtown: 8:00am – 10:00pm
Susan teaching 840-940am downtown

Buddha Cat & More at the Cville Arts Cooperative
I’m delighted to announce that my work has been accepted at Cville Arts Crafts & Art Cooperative (www.cvillearts.org) on the downtown mall at 118 E. Main Street (near the fountain and next to the mosaic sofa)! This beautiful, eclectic gallery offers a variety of art and crafts made by all Virginia artists. My display is up ~~ you’ll find it in the back gallery! I am honored to be included in this talented gathering of artists! Please do some of your holiday shopping at Cville Arts!

Buddha Cat Now on Amazon
Buddha Cat is now also available on the world’s largest retailer! You can find both Kindle and paperback editions! AND if you are already a reader and fan, PLEASE would you write a review? A review is one of the most powerful things you can do to spread the word. Find the book listing here! Thank you for your energy and support!

Buddha Cat Available at Local Stores!
If you’d rather not order online and/or if you’d like to support an independent bookstore, you can find the book at some local establishments!
Over The Moon Bookstore at 2025 Library Ave in Crozet, Virginia. It’s a beautiful store filled with great books, lovely things and chocolate and is well worth a visit. They also carry Buddha Cat postcards!
New Dominion Bookshop on the downtown mall at 404 E Main St in Charlottesville, Virginia. New Dominion is the oldest independent bookseller in Virginia, and carries books in fiction, non-fiction, and children’s literature, and a unique selection of architecture and landscape gardening resources…as well as Buddha Cat – the book, prints and cards. Please do go in, ask for Buddha Cat by name and support local artists, local booksellers and local cats.
Quilts Unlimited / J. Fenton Gifts on the downtown mall at 118 West Main St in Charlottesville. This is a great place to find contemporary American Handcrafts, artisan jewelry and whimsical (even Buddha-y) gifts.
Hot Yoga Charlottesville at 216 West Water St., Charlottesville, VA. The home of hot yoga since 2004, HYC offers a variety of heated yoga classes that heal body, mind and spirit.
The Elderberry at 1917 Commonwealth Drive in Charlottesville. A full service herbal shop, The Elderberry is a place to get expert advice, a full herbal apothecary and a supportive community.
PawPrints on the downtown mall at 201 East Main Street near the fountain. A locally owned shop, PawPrints offers unique items for both people and pets. You can find fun cat and dog themed toys, treats, gifts and apparel – and Buddha Cat!
Integral Yoga Natural Foods at 923 Preston Ave, IY provides the foods, supplements, personal-care products – and Buddha books! – needed to maintain a healthy, happy lifestyle.
Pantops Veterinarian Hospital at 315 Winding River Lane, Suite 101
Charlottesville. PVH  is a full-service small animal veterinary facility, with practice for dogs, cats, rabbits and guinea pigs and where they celebrate the Buddha in all of our fur babies.

Yoga Retreat in Mexico with Lynsie McKeown ~ February 9-16, 2019
It’s time to say YES to you and your well-being; to put you first. Join Lynsie McKeown, February 9-16, 2019, for 8 days of daily practice, luxury villas, delectable meals and immersive experiences in paradise. This retreat is designed to nourish, support and celebrate YOU. Immersed in beauty and nature, you’ll experience the benefits of a complete practice; asana (vinyasa tantra), pranayama, guided meditation and Yoga Nidra (a deep state of restoration, relaxation, and awareness). Body, mind, heart and soul will be rejuvenated. You’ll leave feeling full—full of more joy, motivation and inspiration to carry you through the rest of your year. Find out more here.

As always, please let me know if you have questions or how I can help more.
Dance on. Shine on.
Susan sig

Monday, Dec 24, 2018, 1045am ~ It’s All About The Presence

What Child Is This 2:59 Dan Crary
Factor 30 9:34 Bjarno
When Doves Cry 4:04 The Be Good Tanyas
One Hundred Lights (Grouch Remix) 5:31 Kaya Project
Qalanderi 7:10 Cheb i Sabbah
Torch 7:49 Bob Holroyd
Afronaut 5:23 Shaman’s Dream
Carol of the Bells Medley 3:25 Trans-Siberian Orchestra
Little Drummer Boy 4:16 Pentatonix
Greensleeves 4:29 Steve Erquiaga
When Comes December 4:04 Tim Story

Tuesday, Dec 25, 2018 ~ It’s All About The Presence

Happy Merry Everything…

Wednesday, Dec 26, 2018, 11am ~ It’s All About The Presence

Eireann 5:10 Afro Celt Sound System
Pavement Cracks 5:10 Annie Lennox
Mission of My Soul 4:09 Peter Himmelman
Fingerbeat 5:57 Drumspyder
Little Talks 4:28 Of Monsters And Men
Black Horse And The Cherry Tree 2:51 KT Tunstall
Shakin’ It Up 6:15 Ganga Giri
Why Must I Feel Like This Today? [Feat. Baaba Maal, Michael Franti, Ulali, Radio Active & Krishna Das] 9:28 1 Giant Leap
Little Drummer Boy (Live) 4:38 for KING & COUNTRY
The Hounds Of Winter 5:51 Sting If
Peace 6:36 Ajeet Kaur

Thursday, Dec 27, 2018, 840am ~ It’s All About The Presence

Eireann 5:10 Afro Celt Sound System
Pavement Cracks 5:10 Annie Lennox
Mission of My Soul 4:09 Peter Himmelman
Fingerbeat 5:57 Drumspyder
Black Horse And The Cherry Tree 2:51 KT Tunstall
Shakin’ It Up 6:15 Ganga Giri
Why Must I Feel Like This Today? [Feat. Baaba Maal, Michael Franti, Ulali, Radio Active & Krishna Das] 9:28 1 Giant Leap
Little Drummer Boy (Live) 4:38 for KING & COUNTRY
The Hounds Of Winter 5:51 Sting If
Peace 6:36 Ajeet Kaur

WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT NIA?

For more information about Nia and this rich system of training and learning? Everything Nia is at http://www.nianow.com…
If you’re traveling or moving, you can find a teacher or classes wherever you’re going.
Interested in teaching or deepening your practice? Check out the Nia White Belt Training. They are offered all around the world so you can find one near you or where you may want to go!

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