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 in the next couple of months. 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, Octabusy herself is demonstrating Octa-LOVE!

 

“See something in your hands that you love with all your heart. Something that lights you up. Let it sit in your hands without grasping. Let what you love feel your love and also feel free.” ~ Mia Hamza, Yoga Teacher/Genius

When I was in college, many a dorm wall sported a poster (usually with a picture of a white bird flying out of white hands) with the words:

“If you love something, set it free. If it comes back, it is yours. If it doesn’t, it never was.”
—Unknown

This always struck me as kind of cheesy and pat. I imagined the Unknown speaker hucking a dove into the air (“Go ahead. GO!”) to see if it would come back around.

Not bloody likely, if you ask me. Why come back to someone who tosses you away?

When my teacher Mia said, “Let what you love feel your love and also feel free” I found myself oriented utterly differently toward the idea of freedom. Not just how do I create it in myself but how I allow it in others.

How can I hold my cat, Phoenix, in my lap with love but without keeping her there? How can I be with my friends so that they feel that I love them and that they can be however they are, not only what is neat and tidy? How can I be with my body as it ages and changes with love and care but without expectation that it will do what it did when I was 25? How can I hold myself with love but also with the space for possibility and growth?

On Fourth of July week, my classes often focus on the sensation of freedom in our movement and in our lives. Instead this week, I invite us to focus on how we can offer the feeling of freedom to whatever and whoever we love. What does it feel like to hold without grasping, wholeheartedly offering both love and freedom?

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The way I do anything is the way I do everything. If I can believe that this is true, then I can take the next step and know that by changing the way I do anything I can change the way I do everything. So how do you want to do everything? Make one small step toward that in anything you do.

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

July 4th Nourishing Movement at the Studio at Dancing Water ~~~ 9-1015am!
What better way to celebrate the freedom we are so lucky to have than to start the holiday weekend by nourishing your whole self with movement? There are still a few spaces left for the Thursday, July 4 class from 9-1015am ~~ sign up here on your own or with the Summer Special with a friend (see below!).

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.

Join The Studio at Dancing Water Email List!
Get all the news about experiences at The Studio at Dancing Water, special offers and discounts and all the details about what’s happening! Please go here and note “Dancing Water” in the subject line (and any other note you’d like to leave)! Thank you for being part of nourishing movement in the trees by the river.

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.

Nia Moving to Heal with Rachel ~ Sundays at 330pm
Join Rachel for an hour of Nia Moving to Heal on Sundays in Studio A, ACAC Downtown. The intent of every Nia Moving to Heal class is to feel better. You are invited to seek self-healing for your body, mind, emotions and spirit as we engage in simplified Nia routines, adaptable for all. Treat yourself to an hour of slowing down.

First Friday Freedance with Kate ~ Jul 5 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, Jul 5 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, Jun 24 , 2019, 1045am ~ Anything & Everything (John Regan Birthday Celebration)

Reel Around the Sun 8:42 Bill Whelan
The Heart’s Cry 2:28 Bill Whelan
Countess Cathleen/Women of the Sidhe 5:42 Bill Whalen
Siamsa 4:28 Ronan Hardiman
Firedance 6:04 Bill Whelan
Summer In Paris 5:47 Anggun
Café de Flore [Charles Webster’s Latin Lovers Mix] [Mix] 6:40 Doctor Rockit
The Way You Do the Things You Do 3:03 UB40
Life Is Better With You 3:19 Michael Franti & Spearhead
Summertime [UFO Remix] 6:51 Sarah Vaughan
Summer Morning Rain 3:52 Tierra Negra and Muriel Anderson

Tuesday, Jun 25, 2019, 840am ~ Anything & Everything

Summer 5:58 Moby
The Heart’s Cry 2:28 Bill Whelan
Countess Cathleen/Women of the Sidhe 5:42 Bill Whalen
Firedance 6:04 Bill Whelan
Summer In Paris 5:47 Anggun
Café de Flore [Charles Webster’s Latin Lovers Mix] [Mix] 6:40 Doctor Rockit
The Way You Do the Things You Do 3:03 UB40
Siamsa 4:28 Ronan Hardiman
Summertime is in Our Hands 3:48 Michael Franti & Spearhead
Summertime [UFO Remix] 6:51 Sarah Vaughan
Summer Morning Rain 3:52 Tierra Negra and Muriel Anderson

Wednesday, Jun 26, 2019, 11am ~ Anything & Everything

Summer 5:58 Moby
Brighter Than Sunshine 4:01 Aqualung
The Sound of Sunshine 3:44 Michael Franti & Spearhead
Sunshine (Justin Le Mar Remix) 5:10 Vision Factory Feat. Maxime
Firedance 6:04 Bill Whelan
Summer In Paris 5:47 Anggun
The Way You Do the Things You Do 3:03 UB40
Siamsa 4:28 Ronan Hardiman
Summertime is in Our Hands 3:48 Michael Franti & Spearhead
Sunshine 3:25 Schuyler Fisk
Ain’t No Sunshine (Rishis Short Mix) 3:27 Al Jarreau
Summer Morning Rain 3:52 Tierra Negra and Muriel Anderson
By Moonlight 4:09 Gary Stroutsos

Thursday, Jun 27, 2019, 9am Nourishing Movement at the Studio at Dancing Water ~ Anything & Everything

Stretching My Molecules (feat. Al Agami & Hush Forever) 8:30 Mashti & Deep Dive Corp.
Summer 5:58 Moby
Brighter Than Sunshine 4:01 Aqualung
The Sound of Sunshine 3:44 Michael Franti & Spearhead
Sunshine (Justin Le Mar Remix) 5:10 Vision Factory Feat. Maxime
Sunshine of Your Love (Full 8:03 Cream vs The Hoxtons
Summer In Paris 5:47 Anggun
Summertime is in Our Hands 3:48 Michael Franti & Spearhead
Ain’t No Sunshine (Rishis Short Mix) 3:27 Al Jarreau
Summer Morning Rain 3:52 Tierra Negra and Muriel Anderson
By Moonlight 4:09 Gary Stroutsos

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 week’s post and art are from a couple of years ago. I found the approach to be helpful to revisit. I hope you do, too.

~~ Originally posted October 11, 2015 ~~
The first time I hear the phrase it pops me awake in a 615am yoga class at Kripalu . I’ve been on the road for a week. I haven’t slept well for days. It is, as I mentioned, just after 6am. I am fuzzy foggy at best but as soon as the instructor says it, I snap to attention:

How you do anything is how you do everything.

She says it and I think, Wait a minute, no, wait. That’s not right. Is it? We have only just started the class. I am only in Child’s Pose. How is it possible that I am doing Child’s Pose in the same way I do Wheel pose or teach my classes or hug my husband or write my blog?

For an hour, it ricochets around in my head: my argument about it couldn’t be true that how I do anything is how I do everything.

A few years later, I hear it again in another yoga class with an added phrase that also wakes me up:

How you do anything is how you do everything. Let your practice be a metaphor for your life.

The intervening time — that has included a sabbatical from and then a reinvigorated return to teaching and an equally reinvigorated yoga practice — has me more receptive to the idea. I begin to get it that the qualities, the intentions, the habits I bring along with me onto the mat are the same ones I bring everywhere else.

But not just that: Let your practice be a metaphor for your life. I have a choice about how I do everything I do.

The whole concept is intriguing enough that I want to investigate. It seems that the laboratory of the yoga studio is a good place to start. My first step is a down-to-the-bones honest observation. When I think about my yoga practice in the abstract when I’m off the mat, I go quickly to the distortions of I-suck-beat-myself-up or well-hey-I’m-pretty-darn-good-at-that – which is neither accurate nor helpful. Instead, I honestly observe myself as I’m doing my practice and ask myself How do I do this?

This is what I find:
1. I put in a good deal of effort – sometimes more than necessary.
2. I am dedicated to the point of obsession.
3. I am easily distracted until I get in the groove and then I’m focused.
4. I love learning but can get frustrated at the beginning when things are awkward.
5. I compare myself to others (especially in the distracted stage of #3).
6. I am strong and open in some ways, weak and resistant in others.
7. I tend to rush through and want to get to the next part.
8. For better or for worse, I easily fall into habit.
9. Interruptions (especially once I’m in the groove of #3) and the unexpected can upset me.

I’m sure there are other things that are also observable and true about my practice but Yes. That is how I do yoga. But is it how I do everything? Really?

I take my How I Do Yoga list and start running through my life: Writing, teaching, meditation, relationships, art, cooking. Gosh, would you look at that? Spot on. Every one. Every. Single. One.

Dang.

This is somehow simultaneously humbling and comforting. There I am. On the yoga mat, on the dance floor, at my desk, in my kitchen, in my life.

So the question is, what do I do with this metaphor for my life? I look at how I do yoga and ask, Is this how I want to do yoga? Is that how I want to teach? And write? And draw? And make dinner? And love people?

Some of it yes and some of it not so much. The truth is I can take the current metaphor and I can edit it. Just like I rework sentences and paragraphs in my posts so they are in closer alignment with what I want to say, I can choose to adjust my practice to be in closer alignment to how I’d like to live. And those edits on the mat will expand into everything I do.

Aritostle, widely remembered as an extremely clever guy, said [2019 NOTE: Turns out that not Aristotle, but Will Durant said this. More on that here.]

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.

I have a choice about the habits I cultivate on the mat and in my classes and in my writing and everywhere. As I make even small changes to doing anything, how I do everything will change, too.

It’s like an essay that I am reworking or a routine I’ve taught many times: Observe. Edit. Repeat.

So. (And you knew this was coming, didn’t you?)

How do you practice? How do you do the chores? How do you drive? How do you talk to people? What are your habits? Are they what you want them to be? Observe. Edit. Repeat.

How you do anything is how you do everything.

This week we focused on stealing like an artist which is an approach stolen directly from Austin Kleon’s book (above!). Friends, this book exploded my notions about creativity and orginality. Whether or not you identify yourself as a creative or artistic person, please read (and then apply) this powerful stuff. Allow yourself to copy what you love with the intention of bringing yourself to your copy, and you will bring something new into the world that only you can bring.

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, here is the scoop on a whole slew of great things happening this spring and 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 June 22, 9-12noon – Nourishing Movement: Earth, Water & Sky with Susan ~ ONE SPACE LEFT!
The first in the Saturday Nourishment Series! A morning of integrated movement, breath and meditation practices for all bodies and experience levels. Susan’s lightly guided teaching from the ground up – includes developmental movement, unchoreographed mindful movement, breath and meditation. Learn practices for promoting healing, strength and flexibility in body, mind and heart. 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. $52. There is just one spot left so register at http://www.susanmcculley.com/shop.

Summer Solstice Nia Jam on Saturday, Jun 22, 1230-145pm!
Solstice Nia Jam on Saturday June 22. Kate has given the Team a thumbs-up to take over Studio A, ACAC Albemarle Square, starting at 12:30. Join Kate, Anne and Rachel to celebrate the wide open energy of summer!

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.

Nia Moving to Heal with Rachel ~ Sundays at 330pm
Join Rachel for an hour of Nia Moving to Heal on Sundays in Studio A, ACAC Downtown. The intent of every Nia Moving to Heal class is to feel better. You are invited to seek self-healing for your body, mind, emotions and spirit as we engage in simplified Nia routines, adaptable for all. Treat yourself to an hour of slowing down.

First Friday Freedance with Kate ~ Jul 5 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, Jul 5 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, Jun 17, 2019, 1045am ~ Intentional Thievery

Wonderwall 4:09 Ryan Adams (Oasis cover)
You Can’t Always Get What You Want 6:47 Rusted Root (Rolling Stones cover)
Love The One You’re With 5:03 Luther Vandross (Crosby Stills & Nash cover)
Culture of Fear 3:13 Thievery Corporation
(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction 2:41 Devo (Rolling Stones cover)
More Than This 4:07 10,000 Maniacs (Roxy Music cover)
Air Batucada 4:40 Thievery Corporation
Shake Your Hips 4:47 Desperado 5 (Slim Harpo cover)
Higher Ground 3:22 Red Hot Chili Peppers (Stevie Wonder cover)
Indra 5:25 Thievery Corporation
Sweet Child o’ Mine (Rick Rubin…) 3:56 Sheryl Crow (Guns ‘n’ Roses cover)
Take My Soul 3:52 Thievery Corporation
The Boy In The Bubble 4:30 Peter Gabriel (Paul Simon cover)

Tuesday, Jun 18, 2019, 840am ~ Intentional Thievery

Wonderwall 4:09 Ryan Adams (Oasis cover)
You Can’t Always Get What You Want 6:47 Rusted Root (Rolling Stones cover)
Love The One You’re With 5:03 Luther Vandross (Crosby Stills & Nash cover)
Culture of Fear 3:13 Thievery Corporation
More Than This 4:07 10,000 Maniacs (Roxy Music cover)
Air Batucada 4:40 Thievery Corporation
Shake Your Hips 4:47 Desperado 5 (Slim Harpo cover)
Higher Ground 3:22 Red Hot Chili Peppers (Stevie Wonder cover)
Indra 5:25 Thievery Corporation
Sweet Child o’ Mine (Rick Rubin…) 3:56 Sheryl Crow (Guns ‘n’ Roses cover)
Take My Soul 3:52 Thievery Corporation
The Boy In The Bubble 4:30 Peter Gabriel (Paul Simon cover)

Wednesday, Jun 19, 2019, 11am ~ Intentional Thievery

Wonderwall 4:09 Ryan Adams (Oasis cover)
You Can’t Always Get What You Want 6:47 Rusted Root (Rolling Stones cover)
Love The One You’re With 5:03 Luther Vandross (Crosby Stills & Nash cover)
Culture of Fear 3:13 Thievery Corporation
Subterranean Homesick Blues 2:17 Michael Franti (Bob Dylan cover)
More Than This 4:07 10,000 Maniacs (Roxy Music cover)
Air Batucada 4:40 Thievery Corporation
Super Freak 4:04 Bruce Hornsby & Ricky Skaggs (Rick James cover)
Shake Your Hips 3:29 Joan Osborne (Slim Harpo cover)
Higher Ground 3:22 Red Hot Chili Peppers (Stevie Wonder cover)
Indra 5:25 Thievery Corporation
Take My Soul 3:52 Thievery Corporation
The Boy In The Bubble 4:30 Peter Gabriel (Paul Simon cover)

Thursday, Jun 20, 2019, 9am Nourishing Movement at the Studio at Dancing Water ~ Intentional Thievery

With or Without You 4:51 2CELLOS (U2 cover)
The Air That I Breathe 5:58 k.d. lang (The Hollies cover)
You Can’t Always Get What You Want 6:47 Rusted Root (Rolling Stones cover)
Subterranean Homesick Blues 2:17 Michael Franti (Bob Dylan cover)
One 3:38 Keziah Jones (U2 cover)
More Than This 4:07 10,000 Maniacs (Roxy Music cover)
Super Freak 4:04 Bruce Hornsby & Ricky Skaggs (Rick James cover)
Shake Your Hips 3:29 Joan Osborne (Slim Harpo cover)
Higher Ground 3:22 Red Hot Chili Peppers (Stevie Wonder cover)
Within You Without You 5:22 Angels Of Venice (Beatles cover)
Take My Soul 3:52 Thievery Corporation
The Boy In The Bubble 4:30 Peter Gabriel (Paul Simon cover)
Ain’t No Sunshine 2:06 Nicholas Yee (Bill Withers cover)

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!

Habit cuts both ways. We all have ones we would love to let go of and others we want to cultivate. The invitation of our practice this week is to make a habit of mixing it up by feeling the inextricable interdependence of stability and mobility. It’s true in our bodies, our work, our relationships, our lives: we cannot be creative, innovative, take risks unless we have stability to launch from.

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

Nourishing Movement Classes at the Studio at Dancing Water
Please join me for Nourishing Movement classes at the studio at Dancing Water* on Thursday mornings for the summer, starting Jun 20 from 9-1015am. Classes are a mix of guided and unguided movement, meditation and creativity! Come join us in the trees by the river for grounded, flowing, spacious, nourishing movement. There is space in all 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 June 22, 9-12noon – Nourishing Movement: Earth, Water & Sky with Susan ~ ONE SPACE LEFT!
The first in the Saturday Nourishment Series! A morning of integrated movement, breath and meditation practices for all bodies and experience levels. Susan’s lightly guided teaching from the ground up – includes developmental movement, unchoreographed mindful movement, breath and meditation. Learn practices for promoting healing, strength and flexibility in body, mind and heart. 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. $52. There is just one spot left so register at http://www.susanmcculley.com/shop.

Summer Solstice Nia Jam on Saturday, Jun 22, 1230-145pm!
Solstice Nia Jam on Saturday June 22. Kate has given the Team a thumbs-up to take over Studio A, ACAC Albemarle Square, starting at 12:30. Join Kate, Anne and Rachel to celebrate the wide open energy of summer!

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.

Nia Moving to Heal with Rachel ~ Sundays at 330pm
Join Rachel for an hour of Nia Moving to Heal on Sundays in Studio A, ACAC Downtown. The intent of every Nia Moving to Heal class is to feel better. You are invited to seek self-healing for your body, mind, emotions and spirit as we engage in simplified Nia routines, adaptable for all. Treat yourself to an hour of slowing down.

First Friday Freedance with Kate ~ Jul 5 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, Jul 5 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, Jun 10, 2019, 1045am ~ Mix It Up…And Make It A Habit

Human 3:04 Dionne Farris
Clouds 6:33 Feuerhake
Sol Tapado 3:52 Thievery Corporation
Marisi 6:33 Cantoma
Exploration 5:31 Karminsky
Ecstasy 5:02 Rusted Root
You Were Right 3:59 RÜFÜS DU SOL
Treat You Better 4:34 RÜFÜS DU SOL
The Remedy (I Won’t Worry) 4:16 Jason Mraz
Innerbloom 9:38 RÜFÜS DU SOL
Good Day 4:22 Nappy Roots

Tuesday, Jun 11, 2019, 840am ~ Mix It Up…And Make It A Habit

Human 3:04 Dionne Farris
Clouds 6:33 Feuerhake
Marisi 6:33 Cantoma
Exploration 5:31 Karminsky
Ecstasy 5:02 Rusted Root
You Were Right 3:59 RÜFÜS DU SOL
Treat You Better 4:34 RÜFÜS DU SOL
The Remedy (I Won’t Worry) 4:16 Jason Mraz
Innerbloom 9:38 RÜFÜS DU SOL
Good Day 4:22 Nappy Roots

Wednesday, Jun 12, 2019, 11am ~ Mix It Up…And Make It A Habit

Good Day 4:22 Nappy Roots
Sol Tapado 3:52 Thievery Corporation
Marisi 6:33 Cantoma
Exploration 5:31 Karminsky
The Paris Swing Box 5:24 Parov Stelar
There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back 3:19 Shawn Mendes
Treat You Better 4:34 RÜFÜS DU SOL
Exilio (Rewound by Thievery Corp.) 5:40 Thievery Corporation
The Remedy (I Won’t Worry) 4:16 Jason Mraz
Mon amour, ma chérie 5:24 Amadou & Mariam
First Impressions 4:08 Yo Yo Ma, Mark O’Connor, Edgar Meyer

Thursday, Jun 13, 2019, 11am Nourishing Movement at the Studio at Dancing Water ~ Mix It Up…And Make It A Habit

Innerbloom 9:38 RÜFÜS DU SOL
Good Day 4:22 Nappy Roots
Clouds 6:33 Feuerhake
Sol Tapado 3:52 Thievery Corporation
Marisi 6:33 Cantoma
Exploration 5:31 Karminsky
Ecstasy 5:02 Rusted Root
Treat You Better 4:34 RÜFÜS DU SOL
The Remedy (I Won’t Worry) 4:16 Jason Mraz
Mon amour, ma chérie 5:24 Amadou & Mariam
First Impressions 4:08 Yo Yo Ma, Mark O’Connor, Edgar Meyer

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 in the next couple of months. So instead of making more complex art pieces for the Focus Pocus blog, I make little cartoons like this one that features characters from the book. This week, Octabusy is counseled by the sea turtle and hatchet fish to remember to BOTH mix it up and keep it stable.

How does the wisdom of an ancient Greek philosopher (as interpreted by a 20th Century writer) and a Belgian psychotherapist intersect? What does that wisdom have to do with movement and living in the human body?

Last week, we focused on Mixing It Up and how variety — whether it is in our diets, our movement or our relationships — brings health and aliveness to any system. As we practiced together, I noticed that variety was not the only thing at play. There was something at the root of the experimentation and exploration.

Aristotle wrote, “as it is not one swallow or a fine day that makes a spring, so it is not one day or a short time that makes a man blessed and happy….these virtues are formed in man by his doing the right actions.” You might be more familiar with Will Durant’s explanation of Aristotle (words which are often misattributed to Aristotle himself):

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” — Will Durant (Not Aristotle)

Accumulation of repeated actions that give a result. What we do over and over builds our lives. Mindfully choosing what we do over and over, then determines the kind of life we live.

As much as I teach and practice changing things up and breaking habit, I also know the deep importance of intentional, value-driven, positive habit formation. As human beings, our brains respond to repetition and predictability. We are wired to expend a large amount of mental energy on learning something. Our brains then quickly shift to making it a habit.

Think about a time when you learned something new — whether it was a movement pattern or a foreign language or a new app. What did that feel like? I sometimes call the feeling of leaning “egg beater brain” — as if my neuropathways are scrambling to reconfigure themselves. Once we’ve learned something, our brains then do their very best to make it routine. This is when we are *practicing* something that we’ve learned. This is an utterly different sensation, right? This is the difference between roughly bushwhacking a trail through the forest, and walking it every day, clearing the way and making it easier and easier to walk that same path. After a while, taking that path becomes familiar, easy, peaceful. Walking that path might allow you to be so relaxed that it’s transportive and expansive.

Athletes and artists often call this the flow state. And we need this, we need the stability of familiarity and the groundedness of the known in order to open to creativity and possibility.

Relationship therapist Esther Perel’s amazing podcast Where Should We Begin? looks squarely at the intricacies of intimacy and reveals that human beings fundamentally need both stability and excitement. She writes:

“Love is a vessel that contains both security and adventure, and commitment offers one of the great luxuries of life: time. Marriage is not the end of romance, it is the beginning.” ― Mating in Captivity: Reconciling the Erotic and the Domestic

Without stability, we have nothing to launch off from. Security allows us to relax. Without adventure and change, parts of ourselves wither and die. Whether you are in a long-term relationship with another person or not, we all have one relationship that we all have had since day one: our relationship with our body.

How can you create this balance of security and adventure, of practicing and learning, of stability and mobility in your body, your movement, your life?

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