reorganizing-2-022417
Utter confusion.
Complete disorder.
In Physics it’s defined as “behavior so unpredictable as to appear random, owing to great sensitivity to small changes in conditions.”

Chaos.

The original word in ancient Greek (khaos) meant a gaping void or a vast empty abyss. But mostly, when we use the word now, we’re talking less about groundlessness and more about intense unpredictability, incomprehensible disorder, and absolute confusion.

In Gabrielle Roth’s movement practice of 5 Rhythms, the body goes through movements that follow the patterns in nature.

Flow to

Staccato to

Chaos to

Lyrical to

Stillness.

I was fine with Flow and Staccato. Lyrical and Stillness were totally approachable. But Chaos intimidated me. It felt scary. Teachers warned, “Relax in chaos or get hurt.”

How in the world do you relax into utter confusion?

Chaos is not my favorite feeling and it can’t be avoided. Chaos is part of life. In the routine I’m choreographing*, chaos keeps bubbling up in the music, the movements, even the process. My schedule feels chaotic, too, with much more teaching than usual in unfamiliar settings with unpredictable variables. These days the very world feels deeply unpredictable, teetering precariously on the edge of chaos. I keep reminding myself to relax but…dang.

When I told a friend about all the chaos swarming me, he smiled slyly, “You know about chaos theory, right?”

Um. No. I’m an English major, remember?

In chaos theory, he explained, the utter randomness and confusion is actually a way of reorganizing. Self-organization theories in a wide range of disciplines – from physics and biology to computer and social science – demonstrate that chaos is a way of finding an organic and highly stable order. Let a whole gaggle of things happen higglety pigglety, and new patterns and possibilities emerge.

I’m no scientist. I’ve just told you the sum total of what I know about chaos theory. And yet, as a dancer, this idea of self-organization makes sense to me.

In Nia, we use a huge assortment of movements to train, condition and heal the body~mind. The practice is based on 9 different movement forms and we energize those forms with 5 Sensations of Fitness (Flexibility, Agility, Mobility, Strength & Stability). We take movements at all different speeds and ranges of motion and we take them through the three planes of high middle and low. We use sound and breath to strengthen the core and move energy. We use emotion and expressiveness to enliven movements from the inside out. We use form to gather our collective attention and to break habit. There is also a boat ton of freedom. A Nia class in full swing can definitely look and feel chaotic.

It’s actually one big reorganization project.

All those different movements and patterns and speeds opens new possibilities. I reorganize my muscles: the ones that are tight and sore and the ones that haven’t been used. I reorganize my bones and joints by lubricating them and nudging them into better alignment. I reorganize my mind to pay attention, to invest in what matters most: what’s happening in this precious present moment.

Sometimes the most healing thing we can do is shake things up and allow them to find new patterns. The notion that life is solid and unchanging is an illusion anyway. Why not relax and find a new order out of chaos?


* The new routine is called Love Warrior and I’ll be launching it on March 3 at an event to raise money for 5 Charlottesville refugee families (this is a special event routine and not one I’ll teach in my regular classes). You can get the details here. http://www.susanmcculley.com/special-classes-events/ I hope you’ll come.


If you enjoyed this post, I’m delighted and I hope you’ll share it.

You might also enjoy these two:
Dragonlily (or the Dance of Mobility and Agility)

and
Stability Within Instability

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Our knees are vulnerable places. If feet or hips are out of balance, that misalignment will show up in the knees. Given that the knees are in the middle of the leg, they are the ones that will be scrambling to compensate. Mindfulness around any vulnerable places is a way of offering strength, support and healing where it is most (k)needed.

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

And first the announce-y things:

• FREE Workshop: Cultivating Resilience with Mary Linn & Susan ~ February 25, 3-5pm
How do we take real care of ourselves in the face of upset and struggle? How do we cultivate healthy resilience? Resilience is the brain’s ability to handle stress in a positive way and to recover quickly. In this workshop, we will explore tools that neuroscience shows wire the brain for an ability to bounce back. Join us for the first in the Heal the Healer series.
Saturday, February 25, 2o17, 3-5pm (arrive at 2:45)
at the Quaker Meeting House at 1104 Forest St, Charlottesville
Please RSVP to sjmnia@gmail.com or on the Facebook event page (https://www.facebook.com/events/1629783820664092/) so we know how many people to expect. Wear comfortable clothes, bring a journal, a donation for use of the space, and a friend!

• Love Warrior: embody a movement ~ Friday, Mar 3, 6-730pm
a moving experience of activism in support of five local refugee families
Any Donations Welcome*
Buck Mountain Episcopal Church Parish Hall

Join Susan for the launch of a new routine about embodying activism called Love Warrior. This is a movement experience 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.
“Knowledge is only a rumor until it is in the muscle.” – Papua New Guinea Proverb
In times of uncertainty, our first reaction can be to “figure this out.” It is a common approach to go straight to our minds to think our way out of a difficult situation. And nothing will shift, we won’t change a thing until we feel it in our bones, until we embody the change we want to see.

PLUS Authentic Kurdish treats made by one of our families will be for sale after class!

* Your generous donation is gratefully accepted. The families’ greatest need is laptop computers (for schoolwork, for jobs, for life), TVs, cell phones, and portable washing machines. They don’t have transportation, so it is difficult for them to get to laundromats with their kids and clothes, and the apartment complex laundry facilities are awful, unsafe, and difficult to haul stuff to. The women all have cracked hands from doing laundry in their bathtubs. Buck Mountain has purchased and installed one portable washer for one family and would like to do four or five more (at about $200/each). The biggest need, then, is any cash donations for these items or gift cards to Walmart or Target because these are places they can get to on public transit.

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, Feb 20, 2017, 1045am ~ Knee-Ahh!

Qurna 7:09 Banco de Gaia
You Can’t Always Get What You Want 6:47 Rusted Root
Habibe 7:12 Big Blue Ball featuring Natacha Atlas, Hossam Ramzy, Neil Sparkes, The Hossam Ramzy Egyptian Ensemble (Adel Eskander, Wael Abu Bakr, Momtaz Talaat
Drumming Up a Storm 6:01 Bob Holroyd
Ghosts in My Machine 3:33 Annie Lennox
Deeper (Into Places) (Silk Spinner Mix) 6:23 Afterlife
Shining Path 7:23 Dreadzone
Knee Deep (feat. Jimmy Buffett) 3:23 Zac Brown Band
Fade Into You 4:54 Mazzy Star
When It Falls 5:31 Zero 7

Tuesday, Feb 21, 2017, 840am ~ Knee-Ahh!

Qurna 7:09 Banco de Gaia
You Can’t Always Get What You Want 6:47 Rusted Root
Love and Hope 4:24 Ozomatli
Drumming Up a Storm 6:01 Bob Holroyd
Ghosts in My Machine 3:33 Annie Lennox
Loves Me Like A Rock 3:30 Paul Simon
Never Coming Home 5:00 Sting
Shining Path 7:23 Dreadzone
Fade Into You 4:54 Mazzy Star
Horizon 3:12 John Munson

Wednesday, Feb 22, 2017, 11am ~ Knee-Ahh!

Relax 5:56 Deep-Dive-Corp. Feat. Michele Adamson
The Hush 5:24 Rae & Christian
Lovers House 4:49 City Reverb
One World, One People 4:43 Xcultures
City of Light (Reverso 68 Remix) 5:53 City Reverb
Shakin’ It Up 6:15 Ganga Giri
Sandstorm 7:26 Darude
I Don’t Like It, I Love It (feat. Robin Thicke & Verdine White) 3:44 Flo Rida
Unpack Your Heart 3:16 Phillip Phillips
Ooh Child ((Remix)) 3:33 Nina Simone
Everything’ll Be Alright 4:07 Catherine MacLellan
Þú Ert Jörðin 4:34 Ólafur Arnalds

Thursday, Feb 23, 2017, 840am ~ Knee-Ahh!

Relax 5:56 Deep-Dive-Corp. Feat. Michele Adamson
The Hush 5:24 Rae & Christian
Lovers House 4:49 City Reverb
One World, One People 4:43 Xcultures
City of Light (Reverso 68 Remix) 5:53 City Reverb
Shakin’ It Up 6:15 Ganga Giri
Sambatucada (Nari & Gaudino Sambadrhome Radio Edit) 3:35 Gaudino Da Costa
I Don’t Like It, I Love It (feat. Robin Thicke & Verdine White) 3:44 Flo Rida
Ooh Child ((Remix)) 3:33 Nina Simone
Everything’ll Be Alright 4:07 Catherine MacLellan
Þú Ert Jörðin 4:34 Ólafur Arnalds

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!

(originally posted April 28, 2013)

Not long ago, my friend Dinah sent me this video. It was a mesmerizing 16 minutes. I could not tear myself away.

And the whole time, my knees would not stop shaking.

Spending 16 minutes with my knees rattling, made me realize how vulnerable I’m feeling these days – in all realms. So this week, I’m revisiting a piece about knees that was originally posted in April 2013. EnJOY.

scan_20170217

You can mess with God, but you can’t mess with your knees.” – genius facilitator and friend, Bev Wann

For the past week or so, my knees have been feeling tight and sore. I’d love to tell you that my in-depth knowledge of anatomy led me immediately to the source of the discomfort. But I had no idea why my knees weren’t feeling right. I’d also love to tell you that I was calm and at peace with the ache in my knees. While I wasn’t exactly panicky, I was sincerely not chill with it.

Knees are sensitive spots. At just the sight of someone who looks unstable or likely to fall, my empathetic husband’s knees tingle. Think about the way we talk about knees idiomatically:
– Weak in the knees
– Knocking knees
– Up to my knees or knee-deep
– Cut off at the knees
– Fall on the knees or bring to the knees
– On bended knee
– Knee-high to a grasshopper
All of these sayings reveal the vulnerability of knees.  Whether it’s love or fear, overwhelm or a heartfelt plea, when we talk about our knees, we are talking about helplessness.

The largest joint in the body, knees are a complex hinge or condylar joint which are essential for movement.  Knowing the anatomy of the joint can help in understanding the importance of alignment.  For example, when you stand up or squat down, do your knees fall in toward each other?  If so, you are straining your Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL).  If your knee juts out in front of your foot when you lunge forward, you are stressing the ligaments around your patella (knee cap) that connect the muscles from the thigh to the shin bone.

There are many good resources for learning about knee health (for example, click here for a good article about knees and yoga), but we can learn particular things from the practice of Nia (click here for an article from the Nia White Belt Manual about Nia and the Knees and another on Knee-Locking Syndrome).

Both in the studio and in life, I’ve discovered the following four keys to knee health and comfort:

Knee-Ahhh! Tip #1:  Always step silently and cleanly

This is the A-number one, most important focus when it comes to happy knees.  First, step softly (with cat-like tread!) and silently.  Stomping and walking heavily strains the feet, ankles, knees and hips and dulls awareness (see Knee-Ahh Tip #4).  And step cleanly, without dragging, shuffling, or twisting your feet on the floor.  Imagine the floor is slightly sticky so you have to lift and place your feet – every single time.  This is particularly important when turning.  The Body’s Way is to step rather than spin on the feet which protects not just the knee but the joints above and below.  Which leads to…

Knee-Ahhh! Tip #2: For happy knees, look to hips and ankles

Whenever you experience discomfort in the body, look above and below the place of pain.  One of the best ways to keep knees healthy is to keep the hips and ankles strong and mobile.  Most people are unable to execute a walking turn in Nia because their hips do not have the range of motion to allow the turn.  And commonly, people shuffle or drag their feet because of stiff or weak ankles.  Practicing any of the first eight movements of the 52 Moves of Nia will condition the ankle joints while Moves 19 through 29 are all particularly good for the hip joints.

Knee-Ahhh! Tip #3: Breathe & Relax

Given that they are particularly sensitive and vulnerable, one tendency is to hold tension in the knees.  This week, I’ve noticed that while sitting at my desk, watching baseball (Go Twins and Red Sox!), and even when I’m in Savasana, I’m often holding some level of tension in my knees!  One of the best things I can do in movement and in stillness is relax and breathe into my knees.

Knee-Ahhh! Tip #4: Listening & Awareness

The more I practice Nia Principle 5, Awareness, the more I learn about what is supporting and what is taxing my knees… or any part of me.  This week, I noticed that I am very precise with my foot placement when I’m in Nia class, but when I’m working in my kitchen, I tend to twist on my feet especially on the rug in front of my stove.  Use awareness and deep listening to find even the small changes that can make happier knees.

What makes your knees happy?  Share your body wisdom and Knee-Ahhh! experiences below!  May this week leave you knee-deep in knee health!

obr-2o17
Thanks to all who came out to dance and sweat and celebrate Love Week by dancing One Billion Rising. There is power when we allow our hearts to be moved.

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 the announce-y things:

• FREE Workshop: Cultivating Resilience with Mary Linn & Susan ~ February 25, 3-5pm
How do we take real care of ourselves in the face of upset and struggle? How do we cultivate healthy resilience? Resilience is the brain’s ability to handle stress in a positive way and to recover quickly. In this workshop, we will explore tools that neuroscience shows wire the brain for an ability to bounce back. Join us for the first in the Heal the Healer series.
Saturday, February 25, 2o17, 3-5pm (arrive at 2:45)
at the Quaker Meeting House at 1104 Forest St, Charlottesville
Please RSVP to sjmnia@gmail.com or on the Facebook event page (https://www.facebook.com/events/1629783820664092/) so we know how many people to expect. Wear comfortable closthes, bring a journal, a donation for use of the space, and a friend!

• Love Warrior: embody a movement ~ Friday, Mar 3, 6-730pm
a moving experience of activism in support of five local refugee families
Buck Mountain Episcopal Church Parish Hall
Join Susan for the launch of a new routine called Love Warrior. This is a movement experience 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.
“Knowledge is only a rumor until it is in the muscle.” – Papua New Guinea Proverb
In times of uncertainty, our first reaction can be to “figure this out.” It is a common approach to go straight to our minds to think our way out of a difficult situation. And nothing will shift, we won’t change a thing until we feel it in our bones, until we embody the change we want to see.
Space limited to 25 participants ~ Please RSVP to Susan at sjmnia@gmail.com
Suggested donation $20-25 and/or specific items of need by the families (more info on this to come)

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 . ***

Saturday, Feb 11, 2017, 1230pm ~ One Billion Rising with Mary Linn

Walking Prayers 3:55 Gina Loring
RISE UP 3:23 Sussan Deyhim
Chaiyya Chaiyya 6:11 Sukhwinder Singh and Sapna Awasthi
Survivor 3:49 Destiny’s Child
Break The Chain 4:32 Tena Clark
One Billion Hands 4:05 Lourds Lane
Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves 4:53 Eurythmics
We Found Love (feat. Calvin Harris) 3:35 Rihanna
F**kin’ Perfect 3:34 P!nk F**kin’ Perfect
Girl Can’t Be Herself 2:40 Alicia Keys
Girl On Fire (Feat. Nicki Minaj) (Inferno Version) 4:31 Alicia Keys
Still I Rise 3:44 Maya Angelou
Beautiful 4:06 India.Arie

Monday, Feb 13, 2017, 1045am ~ One Billion More

Orange Sky 6:11 Alexi Murdoch
Survivor 3:49 Destiny’s Child
Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You) 3:42 Kelly Clarkson
Break The Chain 4:32 Tena Clark
One Billion Hands 4:05 Lourds Lane
Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves 4:53 Eurythmics
We Found Love (feat. Calvin Harris) 3:35 Rihanna
I Know 3:49 Dionne Farris
F**kin’ Perfect 3:34 P!nk
Shaking the Tree 6:28 Peter Gabriel
Still I Rise 3:44 Maya Angelou
Light of a Clear Blue Morning 4:15 The Wailin’ Jennys

Tuesday, Feb 14, 2017, 840am ~ One Billion Rising with Mary Linn

Walking Prayers 3:55 Gina Loring
RISE UP 3:23 Sussan Deyhim
Chaiyya Chaiyya 6:11 Sukhwinder Singh and Sapna Awasthi
Survivor 3:49 Destiny’s Child
Break The Chain 4:32 Tena Clark
One Billion Hands 4:05 Lourds Lane
Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves 4:53 Eurythmics
We Found Love (feat. Calvin Harris) 3:35 Rihanna
F**kin’ Perfect 3:34 P!nk F**kin’ Perfect
Girl Can’t Be Herself 2:40 Alicia Keys
Girl On Fire (Feat. Nicki Minaj) (Inferno Version) 4:31 Alicia Keys
Still I Rise 3:44 Maya Angelou
Beautiful 4:06 India.Arie

Tuesday, Feb 14, 2017, 6pm ~ One Billion Rising with Mary Linn at SARA, SHE, Women’s Initiative, Planned Parenthood event

Walking Prayers 3:55 Gina Loring
RISE UP 3:23 Sussan Deyhim
Survivor 3:49 Destiny’s Child
Break The Chain 4:32 Tena Clark
One Billion Hands 4:05 Lourds Lane
We Found Love (feat. Calvin Harris) 3:35 Rihanna
F**kin’ Perfect 3:34 P!nk
Girl On Fire (Feat. Nicki Minaj) (Inferno Version) 4:31 Alicia Keys
Still I Rise 3:44 Maya Angelou

Wednesday, Feb 15, 2017, 11am ~ One Billion More

Orange Sky 6:11 Alexi Murdoch
Takshaka 10:42 Makyo
Something To Believe In 4:44 Parachute
Coolsville 4:53 Rick Braun
What I Know 4:14 Parachute
Complicated 4:07 Yonder Mountain String Band
Born This Way 4:20 Lady Gaga
Raging Fire 3:45 Phillip Phillips
Golden Heart 5:01 Mark Knopfler
I’m You: You Are Me and We Are You (Pt. Me and You) 6:33 Maxwell Embrya
Still I Rise 3:44 Maya Angelou
Let Your Heart Be Known (Electric) 3:16 Steve Gold

Thursday, Feb 16, 2017, 840am ~ One Billion More

Orange Sky 6:11 Alexi Murdoch
Tears From The Moon 4:18 Conjure One Feat. Sinéad O’ Connor
Something To Believe In 4:44 Parachute
Coolsville 4:53 Rick Braun
What I Know 4:14 Parachute
Complicated 4:07 Yonder Mountain String Band
Born This Way 4:20 Lady Gaga
Raging Fire 3:45 Phillip Phillips
Golden Heart 5:01 Mark Knopfler
Another Day ( Mal ) Nu 1 5:01 Jamie Catto
Still I Rise 3:44 Maya Angelou
Let Your Heart Be Known (Electric) 3:16 Steve Gold

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!

obr-2o17

The first time we danced it was in 2013.

My friend Mimi Steele told me about One Billion Rising: the movement to stop violence and exploitation of women around the world. One in three women will be beaten or raped in their life – that’s one billion people. The idea was to get one billion people dancing on the planet on February 14.

I was down with it then and I am even more now.

Our current version of OBR* is a mighty playlist full of poetry and power. We hope you can join us in person*, but if you can’t, we’ll post it so you can dance it wherever you are.

Today on the blog, I revisit my original posts from 2013. They are even more relevant now.

From One Billion Rising ~ The Cause, February 10, 2013:

Sometimes, I have moments when I realize how extraordinarily lucky – and, at times, naive – I really am. I had one of those moments this week:  two friends and I were in my kitchen.  I was telling them about the One Billion Rising campaign to raise awareness and inspire action to end violence against women around the world.  I told them the chilling statistic:  one out of three women in their lifetime will be beaten or raped.  “It’s appalling,” I said, “and in our community of wealth, education, and privilege that statistic must be much lower so it must mean that it is higher in other communities!”  They both looked at me steadily.  Unbeknownst to me, both of them had been victims of domestic violence.  Right there at my kitchen table the statistic wasn’t 1 in 3, it was 2 in 3.

Make no mistake.  Violence against women happens everywhere, not just in 3rd world countries and impoverished neighborhoods.  Make no assumption.  Laws don’t always protect:  marital rape is legal in dozens of countries and condoned in far more.  Make it perfectly clear.  Rape and domestic violence happens in every socio-economic stratum, every race, every culture.

[You can read the whole post here.]

From One Billion Rising ~ The Practice, February 11, 2013:

 “Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” ~ Anais Nin

The root of the word “courage” is “coeur” — French for heart. The heart of strength is courage and the center of courage is heart.  Dictionary.com’s definition notwithstanding, I believe that courage does not mean fearlessness. Courage is the willingness to persevere despite threat, danger or fear.  And that willingness takes heart.

For me, my practice is a reminder that my life, however blessed, is not isolated from those who are suffering. Interconnection is The Body’s Way and it is dharma:  the way things are. The One Billion Rising routine is an invitation to sense the interconnections in our bodies, to feel the strengthening of our hearts and to engage our courage to face what is wrong.

[You can read the whole post here.]

This year, more than ever: One Billion Rising.

Note: If you need help and you live in Charlottesville, please contact SARA or The Shelter for Help in Emergency. If you don’t live in Charlottesville, please call The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. If you want to help, please volunteer and/or donate to your local agency.

* One Billion Rising events in Charlottesville
Mary Linn and I will teach on
Sat, Feb 11 at 1230pm at acac Albemarle Square
Tue, Feb 14 at 840am at acac Downtown
Tue, Feb 14 at 6pm at the IX Art Park
and Black Belt Nia Teacher, Susan Tate will teach on
Tue, Feb 14 at 6pm at The Polarity Barn

mindfulness-on-the-body

There is one thing that when cultivated and regularly practiced, leads to deep spiritual intention, to peace, to mindfulness and clear comprehension, to vision and knowledge, to a happy life here and now and to the culmination of wisdom and awakening. And what is that one thing? It is mindfulness centered on the body.
(Buddha Anguttara Nikaya I 43)

Modern brain science and ancient contemplative practice intersect to give us the tools to keep our skillful pre-frontal brains on-line! All we need to do is practice mindfulness. Coolio.

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 the announce-y things:

One Billion Rising 2o17: Solidarity Against Exploitation of Women
1 in 3 women across the planet will be beaten or raped during her lifetime. That’s ONE BILLION women and girls. Every February, people all over the world rise to show what ONE BILLION looks like. We rise through dance to celebrate that we have not been defeated by violence. We rise to show we will create a new kind of consciousness where violence will be resisted until it is unthinkable.

Mary Linn and I will be offering our One Billion Rising Nia experience at these times an locations:
Saturday, Feb 11, 1230-145pm, acac Albemarle Square
Tuesday, Feb 14, 840-940am, acac Downtown
and
Tuesday, Feb 14, 6-645pm at the IX Art Park* as park of the One Billion Rising celebration put on by the Women’s Initiative, Shelter for Help in Emergency, Planned Parenthood and SARA. Please join us for live music, multi-cultural dance, art, food as well as Nia* with the intention for a safer world for women, girls, and people of every gender expression. *We will be dancing on a concrete floor, so please wear comfortable shoes to dance in!

Also on Tuesday, Feb 14 at 6pm
Susan Tate, author, black belt Nia teacher, and wellness visionary. A respected health educator for over forty-five years, will lead a class at the Polarity Barn. No Nia experience is necessary. This event is by donation and all proceeds will benefit the Sexual Assault Resource Agency in Charlottesville.

The Polarity Barn (Crozet/Batesville neighborhood)
6482 Dick Woods Road
Charlottesville, VA 22903
More info: http://www.susantate.org

• dance.sit.create. day-treat on Saturday, Feb 18, 2017, 8:30am-5pm
There is still some space for dance.sit.create on Saturday, Feb 18 (snow date, March 4) at Buck Mountain Episcopal Parish Hall, 4133 Earlysville Rd, Earlysville, VA 22936
What better way to spend a winter day than in giving power and time to your unique creativity? As a human being, you are an artist. While we can’t make creativity happen, we can provide fertile terrain for inspiration to land and take root. In this supportive, delicious, fun experience, step into your own creative life. Join Susan McCulley, Nia Black Belt, mindfulness teacher, writer and artist for a day-treat playing at the intersection of movement, stillness and your artist self. If you have dance.sit.created before, new surprises await. If not, this is the perfect time to join us.
Susan provides guidance and inspiration for the day. Rebecca George’s Dragonfly Kitchen provides extraordinary vegetarian, gluten-free, seasonal food (tea, snack, lunch). ALSO INCLUDED is a new 6-week series of music, meditations, and prompts to keep the flow of the day going. $125 / please register by February 15. Two spaces left – Limited to 20 participants. Go here for all the details and to register.

• FREE Workshop: Cultivating Resilience with Mary Linn & Susan ~ February 25, 3-5pm
How do we take real care of ourselves in the face of upset and struggle? How do we cultivate healthy resilience? Resilience is the brain’s ability to handle stress in a positive way and to recover quickly. In this workshop, we will explore tools that neuroscience shows wire the brain for an ability to bounce back. Join us for the first in the Heal the Healer series.
Saturday, February 25, 2o17, 3-5pm (arrive at 2:45)
at the Quaker Meeting House at 1104 Forest St, Charlottesville
Please RSVP to sjmnia@gmail.com or on the Facebook event page (https://www.facebook.com/events/1629783820664092/) so we know how many people to expect. Wear comfortable closthes, bring a journal, a donation for use of the space, and a friend!

• Love Warrior: embody a movement ~ Friday, Mar 3, 6-730pm
a moving experience of activism in support of five local refugee families
Buck Mountain Episcopal Church Parish Hall
Join Susan for the launch of a new routine called Love Warrior. This is a movement experience 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.
“Knowledge is only a rumor until it is in the muscle.” – Papua New Guinea Proverb
In times of uncertainty, our first reaction can be to “figure this out.” It is a common approach to go straight to our minds to think our way out of a difficult situation. And nothing will shift, we won’t change a thing until we feel it in our bones, until we embody the change we want to see.
Space limited to 25 participants ~ Please RSVP to Susan at sjmnia@gmail.com
Suggested donation $20-25 and/or specific items of need by the families (more info on this to come)

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, Feb 6, 2017, 1045am ~ The Integrated Brain

My Baby Don’t Tolerate 3:45 Lyle Lovett
Nourah 6:51 Makyo
Dubuasca (with Michael Kang) 6:55 Bassnectar
Smokey Quartz 6:59 Shakatura
Braided Hair 4:03 Neneh Cherry/Speech
Praise You 5:22 Fatboy Slim
Ali Click Trance Mix 7:29 Brian Eno
Tightrope (Feat. Big Boi) 4:23 Janelle Monae
The Remedy (I Won’t Worry) 4:16 Jason Mraz
Landed 4:29 Ben Folds
Giuseppe Tornatore Suite: Malena (Main theme) 4:22 Yo-Yo Ma, Ennio Morricone & Roma Sinfonietta

Tuesday, Feb 7, 2017, 840am ~ The Integrated Brain

My Baby Don’t Tolerate 3:45 Lyle Lovett
Dubuasca (with Michael Kang) 6:55 Bassnectar
Smokey Quartz 6:59 Shakatura
Braided Hair 4:03 Neneh Cherry/Speech
Praise You 5:22 Fatboy Slim
Ali Click Trance Mix 7:29 Brian Eno
Tightrope (Feat. Big Boi) 4:23 Janelle Monae
The Remedy (I Won’t Worry) 4:16 Jason Mraz
Landed 4:29 Ben Folds
Giuseppe Tornatore Suite: Malena (Main theme) 4:22 Yo-Yo Ma, Ennio Morricone & Roma Sinfonietta

Wednesday, Feb 8, 2017, 11am ~ The Integrated Brain

Shake It Loose 3:33 Dolphin Boy
Stop For A Minute (feat. K’naan) 4:07 Keane
When Doves Cry 4:04 The Be Good Tanyas
Shut Your Eyes 3:16 Snow Patrol
Domination 7:26 Peace Orchestra
Praise You 5:22 Fatboy Slim
Baila Morena 4:10 Zucchero & Maná
Played A Live 6:46 Safri Duo
Knock On Wood 4:13 Safri Duo
The Remedy (I Won’t Worry) 4:16 Jason Mraz
Landed 4:29 Ben Folds
Coming Down 7:47 Rasiya

Thursday, Feb 9, 2017, 840am ~ The Integrated Brain

Shake It Loose 3:33 Dolphin Boy
Stop For A Minute (feat. K’naan) 4:07 Keane
Shut Your Eyes 3:16 Snow Patrol
Domination 7:26 Peace Orchestra
Praise You 5:22 Fatboy Slim
Baila Morena 4:10 Zucchero & Maná
Played A Live 6:46 Safri Duo
Knock On Wood 4:13 Safri Duo
The Remedy (I Won’t Worry) 4:16 Jason Mraz
Landed 4:29 Ben Folds
Nagual 4:03 Michael Hewett

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!

New heARTful Action Post at http://www.susanmcculley.com/heartful-blog/ !

“My wish for you is that you continue. Continue to be who and how you are, to astonish a mean world with your acts of kindness. ” — Maya Angelou

heARTful is a word I made up to mean awareness from and leading with the heart. heARTful Action posts focus on how to stand up and create a culture of health, inclusion and kindness. heARTful Action posts are calls to love warriors everywhere.Please note that heARTful Action is its own blog now, separate from Focus Pocus. Please find it here where you can sign up to receive posts directly. And if they are helpful to you, please do pass them on.

On the day after the election, my beloved friend and yoga teacher, Amy Kidd read a parable from Buddhist nun, Pema Chodron called How To Defeat Fear:

Once there was a young warrior. Her teacher told her that she had to do battle with fear. She didn’t want to do that. It seemed too aggressive; it was scary; it seemed unfriendly. (Continue reading here.)

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