At various times in the past week, my art room spilled from my office into the living room and occasionally onto the kitchen table. I’ve had watercolors drying on one table with pens and pencils scattered around on the floor and paper, notes, and quotes interspersed in all of it. At any given time, there were at least two pairs of glasses in the mix, a couple of rulers, scissors, and some glue.

After art-ing for a while, I take some time to go through what I’ve made and decide which pieces I might use and how. But then I pop up from my art bubble, survey the mess with uneasiness. Even if I know I’m going to make art again in the not-too-distant future, I’ll clean it all up and put everything away.

It’s the process of creating — whether it’s in an art studio, a kitchen, on a construction site, or in a relationship. We messy things up, get out all the tools, the paint, the ladders and then we chop, draw, sauté, talk. Then, we pause and evaluate where we are and clear things up before creating some more.

I know builders who leave the site a jumble of scraps and tools and sawdust throughout a project. I know artists whose studios are in a constant state of disarray. I’ve had times in my life when relationships resided permanently in tangle of unresolved conversations and issues. I’ve heard it said that it’s all a work in progress so why put everything away if you’re just going to get it out again tomorrow?

But when I do that, I can’t find what I’m looking for, I forget what I’m doing, and I get easily distracted from what’s important. Art gets damaged or lost. Time and energy and food gets wasted. People don’t feel heard or seen.

I know people with woodworking shops that are so meticulously organized that they rarely use them. I’ve seen gleaming kitchens of granite and steel that never have sauce on the counter or a pile of pots in the sink. I’ve known relationships that stay neat and tidy and polite and don’t get much below the surface.

When I over-focus on the tidy, creativity and exploration rarely happen. I stay in safer waters, where growth and possibility (and awkward feelings) don’t come into play.

For me, the best is a mix of the messy and the clean. In order to be more centered, clear, creative and adventurous, I have to messy it up, then clean it up, then do it again. Play around. Experiment. Muck about. Then clean it up. From there I can figure out where all my tools are, what the next step might be, and what I needfor the next round of creating.

It’s a cycle of chaos and order, over and over again that moves us forward and keeps us growing. It’s the back and forth from mess to clean that keeps us from getting mired in the clutter or hamstrung by the neatness.

Whatever you’re doing, messy it up, then clean it up, then do it again.

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Put enough small steps, little actions, tiny choices together and they add up to powerful change. Thanks to Mary Linn Bergstrom for dancing Step by Step on Tuesday and Wednesday. It was delicious (and what will I do without you?). On Monday and Thursday, we played with an evolving routine that I’m playing with called Step by Step, Little by Little. I’d love to know what you think.

You can find all the 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!

Before the music, though, announcements and other goodness:

Locker Room Renovation at Albemarle Square
Renovations on the locker rooms at Albemarle Square are happening now and both the men’s and women’s locker rooms are closed. For all the information, please click on the sidebar link on the right side: acac Locker Room Renovation 2018.

Woman Bug Blog Post in Streetlight Magazine
If you’ve seen the Buddha Cat book, you know that not just black cats but Woman Bugs are full of wisdom. This week, a piece I wrote about the creative process and why I want to be a Woman Bug came out in Streetlight Magazine. I hope you’ll check it out here.

Buddha Cat: Learning Awareness, Presence & Self-Care from a Teacher Who Sometimes Barf on the Bed … Second Printing Is Here!
Buddha Cat is in full swing and on sale at my site! If you haven’t yet, you can go to http://www.susanmcculley.com and sign up to be a Buddha Cat Backer. You will then have access to a discount code for free shipping that never expires for Backers! And you can find not just the book but art and cards!

Buddha Cat & More at the Cville Arts Cooperative starting in November 8!
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 Virginia artists. My display goes up on November 8 ~~ 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 Now 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.
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.

Thanksgiving Day Nia at ACAC Downtown — Thursday, November 22, 8:15am
Start the holiday with mind-full, joy-full, grate-full movement! Please join Susan for a special Thanksgiving class on Thursday, November 22 from 8:15-9:15am (NOTE TIME CHANGE!). Bring a friend or relation! Or take some space for yourself.
acac hours ~ Thanksgiving Weekend
Wed, Nov 21, regular opening time and close at 7pm
Thanksgiving Day, Thu, Nov 22, 8am – 12noon
Fri, Nov 23, 8am opening, regular closing

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, Nov 5, 2018, 1045am ~ Step by Step, Little by Little

One Step Closer To You 4:41 Michael Franti & Spearhead
Little By Little 5:30 Groove Armada
Each Step Moves Us On [Feat. Zap Mama & Speech] 8:34 1 Giant Leap
Walk Into The Sun 5:21 Dirty Vegas
Welcome to the Journey 5:04 Cybertribe
Every Day is a Winding Road 4:23 Sheryl Crow
Little By Little 3:18 7 Worlds Collide
Steppin Out 3:44 Kaskade
Free Ziman Walking 5:13 Uman
Step By Step 4:13 Whitney Houston
Minute By Minute (2016 Remastered) 3:28 The Doobie Brothers
Homeward Journey 2:46 Satish Vyas
Journey Into Stillness 4:41 Gary Stroutsos

Tuesday, Nov 6, 2018, 840am and 545pm ~ Step by Step with Mary Linn

Stand By Me (Live from the Late Show with David Letterman) 2:49 Tracy Chapman
Caminando 4:18 Rising Appalachia
Mokil Shebil 6:28 Mashti meets Deep Dive Corp.
Put a Little Love in Your Heart 3:49 Al Green/Annie Lennox
Warriors (Album Versi 5:23 Vargo
Walk Into The Sun 5:21 Dirty Vegas
Little By Little 3:18 7 Worlds Collide
Step By Step 4:13 Whitney Houston
Minute By Minute (2016 Remastered) 3:28 The Doobie Brothers
Little By Little 5:30 Groove Armada
One Step Closer To You 4:41 Michael Franti & Spearhead
Journey Into Stillness 4:41 Gary Stroutsos

Wednesday, Nov 7, 2017, 11am ~ Step by Step with Mary Linn

Stand By Me (Live from the Late Show with David Letterman) 2:49 Tracy Chapman
Caminando 4:18 Rising Appalachia The Sails of Self
Mokil Shebil 6:28 Mashti meets Deep Dive Corp.
Put a Little Love in Your Heart 3:49 Al Green/Annie Lennox
Walk Into The Sun 5:21 Dirty Vegas
Little By Little 3:18 7 Worlds Collide
Step By Step 4:13 Whitney Houston
Minute By Minute (2016 Remastered) 3:28 The Doobie Brothers
Little By Little 5:30 Groove Armada
One Step Closer To You 4:41 Michael Franti & Spearhead
Homeward Journey 2:46 Satish Vyas
Journey Into Stillness 4:41 Gary Stroutsos

Thursday, Nov 8, 2017, 840am ~ Step by Step, Little by Little

Every Little Day 4:49 Greg Greenway
Each Step Moves Us On [Feat. Zap Mama & Speech] 8:34 1 Giant Leap
Walk Into The Sun 5:21 Dirty Vegas
Welcome to the Journey 5:04 Cybertribe
Every Day is a Winding Road 4:23 Sheryl Crow
Step By Step 4:13 Whitney Houston
Minute By Minute (2016 Remastered) 3:28 The Doobie Brothers
One Step Closer To You 4:41 Michael Franti & Spearhead
Little By Little 5:30 Groove Armada
Homeward Journey 2:46 Satish Vyas
Journey Into Stillness 4:41 Gary Stroutsos

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!


If you’ve been a Focus Pocus Follower for a while, you might remember a post from several years ago called Be An Ant. It’s a favorite of mine in that it explains a core philosophy that I learned from my husband, Frank. “Be an Ant” is a powerful approach that I do my best to apply every day: do what’s in front of you, little by little, one step at a time. Be an ant. (If you don’t remember the post, do go check it out!)

In the intervening years, I’ve watched Frank “be an ant” over and over. Most recently, I’ve watched him take on the enormous project of building a house with that “ant-y” perseverance. He has a vision for where the project is going and every step of the way, every single day, he moves in that direction. Whether it was building the foundation, framing the walls, hanging the siding or making 15 hand-papered lanterns to hang in our new dining room, he has plugged along without letting the enormity of it all overwhelm him.

And now we have 13 hand-papered lanterns drying all around the house!

 

These days, I can find myself quickly overwhelmed by the enormity of the suffering in the world. And yet, I can apply the “be an ant” principle to the state of the world just as we did to making lanterns. When I am talking to a bullied gay teen, or listening to a woman stuck in an abusive marriage, or reading the relentlessly hopeless headlines, I can choose to do whatever little thing I can do to help.

Buddhist teacher Sharon Salzberg says, “Do the good that’s in front of you even if it feels small.”

Step by step, little by little, we can make a difference. That’s being an ant for a hurting world.

CLASS NOTE: This week, Mary Linn Bergstrom and I will be teaching together for these classes:
Tuesday, Nov 6, 840-940am at acac downtown
Tuesday, Nov 7, 545-645pm at acac Albemarle Square
Wednesday, Nov 8, 11-1215pm at acac Albemarle Square
Please join us!


P.S. I can only aspire to his mastery of it, but I’ve used it, too, for big projects and small. Most recently, I used “ant-ing” to create my book, Buddha Cat: Learning Awareness, Presence & Self-Care from a Teacher who Sometimes Barfs on the Bed. Read about my evolving practice of being an ant, in a recent piece I wrote in Streetlight Magazine. Please do take a look.



In a world full of meanness and bullies, choosing to stay sensitive can be one of the most courageous thing you ever do. That’s exactly the dance we danced this week. You can find all the 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!

Before the music, though, announcements and other goodness:

Locker Room Renovation at Albemarle Square
Renovations on the locker rooms at Albemarle Square are happening now and both the men’s and women’s locker rooms are closed. For all the information, please click on the sidebar link on the right side: acac Locker Room Renovation 2018.

Woman Bug Blog Post in Streetlight Magazine
If you’ve seen the Buddha Cat book, you know that not just black cats but Woman Bugs are full of wisdom. This week, a piece I wrote about the creative process and why I want to be a Woman Bug came out in Streetlight Magazine. I hope you’ll check it out here.

Buddha Cat: Learning Awareness, Presence & Self-Care from a Teacher Who Sometimes Barf on the Bed … Second Printing Is Here!
Buddha Cat is in full swing and on sale at my site! If you haven’t yet, you can go to http://www.susanmcculley.com and sign up to be a Buddha Cat Backer. You will then have access to a discount code for free shipping that never expires for Backers!

Buddha Cat Book Launch Party on Saturday, Nov 3, 2-3pm at New Dominion Bookshop
Come to the historic New Dominion Bookshop on the historic downtown mall for a book launch party! I’ll be signing books and you can do some early holiday shopping and there will be very cool people there (you!) and, of course, snacks! Please join us.

Buddha Cat & More at the Cville Arts Cooperative starting in November!
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 Virginia artists. My display goes up shortly ~~ 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 Now 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.

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.

Thanksgiving Day Nia at ACAC Downtown — Thursday, November 22, 8:15am
Start the holiday with mind-full, joy-full, grate-full movement! Please join Susan for a special Thanksgiving class on Thursday, November 22 from 8:15-9:15am (NOTE TIME CHANGE!). Bring a friend or relation! Or take some space for yourself.
acac hours ~ Thanksgiving Weekend
Wed, Nov 21, regular opening time and close at 6pm
Thanksgiving Day, Thu, Nov 22, 8am – 12noon
Fri, Nov 23, 8am opening, regular closing

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, Oct 29, 2018, 1045am ~ the Courage of Sensitivity

Step Into Your Skin 2:24 David Wilcox
Soulshine 6:42 The Allman Brothers Band
Moonsmith 5:50 Marisi choreo
Dorset Perception 8:13 Shpongle
Single Ladies (My Digital Enemy Remix) 6:40 Beyonce
Can’t Stop This Feeling I Got 4:24 Prince
Desert Days 5:31 John Kelley
Don’t Fight The Feeling 5:51 OKA
Hard Part 3:52 David Wilcox
Melt 5:13 Leftfield
A Stream With Bright Fish 3:57 Brian Eno & Harold Budd

Tuesday, Oct 30, 2018, 840am ~ the Courage of Sensitivity

Step Into Your Skin 2:24 David Wilcox
Soulshine 6:42 The Allman Brothers Band
Moonsmith 5:50 Marisi choreo
Dorset Perception 8:13 Shpongle
Single Ladies (My Digital Enemy Remix) 6:40 Beyonce
Can’t Stop This Feeling I Got 4:24 Prince
Desert Days 5:31 John Kelley
Feel It All – Band Jam 3:50 KT Tunstall
Hard Part 3:52 David Wilcox
Superman (It’s Not Easy) 3:42 Five For Fighting
A Stream With Bright Fish 3:57 Brian Eno & Harold Budd

Wednesday, Oct 31, 2017, 11am ~ class with Mary Linn

Thursday, Nov 1, 2017, 840am ~ the Courage of Sensitivity

Step Into Your Skin 2:24 David Wilcox
Soulshine 6:42 The Allman Brothers Band
Moonsmith 5:50 Cantoma
Dorset Perception 8:13 Shpongle
Single Ladies (My Digital Enemy Remix) 6:40 Beyonce
New Sensation 3:39 INXS
Desert Days 5:31 John Kelley
Penguins 2:31 Lyle Lovett
Don’t Fight The Feeling 5:51 OKA
Hard Part 3:52 David Wilcox
A Stream With Bright Fish 3:57 Brian Eno & Harold Budd

Friday, Nov 2, 2017, 9am ~ the Courage of Sensitivity

Step Into Your Skin 2:24 David Wilcox
Soulshine 6:42 The Allman Brothers Band
Moonsmith 5:50 Marisi choreo
Dorset Perception 8:13 Shpongle
Single Ladies (My Digital Enemy Remix) 6:40 Beyonce
New Sensation 3:39 INXS
Desert Days 5:31 John Kelley
Penguins 2:31 Lyle Lovett
Don’t Fight The Feeling 5:51 OKA
Sensitive Kind (feat. Don White) 5:17 Eric Clapton
A Stream With Bright Fish 3:57 Brian Eno & Harold Budd

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!

“When we protect ourselves so we won’t feel pain, that protection becomes like armor, like armor that imprisons the softness of the heart.”
― Pema Chödrön, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times

Has anyone ever told you that you’re too sensitive?
That you’re touchy? Or overreacting?
Or that you shouldn’t feel as much as you do?
Whenever I’ve heard this, it was never a compliment.
It was a judgment. A criticism.

Too sensitive?
I say there is no such thing.

 In a world that moves fast, rewards hardness and runs roughshod, the willingness, the choice, the ability to be soft and tender is extraordinarily courageous.

The softer we can stay in the face of everything that life gives us, the stronger we are.
It’s a paradox of living that most people never even consider, let alone practice.

Many of us were told to toughen up when we were kids. We were taught that the world was a mean place and you’ve got to grow thick skin so you can take it. But what if the opposite is actually true? What if, in a mean world, the way to make it through is to stay tender and open and willing to feel? What if bullying and lashing out is the ultimate weakness? What if sensitivity is the ultimate strength?

In the body, we can start with the skin. Experiment with feeling details and nuance with every cell of your skin. Feel not just with your palms and fingers but with the backs of your hands, the spaces between your fingers. Feel with your wrists and the backs of your knees. Feel with your cheeks and your shoulders. Feel all of it with all of your sensitive skin.

Practice sensitivity with your imagination: let your dreaming mind explore and create something. Draw or write or sing or dance or just think up something you’ve never thought up before. It’s a tender place, the imagining place. Spend some time there, it’s a seriously brave move.

In every day, there are opportunities for softening your heart. Talk to a friend who’s struggling. Watch the aching ebb and flow of Nature. Read a headline or two. Whatever you choose, stay open and soft and take it in. Without trying to fix it or change it or look away or pretend it’s not happening, stay open and soft.

It’s challenging stuff, sensitivity. Most people armor up and build a hard protective coating around them in an attempt to avoid the discomfort of staying tender. The paradox is that only softening strengthens us to live deeply and fully.

“When things are shaky and nothing is working, we might realize that we are on the verge of something. We might realize that this is a very vulnerable and tender place, and that tenderness can go either way. We can shut down and feel resentful or we can touch in on that throbbing quality.”
― Pema Chödrön, When Things Fall Apart: Heartfelt Advice for Hard Times


A valued teacher is a precious thing. Transition around letting that teacher go can be a challenge for body, mind, emotions and spirit. The same sensations we use to create healthy bodies — Flexibility, Strength, Mobility, Agility & Stability — can be used for all the realms in times of transition. Thanks to Mary Linn, who I am also challenged to let go from the practice of teaching, for playing this week. You will be sorely missed, my dear friend.

You can find all the 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!

But first, here are some things I know you want to know about:

Locker Room Renovation at Albemarle Square starting soon
Renovations on the locker rooms at Albemarle Square are starting now and both the men’s and women’s locker rooms are now closed. For all the information, please click on the sidebar link on the right side: acac Locker Room Renovation 2018.

Buddha Cat: Learning Awareness, Presence & Self-Care from a Teacher Who Sometimes Barf on the Bed … Second Printing Is Here!
Buddha Cat is in full swing and on sale at my site! If you haven’t yet, you can go to http://www.susanmcculley.com and sign up to be a Buddha Cat Backer. You will then have access to a discount code for free shipping that never expires for Backers!

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 Now 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.
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.

Blue Ridge Writer’s Annual Book and Arts Fair, Saturday October 27, 10am-4pm
I’m delighted to be participating in this annual event of 35 local authors of adult and children’s literature as well as artists and musicians. It’s going to be a great day! Join us at City Space, 2nd Floor of the Market Street Garage on the Charlottesville Downtown Mall from 10am-4pm. Talk with local authors, artists and poets and find delightful and inspiring gifts.

Buddha Cat Book Launch Party on Saturday, Nov 3, 2-3pm at New Dominion Bookshop
Come to the historic New Dominion Bookshop on the historic downtown mall for a book launch party! I’ll be signing books and you can do some early holiday shopping and there will be very cool people there (you!) and, of course, snacks! Please join us.

Thanksgiving Day Nia at ACAC Downtown — Thursday, November 22, 8:15am
Start the holiday with mind-full, joy-full, grate-full movement! Please join Susan for a special Thanksgiving class on Thursday, November 22 from 8:15-9:15am (NOTE TIME CHANGE!). Bring a friend or relation! Or take some space for yourself.
acac hours ~ Thanksgiving Weekend
Wed, Nov 21, regular opening time and close at 6pm
Thanksgiving Day, Thu, Nov 22, 8am – 12noon
Fri, Nov 23, 8am opening, regular closing

Nia Moving To Heal Classes at acac downtown Sundays at 315pm
Join Rachel H on Sundays at 315pm for Nia Moving To Heal: a joyful, restorative practice that combines dance arts, martial arts and healing arts.  It is designed to empower your body, mind, spirit, and emotions.  Participants are encouraged to work at their own pace and personalize movement to adapt to their health needs.

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, Oct 22, 2018, 1045am ~ Carlos Coalescence

Healing Senses 8:27 Parijat
A Different Space 8:43 Bob Holroyd
No Quiero Nada Mas 4:46 Sancti Spiritus
Soullala 4:08 Candy Dulfer
Adouma 4:28 Angélique Kidjo
African Drug [Original Tribal Mix] 6:02 Bob Holroyd
Inner Membrane 5:19 Govinda
Shining Path 7:23 Dreadzone
City Knows Your Name 4:59 Chris Coco
Visions 6:14 Purekane

Tuesday, Oct 23, 2018, 840am ~ Carlos Coalescence

A Different Space 8:43 Bob Holroyd
No Quiero Nada Mas 4:46 Sancti Spiritus
Succumb to Me 5:15 Terence Trent D’Arby
Soullala 4:08 Candy Dulfer
Adouma 4:28 Angélique Kidjo
African Drug [Original Tribal Mix] 6:02 Bob Holroyd
Inner Membrane 5:19 Govinda
Shining Path 7:23 Dreadzone
City Knows Your Name 4:59 Chris Coco
Deeper 2:55 Rena Jones & Eliyahu Sills

Tuesday, Oct 23, 2018, 545pm ~ Carlos Coalescence with Mary Linn

Song for Olabi 6:07 Bliss
Duden 6:41 Natacha Atlas
Letitgo 5:36 Prince
Qalanderi 7:10 Cheb i Sabbah
Drumming Up a Storm 6:01 Bob Holroyd
Denmark 5:07 Chemical Brothers
Cantaloop 4:39 US3
So Cool 5:43 Candy Dulfer
Spanish Seaside 4:59 Auditory Sculpture

Wednesday, Oct 24, 2017, 11am ~ Carlos Coalescence

Song for Olabi 6:07 Bliss
Duden 6:41 Natacha Atlas
Letitgo 5:36 Prince
Qalanderi 7:10 Cheb i Sabbah
Soullala 4:08 Candy Dulfer
Drumming Up a Storm 6:01 Bob Holroyd
Denmark 5:07 Chemical Brothers
So Cool 5:43 Candy Dulfer
Spanish Seaside 4:59 Auditory Sculpture

Thursday, Oct 25, 2017, 840am ~ Carlos Coalescence with Mary Linn

Song for Olabi 6:07 Bliss
Duden 6:41 Natacha Atlas
Letitgo 5:36 Prince
Qalanderi 7:10 Cheb i Sabbah
Drumming Up a Storm 6:01 Bob Holroyd
Denmark 5:07 Chemical Brothers
Cantaloop 4:39 US3
So Cool 5:43 Candy Dulfer
Spanish Seaside 4:59 Auditory Sculpture

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!

How have you moved today? Have you walked or run? Have you reached for a bowl in a high cabinet or pulled some weeds? Have you lifted a child into the car or put your shoes down into the floor of your closet? Have you caught an apple falling from the counter before it hit the ground? Have you stroked and animal’s fur? We all have tendencies and habits and patterns but our bodies are designed to do a wide range of movements, not just thumb-type on our phones.

In the mindful movement classes that I teach, we focus on this variety. The co-founders of The Nia Technique, Debbie Rosas and Carlos Rosas, gave it a name: The Five Sensations of Fitness. They identified those sensations as Flexibility, Agility, Mobility, Strength and Stability or FAMSS. A body that can access all five of these sensations is a body that is creating fitness and health.

Nia defines these sensations as

  • Flexibility ~ the sensation of energy moving out along the bones
  • Agility ~ the sensation of quick start and stop movement
  • Mobility ~ the sensation of movement flowing without beginning or end
  • Strength ~ the sensation of energy moving into the bones
  • Stability ~ the sensation of energy moving out from center in all directions equally

Intentionally taking the body through these five sensations is one way of expanding the way the body moves beyond habit and tendency. And that expansion into a winder range of movement is one way of increasing fitness and health.

And FAMSS is not just for the body. Our minds, hearts and spirits can benefit from these sensations, too. And no time is this more true than in times of transition.

Late in 2011, my teacher Carlos Rosas left the practice of Nia. Carlos had been one of the most influential and impactful teachers I’d ever had. He changed the way I lived my life and saw the world. When he left, I had plenty of thoughts and feelings and spiritual wonderings about it.

The same sensations that gave me fitness in my body, served to help me be with the reality of Carlos’ departure.

  • Flexibility ~ I practiced feeling and thinking out to the horizon, lengthening my perception of his leaving.
  • Agility ~ I played with noticing the quick changes in my thoughts and emotions about Nia without Carlos without feeling like something was wrong.
  • Mobility ~ Allowing my emotions (and sometimes tears) to flow, my imagination to roll, inspiration to move fluidly helped me decide how I wanted to proceed.
  • Strength ~ I pulled energy in from what I knew, from the resources I had around me, and generally feeling my own power even without the leader I’d looked to for more than a decade.
  • Stability ~ Connecting not just to grounding but also expanding into what was possible started me on the path of taking ownership of my teaching, my creativity and my life.

Now, my beloved friend and teacher, Mary Linn is leaving her teaching practice. I find myself reminded of many of the thoughts and feelings I had when Carlos retired. Mary Linn is my sister in movement and in life. I love working with her and while it is my hope and intention that our friendship will not end, I know it will change when we aren’t teaching together. So I’m reconnecting with FAMSS to give me some holistic fitness and health.

Mary Linn’s leaving. But not yet. So this week we are teaching together on Tuesday and Wednesday our collection of some of our favorite Carlos choreography…as we interpret it.

 

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