I have a friend who listens to me with his whole being. He sits absolutely still and just…listens. Not many people in our culture do this. At first, it was disconcerting. I thought that maybe he wasn’t understanding me because he wasn’t nodding or “uh-huh”-ing or anything. He gets still and listens with the intention to understand. He listens to really hear me. And his listening sometimes allows him to hear things that even I can’t hear. He can hear what I am saying and also what I’m not. There is something deeply nourishing about talking with him. I can feel it in my cells.

It’s as simple as this:

Deep listening = Paying close attention

Paying close attention = Love

Deep listening = Love

So my question for you is this: what are you listening to? who are you listening to? can you listen deeply? what are you half listening to? listening to while doing other things? listening to while deciding what you’ll say in response?

What are you deeply, fully, completely listening to?

Whatever it is, you are loving it.

Listen and love.

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Le Que y Tu! The most recent installment of a travel sketchbook of our adventures in our camper, Le Que!

Before we launch off on the trip, here’s what happened this spring with our beloved Le Que. If you haven’t seen Chitty Chitty Bang Bang in a while (like, say, 50 years) here’s the scene I’m talking about. Frank’s transformation was TOTALLY like this.

I realized that the very first time I ever drew our travels was three years ago when we went to these very same parks! Check out the inaugural illustration:

Grayson Highlands is a glorious park and at the highest point in Virginia so is unseasonably cool. Which rocks.

The last time we were here, we saw a bear.

Grayson Highlands is known for its views and vistas, which we love, but we are truly lovers of a water feature. Wilson Creek trail was a-MAZ-ing. And here’s Steve Martin, performing Grandmother’s Song, the song that we sang on the trail.

And what’s better than one water feature hike? Two!

Somehow, I have to be reminded over and over. Going outside changes everything.

Then we started making our way home via Peaks of Otter on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

It was a great day and at the end of it, I asked Frank what surprised him. He said a bunch of things including how easy it was to get out of our steep campsite and how we ended up doing that big mountain hike right at the last minute at the end of the day. I noted that he was NOT surprised that I went skinny dipping in broad daylight nor that I was swearing a blue streak whilst showering in cold water. He knows me well.

Now get off your screen and go outside and do things!

Octabusy is finished!
Except for editing. And fixing some mistakes. And the printing.
But mostly. Mostly, it’s finished.
And she is ready for some time away to rest and relax.
So we’ve packed up our little camper and we’re off to Grayson Highlands State Park!

I’ll be back teaching on August 5. Until then, a reminder of some of the goodness that is coming up.
Until soon, friends!
Love

 

 

 

SUMMER SPECIAL for Nourishing Movement Classes at the Studio at Dancing Water
Nourishing Movement classes with Susan on Thursdays at 9am ~~ my mix of guided and unguided movement, meditation and creativity! Now on SUMMER SPECIAL ~~ You and a friend move in the trees by the river at a discounted rate of $20! 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 brunch/tea/snackie! 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!

Saturday August 24, 10am – 130pm – Moving with Ayurveda with Susan & Liz Reynolds
Just as we bring awareness and listen to our bodies as we move, Ayurveda teaches us to listen to both the signals of nature and our own body as a map for health and vitality.  Join Susan and Ayurveda Wellness Coach, Liz Reynolds for a nourishing experience at Dancing Water on Saturday, August 24 from 10am – 130pm. Susan’s integrated approach to movement encourages deep responsiveness to sensation, sound and space. We will then transition to an exploration of Ayurveda cooking and wellness practices with Liz as she offers a delicious vegetarian meal perfectly suited for the end of summer. She will teach about the simplicity of the ancient practice of Ayurveda, and offer tips for transitioning into the fall season. Plus, you’ll get the scoop on what doshas actually are. (And if you have no idea was a dosha is, this is a great place to begin!) $75. Register at http://www.susanmcculley.com/shop.

Saturday September 28, 9-12noon – Moving & Writing with Light: Nourishing Body & Eyes with Susan & Rebecca
Susan & Rebecca offer a morning to expand your perspective on two things that everybody has: a body and a smartphone. The word “photography” means “writing with light.” A photo isn’t a copy of something— it’s a story written *by light*! And light is weaving stories all around us, all the time. Using the simple cameras that we all carry —the ones in our phones! — we’ll play with the stories of light around us and experience how changing our perspectives can change everything. Susan will weave movement and mindfulness into the morning to practice being with light & shadow. No experience in photography or movement needed, just bring a phone or tablet with a built-in camera and your body. If you like, from 12-2pm, bring a lunch and savor it on the porch, on the bench overlooking the river or on a rock in the middle of it. $75. Register at http://www.susanmcculley.com/shop.

Decoding Your Body’s Wisdom ~ Video Series with Cecily Armstrong
Over the past few years I’ve been inspired and energized by the teaching and guidance of Cecily Armstrong. She is so generous with her offerings ~ her latest is a three-part video workshop Decoding Your Body’s Wisdom. If you’ve ever felt confused about how best to nourish yourself and live your healthiest, happiest life, Cecily offers amazing insights. You can sign up for the video series here. And/or you can get access to a longer 1-hour on-line workshop with Cecily here! https://cecilyarmstrong.com/decoding-your-bodys-wisdom-workshop/
https://cecilyarmstrong.com/decoding-your-bodys-wisdom/

First Friday Freedance with Kate ~ Aug 2 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, Aug 2 from 11:25 -12:25.

Nia White Belt Training with Kelle Rae Oien Aug 15-21 at SoulShines in Richmond
Whether for personal growth, developing your practice or preparing to teach, the Nia White Belt training is a life-changing experience. Join stellar White Belt Trainer, Kelle Rae Oien at the new SoulShines Studios in Richmond. Go here for more information!
https://www.facebook.com/events/796684947329568/ (NOTE: A belt can audit 3 sessions for free. (They will need to pay for classes with Kelle – not included in the free offer) A retake (anything more than 3 sessions) is $99 to HQ and $400 to Kelle. That includes all classes.)

In order to be with the heat as it rises (either in us or around us) is to get grounded and fluid. Using our awareness of the design and function of the body – and in this week’s case, the bones of the lower leg and forearm – we can find those sensations whenever we need them.

Below 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!

And friends, I am always ALWAYS looking for new music. Do you have a song that you love to move to or that moves you? I’d love to know what it is! Please respond in the comments below or email me at sjmnia@gmail.com!

Before the playlists, please check out some upcoming happenings – especially the newly-announced and rescheduled Dancing Water workshops!

SUMMER SPECIAL for Nourishing Movement Classes at the Studio at Dancing Water
Nourishing Movement classes with Susan on Thursdays at 9am ~~ my mix of guided and unguided movement, meditation and creativity! Now on SUMMER SPECIAL ~~ You and a friend move in the trees by the river at a discounted rate of $20! 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 brunch/tea/snackie! 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!

Saturday August 24, 10am – 130pm – Moving with Ayurveda with Susan & Liz Reynolds
Just as we bring awareness and listen to our bodies as we move, Ayurveda teaches us to listen to both the signals of nature and our own body as a map for health and vitality.  Join Susan and Ayurveda Wellness Coach, Liz Reynolds for a nourishing experience at Dancing Water on Saturday, August 24 from 10am – 130pm. Susan’s integrated approach to movement encourages deep responsiveness to sensation, sound and space. We will then transition to an exploration of Ayurveda cooking and wellness practices with Liz as she offers a delicious vegetarian meal perfectly suited for the end of summer. She will teach about the simplicity of the ancient practice of Ayurveda, and offer tips for transitioning into the fall season. Plus, you’ll get the scoop on what doshas actually are. (And if you have no idea was a dosha is, this is a great place to begin!) $75. Register at http://www.susanmcculley.com/shop.

RESCHEDULED ~ Saturday September 28, 9-12noon – Moving & Writing with Light: Nourishing Body & Eyes with Susan & Rebecca
Susan & Rebecca offer a morning to expand your perspective on two things that everybody has: a body and a smartphone. The word “photography” means “writing with light.” A photo isn’t a copy of something— it’s a story written *by light*! And light is weaving stories all around us, all the time. Using the simple cameras that we all carry —the ones in our phones! — we’ll play with the stories of light around us and experience how changing our perspectives can change everything. Susan will weave movement and mindfulness into the morning to practice being with light & shadow. No experience in photography or movement needed, just bring a phone or tablet with a built-in camera and your body. If you like, from 12-2pm, bring a lunch and savor it on the porch, on the bench overlooking the river or on a rock in the middle of it. $75. Register at http://www.susanmcculley.com/shop.

Decoding Your Body’s Wisdom ~ Video Series with Cecily Armstrong
Over the past few years I’ve been inspired and energized by the teaching and guidance of Cecily Armstrong. She is so generous with her offerings ~ her latest is a three-part video workshop Decoding Your Body’s Wisdom. If you’ve ever felt confused about how best to nourish yourself and live your healthiest, happiest life, Cecily offers amazing insights. You can sign up for the video series here. And/or you can get access to a longer 1-hour on-line workshop with Cecily here! https://cecilyarmstrong.com/decoding-your-bodys-wisdom-workshop/

Decoding Your Body’s Wisdom

First Friday Freedance with Kate ~ Aug 2 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, Aug 2 from 11:25 -12:25.

Nia White Belt Training with Kelle Rae Oien Aug 15-21 at SoulShines in Richmond
Whether for personal growth, developing your practice or preparing to teach, the Nia White Belt training is a life-changing experience. Join stellar White Belt Trainer, Kelle Rae Oien at the new SoulShines Studios in Richmond. Go here for more information!
https://www.facebook.com/events/796684947329568/ (NOTE: A belt can audit 3 sessions for free. (They will need to pay for classes with Kelle – not included in the free offer) A retake (anything more than 3 sessions) is $99 to HQ and $400 to Kelle. That includes all classes.)

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

Monday, Jul 22, 2019, 1045am ~

Summer 5:58 Moby
Here We Go 5:59 Deep Dive Corp. Ft. Hush Forever
Tala Odyssey (Drumspyder Remix) 6:07 Desert Dwellers
Laugh as the Sun 6:00 Rusted Root
Played A Live 6:46 Safri Duo
Legs (Remix Version) 4:32 ZZ Top
Afronaut 5:23 Shaman’s Dream
Succumb to Me 5:15 Terence Trent D’Arby
Tryin’ To Throw Your Arms Around The World 3:53 U2
Hit the Ground 3:31 Lizz Wright
Gentle Exit 4:15 The Happening

Tuesday, Jul 23, 2019, 840am ~

Summer 5:58 Moby
Here We Go 5:59 Deep Dive Corp. Ft. Hush Forever
Laugh as the Sun 6:00 Rusted Root
Played A Live 6:46 Safri Duo
Legs (Remix Version) 4:32 ZZ Top
Afronaut 5:23 Shaman’s Dream
Succumb to Me 5:15 Terence Trent D’Arby
Tryin’ To Throw Your Arms Around The World 3:53 U2
Hit the Ground 3:31 Lizz Wright
Gentle Exit 4:15 The Happening

Wednesday, Jul 24, 2019, 11am ~

Skinny Legs 2:43 Lyle Lovett
Here We Go 5:59 Deep Dive Corp. Ft. Hush Forever
Tala Odyssey (Drumspyder Remix) 6:07 Desert Dwellers
Somebody That I Used to Know 4:09 Walk Off the Earth
Didji Dance 4:41 Ganga Girl
Pick Up The Pieces 4:03 The Average White Band
Summertime 8:06 Chris Coco
Succumb to Me 5:15 Terence Trent D’Arby
Tryin’ To Throw Your Arms Around The World 3:53 U2
Hit the Ground 3:31 Lizz Wright
Way Down 5:08 The Happening

Thursday, Jul 25, 2019, 9am Nourishing Movement at the Studio at Dancing Water ~

Menino 5:36 Yo-Yo Ma
Here We Go 5:59 Deep Dive Corp. Ft. Hush Forever
Tala Odyssey (Drumspyder Remix) 6:07 Desert Dwellers
Somebody That I Used to Know 4:09 Walk Off the Earth
Didji Dance 4:41 Ganga Girl
Aloha Ke Akua 5:57 Nahko and Medicine for the People
Succumb to Me 5:15 Terence Trent D’Arby
Tus Pies (Your Feet) 5:21 Nahko and Medicine for the People
Hit the Ground 3:31 Lizz Wright
Thank You (ho’oponopono) 7:28 Carrie Grossman
Gentle Exit 4:15 The Happening

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!

I love summer.

Despite its signature heat and humidity, I love the long, sunny days, all the growth and abundance and berries and watermelon. I also know that especially in the hot height of summer, I need to stay grounded. All that swirling, rising heat energy requires grounding my body, mind and heart. Summer is a time for meditation, siestas, being near water and sitting in the sand.

For me, it’s also a time for connection: gathering fresh fruit and vegetables (either from a garden, a blueberry bush or Misfit Market!), walking in the forest or near water, visiting and entertaining friends and family. (Conversely, I think this is why I winter holiday parties when my energy is quiet and attention is inward totally do not work for me.)

These dual needs for grounding and reaching, are reflected in the very design of the human body: in particular the lower legs and forearms. Take a look at the bone structure of the lower arms and legs:

On the surface of it, the two structures look almost identical: two bones next to each other, one noticeably larger than the other, the ends of which connect to similar structures — a hinge joint at one end and a gliding synovial joint at the other. But while the forms looks the same, their functions are not. The bones of the lower leg are designed to stabilize and ground while the bones of the lower arm are designed to flow and reach out.

The forearms and lower legs are the Bones of Summer.

The two lower leg bones are the tibia and the fibula. The second longest bone in the body, the tibia runs along the inside of the lower leg, attaching to the femur/thigh bone at the top and the ankle at the bottom. Run your fingers along what you think of as your shin bone and you are feeling your tibia. The fibula is another long bone but is narrower and runs parallel to and acts as support of the tibia. In the lower leg, the tibia provides strength and weight-bearing while the fibula provides mobility and range of motion with stability being primary focus of the lower leg.

The forearm bones are the radius, on the thumb-side of the arm, and the ulna that runs down the pinkie side of the arm. Similar to the leg bones, these bones provide both strength and mobility but in the arm, the focus is on mobility. The structure of the joints in the forearm allow the radius to rotate around the ulna — the only two bones in the body that cross each other! — which allows the hand and wrist to rotate more completely than the foot (thank goodness, that wouldn’t go well). This intricate design allows extraordinary flexibility and dexterity for everything from lifting heavy boxes to doing caligraphy.

The Bones of Summer remind us that when energy is moving and things heat up, we need to stay both grounded and fluid. We need to rest in the support of the earth under us but also reach out and connect to the ripening fruit of the season. Both stability and mobility are nourishing to the body in the summer heat and the same is true for the mind and heart.

To skillfully navigate a heated situation — rising anger, an intense disagreement or a hot political conflict —  we need to stay both grounded and fluid. Feel yourself present and rooted as well as open and expansive. It can help me to feel my feet and legs (maybe even feeling my feet or legs with my hands) and also breathe and reach out for connection and perspective. So when I get tangled in a Facebook morass, for example, I can feel my body and breath and also go outside, pet the cat and get a hug from my level-headed husband. This connection to both stability and mobility are what allows relaxation, a settling of stirred-up energy as well as openness to possibility and solution.

Hot summer days can be full of pleasure but they can also stir me up and get me over-stimulated. I have to remind myself to find strength and support as well as openness and connection. Walks in the woods, resting on rocks in a river and picking berries from the vine offer ancient balance to the heat of the season. However you navigate the heat, connect with the Bones of Summer in the lower legs and forearms for a physical sensation of grounded fluidity.

“Small Choices Matter. You Matter.” ~ Cecily Armstrong

It doesn’t matter what you want to do, what you want to create, what you want to change: small choices matter. Not only do they matter, they are the only thing that will make what it happen. Big choices set the course, but it is the small choices that will get you there.

Cecily taught me this lesson about nourishment (of body, mind and spirit) but the same holds true for saving money, parenting, building a business or making the world a kinder place. Set the course, then keep making small choices in that direction.

For more information about Cecily’s 9-month transformational healing program, Love Your Body Love Your Life, see the listing below or reach out to me at sjmnia@gmail.com and I will point you in the right direction!

Cecily also turned me on to the writer Alexandra Franzen and I found this amazing story on her blog. Do read it. It is changing how I move through the world.

Below 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!

Before the playlists, here is the scoop on a whole slew of great things happening this summer!

SUMMER SPECIAL for Nourishing Movement Classes at the Studio at Dancing Water
Nourishing Movement classes with Susan on Thursdays at 9am ~~ my mix of guided and unguided movement, meditation and creativity! Now on SUMMER SPECIAL ~~ You and a friend move in the trees by the river at a discounted rate of $20! 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 brunch/tea/snackie! 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!

Saturday July 27, 9-12noon – Moving & Writing with Light: Nourishing Body & Eyes with Susan & Rebecca
Susan & Rebecca offer a morning to expand your perspective on two things that everybody has: a body and a smartphone. The word “photography” means “writing with light.” A photo isn’t a copy of something— it’s a story written *by light*! And light is weaving stories all around us, all the time. Using the simple cameras that we all carry —the ones in our phones! — we’ll play with the stories of light around us and experience how changing our perspectives can change everything. Susan will weave movement and mindfulness into the morning to practice being with light & shadow. No experience in photography or movement needed, just bring a phone or tablet with a built-in camera and your body. If you like, from 12-2pm, bring a lunch and savor it on the porch, on the bench overlooking the river or on a rock in the middle of it. Bring water shoes and you could even sit in the water. $75. Register at http://www.susanmcculley.com/shop.

Decoding Your Body’s Wisdom ~ Video Series with Cecily Armstrong
Over the past few years I’ve been inspired and energized by the teaching and guidance of Cecily Armstrong. She is so generous with her offerings ~ her latest is a three-part video workshop Decoding Your Body’s Wisdom. If you’ve ever felt confused about how best to nourish yourself and live your healthiest, happiest life, Cecily offers amazing insights. You can sign up for the video series here. And/or you can get access to a longer 1-hour on-line workshop with Cecily here! https://cecilyarmstrong.com/decoding-your-bodys-wisdom-workshop/

Decoding Your Body’s Wisdom

First Friday Freedance with Kate ~ Aug 2 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, Aug 2 from 11:25 -12:25.

Nia White Belt Training with Kelle Rae Oien Aug 15-21 at SoulShines in Richmond
Whether for personal growth, developing your practice or preparing to teach, the Nia White Belt training is a life-changing experience. Join stellar White Belt Trainer, Kelle Rae Oien at the new SoulShines Studios in Richmond. Go here for more information!
https://www.facebook.com/events/796684947329568/ (NOTE: A belt can audit 3 sessions for free. (They will need to pay for classes with Kelle – not included in the free offer) A retake (anything more than 3 sessions) is $99 to HQ and $400 to Kelle. That includes all classes.)

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

Monday, Jul 15, 2019, 1045am ~ Small Choices Matter

Sacred Light 4:56 Bob Holroyd
Sunday Morning, Up All Night 4:54 NYXYSS
One Hundred Lights (Grouch Remix) 5:31 Kaya Project
Blood Stud (Ray Mang Remix) 8:36 MB Disco
Little By Little 3:18 7 Worlds Collide
Torch 7:49 Bob Holroyd
Reconfluence 6:19 Bob Holroyd
U R The Answer 5:57 Stephen Bray/ Michael Beckwith
Little Things 3:51 Michael Franti & Spearhead
Mumbai Madness 4:49 Mashti + Jean Baden
Father Space 5:56 Bjarno

Tuesday, Jul 16, 2019, 840am ~ Small Choices Matter

Sacred Light 4:56 Bob Holroyd
Sunday Morning, Up All Night 4:54 NYXYSS
One Hundred Lights (Grouch Remix) 5:31 Kaya Project
Blood Stud (Ray Mang Remix) 8:36 MB Disco
Little By Little 3:18 7 Worlds Collide
Torch 7:49 Bob Holroyd
Reconfluence 6:19 Bob Holroyd
Little Things 3:51 Michael Franti & Spearhead
Mumbai Madness 4:49 Mashti + Jean Baden
The Essence Nine 3:01 Jeroen Elfferich

Wednesday, Jul 17, 2019, 11am ~ Small Choices Matter

Little Steps 3:50 Bird
Sunday Morning, Up All Night 4:54 NYXYSS
One Hundred Lights (Grouch Remix) 5:31 Kaya Project
Blood Stud (Ray Mang Remix) 8:36 MB Disco
Little By Little 3:18 7 Worlds Collide
Torch 7:49 Bob Holroyd
Afronaut 5:23 Shaman’s Dream
U R The Answer 5:57 Stephen Bray/ Michael Beckwith
Little Things 3:51 Michael Franti & Spearhead
Mumbai Madness 4:49 Mashti + Jean Baden
Little Steps 4:08 BEN WISCH

Thursday, Jul 18, 2019, 9am Nourishing Movement at the Studio at Dancing Water ~ Small Choices Matter

Relaxer 7:58 Deep-Dive-Corp.
Little Steps 3:50 Bird
Sunday Morning, Up All Night 4:54 NYXYSS
One Hundred Lights (Grouch Remix) 5:31 Kaya Project
Sometimes 4:49 Yoav
Little By Little 3:18 7 Worlds Collide
Torch 7:49 Bob Holroyd
Is Your Love Big Enough? 3:22 Lianne La Havas
Afronaut 5:23 Shaman’s Dream
Little Things 3:51 Michael Franti & Spearhead
Mumbai Madness 4:49 Mashti + Jean Baden
Little Steps 4:08 BEN WISCH

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!

A NOTE about the Focus Pocus art: I am in the middle of a book project called Octabusy: How To Let Go in a Sea of Doing. I’m excited about it and want to focus my art-making energy on it. So instead of making complex art pieces for the Focus Pocus blog, I make cartoons like this one that feature characters from the book. This week, the Sea Star (an expert in small steps and choices) goes where she wants to go one tiny choice at a time.

Three years ago this month, my husband Frank and I put an offer on the land on which our house now stands. We made the big choice to build a house three years ago but what got the house built was thousands and thousands of small choices every day. Each night when he came back from working on the project, I’d ask how it went that day. Each night, he’d tell me what they’d done and say, “Little by little, sweetie. Little by little.” Three years later, we’re living in the result of that series of choices.

From September to June, I was part of the coaching team for my friend, teacher, and nutritionist Cecily Armstrong’s transformational healing program called Love Your Body Love Your Life. I loved being part of this experience and witnessing the changes that this group of courageous woman made over the time we spent together. Near the end of the program, a participant shared a story about saying no to toxic food at an office gathering. In response, Cecily said something that keeps coming back to me:

“Small Choices Matter. You Matter.”

How many times? How many times do I intend to do something (or not do something), but when I’m tired or stressed or hungry I don’t. And how many times when this happens, I hear myself say, “Gah, it doesn’t matter.” What Cecily points out is that saying this is really saying “I don’t matter.”

In her program A Year to Clear, Stephanie Bennet Vogt invites this journaling prompt:

• Telling myself that “I matter” makes me feel______ (psst, notice any weather (emotional waves) that arises as you contemplate this statement and breathe into that)

When presented with this prompt, I sometimes bump into feelings of insecurity or old stories of self-importance come up. And it’s worth investigating what is at the root of the stories. Then I can find ways of reinforcing self-worth and the impact of incremental choices on my broader vision.

When Cecily and I were talking about the “small choices” approach and she shared this genius essay by Alexandrea Franzen called Ice. Imagine being in a frozen room and raising the temperature one degree a day. For a long time, it would seem like nothing was happening but keep at it, one degree a day, the cumulative effect of those small choices would transform everything.

Whatever we do over and over, day in and day out – whether conscious or not – is the most powerful force there is. As C.S. Lewis said,

“Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back, everything is different…”

Chart the course with big choices — know where you want to go — but know that the way to get there is with the small choices you make every moment.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

For more information on Cecily Armstrong’s work including her 9-month Love Your Body Love Your Life transformational healing program, you can go to her website and sign up for her FREE online workshops
Cecily Armstrong Web siteWeb siteWeb site
Cecily’s Decoding Your Body’s Wisdom ~ 3 mini-workshops
Cecily’s Decoding Your Body’s Wisdom ~ 1-hour workshop

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