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This week, we’ll play with the inspiration of two quotes. First, Albert Einstein. What if real intelligence isn’t about what you know or think or do, but rather your ability to shift and change?

Then, from Seth Godin’s book/work of art, It’s Your Turn. Think of a situation – in your body, your life, your community – that is changing and the tension that results. Think of somewhere where there is tension – in a muscle, in a relationship, a company – and the change that inevitably, eventually, results.

Hidden within these quotes is not just the sensation of adaptability but of strength and flexibility.
Are you willing to change?

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Connections between bones are what make movement possible. How we align one bone effects the position of those around it. Inevitably, every movement choice ripples through the skeleton.

 

My husband calls his shoulder blades his “wings.” As in, “Ooh, scratch me below my wing.” But the clavicals look like wings to me, too, even though their name means “small key.” The clavical is one of the easiest bones to feel through the skin. Find yours and then turn your palms up and down and see if you can feel it move. Have you ever broken your clavical? It’s the most commonly broken bone in the body.

The design principle of structural hierarchy that is present in your bones – tubular structures made of tubular structures – was used in the design of the Eiffel Tower. Check out this cool (and short) video for more!

When looking at the bones of the feet, there is no question which one is designed to strike the ground! The bone is also known as the os calcis or chalk bone.

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These days as winter approaches. These days that get darker and darker. These days when the cold settles in. Every single year, these days challenge me body, mind and spirit.

In search of inspiration last week, I stumbled upon a poem that I wrote two Decembers ago when the world felt as dark as I’d ever remembered. Like a friend giving you back your own words of encouragement, it was oddly helpful to read what I myself had written 24 months ago. It reminded me of the constant cycle of things and that it is, as ever, our own light that is needed in the darkest of days.

Be the light, my friends. Blessings on this solstice.

Shine On

Darkness descends on our little city
(Maybe on yours, too. Or maybe on you.)

December with its Solstice silent blanket
And shadows darker under Nature’s night:
Disappearance and death
Violent violation
Agony, isolation
Fear

Even so
There is the moon
Luminous, listening
Receiving, reflecting
Illuminated from the source
Bright enough to wake us
So we can marvel

The city’s sinew
Its strongest femur
Bruised blue-black
Deep-rooted dis-ease
Stories and secrets
Defensive denial
Tangled doubt

Even so
There is the sun
Radiant, reassuring
Ever-generous, if shy these days
Self-sourced force toward which
the amaryllis aches and arches

Darkness is part of us
Shadows spiral in our fibers
Charcoal curtains can narrow vision

Each of us glow, reflect, radiate

But in these dark days
We bundle and trundle it
Beneath heavy coats of despair
Zip up and button down
Tuck in and turn out
Crossed arms over lost heart
Sighing sideways eyes
Furtively looking to see
Who will spark the shift
And shine the light

You
You are the light
You are the sun
The very source
You are the moon
Tender reflection

In the darkest of days
Unwrap
Show up
Shine out
Shine on.

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“The space between where you are and where you want to be can be a struggle or it can be an inspiration.” ~ Kelly Stine, Yoga Super Shero

“The space between where you were and where you are can be a struggle or it can be an inspiration.” ~ My riff on Kelly

Graduations and reunions are times of looking back. At this time of year, we are often gazing into the past with nostalgia, perhaps longing, and almost always with skewed lenses.

Our boy graduated from college last weekend. It’s easy now to look at this tall, handsome, accomplished young man and sigh and say, “Time flies! It feels like yesterday that you were six.” But when he was six and he wouldn’t put on his shoes and he was screaming and flailing as Frank carried him through the neighborhood to school? Yeah, time was not going so fast that day.

We can look forward and be daunted by the work it will take to do what we want to do.

We can look back and forget the work that it took to get to where we are now.

Since January, I’ve been taking my Nia classes one-by-one through the sixteen routines I’ve created during sixteen years of teaching. And while I hope it has been a fun and interesting journey for my students, I suspect I’ve gotten more out of the exercise than they have.

When I started the retrospective in January, I did it with intention. I wasn’t sure where I wanted to go next in my work. Not sure where I wanted to focus my attention or what I wanted to create now. I figured I’d start with the body of work I had and see what happened.

As we made our way through each routine, I thought about what was happening in my life at the time, where I was in my training, where I was teaching. I remembered the struggles, the doubts, the excitements, the disappointments, the inspiration. I was aware of the space between then and now. I could see each one as a stepping stone to the next.

In a recent interview, reporter and writer, Neil Strauss said he couldn’t remember how many books he’s written. He said he is always focusing on what he’s doing now, not what he’s done before. While I agree that little can be gained from the proverbial laurel rest, when I’m stuck and unsure what to do next, looking back can be a helpful thing to do.

As long as I do it with clear eyes.

Looking back has the potential of being a big longing wallow ~ wishing to be younger, wishing for how things used to be (or how I think they used to be) ~ which is only a source of suffering. Alternatively, looking back can be a way of learning from yourself. Looking back with clear eyes can show us how far we’ve come …and what still needs to be done.

This week, we will dance the last of the sixteen routines: Inspired. And this week, I begin work on the next routine, the next workshop, and the next retreat. I’m standing on this stone but the fog has cleared and I can see the next ones I want to step to.

Where are you stepping next, my friends? If you’re not sure, looking back is a way to figure it out. Whatever’s happening, share in the comments below about looking back and its relationship to moving forward or email me at sjmnia@gmail.com and let me know what’s up. I look forward to connecting.

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