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Poetry

Crocus flower in the snowWhat a great time I had teaching this morning. There just ain’t nothing like a Saturday morning Nia class, and y’all make it juicygood! Thanks to everybody who came to play and sweat and shake our petals free! As promised, here is the playlist, the poetry of Dar Williams and Maya Angelou, and fun bonus video!

As ever, please always let me know how I can help more,
Love,
Susan

Three Planes: Push Myself Up Through the Dirt – Saturday, March 23, 2013, 9am

One Billion Rising – 5:19 – Catherine Feeny Living In The Moment – 3:55 – Jason Mraz
Survivor – 3:49 – Destiny’s Child
Free Your Mind – 4:52 – En Vogue
Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You) – 3:42 – Kelly Clarkson
Break The Chain – 4:32 – Tena Clark
One Billion Hands – 4:05 – Lourds Lane
Dog Days Are Over – 3:41 – Florence And The Machine
Do Your Thing – 4:45 – Basement Jaxx
Proud – 4:30 – Heather Small
Spring Street – 4:52 – Dar Williams
Father I Know – 3:08 – Jamie Catto
Phenomenal Woman – 4:24 – Ruthie Foster
Beautiful – 4:06 – India.Arie

Spring Street by Dar Williams

I’m sorry that I left you with your questions all alone
But I was too happy driving and too angry to drive home
I was thinking about the easy courage of my distant friends
They said, I could let this bridge wash out and never make amends

Can I blow this small town make a big sound
Like the star of a film noir postcard
Can I just forget the frames I shared with you

And I can’t believe what they’re saying
They’re saying I can change my mind
Start over on Spring Street, I’m welcome anytime

There are spring street storefront daisies floating on their neon stems
There are new shirts on the clothes racks should I feel like one of them
I can find a small apartment where a struggling artist died
And pretend because I pay the rent I know that pain inside

Yeah, let’s watch the tour bus stop and tell us
Here’s the scene of a spring green life dream
Take the best part write it in your caffeine diary

And I can’t believe what they’re saying
They’re saying I can leave tonight
Start over on Spring Street, I’m welcome anytime

This year April had a blizzard just to show she did not care
And the new dead leaves
They made the trees look like children with gray hair
But I’ll push myself up through the dirt and shake my petals free
I’m resolved to being born and so resigned to bravery

Yeah the one who leaves this also grieves this
Too much rain on the prairie flood plain
Houses floating, love is like that we built on the river, year

And that’s to say, yeah I’m leaving
But I don’t have go there
I don’t have to go to Spring Street ’cause it’s spring everywhere

Phenomenal Woman by Maya Angelou (sung by Ruthie Foster)

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can’t see.
I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman

Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
‘Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

And finally, a fun and beautiful video of The Weepies song, The World Spins Madly On, that we danced to on Wednesday (thank you, Lynette!):

space woman on hillIt’s been a rich exploration of making space this week – in the body, in movement, and in life.  I’ve been observing myself and notice that I have a tendency to fill in anything that is empty:  my stomach, a closet, my calendar, any silence.  Here’s my theory on my resistance around making space:  I think filling in spaces gives me an illusion of tangibility and permanence.  To make space requires that I have the courage to fully acknowledge impermanence.  What did you notice this week about your own response to space?

In addition to the playlists for the week, below is a poem that found its way to me on Friday morning that speaks to being with the mystery without looking for answers, and a link to an wonderful guided meditation by Tara Brach called Inner Space (thank you, Alison!).

As always, please let me know if you have any questions and how I can help more.

Love,

Susan

Report from the West by Tom Hennen

Snow is falling west of here. The mountains have more than a
foot of it. I see the early morning sky dark as night. I won’t lis-
ten to the weather report. I’ll let the question of snow hang.
Answers only dull the senses. Even answers that are right often
make what they explain uninteresting. In nature the answers
are always changing. Rain to snow, for instance. Nature can
let the mysterious things alone—wet leaves plastered to tree
trunks, the intricate design of fish guts. The way we don’t fall
off the earth at night when we look up at the North Star. The
way we know this may not always be so. The way our dizziness
makes us grab the long grass, hanging by our fingertips on the
edge of infinity.

“Report from the West” by Tom Hennen, from Darkness Sticks to Everything. © Copper Canyon Press, 2013.

Inner Space Meditation by Tara Brach

Susan’s Playlists for February 25 – March 1, 2013

Make Space – Monday, Feb 25, 2013, 1045am

Driver – 4:12 – Galen Butler

Clouds                – 6:33 – Feuerhake

Takshaka – 10:42 – Makayo

Lung Fu – 7:41 – Galen Butler

Come With Us                – 4:58 – Chemical Brothers

Maha Lakshmi – 5:19 – El Cosmo Group

Denmark – 5:07 – Chemical Brothers

The Space Between – 6:02 – Zero 7

Lavender Hill – 4:33 – Lex van Someren

Ascension – 4:52 – Lex van Someren

Make Space – Wednesday, Feb 27, 2013, 1045am

Passing Through – 5:17 – Bob Holroyd

A Different Space – 8:43 – Bob Holroyd

Journeyman – 6:41 – Bob Holroyd

Qalanderi – 6:55 – Cheb I Sabbah

Welcome to the Journey – 5:04 – Cybertribe

Drumming Up a Storm – 5:59 – Bob Holroyd

African Drug [Original Tribal Mix] – 6:02 – Bob Holroyd

Nataraj – 6:02 – Ganga Girl

The Sheer Weight of Memory – 5:28 – Bob Holroyd

Dark Waters – 4:35 – Bob Holroyd

Earthwatching – 4:14 – Bob Holroyd

Make Space – Thursday, Feb 28, 2013, 9am

Driver – 4:12 – Galen Butler

Clouds – 6:33 – Feuerhake

Takshaka – 10:42 – Makayo

Qalanderi – 6:55 – Cheb I Sabbah

Lung Fu – 7:41 – Galen Butler

Welcome to the Journey – 5:04 – Cybertribe

Come With Us                – 4:58 – Chemical Brothers

Maha Lakshmi – 5:19 – El Cosmo Group

Denmark – 5:07 – Chemical Brothers

Lavender Hill – 4:33 – Lex van Someren

Ascension – 4:52 – Lex van Someren

Make Space – Friday, Mar 1, 2013, 9am

Passing Through – 5:17 – Bob Holroyd

A Different Space – 8:43 – Bob Holroyd

Journeyman  – 6:41 – Bob Holroyd

Something To Believe In – 4:44 – Parachute

Drumming Up a Storm – 5:59 – Bob Holroyd

African Drug [Original Tribal Mix] – 6:02 – Bob Holroyd

The Thing That Helps Me Get Through – 4:35 – Spearhead, Michael Franti

Stairway To Heaven – 8:03 – Led Zeppelin

Djarrimirri – 3:57 – Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu

Slip Into Something More Comfortable – 4:48 – Kinobe

The Barney Fade – 3:34 – Fragile State

scratch my back cover imageOn Saturday, we focused on light (both light/heavy and light/dark).  We danced to lots of cover songs as well as songs that had some sort of light play to them.  In particular, several people asked me about the last song, Peter Gabriel’s cover of The Boy in the Bubble, which is a miracle and wonder.

Wonderwall – 4:09 – Ryan Adams (Oasis cover)

The Obvious Child      – 4:10 – Paul Simon

Love The One You’re With – 5:03 – Luther Vandross (Crosby Stills & Nash cover)

Lovers House – 4:49 – City Reverb

(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction – 2:41 – Devo (Rolling Stones cover)

More Than This – 4:07 – 10,000 Maniacs (Roxy Music cover)

Sometimes – 5:14 – Kaskade

Deeper (Into Places) (Silk Spinner Mix) – 6:23 – Afterlife

Knock On Wood – 4:13 – Safri Duo

Da Ya Think I’m Sexy – 4:22 – N-Trance (Rod Stewart cover)

Sweet Child o’ Mine – 3:56 – Sheryl Crow (Guns ‘n’ Roses cover)

Skyfall – 4:47 – Adele

The Boy In The Bubble – 4:30 – Peter Gabriel (Paul Simon cover)

The poem I read at the end of class is one I have posted right over my desk where I can see it every day.

The Buddha’s Last Instruction

“Make of yourself a light,”
said the Buddha,
before he died.
I think of this every morning
as the east begins
to tear off its many clouds
of darkness, to send up the first
signal – a white fan
streaked with pink and violet,
even green.
An old man, he lay down
between two sala trees,
and he might have said anything,
knowing it was his final hour.
The light burns upward,
it thickens and settles over the fields.
Around him, the villagers gathered
and stretched forward to listen.
Even before the sun itself
hangs, disattached, in the blue air,
I am touched everywhere
by its ocean of yellow waves.
No doubt he thought of everything
that had happened in his difficult life.
And then I feel the sun itself
as it blazes over the hills,
like a million flowers on fire –
clearly I’m not needed,
yet I feel myself turning
into something of inexplicable value.
Slowly, beneath the branches,
he raised his head.
He looked into the faces of that frightened crowd.

~ Mary Oliver ~

If you have any questions at all about music or readings or anything else, I’m happy to share.  Just let me know!

mystere coverA few people asked me about the routine and the music I used on Wednesday and Friday this week for the Strength in Length focus.  Debbie Rosas, one of Nia’s co-founders, created a routine years ago called Mystere that used all music from the Cirque du Soleil show of the same name.  I took nuggets of Debbie’s choreography and most of the playlist and created my own “tweaked” version of the routine that I call The Mystery.  The music is full of magic and unexpected delights:

Égypte – 4:28 – Cirque du Soleil, Mystere

Rumeurs – 10:09 – Cirque du Soleil, Mystere

Caravena – 5:14 – Cirque du Soleil, Mystere

Kunya Sobé   – 5:20 – Cirque du Soleil, Mystere

En Ville – 4:59 – Cirque du Soleil, Mystere

Birimbau – 6:12 – Cirque du Soleil, Mystere

Rondo – 6:07 – Cirque du Soleil, Mystere

Taruka – 5:34 – Cirque du Soleil, Alegría

Kalimando – 6:31 – Cirque du Soleil, Mystere

Out Of The Silence – 6:22 – Aeoliah

And on Friday, I read this poem that I also promised to share (I love how vertical it is!):

Vertical by Linda Pastan

Perhaps the purpose
of leaves is to conceal
the verticality
of trees
which we notice
in December
as if for the first time:
row after row
of dark forms
yearning upwards.
And since we will be
horizontal ourselves
for so long,
let us now honor
the gods
of the vertical:
stalks of wheat
which to the ant
must seem as high
as these trees do to us,
silos and
telephone poles,
stalagmites
and skyscrapers.
But most of all
these winter oaks,
these soft-fleshed poplars,
this birch
whose bark is like
roughened skin
against which I lean
my chilled head,
not ready
to lie down.

“Vertical” by Linda Pastan, from Traveling Light. © Norton, 2010

If you have any questions about music or readings, I’m happy to share.  Just let me know!

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