Archive

Joy of Contrast


It may be that, as Theodore Roosevelt said, “comparison is the thief of joy.” While I contend that contrast is a joyful thing, the line between the two can be a fine one. We can be looking at the same things but they feel different depending on which view we take. I’ve been noticing when the heavy, judge-y energy of comparison shows up with its thunders of “I should or shouldn’t” and when the “Wow You! Wow Me! Wow Us!” energy of contrast gives each of us the permission to be our amazing selves.

Now I think about it, that’s a contrast right there: between comparison and contrast. May we spend our days in the latter.

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

And first upcoming coolness:

• Scheduling Answer: Wednesday class
Looking toward the summer schedule, we have decided to leave the Wednesday class time at 11am-12:15pm. Thank you for your input.

• Safety & Awareness Reminder
Some, especially in the Downtown Group Ex studio, are choosing to dance with weights during freedance. I don’t recommend this particularly (I’m happy to elaborate if you’re interested) but if you do this, please be mindful that you are moving with weights in a room full of barefoot dancers who are moving sometimes quickly around the room. Please do any weight-dancing on the edges so dancers can easily stay clear and engage lots of awareness about where you are in space. Thank you for your awareness!

• Love Warrior: embody a movement ~ Friday, Apr 7, 6-730pm
a moving experience of activism in support The Front Porch at 219 Water Street E, Cville
Join Susan to experience a new routine called Love Warrior. This is a movement experience designed for everyBody that allows us to experience the sensation of the change we want to see in the world. We can then translate that sensation directly into action.

At a time when the arts and creative education are being undermined and undervalued, it is more important than ever to support the arts in our community and creativity in ourselves! The Front Porch will offer music and refreshments will be available before and after we dance. Enjoy an evening of movement, music, and community.
Donate-What-You-Can ~ All proceeds from the event will go to The Front Porch

Love Warrior shirts with original art
Just because times are tough doesn’t mean we have to wear black all the time. I’ve been working on a Love Warrior shirt design and together with the people at CustomInk, we created this – check it out!  We are having a batch printed now and they will be around $16 each. I ordered some extras. Let me know if you’d like one!

On the 7th day we dance.sit.create… Saturday, May 13, 2o17, 8:30am-5pm
For the 7th time, we will dance.sit.create. Come spend a delicious day playing at the sweet intersection of movement, stillness and art. We’ll explore the creative magic of the number 7 and the power of play for inspiration and restoration. No experience in anything is necessary. All you need is a willingness to see what happens and eat delicious, healthy meals. The retreat provides everything you need for an uplifting, rejuvenating day. Susan offers the structure and guidance for movement, meditation, and creative jaunts. Rebecca caters extraordinary vegetarian, gluten-free, seasonal food (tea, snack, lunch). And it doesn’t stop with one day. Also included is a 6-week series of music, meditations, and prompts to keep you in the flow.
Early Bird: $100 if registered by April 13. Late Bird: $125 if registered by May 10
Limited to 20 participants.
Checks to SusaNia LLC and mailed to 1255 Sunset Avenue Ext., Charlottesville VA 22903 with registration form or at http://www.susanmcculley.com.

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, Mar 27, 2017, 1045am ~ Amazing Contrast

Wonderwall 4:09 Ryan Adams
forever changes 5:34 ZKT
Say Hey (I Love You) (Featuring Cherine Anderson) 3:56 Michael Franti
Compared To What 5:56 Candy Dulfer
Freedom 2:50 Tyrone Wells
More Than This 4:07 10,000 Maniacs
Sometimes 5:14 Kaskade
Deeper (Into Places) (Silk Spinner Mix) 6:23 Afterlife
Sexual Revolution 4:48 Macy Gray
Knock On Wood 4:13 Safri Duo
Sure Thing 6:03 St. Germain
The Boy In The Bubble 4:30 Peter Gabriel
Plegaria para el Alma de Layla 3:19 Pedro Aznar

Tuesday, Mar 28, 2017, 840am ~ Amazing Contrast

Wonderwall 4:09 Ryan Adams
forever changes 5:34 ZKT
Say Hey (I Love You) (Featuring Cherine Anderson) 3:56 Michael Franti
Compared To What 5:56 Candy Dulfer
Freedom 2:50 Tyrone Wells
Sometimes 5:14 Kaskade
Deeper (Into Places) (Silk Spinner Mix) 6:23 Afterlife
Sexual Revolution 4:48 Macy Gray
Knock On Wood 4:13 Safri Duo
Sure Thing 6:03 St. Germain
Let It Go 2:16 Jamie Catto & Alex Forster

Wednesday, Mar 29, 2017, 11am ~ Amazing Contrast

North 6:49 Afro Celt Sound System
North, Pt. 2 3:02 Afro Celt Sound System
When You’re Falling [Featuring Peter Gabriel] 5:14 Afro Celt Sound System
Colossus 6:44 Afro Celt Sound System
Ma’ Africa 4:49 Mahotella Queens/Ulali
Braided Hair 4:03 Neneh Cherry/Speech
Ta Moko 5:10 1 Giant Leap featuring Whiri Mako Black
Passion 5:46 Michael Franti
Daphne 7:03 Eddi Reader/Mahotella Queens/Revetti Sakalar
Persistence of Memory 4:29 Afro Celt Sound System
Paris Texas 6:45 Gotan Project

Thursday, Mar 30, 2017, 840am ~ Amazing Contrast

North 6:49 Afro Celt Sound System
North, Pt. 2 3:02 Afro Celt Sound System
When You’re Falling [Featuring Peter Gabriel] 5:14 Afro Celt Sound System
Colossus 6:44 Afro Celt Sound System
Ma’ Africa 4:49 Mahotella Queens/Ulali
Braided Hair 4:03 Neneh Cherry/Speech
Passion 5:46 Michael Franti
Daphne 7:03 Eddi Reader/Mahotella Queens/Revetti Sakalar
Persistence of Memory 4:29 Afro Celt Sound System
Paris Texas 6:45 Gotan Project

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!

This post was originally published on August 18, 2013.

“Comparison is the thief of joy.” – Theodore Roosevelt

Bottom line: Comparing myself to others is pointless. Any time I start a little tally going on how I’m doing as compared to someone else, it’s time to take a breath and a step back. We all do it (in fact, our culture encourages it), but comparison is a habit worth breaking. Leo Babauta in his ZenHabits blog has written a bunch of posts about comparison (and they’re all good), but I love this one for pointing out how absurd it is to compare ourselves to others. There are too many variables, too many unknowns, too many incomparables. Comparison just doesn’t make sense.

And yet, it’s so tempting, to either knock myself down (“she’s my age and way more fit than I am”) or make myself superior (“I would never talk to my child like that.”) as compared to someone else. It’s so easy to do, but our absolute uniqueness makes it completely meaningless. As they say in AA, don’t compare your inside with somebody else’s outside.

Contrasting, on the other hand, can be a delicious practice of wonder and appreciation. Last year, my husband and I visited his parents in Arizona. One afternoon, we went to a skydiving center to watch people jump out of airplanes. It was strangely mesmerizing. Dozens of us sat on the grass craning our necks skyward and watched tiny colored dots fly out of the plane, cruise around for a while, and then pop their parachutes and float gracefully to earth on a rainbow of fabric. After watching several plane-loads descend like colorful thistle down, I said to everyone and no one in particular, “People are amazing.” A stranger, a woman sitting near me said, “You could learn to sky dive, and then you’d be amazing, too.”

And without missing a beat, I looked at her, smiled and said one of the greatest things I’ve ever said, “Oh, I am amazing…only in a completely different way.”

Few words have ever felt so good to say. I could easily have gone with, “Oh no, I could never do that” or “Yeah, you’re right, I should try it” or something that in one way or another compared me to the skydivers. Instead, I loved appreciating them for what they were doing and recognizing that their achievements in no way diminish my own, totally different, coolness. This is contrast, and contrast is delicious.

One of my favorite things in Nia is the Joy of Contrast. In my very first class, after years of aerobics and traditional dance classes in which the whole class basically has the same energy and the same feel, I loved the feeling of contrasts in Nia. I loved feeling tight then loose, linear then circular, big then teeny-tiny. My body devoured the sensations and the challenge of completely shifting from one to the other. My mind focused intently on crisp shifts between those sensations.  And my spirit loved the expansive possibilities that were inherent in every contrast…even the possibility of blending and integrating them.

Strong isn’t better than flexible. Mobile isn’t better than agile. Fast isn’t better than slow. Skydiving isn’t better than Nia dancing.  The Joy of Contrast is appreciating the amazingness of it all.

The next time you find yourself comparing yourself to someone else, experiment with appreciating the contrasts instead. Acknowledge that you and the other person are both amazing…just in different ways. Then move on to be your amazing self without keeping score. Whether you jump out of airplanes or knit baby blankets, you are amazing. Just being yourself is amazing. Be that amazing and let everybody else be their amazing. That’s the Joy of Contrast!

comparison AA sayingThe Joy of Contrast. I think we’re really onto something, friends. Imagine how different the world would be if instead of putting a ton of energy into measuring up and artificially keeping score, that we were just amazed and excited by how awesome each of us is? When I looked around in classes this week, that’s what I saw and, well, did I mention that I love my job?

Below are the playlists from classes this week. I’m working on a new routine called Airborne and some of this week’s selections are from that. Perhaps more next week before my last summer trip to a Minnesota family wedding (dance floors need to be burned up in the Midwest as well as the Mid Atlantic!). I’ll be away August 29 – September 4 and of course, the super ACAC Nia team has them all covered!

Have fun. Dance on.
Xo
Susan

The Joy of Contrast ~ Monday, August 19, 2013, 1045am

Damascus – 2:03 – Conjure One Feat. Chemda
Down To Earth – 5:59 – Peter Gabriel
I Shall Be Free – 6:13 – Kid Beyond
Quero Saber (fest. Orieta Pines) – 6:29 – Rodney Hunter
Compared To What – 5:56 – Candy Dulfer
Freedom – 2:50 – Tyrone Wells
Praise You – 5:22 – Fatboy Slim
I’m Alive (Life Sounds Like) – 3:52 – Michael Franti
Sunchyme – 3:54 – Dario G.
Amazing – 4:34 – One Eskimo
Billie Jean (Live) – 4:09 – The Civil Wars
Oracle – 5:29 – Maneesh De Moor

The Joy of Contrast ~ Tuesday, August 20, 2013, 9am

Wonderwall – 4:09 – Ryan Adams
Down To Earth – 5:59 – Peter Gabriel
Lovers House – 4:49 – City Reverb
Compared To What – 5:56 – Candy Dulfer
Freedom – 2:50 – Tyrone Wells
More Than This – 4:07 – 10,000 Maniacs
Sometimes – 5:14 – Kaskade
Deeper (Into Places) (Silk Spinner Mix) – 6:23 – Afterlife
I’m Alive (Life Sounds Like) – 3:52 – Michael Franti
Knock On Wood – 4:13 – Safri Duo
Sweet Child o’ Mine (Rick Rubin…) – 3:56 – Sheryl Crow
Skyfall – 4:47 – Adele
The Boy In The Bubble – 4:30 – Peter Gabriel

The Joy of Contrast ~ Wednesday, August 21, 2013, 1055am

Big Sky – 4:04 – Annie Lennox
touching the void – 9:08 – Banco de Gaia
forever changes – 5:34 – ZKT
Ma’ Africa – 4:49 – 1 Giant Leap: Mahotella Queens/Ulali
Nothing But The Water (II) – 5:19 – Grace Potter & The Nocturnals
One Week – 2:49 – Barenaked Ladies
I’m Alive (Life Sounds Like) – 3:52 – Michael Franti
Night Over Manaus – 5:49 Boozoo Bajou
Sure Thing – 6:03 – St. Germain
The Sea – 5:08 – Morcheeba
Early Till Late – 4:47 – Cantoma

The Joy of Contrast ~ Thursday, August 22, 2013, 9am

Shake It Loose – 3:33 – Dolphin Boy
Down To Earth – 5:59 – Peter Gabriel
Stop For A Minute (feat. K’naan) – 4:07 – Keane
Takshaka – 10:42 – Makayo
Drumming Up a Storm – 5:59 – Bob Holroyd
Played A Live – 6:46 – Safri Duo
I’m Alive (Life Sounds Like) – 3:52 – Michael Franti
Artichoke Funk – 5:56 – Zeb
Nothing But The Water (II) – 5:19 – Grace Potter & The Nocturnals
Lavender Hill – 4:33 – Lex van Someren
Ascension – 4:52 – Lex van Someren

comparison t roosevelt“When people see some things as beautiful,
other things become ugly.
When people see some things as good,
other things become bad.”
~Lao Tzu

Comparing myself to others goes nowhere fast. It’s “the thief of joy.” Comparison encourages me to knock myself down or make myself superior. All competition is comparison and yet our uniqueness makes it totally meaningless.

Contrast is a celebration of varied awesomeness. Much more fun to admire the other and your own bad self. Proudly say, “Oh, I am amazing…only in a completely different way.” Comparison is good, better, best. Joy of Contrast is appreciating all amazingness.

comparison apples“Comparison is the thief of joy.” – Theodore Roosevelt

Bottom line: Comparing myself to others is pointless. Any time I start a little tally going on how I’m doing as compared to someone else, it’s time to take a breath and a step back. We all do it (in fact, our culture encourages it), but comparison is a habit worth breaking. Leo Babauta in his ZenHabits blog has written a bunch of posts about comparison (and they’re all good), but I love this one for pointing out how absurd it is to compare ourselves to others. There are too many variables, too many unknowns, too many incomparables. Comparison just doesn’t make sense.

And yet, it’s so tempting, to either knock myself down (“she’s my age and way more fit than I am”) or make myself superior (“I would never talk to my child like that.”) as compared to someone else. It’s so easy to do, but our absolute uniqueness makes it completely meaningless. As they say in AA, don’t compare your inside with somebody else’s outside.

Contrasting, on the other hand, can be a delicious practice of wonder and appreciation. Last year, my husband and I visited his parents in Arizona. One afternoon, we went to a skydiving center to watch people jump out of airplanes. It was strangely mesmerizing. Dozens of us sat on the grass craning our necks skyward and watched tiny colored dots fly out of the plane, cruise around for a while, and then pop their parachutes and float gracefully to earth on a rainbow of fabric. After watching several plane-loads descend like colorful thistle down, I said to everyone and no one in particular, “People are amazing.” A stranger, a woman sitting near me said, “You could learn to sky dive, and then you’d be amazing, too.”

And without missing a beat, I looked at her, smiled and said one of the greatest things I’ve ever said, “Oh, I am amazing…only in a completely different way.”

Few words have ever felt so good to say. I could easily have gone with, “Oh no, I could never do that” or “Yeah, you’re right, I should try it” or something that in one way or another compared me to the skydivers. Instead, I loved appreciating them for what they were doing and recognizing that their achievements in no way diminish my own, totally different, coolness. This is contrast, and contrast is delicious.

One of my favorite things in Nia is the Joy of Contrast. In my very first class, after years of aerobics and traditional dance classes in which the whole class basically has the same energy and the same feel, I loved the feeling of contrasts in Nia. I loved feeling tight then loose, linear then circular, big then teeny-tiny. My body devoured the sensations and the challenge of completely shifting from one to the other. My mind focused intently on crisp shifts between those sensations.  And my spirit loved the expansive possibilities that were inherent in every contrast…even the possibility of blending and integrating them.

Strong isn’t better than flexible. Mobile isn’t better than agile. Fast isn’t better than slow. Skydiving isn’t better than Nia dancing.  The Joy of Contrast is appreciating the amazingness of it all.

The next time you find yourself comparing yourself to someone else, experiment with appreciating the contrasts instead. Acknowledge that you and the other person are both amazing…just in different ways. Then move on to be your amazing self without keeping score. Whether you jump out of airplanes or knit baby blankets, you are amazing. Just being yourself is amazing. So, be that amazing and let everybody else be their amazing. That’s the Joy of Contrast!

%d bloggers like this: