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After last summer of selling our house before our new house was ready and living out of our camper and the kindness of others, you’d think I would have planned something a little less wild this summer. But no. That’s not what happened. So as my crazy summer continues, I was so happy to be home and dancing for my 52nd Galactic Return birthday. Thank you everybody who came out to celebrate the cycles and circles in all of our lives.

The playlist for the new routine, Galactic Return: Blue Rhythmic Hand, is below or you can listen to it by going to Spotify! Rock out for free at Spotify! Sign up for free, follow me at “susanmcculley” and you’ll find my public playlists ~ just click and listen!

If you’d like to find out your very own Galactic Signature, you can do it here — then share it in the comments below or on the Focus Pocus Facebook page !

First the announce-y things:

• dance. sit. create. ~ the next delicious day-treat on Saturday, October 1, 830am-5pm
You are creative. You are an artist. Even if your elementary school art teacher told you differently. Whatever you think and feel about dancing, sitting and creativity, this day is for you. Whether you identify with the words “dance sit create.” and think, “Heck, yeah” or if you shake your head and say, “I can’t do those things” or “That’s not me,” this day is for you. Please join me for a delicious day of living at the intersection of movement, stillness, and art. If you’ve come before, come again. If you’ve never joined us, this is a great time.

Early Bird: $80 if registered by August 1. Late Bird: $95 if registered by September 15. Creative Bird: Get an additional $5 off by making something (a photo! a drawing! a haiku! a kid! anything!) and sharing a picture of it on any social media with this link (www.susanmcculley.com/workshops-retreats/dance-sit-create) and use the hashtag #dancesitcreate. (OR send something you’ve made to Susan and she will share it!)

Limited to 20 participants [NOTE: We are a little more than half full!]. Questions? Please connect with Susan at sjmnia@gmail.com or between August 7-26, please call or text to 434.960.9959.

• Peacemakers ~ A Special FREE class at Buck Mountain Episcopal Parish Hall on Friday, September 2, 6-7pm
In the cultural swirl of hate, fear, and discrimination, how do we become peacemakers? The unending tide of suffering is enough to swamp us into hopeless inaction. Inspired by an article by Patricia Pearce called Three Ways To Be A Peacemaker In A Time of Hatred, (I wrote about it in July), this is a class focused on what we can do now and in every moment to promote peace in ourselves and in the world. Please RSVP and get more information here. This class is FREE and open to everyone no matter your experience or fitness. All donations go to the Buck Mountain Health & Wellness Ministry.

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

*** PLAYLIST NOTE: My playlists can also be found on Spotify https://www.spotify.com/us/ by following “susanmcculley” (no space) and look for Public Playlists. Sometimes music is not available on Spotify so I may replace with another version or skip songs . ***

Wednesday, Aug 3, 1045am and Thursday, Aug 4, 2016~ Galactic Return: Blue Rhythmic Hand

Blue Rhythmic Hand 2:33 Lawrence Lougheed
Drawn To The Rhythm 4:12 Sarah McLachlan
A Go Go (Boozoo Bajou Mix) 5:47 Truby Trio
7 Years 3:57 Lukas Graham Lukas Graham
Galactivation 4:41 Shakatura
Will It Go Round in Circles 4:29 Billy Preston
Blue 6:29 LaTour
Camioux (Biggabush Version) 4:55 Boozoo Bajou
Fire to Me 4:36 Hyper/The Crystal Method
We Are Circling 3:05 Buffy Sainte-Marie
Windmills Of Your Mind 4:17 Sting
You’re Aging Well 4:12 Dar Williams
Returning 7 12:27 Jennifer Berezan

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!

073116 grbrh

The blueberry bushes in Rebecca’s back yard tower over me, their lanky branches intertwined like a roof. Armed with my colander, I snake around, between, and under. I keep thinking I’ve found all the ripe berries but when I circle around again and look from a different angle, inevitably there is fruit that I’ve missed.

The way I dance around the blueberry bushes is the way I dance around my days. Big issues plant themselves in front of me – love, parenting, friendship, money, vocation, art – and I spiral around them. As soon as I think I’ve figured it out, as soon as I nod confidently and say “oh, yeah, I’ve got this,” I look from a different perspective and see something new I’ve never seen before.

Wednesday, August 3 is my 52nd birthday. Most people would say it isn’t a “big” one but for me, it’s the biggest yet.

In the 13 Moon Natural Time calendar, every day is unique. Every day has its own Galactic Signature: 260 unique fingerprints made up of combinations of four colors, thirteen tones and twenty tribes.

  • Today’s Galactic Signature is Yellow Electric Seed.
  • The Galactic Signature on Thanksgiving Day will be Yellow Lunar Sun.
  • The Bicentennial in 1976 was Red Magnetic Earth.
  • September 11, 2001 was Blue Self-Existing Monkey.
  • The day Donald Trump was born was Blue Electric Hand.
  • The day Hillary Clinton was born was White Galactic World-Bridger.
  • The day you were born had a signature, too. (You can look it up here.)

Each of the 260 signatures has a meditation that decodes its energy and essence (you’ll find that here, as well.)

On the day I was born, August 3, 1964, the Galactic Signature was Blue Rhythmic Hand and the meditation is:

I Organize in order to Know
Balancing Healing
I seal the Store of Accomplishment
With the Rhythmic tone of Equality
I am guided by my own power doubled

Every 260 days since I was born, Blue Rhythmic Hand has been the signature of the day. But never since the day I was born has that signature fallen on August 3…until this year. After 52 years, a cycle is complete and a new cycle begins. In the 13 Moon Calendar, the 52nd birthday is called the Galactic Return.

Fifty-two, then, is a BIG birthday. The Galactic Return is celebrated as a time of rebirth and renewal , the finishing of a cycle and the beginning of something new. My friend and Nia colleague, Zan Tewksbury, says that her Galactic Return was about the freedom and responsibility to write her own story. Her willingness to step out of the expectations of society, family and even herself allows her to live more authentically from her essence. And while that can be disorienting and scary, the unfolding adventure is worth the discomfort.

“The day came,” wrote essayist Anais Nin, “when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” Perhaps that day comes on the Galactic Return or maybe it happens at another time. The Galactic Return routine celebrates all courageous human choices to see life from different perspectives and to reimagine ourselves. It’s about all our returnings and rewritings.

We are all circling and spiraling through time – experiencing repeating patterns and cycles. What’s more, all our circles and spirals are intersecting and interweaving. Galactic Return: Blue Rhythmic Hand is a physical and symbolic honoring of all of us swimming in the river of time, circling together through past and present and now.

[I’ll launch the Galactic Return: Blue Rhythmic Hand routine on Wednesday, August 3 at 11am at acac Albemarle Square and then teach it again on Thursday, August 4 at 840am at acac downtown. I’ll then be traveling for a couple of weeks and will return to teaching the routine on August 29.]

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If I want to live in peace, I have work to do. I need to open my eyes and mind and heart to what is happening to the most vulnerable among us. And I must understand my unearned privledges. In addition to Patricia Pearse’s post about being a peacemaker , I highly recommend this post on white privilege. We can’t solve problems that we don’t or won’t see.

Just one class this week before we head north to visit our family in northern Minnesota. (People, I am packing a sweater and jeans which blows my mind.) I’ll be back and teaching on August 3 & 4, to my new routine (see announce-y things below).

Monday’s playlist is below or you can listen to it by going to Spotify! Rock out for free at Spotify! Sign up for free, follow me at “susanmcculley” and you’ll find my public playlists ~ just click and listen!

And first the announce-y things:

• dance. sit. create. ~ another in the evolving series of day-treats on Saturday, October 1, 830am-5pm
You are creative. You are an artist. Even if your elementary school art teacher told you differently. Whatever you think and feel about dancing, sitting and creativity, this day is for you. Whether you identify with the words “dance sit create.” and think, “Heck, yeah” or if you shake your head and say, “I can’t do those things” or “That’s not me,” this day is for you. Please join me for a delicious day of living at the intersection of movement, stillness, and art. If you’ve come before, come again. If you’ve never joined us, this is a great time.
Early Bird: $80 if registered by August 1. Late Bird: $95 if registered by September 15. Creative Bird: Get an additional $5 off by making something (a photo! a drawing! a haiku! a kid! anything!) and sharing a picture of it on any social media with this link (www.susanmcculley.com/workshops-retreats/dance-sit-create) and use the hashtag #dancesitcreate. (OR send something you’ve made to Susan and she will share it!)
Limited to 20 participants. Questions? Please connect with Susan at sjmnia@gmail.com

• Routine Seventeen Launch ~ Galactic Return: Blue Rhythmic Hand
The new routine is coming together! The next class I teach on Monday, August 3 at 11am at acac Albemarle square will be its full debut! I will teach it again the following day, Thursday, August 4 at 840am at acac downtown and more later in August. Wear blue and please do join me!

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

*** PLAYLIST NOTE: My playlists can also be found on Spotify https://www.spotify.com/us/ by following “susanmcculley” (no space) and look for Public Playlists. Sometimes music is not available on Spotify so I may replace with another version or skip songs . ***

Monday, Jul 25, 2016, 1045am ~ Peacemakers

Peace Train 4:02 Cat Stevens
Drawn To The Rhythm 4:12 Sarah McLachlan
A Go Go (Boozoo Bajou Mix) 5:47 Truby Trio
7 Years 3:57 Lukas Graham Lukas Graham
Galactivation 4:41 Shakatura Galactivation
Will It Go Round in Circles 4:29 Billy Preston
Give Peace a Chance 4:35 Aerosmith/Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars
Why Must I Feel Like This Today? [Feat. Baaba Maal, Michael Franti, Ulali, Radio Active & Krishna Das]
I Have Seen Trouble [Feat. Aluta & Michael Stipe] 7:21 1 Giant Leap
Inlakesh 3:58 Lou Rhodes
Peace 4:44 FRUiT
Nagual 4:03 Michael Hewett

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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Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me. ~ Sy Miller & Jill Jackson

One hundred and fifteen yoga mats squeeze into the old school auditorium and on each mat, a person ready to practice. Before the teacher begins, two assistants weave through the maze and leave a small card at the top of each mat. One hundred and fifteen cards each with the name of someone who has died in acts of racial violence and police brutality. Each card is unique. There are plenty of names — far, far more than our numbers here.

I’ve never done anything like this before: a yoga class and peace vigil to bear witness to racial violence in our country to benefit the Black Lives Matter movement.

I’m not a particularly political person. Stories of violence and hatred upset me so I read news sparingly. Even my beloved NPR becomes too much for me. After listening on my way to teach class, I would find myself staggering to the studio feeling buffeted and disoriented by the latest reports of brutality, bloodshed, hatred, and racism, so I often turn it off. But lately, it’s been too much to ignore.

While I am honored to be participating and am grateful for the transcendent leadership of Eboni Bugg, I feel awkward, too. As a white woman, should I be here? Am I offending anyone by tearing up when the card with “Xavier McDonald” is place on my mat? Is it okay for me to lift my fist? To say that this is important to me, too? I honestly don’t know. But I can’t close my eyes to what’s happening. I itch to do something to help.

The yoga vigil was beautiful: the music, movement, guidance, all 115 of us, all with our names. I’m glad I was there, awkwardness and all. And it wasn’t nearly enough. I left wondering what to do next. Organizers promise events in the future, but at the moment, I am at a loss.

I was grateful, then, that a friend shared Patricia Pearce’s article, Three Ways To Be A Peacemaker In A Time of Hatred, as it offers a personal practice of peace-making.

The three ways that the article suggests are:

Stand in Solidarity with Those Under Attack
Love the Person Consumed by Hatred
Heal Your Own Mind

These are practices that I can do anytime. I don’t have to wait for a vigil, a rally or a march. I can be a peacemaker right now, exactly where I am.

It’s impossible to have peace in the larger community unless we have it in our own hearts and minds. So while the Black Lives Matter network addresses the enormous issue of hatred in our country, we can use these peacemaker practices in any situation: in our cities, our communities, our families, and inside ourselves.

As I move through my interactions with others, with the vitriol at National Conventions, with the news on NPR, and the voices in my own head, I can practice being a peacemaker. By supporting those under attack, offering love to the attacker, and caring for my mind, I am making small steps toward the healing I wish for the world.

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Without memory, there is no culture. Without memory, there would be no civilization, no society, no future. ~ Elie Wiesel

This week we tapped into the nursery rhyme wisdom of row, row, row your boat: life is but a dream except when living in the mindful present moment! To paraphrase my brilliant yoga teacher, the best way to prepare for the future and to process the past is to be fully present in the now.

We also celebrated Sarah L’s 70th birthday (below is the recipe for the deeelicious raw chocolates she made ~~ Wow!) and we sang along with local band, Beleza’s cover of L’il Liza Jane (check out their video using local kids at the IX Art Park!) along with Patty Griffin’s Rowing Song and Denis Gauthier’s version of Michael Row Your Boat Ashore complete with didgeridoo!

All this week’s playlists are below or you can listen to them by going to Spotify! Rock out for free at Spotify! Sign up for free, follow me at “susanmcculley” and you’ll find my public playlists ~ just click and listen!

And first the announce-y things:

• dance. sit. create. ~ another in the evolving series of day-treats on Saturday, October 1, 830am-5pm
You are creative. You are an artist. Even if your elementary school art teacher told you differently. Whatever you think and feel about dancing, sitting and creativity, this day is for you. Whether you identify with the words “dance sit create.” and think, “Heck, yeah” or if you shake your head and say, “I can’t do those things” or “That’s not me,” this day is for you. Please join me for a delicious day of living at the intersection of movement, stillness, and art. If you’ve come before, come again. If you’ve never joined us, this is a great time.
Early Bird: $80 if registered by August 1. Late Bird: $95 if registered by September 15. Creative Bird: Get an additional $5 off by making something (a photo! a drawing! a haiku! a kid! anything!) and sharing a picture of it on any social media with this link (www.susanmcculley.com/workshops-retreats/dance-sit-create) and use the hashtag #dancesitcreate. (OR send something you’ve made to Susan and she will share it!)
Limited to 20 participants. Questions? Please connect with Susan at sjmnia@gmail.com

• Routine Seventeen Launch ~ Galactic Return: Blue Rhythmic Hand
The new routine is coming together! On Monday, I’ll debut some of Galactic Return and then I’ll launch it in full at a special class on Wednesday, August 3 (my 52nd birthday) at 11am at acac albemarle square and teach it again the following day, Thursday, August 4 at 840am at acac downtown. Please wear blue and please do join me!

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

Susan sig

*** PLAYLIST NOTE: My playlists can also be found on Spotify https://www.spotify.com/us/ by following “susanmcculley” (no space) and look for Public Playlists. Sometimes music is not available on Spotify so I may replace with another version or skip songs . ***

Monday, Jul 18, 2016, 1045am ~ Row Your Boat

Fragile Beauty 4:20 Chris Coco
Here and Now 5:30 Del Amitri
Mulatica Mia (Cuba Remix) 5:32 The Tao Of Groove
Palais Mascotte 5:47 Patrick Duvoisin
No Quiero Nada Mas 4:46 Sancti Spiritus
Keep On Searching 5:08 Kraak & Smaak
Dance Floor (Nu Brazilia Remix) 5:28 The Tao Of Groove
Time is Now 5:41 Veeresh and the Humaniversity Sound
Piece of My Heart 4:13 Big Brother & The Holding Company
Li’l Liza Jane 3:25 Beleza
Rowing Song 3:27 Patty Griffin
Michael Row Your Boat Ashore 2:33 Denis Gauthier
Row, Row, Row, Your Boat 2:46 Jon Michael

Tuesday, Jul 19, 2016, 840am ~ Row Your Boat

Fragile Beauty 4:20 Chris Coco
Here and Now 5:30 Del Amitri
Mulatica Mia (Cuba Remix) 5:32 The Tao Of Groove
Palais Mascotte 5:47 Patrick Duvoisin
No Quiero Nada Mas 4:46 Sancti Spiritus
Keep On Searching 5:08 Kraak & Smaak
Dance Floor (Nu Brazilia Remix) 5:28 The Tao Of Groove
The Time is Now 3:55 Moioko
Li’l Liza Jane 3:25 Beleza
Rowing Song 3:27 Patty Griffin
Michael Row Your Boat Ashore 2:33 Denis Gauthier
Row, Row, Row, Your Boat 2:46 Jon Michael

Wednesday, Jul 20, 2016, 11am ~ Row Your Boat

Wish U Were Here 6:12 Bliss
Living In The Moment 3:55 Jason Mraz
Qalanderi 7:10 Cheb i Sabbah
Keep On Searching 5:08 Kraak & Smaak
Deeper (Into Places) (Silk Spinner Mix) 6:23 Afterlife
Long Train Running (Groovy Dooby Mix) 5:07 DJ’s Brothers
Played A Live 6:46 Safri Duo
And She Was 3:39 Talking Heads
Rowing Song 3:27 Patty Griffin
Michael Row Your Boat Ashore 2:33 Denis Gauthier
Row, Row, Row, Your Boat 2:46 Jon Michael Ogletree
Shanti (Peace Out) 6:59 MC Yogi

Thursday, Jul 21, 2016, 840am ~ Row Your Boat

Wish U Were Here 6:12 Bliss
Living In The Moment 3:55 Jason Mraz
Qalanderi 7:10 Cheb i Sabbah
Keep On Searching 5:08 Kraak & Smaak
Deeper (Into Places) (Silk Spinner Mix) 6:23 Afterlife
Long Train Running (Groovy Dooby Mix) 5:07 DJ’s Brothers
Played A Live 6:46 Safri Duo
And She Was 3:39 Talking Heads
Rowing Song 3:27 Patty Griffin
Michael Row Your Boat Ashore 2:33 Denis Gauthier
Row, Row, Row, Your Boat 2:46 Jon Michael Ogletree

Saturday, Jul 23, 2016, 1245pm ~ The 9 Movement Forms (Healing Arts)

Amazing 4:34 One Eskimo
A Canterbury Tale 8:41 Dreadzone
Lovers House 4:49 City Reverb
(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction 2:41 Devo
Work That Body 5:35 Nia Sounds
Jogando Capoeira 6:20 Beatfanatic
Shakin’ It Up 6:15 Ganga Giri
Raag Trance 5:32 Biddu
Shining Path 7:23 Dreadzone
Deep Inside 5:06 Kid Beyond
Let It Go 2:16 Jamie Catto & Alex Forster

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!

 

Sarah’s Raw Chocolate and Almond Squares or Balls – Vegan

Ingredients

1 cup almond meal

1 cup pitted dates

½ cup dried cherries

¾ cup raw cacao (ground beans)

½ cup maple syrup or honey

1 cup organic coconut oil

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Pinch of salt

Instructions

Put all of the ingredients into the bowl of a food processor and puree until very smooth. To make bars or flat shapes – line a 9×12 inch sheet pan with parchment paper, spread mix evenly in pan and refrigerate for at least two hours.

You can also roll them into balls using a tablespoon of mix and refrigerate for two hours. If you want you can roll them in shredded coconut, finely chopped almonds or hazelnuts. Keep refrigerated.

Makes around 50 balls or squares

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Art in Action is a weekly post: a simple, practical guide to applying the ideas and principles in the Focus Pocus posts to your body and life. As always, I love to hear from you about how you use them and how you translate the ideas into action.

“The best way to prepare for the next pose is to fully be in this one.”
~ Kelly Stine, Yoga and Life Instructor

Live in the present moment. Be here now.

These are not new ideas.

Spiritual teachers have been inviting us into the present for eons. From before Buddha to Ram Das to Eckhart Tolle and to the body itself, the great teachers are calling us to Now.

The mind can get caught up in the slippery nature of now but not the body. The body thrives in now’s spacious, flowing and constant change. When the mind wants to wander to past and future, here are 5 ways to reconnect to now.

Now ~

1. Feel your body. The most direct way to be present is to feel the physical sensation that is happening in this moment. And you can do this in any place, time and situation. Just feel whatever sensations you are aware of: your feet on the floor, your butt in the chair, your heart beating, your breath flowing. If the moment is challenging and sensation feels indistinct, just wiggle your toes!

2. Use your senses. All of the senses bring you into the now, too. Stop and listen to whatever sounds are arising. Smell and taste, especially, when eating and drinking but at other times, too. What does the conference room smell like? Or your car? Or, of course, the flowers! Swallow and taste your own mouth. Look with curiosity especially at familiar objects and scenes.

3. Sense for details. The mind can get tricky with sensation. As soon as it feels something, it can attach a story (Oh, man, I must have overdone it in the garden and that’s why my back hurts) or a fear (I’ve hurt my ankle, and now I won’t be able to dance at the wedding!) or a plan (I should put ice on this and call the doctor and cancel my classes). Instead of all that, simply feel what is actually happening: does it feel tight or tingly? achy or hot? pulsing or numb? See how much detail you can sense.

Past ~

4. Memory Now. Of course, memory is essential and we all think about things that have happened in the past. When you find yourself thinking about something from the past, rather than spinning the story, feel what that memory feels like now. Does your stomach get tight? Does heart beat faster? Do your eyes well up? Ground memory in now.

Future ~

5. Future Now. Similarly, we all have to spend time planning and looking forward into the future. Instead of letting the mind get carried away with all the great things that will happen after you get that job or all the terrible things that happen if you don’t, feel what that dream/plan/fear feels like right now. Again, your mind may get tricky with calculations and research (which may well be important and necessary) but let Now weigh in, too. Before making a decision, feel what it feels like now.

My version of my yoga teacher’s quote is “the best way to prepare for the future or process the past is to be fully present now.”

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Open your eyes, for this world is only a dream.
~ Rumi

Dreams are slippery little devils. Sometimes in the groggy early morning, Frank and I tell each other any dreams we had. But I have to be careful. If Frank tells his dream first, even if mine was vivid, it can slip away and dissolve before I can say it. It’s like holding onto a handful of sand in rushing water: it slides away between my fingers, irretrievably lost.

It’s not just night dreams that are slippery. Future dreams are elusive, too. Things I care deeply about like my personal future, or that of my children, or my country might feel clear in sweeping terms. I dream of traveling to Patagonia. I dream that my children will earn advanced degrees. I dream that America be a place where everyone is equal. But without clear steps toward making them happen, dreams tend to hover vaguely in the fuzzy, foggy sometime-future.

Fears for the future can be this way, too. I, like Mark Twain, have “had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened.” I can put a pile of energy into fretting over troubling upcoming scenarios. Either those things happen and I deal with them or they don’t and they float down the dreamy stream of the next thing I’m worrying on.

The past is weird. I mean, does it really exist? It feels like it exists, but where is it? And if it did exist but doesn’t now, then where did it go?
~ A Tale For the Time Being by Ruth Ozenki

The past is similarly slippery. Think about what you had for breakfast. You may well remember the granola and blueberries, but even recent memories quickly take on a watercolory quality. Memories from childhood or your early adulthood or even last year, slide into that same dreamy zone as if you are remembering the events of someone else’s life.

Brain research suggests that three things impact the memorability of an event. If something is novel, if we play close attention, and it is associated with a strong emotion, the memory will stay vivid. Mostly, though, the past is as easy to pin down as a fresh watermelon seed. Put your thumb on it and it squirts away and disappears under the fridge.

Row, Row, Row your boat,
Gently down the stream.
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily,
Life is but a dream.
~ late 19th Century nursery rhyme

If day dreams and night dreams and the past are all amorphous, diaphanous aspects of our consciousness, what about NOW?

In Ruth Ozenki’s A Tale For The Time Being, the young Japanese character, Nao, struggles with the transience of now. To her, it feels like now is as slippery as a fat tuna. She says,

NOW felt like a big fish swallowing a little fish, and I wanted to catch it and make it stop.
…In the time it takes to say now, now is already over. It’s already then.
Then is the opposite of now. So saying now obliterates its meaning, turning it into exactly what it isn’t. (pp 98-99)

I can think of now as a thing to pin down but like a wriggling minnow, it squirms away instantly. If I get too tight with it, now feels like a tiny rowboat that I’m precariously perched on in the stream of time.

Alternatively, I can see now as the biggest space there is, the only space there is. Now is where everything is happening. The most direct entry point to this expansive view of now is through the body and sensation. The body can only be right here and now and we can be there, too, when we practice directing our attention. Whether you are remembering when the mean kids picked on you in 2nd grade or dreaming forward to your future seaside home, your body remains right here and gives you information about how those dreams feel now. Staying in the expansive now is simply a matter of practice.

This is no news flash. The practice of staying present isn’t anything new, but recognizing the dream-like quality of past and future can help me remember to stay anchored in now. Fear, regret and excitement about things that have happened or haven’t happened yet, just make me miss the life I’m offered in the present.

The body lives only in the flow of now. With tight, narrow eyes, I feel myself teetering precariously in a tippy little row boat of now, or I can relax and open and feel it as a big, steady river boat floating merrily along.

Much of life feels like a dream but with practice we can choose to plant our feet on the sturdy deck of now.

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