When I was a girl, my Nana had a wooden toy box in her living room full of old, unusual, fascinating things. There was an antique tin top with a plunger that would spin like crazy. There was an old set of tiddlywinks that were worth playing with just to say the word out loud. There was a classic set of Barrel Full of Monkeys.

But my favorite toy in Nana’s box was a kaleidoscope.

I could sit in the sun on her scratchy orange sofa and look through that thing for hours. (If you’ve never played with a kaleidoscope, here’s what it looks like when you look into it and turn it.)

“Life is like an ever-shifting kaleidoscope – a slight change, and all patterns alter.” – Sharon Salzberg

Our mindful movement practice reveals that all parts of the human body are connected. A movement in any part impacts them all. A misalignment in one place reverberates through your whole form. If one part of the body is in pain, instead of narrowing our attention only to that one part, the real practice and healing come from expanding our attention to the whole system. Sharon Salzberg reminds us that life is the same way.

Unbeknownst to us, when parking our beloved Le Que camper last fall, the roof got a crack in it that has left it open to the elements…for the whole winter. Which was, here in Virginia, the wettest winter on record. The inside of the framing is utterly soaked and ruined. The insurance company confirmed that it is a total loss.

It felt like a punch in the stomach. Traveling together in Le Que has been an adventurous joy. Despite the wretchedness of the discovery, I watched Frank turn the kaleidoscope of the situation. We talked about what we love about Le Que…and some of the things we don’t. We started to look into possible replacements and maybe even possible uses for the injured Le Que. What felt like a mess is shifting into a slew of interesting possibilities.

Kaleidoscope perspective isn’t necessarily one of sunny optimism (although that can be a happy side effect). Kaleidoscope perspective is about seeing the large and the small and all the ever-changing parts. Wayne Dyer suggests “if you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” If you are in a disagreement, can you see perhaps the fear behind your side and the unmet needs behind theirs? If you are looking at a sunset, can you see both the expansive swash of colors and the details in the silhouetted branches of the trees? If your team loses in the basketball tournament, can you see the joy in the other team’s faces? (Nope, I can’t do that, either.)

Sarah Susanka, in her wonderful book, The Not So Big Life writes about this phenomenon and how the kaleidoscope shift requires a spacious attention to whatever is happening. Rather than narrowing our focus on one particular thing, we can open our peripheral vision to see more. She writes,

The flow of moments and synchronous happenings occurs whether or not we are present, but it is only when we are present that those dynamics are observable. (p. 145)

Our bodies, minds, emotions, and lives are full of kaleidoscopic changes. Nudging any situation – even a little – can change a simple handful of beads and colored glass into a fascinating, radiant rainbow. All we have to do is stay present and open and see what there is to see.

CALL FOR KALEIDOSCOPES! If you come to classes this week and have a kaleidoscope you’d be willing to share, bring it for show and tell! 

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Happy spring, everybody! This week we used the practice to wake up and the awakening to practice more. We played with consciously using our eyes as well as some new music and movement to wake up the body and break some habits (which sometimes went more smoothly than others).

Below are our playlists for the week. If you’d like to listen to the music, you can find almost all the songs on Spotify (you can listen for free)! As always, please let me know if you have any questions about any of the music we dance to!

And friends, I am always ALWAYS looking for new music. Do you have a song that you love to move to or that moves you? I’d love to know what it is! Please respond in the comments below or email me at sjmnia@gmail.com!

Before the playlists, some announcements of things that are happening!

Nia Jam on Friday, March 29, 5:45-7pm, Studio A, acac Downtown
Join teachers Jeanne, Loring, and Rachel for a Nia* Jam! as they focus on the energy of Spring, a time to Grow and Blossom, with the intent of tapping into empowerment and beauty. This special event will pre-empt Jeanne’s regular Friday night class. As always, for a Nia Jam, you can bring a friend to ACAC for free.
*Nia is barefoot cardio dance set to fabulous music that feeds your body, focuses your mind, stirs your emotions, and uplifts your spirit.

First Friday Freedance with Kate ~ April 5 at 11:25am
Nia Freedance is an opportunity to play and tap into the creative wisdom in our body, emotions, mind and spirit. For a full hour we get to dance together with the intention of stimulating our own unique movement creativity. The next Nia Freedance will be at ACAC Albemarle Square Friday, April 5 from 11:25 -12:25.

Honoring the Effect of Trauma in our Lives with Larry Goldstein and Wendy Hubbard April 27
Larry Goldstein and Wendy Hubbard lead a workshop on releasing the grip of trauma using structures work, personal stories, and group work. Structures enable a person to go back safely to a traumatic memory with crucial support that was missing then and offers fresh options — an alternative memory – a different outcome in which basic human needs are met and longing for love and protection are fulfilled. This reconstructs inner implicit memory maps in the brain and helps people become viscerally acquainted with feelings that were lacking early in their lives. Pre-course online class Saturday, April 20, 3-5pm, In Person One-Day Class Saturday, April 27, 10-6p, Post-course online class, Saturday, May 4, 3-5pm. Cost $150. Limited to 12 participants. To register and for more information, contact Wendy Hubbard at whubbard0@gmail.com.

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

Monday, Mar 18, 2019, 1045am ~ Wake Up + Practice

Awake My Soul 4:16 Mumford & Sons
Silk Road 8:00 Kitaro
A Gusta 5:39 Safri Duo
On and On 4:19 Suryan
Moon & Sun 6:02 Dalminjo Fjörd Fusioneer
Wake Me Up 4:10 Avicii
Bayami (Extended Dance Remix) 6:11 Ganga Giri
Get Up 4:51 Badmarsh & Shri
Wake Up 3:28 The Makepeace Brothers
City Knows Your Name 4:59 Chris Coco
Sleep 4:24 Euphoria

Tuesday, Mar 19, 2018, 840am ~ Wake Up + Practice

Awake My Soul 4:16 Mumford & Sons
Silk Road 8:00 Kitaro An Enchanted Evening
A Gusta 5:39 Safri Duo
On and On 4:19 Suryan
Moon & Sun 6:02 Dalminjo Fjörd Fusioneer
Bayami (Extended Dance Remix) 6:11 Ganga Giri
Wake Me Up 4:10 Avicii
Get Up 4:51 Badmarsh & Shri
City Knows Your Name 4:59 Chris Coco
Sleep 4:24 Euphoria

Wednesday, Mar 20, 2018, 11am ~ Wake Up + Practice

Awake My Soul 4:16 Mumford & Sons
Silk Road 8:00 Kitaro
A Gusta 5:39 Safri Duo
On and On 4:19 Suryan
Moon & Sun 6:02 Dalminjo Fjörd Fusioneer
Wake Me Up 4:10 Avicii
Bayami (Extended Dance Remix) 6:11 Ganga Giri
Get Up 4:51 Badmarsh & Shri
Wake Up Everybody 3:35 John Legend & The Roots
Spring Clean 4:48 The Happening
Halving The Compass 5:27 Helios

Thursday, Mar 21, 2018, 840am ~ Wake Up + Practice

Awake My Soul 4:16 Mumford & Sons
Wake Up Everybody 3:35 John Legend & The Roots
A Gusta 5:39 Safri Duo
On and On 4:19 Suryan
Moon & Sun 6:02 Dalminjo Fjörd Fusioneer
Wake Me Up 4:10 Avicii
Bayami (Extended Dance Remix) 6:11 Ganga Giri
Get Up 4:51 Badmarsh & Shri
Wake Up 3:28 The Makepeace Brothers
Spring Clean 4:48 The Happening
Halving The Compass 5:27 Helios

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!

Years ago, I saw a cartoon that has stuck with me (and darn it, I cannot find it now for the life of me even with The Google). It is a father and son sitting in a field looking at the night sky. The boy asks, “Dad, what’s the most powerful force in the universe?” and the father replies, “The force of habit.”

The very fact that you are reading this post indicates that you are interested in mindfulness. At some level, you want to stop sleepwalking through your time and be conscious of how you are living. You may practice in class with me or another teacher and you may have your own practice to support your longing for awareness.

Whatever your practice is, use it as an opportunity to wake up. Use that awakening as an opportunity to practice more.

As much as I want my practice to be my habit, it’s amazing how quickly I lose its thread. After an hour of yoga, I’ll be all Zen and peaceful and Om-shakalaka but nine minutes after walking out of class, I’ll be impatient and irritated in traffic. I’ll absorb the wisdom of a lovingkindness meditation but all it takes is one headline and I turn into a hater. I’ll take a mindful walk by the river, but as soon as I get back in the house, I’m not paying attention to anything but my river of thought.

Use your practice as an opportunity to wake up. Use that awakening as an opportunity to practice more.

Little by little, waking up begins to spill out beyond the formal practice times and spaces. I can choose to practice and choose to be awake and that awakeness leads to more like it. Once I experience aliveness and presence, the more I endeavor to expand that into other areas of my life. I can be present and awake while I’m making dinner or folding laundry, having a conversation with a friend or discussing finances with my partner. The more I can wake up in those situations, the more I am inspired to practice so I can stay present when I feel upset or angry or afraid. The more I practice the more I want to wake up and the more I wake up the more I want to practice.

“The breezes at dawn have secrets to tell you
Don’t go back to sleep!
You must ask for what you really want.
Don’t go back to sleep!
People are going back and forth
across the doorsill where the two worlds touch,
The door is round and open
Don’t go back to sleep!” ~ Rumi

Regular practice slowly begins to shift long-held patterns. Regular practice softens our lizard brain edges and connects us to our humanity. Regular practice allows us to expand what we do in the studio, on the mat, on the cushion into how we show up in our work, our homes and in our relationships. And ultimately, isn’t that what it’s all about?

Use your practice as an opportunity to wake up. Use that awakening as an opportunity to practice more.


How many times do I say (or think), “I’ve got to figure this out.” This week we danced the possibilities of resting the “thinking mind” — the one that over-manages and over-plans and instead living from our “working mind” – the one that gracefully resides and chooses in the present moment. As Sarah Susanka reminds us:

“When you are trying to figure out the right thing to do, you are in thinking mind. You have set up a duality between what is right atnd what is wrong, with the implication that if you don’t pick the correct option, you’ll be screwing up. But in reality, you can’t screw up. Whatever you pick will produce a set of life experiences that will continue to reveal you to you, whether the content of what happens is pleasant to go through or miserable. All of it contains food for your growth. The part of you that’ trying to determine what’s correct is lost in appearances, whereas the nutrients for self-understanding lie in that vast ocean of peace beneath the surface.” ~ The Not So Big Life p. 195

In addition to Susanka’s book, inspiration for this week’s focus came from two talks by Tara Brach, meditation teacher and author. Those talks are Impermanence: Awakening Through Insecurity, Part 1 & Part 2, they are wonderful and I hope you’ll listen to them both.

Below are our playlists for the week. If you’d like to listen to the music, you can find almost all the songs on Spotify (you can listen for free)! As always, please let me know if you have any questions about any of the music we dance to!

And friends, I am always ALWAYS looking for new music. Do you have a song that you love to move to or that moves you? I’d love to know what it is! Please respond in the comments below or email me at sjmnia@gmail.com!

Before the playlists, some upcoming awesome things!

Author Fest 2019 at the Waynesboro Public Library on March 16
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 and you can find out more here. I do hope you’ll join us!

Nia Jam on Friday, March 29, 5:45-7pm
The acac Nia team will offer a Nia Jam on Friday, March 29 from 545-7pm! More details soon!

First Friday Freedance with Kate ~ April 5 at 11:25am
Nia Freedance is an opportunity to play and tap into the creative wisdom in our body, emotions, mind and spirit. For a full hour we get to dance together with the intention of stimulating our own unique movement creativity. The next Nia Freedance will be at ACAC Albemarle Square Friday, April 5 from 11:25 -12:25.

Honoring the Effect of Trauma in our Lives with Larry Goldstein and Wendy Hubbard April 27
Larry Goldstein and Wendy Hubbard lead a workshop on releasing the grip of trauma using structures work, personal stories, and group work. Structures enable a person to go back safely to a traumatic memory with crucial support that was missing then and offers fresh options — an alternative memory – a different outcome in which basic human needs are met and longing for love and protection are fulfilled. This reconstructs inner implicit memory maps in the brain and helps people become viscerally acquainted with feelings that were lacking early in their lives. Pre-course online class Saturday, April 20, 3-5pm, In Person One-Day Class Saturday, April 27, 10-6p, Post-course online class, Saturday, May 4, 3-5pm. Cost $150. Limited to 12 participants. To register and for more information, contact Wendy Hubbard at whubbard0@gmail.com.

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

Monday, Mar 11, 2019, 1045am ~ Feel (Rather Than Figure) It Out

Delirium [Dub Mix] 6:15 Euphoria
Back to the Earth 5:27 Rusted Root
Sweeter Love 8:09 Blue Six
Serpentine Fire 3:50 Earth, Wind & Fire
Mothership 3:14 Kid Beyond
It’s Alright 3:28 Dar Williams
Crazy Knowledge (Soul Of Man Remix) 6:29 Dreadzone
Feel On Baby 5:07 The Rolling Stones
CAN’T STOP THE FEELING! 3:58 Justin Timberlake
Domination 7:26 Peace Orchestra
Elephant (Dub) 6:07 Spiral System
Far Away The End 2:19 Jeroen Elfferich

Tuesday, Mar 12, 2018, 840am ~ Feel (Rather Than Figure) It Out

Delirium [Dub Mix] 6:15 Euphoria
Serpentine Fire 3:50 Earth, Wind & Fire
Mothership 3:14 Kid Beyond
It’s Alright 3:28 Dar Williams
Crazy Knowledge (Soul Of Man Remix) 6:29 Dreadzone
Dance Little Sister 3:55 Terence Trent D’Arby
Domination 7:26 Peace Orchestra
Elephant (Dub) 6:07 Spiral System
Far Away The End 2:19 Jeroen Elfferich

Wednesday, Mar 13, 2018, 11am ~ Feel (Rather Than Figure) It Out

How Does It Feel 4:57 Afterlife
Back to the Earth 5:27 Rusted Root
Sweeter Love 8:09 Blue Six
Mothership 3:14 Kid Beyond
Crazy Knowledge (Soul Of Man Remix) 6:29 Dreadzone
I Don’t Feel Like Dancin’ 4:48 Scissor Sisters
Feel It All – Band Jam 3:50 KT Tunstall
Domination 7:26 Peace Orchestra
Elephant (Dub) 6:07 Spiral System
The Essence One 3:24 Jeroen Elfferich

Thursday, Mar 14, 2018, 840am ~ Feel (Rather Than Figure) It Out

How Does It Feel 4:57 Afterlife
Back to the Earth 5:27 Rusted Root
Sweeter Love 8:09 Blue Six
Mothership 3:14 Kid Beyond
Crazy Knowledge (Soul Of Man Remix) 6:29 Dreadzone
I Don’t Feel Like Dancin’ 4:48 Scissor Sisters
Feel It All – Band Jam 3:50 KT Tunstall
Domination 7:26 Peace Orchestra
Elephant (Dub) 6:07 Spiral System
The Essence Five 2:21 Jeroen Elfferich

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!

In May, my mother-in-law and sister- and brother-in-law are driving from Minnesota to Virginia for a visit. After the excitement of getting the dates in the calendar, my first thought was, “I need to figure out what I’ll cook for them!”

After a sleepless night, I walk to yoga thinking, “I’m tired so I should figure out how many Wheels to do in class today.”

A friend announces her upcoming birthday party and I think, “Hmmm, now to figure out what to wear!”

It happens when I’m driving. And when I’m falling asleep. And doing chores. It happens a lot.
I catch myself figuring things out that aren’t actually things that need to be figured out.

In her book, The Not So Big Life, Sarah Susanka makes the distinction between “working mind” and “thinking mind.” She says,

…the spontaneous response to situations in the present moment is “working mind,” a label coined by the author and teacher Ramesh Balsekar. This is mind without baggage, with out preconceiving and second-guessing. As soon as you find yourself planning how to cope with a situation or with an eventuality that might come about as a consequence of a projected sequence of events, you are in “thinking mind” — the mind that believes it is up to it to orchestrate reality. (p. 186)

I notice that when I say “I need to figure out…” the space between my eyebrows contracts, my eyes (and brain) get a little tight. This is the sensation of “thinking mind” and it not only takes me out of the present moment, it is exhausting.

“It is not half so important to know as to feel.” – Rachel Carson

I’m married to a man who was born to build things. He creates furniture, cabinetry and beautiful spaces to live in. One of the results of his gift is that I’ve moved quite a lot in the past 20 years. We’re about to move into our sixth home together (not including our rolling camper home and various other places we stayed when we were between houses). Usually when faced with a move, I go into full-on FIGURE IT OUT mode so I can “cope with an eventuality that might come about as a consequence of a projected sequence of events.” This time, I’ve done my best to approach the move from “working mind.” I’m doing my best to be more in the flow and the inspiration, clearing spaces and making decisions from how it feels rather than from between my eyebrows.

This is not to say that planning is a bad thing, or even that thinking is a bad thing. Planning and thinking are tools that are extraordinarily helpful. Instead, I’m practicing noticing when I am over-planning, over-controlling, over-managing. When I find myself spinning and grinding and trying really hard to figure something out, instead I’m feel it out. Often, this means trusting that I will know when I need to know with more wisdom than I could possibly know now.

In her dharma talk on impermanence, Tara Brach quotes poet John O’Donohue:

“We’re so busy managing our life so to cover over this great mystery we’re involved in.”

What would happen if you dropped unnecessary managing and controlling and stepped into the mystery? What might it be like to trust that the present is unfolding and that you can sense what is the most skillful next step.

Instead of figuring it out, feel in.


This week’s focus – No Time To Rush – was inspired by two talks by Tara Brach, meditation teacher and author. Those talks are Impermanence: Awakening Through Insecurity, Part 1 & Part 2, they are powerful good and I hope you’ll listen to them both.

One of the stories she refers to is this:

Before saying a word, he [Ajahn Chah*] motioned to a glass at his side. “Do you see this glass?” he asked us. “I love this glass. It holds the water admirably. When the sun shines on it, it reflects the light beautifully. When I tap it, it has a lovely ring. Yet for me, this glass is already broken. When the wind knocks it over or my elbow knocks it off the shelf and it falls to the ground and shatters, I say, ‘Of course.’ But when I understand that this glass is already broken, every minute with it is precious.”
*Ajahn Chah, 20th Century Thai Buddhist Monk

Imagine walking through the world with the understanding that everything is already broken and how that understanding would invite you to deeply appreciate and savor your life.

Below are our playlists for the week. If you’d like to listen to the music, you can find almost all the songs on Spotify (you can listen for free)! As always, please let me know if you have any questions about any of the music we dance to!

In this week’s playlists, a tip of the hat to Leslie Luxenberg who sent me On The Way Home by Buffalo Springfield (I’m a fan, but I’d never heard this one before) that was spot on our focus:

Though we rush ahead
to save our time
We are only what we feel
And I love you,
can you feel it now.

Thank you, Leslie!

Friends, I am always ALWAYS looking for new music. Do you have a song that you love to move to or that moves you? I’d love to know what it is! Please respond in the comments below or email me at sjmnia@gmail.com!

Before the playlists, some announcements of things that are happening!

Author Fest 2019 at the Waynesboro Public Library on March 16
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!

Nia Jam on Friday, March 29, 5:45-7pm
The acac Nia team will offer a Nia Jam on Friday, March 29 from 545-7pm! More details soon!

First Friday Freedance with Kate ~ April 5 at 11:25am
Nia Freedance is an opportunity to play and tap into the creative wisdom in our body, emotions, mind and spirit. For a full hour we get to dance together with the intention of stimulating our own unique movement creativity. The next Nia Freedance will be at ACAC Albemarle Square Friday, April 5 from 11:25 -12:25.

Honoring the Effect of Trauma in our Lives with Larry Goldstein and Wendy Hubbard April 27
Larry Goldstein and Wendy Hubbard lead a workshop on releasing the grip of trauma using structures work, personal stories, and group work. Structures enable a person to go back safely to a traumatic memory with crucial support that was missing then and offers fresh options — an alternative memory – a different outcome in which basic human needs are met and longing for love and protection are fulfilled. This reconstructs inner implicit memory maps in the brain and helps people become viscerally acquainted with feelings that were lacking early in their lives. Pre-course online class Saturday, April 20, 3-5pm, In Person One-Day Class Saturday, April 27, 10-6p, Post-course online class, Saturday, May 4, 3-5pm. Cost $150. Limited to 12 participants. To register and for more information, contact Wendy Hubbard at whubbard0@gmail.com.

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

Monday, Mar 4, 2019, 1045am ~ No Time To Rush

Sofa Rockers [Richard Dorfmeister Remix] 8:34 Sofa Surfers
Living In The Moment 3:55 Jason Mraz
Fingerbeat 5:57 Drumspyder
Illusion (Rollercone Remix) 4:35 Limbo Experience
Further in Time 6:32 Afro Celt Sound System
Go2006 Mix 4:23 Moby
La Da Da 3:32 The Makepeace Brothers
Dust in the Wind 3:30 Daughter Darling
Desert Dancer [Zeb’s Slow Camel Ride Remix] 6:05 Nickodemus
Forget About The Future 5:13 Sting
Slow Dawn 5:19 David Darling

Tuesday, Mar 5, 2018, 840am ~ No Time To Rush

Sofa Rockers [Richard Dorfmeister Remix] 8:34 Sofa Surfers
Living In The Moment 3:55 Jason Mraz
Fingerbeat 5:57 Drumspyder
Illusion (Rollercone Remix) 4:35 Limbo Experience
Further in Time 6:32 Afro Celt Sound System
Go2006 Mix 4:23 Moby
La Da Da 3:32 The Makepeace Brothers
Dust in the Wind 3:30 Daughter Darling
Forget About The Future 5:13 Sting
Slow Dawn 5:19 David Darling

Wednesday, Mar 6, 2018, 11am ~ No Time To Rush

One Good Dub 8:16 Kaya Project
Living In The Moment 3:55 Jason Mraz
Fingerbeat 5:57 Drumspyder
On the Way Home  2:56 Neil Young & Bluenote Café
Illusion (Rollercone Remix) 4:35 Limbo Experience
Go2006 Mix 4:23 Moby
Adagio for Strings [Remix by Ferry Corsten] 6:35 William Orbit
La Da Da 3:32 The Makepeace Brothers
Dust in the Wind 3:30 Daughter Darling
Dobro 4:55 Kaya Project
Slow Like Honey  5:59 Fiona Apple

Thursday, Mar 7, 2018, 840am ~ No Time To Rush

One Good Dub 8:16 Kaya Project
Living In The Moment 3:55 Jason Mraz
Fingerbeat 5:57 Drumspyder
On the Way Home  2:56 Neil Young & Bluenote Café
Illusion (Rollercone Remix) 4:35 Limbo Experience
Go2006 Mix 4:23 Moby
Adagio for Strings [Remix by Ferry Corsten] 6:35 William Orbit
La Da Da 3:32 The Makepeace Brothers
Dust in the Wind 3:30 Daughter Darling
Dobro 4:55 Kaya Project
Slow Dawn 5:19 David Darling

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!


I had a dream that I died. Or that I was about to die. I had gotten some kind of diagnosis and (true to my food-centric, vegetarian form) the plan was to eat my lunch salad, then take a pill that would end my life.

This might sound like a bummer of a dream but it wasn’t. First, I was overjoyed to wake up. Then I was intensely aware of the unspeakable sweetness of living…and of its impermanence.

Since The Dream, I’ve been renegotiating my relationship to time. I’ve been paying attention to when I rush through, scrabble over, gobble up my life. I’m doing my best to slow down, savor more, embody presence.

Sometimes it goes better than others.

Last week, I was having a rough go of it when I came across two dharma talks by meditation teacher and author, Tara Brach. Her words often inspire me but these connected straight to everything I’ve been feeling about transience. The two talks are Impermanence: Awakening Through Insecurity, Part 1 & Part 2, and I strongly recommend them both. Listening to them brought me to tears and to laughter. Her stories and words reverberate in my heart and mind still. (These two talks have planted seeds for a whole slew of focuses for our movement together, so stay tuned for more on them in coming weeks.)

In the second talk, Tara tells the story of a woman who’s been diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer with the prognosis of one year to live. She has a 2-year-old daughter. Her mantra, her mission becomes this:

No Time To Rush.

When we are truly aware, not in an intellectual way but in a heart and soul way, that our lives will one day be over, what becomes important? What matters? Perhaps counterintuitively, all my hurrying to accomplish things, all my squeezing as much as I possibly can into every single day suddenly seems like the opposite of what is important.

Yesterday, at the busy, noisy grocery store, I waited in the cashier’s line to pay for a cart full of vegetables. When it was my turn, the cashier hastily picked up my reusable bags, “I’m sorry, hold on, please,” he said as he set them up on the counter, “Let me get your bags ready to load.” With the dharma talk words moving around in me, I looked at him and said, “It’s no rush. Take your time.”

He stopped propping the bags up and look straight at me.
“Did you say, ‘It’s no rush’?” he asked.
“I did.”
“Well, let me take a sip of coffee then,” he smiled and stopped long enough for a swig from his travel cup.
He took a breath and so did I.

Rushing is contagious. I wonder about the countless times I’ve impatiently checked out of grocery stores, silently urging the cashier to go faster. In all those hurry-up encounters, the humanness of the moment, and actually, the moment itself was lost. In our Get ‘Er Done culture, it is a gift to give each other a little time, a little breathing room, a sip of coffee.

It’s been a curious exploration to slow down my rushing. Coincidentally (if you believe in those things), I am reading Sarah Susanka’s book The Not So Big Life. In it, she invites the exploration of priorities, questioning of choices and an examination how we spend our time. She writes,

Now is experienced not as time but as presence and although we are aware of flow, it’s as if its duration is incidental, it barely touches us, much as a leaf floating along on a stream would barely be aware of the water’s movement. (p. 147)

This is the dance of No Time To Rush. Allow time to be a flow rather than a commodity. Allow myself to be the leaf floating effortlessly rather than the dam trying to control it.

It is inexpressibly precious, this life. Even with all its messiness and pain and confusion, it is exquisite and worth savoring. None of us has time to rush.

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