Soothing the Nervous System: Body Organization & Balance ~ Dec 16 – 19, 2019 ~ Focus, Music and More

FOCUS POCUS NOTE! FocusPocus is now one complete post (art, focus, playlists and announcements) all together on Thursdays! So whether you come to the blog for the art, the information, the music or the latest happenings and offerings, you are in the right place. Every Thursday, you’ll get it all. Thank you so much for being here.

The weeks between Halloween and the Solstice can be challenging: the darkness and cold creeping in, the cultural frenzy of shopping and eating and jingling leaves the nervous system jangling (even if you are loving every minute of it). So for these next few weeks, we’ll be focusing on practical practices that we can do to soothe and strengthen our nervous systems. Think of them as nervous system “hacks.” We’ll focus on things we do in class all the time but call attention to them so we have easier access to them as we move through the world.

As we move into the second half of the 6-week series, we focus on systemic, whole-body movement. While grounding/orienting, squeezing/releasing and shaking can happen in one body part, the last three weeks are all about organizing and moving the body as a whole.

This week: body organization & balance. Although we do it all the time, one way to soothe the nervous system is to consciously organize the body: upper and lower, left and right, and the big organizer, cross lateral. By mindfully choosing to notice how the body is moving, we reorient the nervous system and calm frenzied brain firings. Another organization is to play with balance and challenging the vestibular system (that’s the inner ear). By moving the head in space, balancing on one foot (with or without closed eyes) the whole system gets reconnected.

Do it right now. Move your lower body while stabilizing your upper body, then switch. Move your left side then your right. Move across the diagonal either to the front, to the back, out and in or in and out (hint: the most basic way to do cross-lateral movement is to walk!). Play with variations on balance, too, by shifting the head in space, balancing on one foot (or another body part) and shifting where you’re looking. Notice the subtle sensations of organizing the body in different ways and see what feels calming and grounding right now.

I hope this series has been interesting and helpful and that you will come back to it whenever you need a reminder of the choices we can make to get our lizard brains settled down and our human brains back on line. I’d love to hear what you notice/d and how I can help more! Please leave a comment about your experience below.

Here 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!

Lots of events are unfolding, friends, so before the playlists, here is all the details on what’s coming up!

Extra chance to move with Susan at ACAC on Thursday, December 26 at 8:40am
This holiday week I’m lucky enough to be Guest Teaching for Jeanne on Thursday, December 26 from 840-940 at acac downtown. Come reconnect to your body and yourself for an extra time this week!

Nourishing Movement Classes at the Studio at Dancing Water on Thursday mornings at 11am!
Nourishing Movement classes with Susan on Thursdays at 11am ~~ my mix of guided and unguided movement, meditation and creativity! Please go to http://www.susanmcculley.com/shop for the details. Come join us in the trees by the river for grounded, flowing, spacious movement. Second Thursdays are followed by a pot luck lunch! Nourish yourself with movement and bring something nourishing to share! There is space in upcoming classes so please go HERE to sign up!
* The Studio at Dancing Water is at 2370 Old Lynchburg Road ~ detailed directions at http://www.susanmcculley.com and via email when you sign up!

Special Winter Warmth Nourishing Movement Class at the Studio at Dancing Water on Thursday morning, December 26 at 11am!
On Boxing Day, join me at Dancing Water for a special, lightly-guided movement meditation on the warmth of winter. As the sun gingerly begins creeping back in, we will warm ourselves from the inside out with gently-led movement that invites diving deep and connecting out. JUST THREE SPOTS LEFT! Please go here to register!

Interview about Octabusy & Other Things on Lisa Jakub’s Embrace Your Weird podcast!
It was my honor and pleasure to have a conversation with Lisa Jakub about the seduction of busyness and ways of navigating it on her fantastic podcast, Embrace Your Weird. Please listen, share, review and spread the word! Go here to check it out!

January Nourishment at Dancing Water ~ 5 Nourishing Movement classes for $50!
A new year begins. A perfect time to reconnect to your body and yourSELF. Register for 5 Nourishing Movement classes at The Studio at Dancing Water on Thursdays, January 2, 9, 16, 23 & 30 from 11-12:15pm for $50. (If you’d like to do 4 of the 5, please contact me. We can make that happen!) Must be purchased by January 2!

ONE WORD for 2020
As we draw closer to the end of the year, now is a good time to open yourself to one word that you might use for your intention for 2020. In ten years of doing the One Word practice, I find that thinking about it helps less than being on the lookout for a word that captures how you’d like to feel or the energy you’d like to bring into the new year.

WHERE TO FIND OCTABUSY!
Support local retailers by buying Octabusy
at New Dominion Bookshop on Charlottesville’s downtown mall (ndbookshop.com, 434-295-2552, staff@ndbookshop.com)
and at The Telegraph Art & Comics https://www.telegraphcomics.com/
and at the beautiful Nourish Louisa shop in downtown Louisa! Go here http://www.nourishlouisa.com/ for more. I’ll be sharing more soon on events at this super-cool spot!
And just this week: both Buddha Cat and Octabusy are now available at the lovely Wine & Country Shop in Ivy! Please check them out here. It’s an amazing store full of wonderful finds, not just super-cool books!
You can also order signed copies of Octabusy (including discounts on multiple copies) now on my website at susanmcculley.com/shop
and get Kindle and paperback editions on Amazon!
(And wherever you buy it, please leave a review there!)

On My Last Nerve: Achieving Balance Using Practices & Herbs ~ a Book Signing and Workshop at The Elderberry ~~ Saturday, January 4, 2020 ~ 12noon – 2pm FREE!
It’s time to come back to ourselves after the holiday frenzy! Join teacher and artist Susan McCulley and Clinical Herbalist Heather Wetzel to explore a realignment of ourselves following the swirl of the holidays.
12:00-1:00: Book signing and conversation about the counter cultural choice for presence and less busyness with Susan, author of Octabusy: How to Let Go in a Sea of Doing
1:00 – 2:00: Susan and Heather will present a short workshop focusing on re-balancing body, mind, and spirit after the holidays utilizing life hacks and herbal strategies for moving from the habitual responses of our nervous system’s “fright, flight, or freeze” reactions into a more balanced, flowing, and peaceful state of “rest and digest” for the new year. Topics include:
· How to support yourself to be more centered, calm and relaxed.
· Physical and mindful practices that can bring you back to center and be done anywhere, no matter what is happening around you.
· Tastings (including recipes) of tried and true adaptogenic herbal preparations to enhance your resilience to stress
· New ideas to support and encourage graceful adaptation to change and less reactive to stress
We all need encouragement and new ideas to support us as we step into change-filled 2020 and beyond. Reserve your seat now as space is limited ~ go HERE https://www.elderberryherbals.com/calendar/on-my-last-nerve-achieving-balance-using-practices-amp-herbs-book-signing-and-workshop-saturday-january-4-2020-12noon-2pm!

Full Moon Restorative Yoga with Shandoah ~ Moonday, January 13, 430-6pm
Shandoah Goldman returns to The Studio at Dancing Water (2370 Old Lynchburg Road, Charlottesville) to continue the full moon restorative practice! The full moon is a time of completion. The fullness of the cycle lends itself to a practice of non-doing. Join Shandoah for a deeply nourishing practice of restorative yoga. Using props to offer support and comfort, the body is invited to profoundly let go and unwind. Rather than efforting or stretching, this is the practice of releasing and relaxing. We’ll celebrate what is finished and soften into the next cycle. Shandoah is a gifted guide for deep release and is a Shiatsu practitioner offering hands on assists during class. All bodies welcome, no experience in yoga or anything else is needed.
Monday (Moonday!), January 13, 430-6pm at The Studio at Dancing Water, $30 or $25 if registered before January 1. (Mark Your Calendar: Upcoming Full Moon class will be on February 10!)

Scholarships Available for all Experiences at The Studio at Dancing Water
We have delicious experiences coming up at The Studio AND we have scholarships available for them. If finances are stopping you from joining us, please reach out and let me know (PM me or connect at sjmnia@gmail.com).

First Friday Freedance with Kate ~ Jan 3 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, Jan 3 from 11:25 -12:25.

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

Monday, Dec 16, 2019, 1045am ~ Soothing the Nervous System: Body Organization & Balance

Stand By Me (Live from the Late Show with David Letterman) 2:49 Tracy Chapman
What I Got 3:21 Gift Of Gab, Michael Franti & Spearhead
When Doves Cry 4:04 The Be Good Tanyas
Mokil Shebil 6:28 Mashti meets Deep Dive Corp.
Warriors (Album Version) 5:23 Vargo
Walk Into The Sun 5:21 Dirty Vegas
Reconfluence 6:19 Bob Holroy
Laugh as the Sun 6:00 Rusted Root
Rafiki (Sidewalk Mix) 6:25 Bob Holroyd
Little By Little 5:30 Groove Armada
Subtle Body 7:02 Wayne Jones

Tuesday, Dec 17, 2019, 840am ~ Soothing the Nervous System: Body Organization & Balance

Stand By Me (Live from the Late Show with David Letterman) 2:49 Tracy Chapman
What I Got 3:21 Gift Of Gab, Michael Franti & Spearhead
When Doves Cry 4:04 The Be Good Tanyas
Mokil Shebil 6:28 Mashti meets Deep Dive Corp.
Warriors (Album Version) 5:23 Vargo
Reconfluence 6:19 Bob Holroy
Laugh as the Sun 6:00 Rusted Root
Rafiki (Sidewalk Mix) 6:25 Bob Holroyd
Little By Little 5:30 Groove Armada
Subtle Body 7:02 Wayne Jones

Thursday, Dec 19, 2019, 11am ~ Nourishing Movement at the Studio at Dancing Water ~ Soothing the Nervous System: Body Organization & Balance

Adrift in Kerala 6:07 Bob Holroyd
Stand By Me (Live from the Late Show with David Letterman) 2:49 Tracy Chapman
What I Got 3:21 Gift Of Gab, Michael Franti & Spearhead
When Doves Cry 4:04 The Be Good Tanyas
Mokil Shebil 6:28 Mashti meets Deep Dive Corp.
Warriors (Album Version) 5:23 Vargo
Reconfluence 6:19 Bob Holroy
Laugh as the Sun 6:00 Rusted Root
Rafiki (Sidewalk Mix) 6:25 Bob Holroyd
Little By Little 5:30 Groove Armada
Subtle Body 7:02 Wayne Jones

2 comments
  1. Lynn Pribus said:

    Word for 2020: Grace.

    So my body will be graceful and my spirit filled with grace. The Threshold Singers have a lovely song — a typical mantra-like message set to music:

    I live my life in a river of grace,
    I trust this river will carry me home.

    • Mmmmm. I love that word, Lynn. So much to feel and be with. And I love the sound of that song! Where can I find it??

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