Archive

Tag Archives: focus

FOCUS POCUS NOTE! As you may have noticed, I’ve been rolling the two weekly FocusPocus posts (art and content on Sundays, playlists and announcements on Thursdays) into one complete post. So whether you come to the blog for the art, the information, the music or the latest happenings and offerings, you are in the right place. Every Thursday, you’ll get it all. Thank you so much for being here.

The practice of setting an intention is simple but powerful. It is an act of creating space for something new, something different, some kind of shift. We do it by setting an intention – whether it is a single word for the year or a focus for a conversation – putting it into action with non-identification and compassion. And then when we inevitably wander away from our intention we have the chance to come back and begin again. That’s the magic moment.

So with 100 days left in this year, we are taking some time to reconnect with our intention – for some of us our One Word for 2019 – and begin again. If you didn’t choose a word for the year, now is a perfect time to let one come to you. It’s never too late.

For our physical practice, we focused on creating space and mobility in two places that we tend to crunch and constrict in the body: the waist and neck. When we create space and openness, it’s then that possibility and movement can happen. Just as in the body, so as in the intention.

I’d love to hear about your experiences with reconnecting to or finding your word for the rest of 2019.

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!

SO MUCH is happening, friends, so before the playlists, here is a listing of happenings!

Nourishing Movement Classes at the Studio at Dancing Water on Thursday mornings at 11am!
Nourishing Movement classes with Susan on Thursdays at 11am ~~ my mix of guided and unguided movement, meditation and creativity! 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 lunch! 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!

Special Octabusy Celebration at Dancing Water in October ~ 4 Nourishing Movement classes for $32!
In celebration of the October release of my book Octabusy, you can sign up for 4 classes on Thursdays in October at 11am for $8 each (Octa-of course!). We will focus on 4 themes of the book and physical practices to help us embody them including mindfulness practices, stretches and restorative poses.
Oct 3 ~ Focus: One Thing At A Time (Feet)
Oct 10 ~ Focus: Little By Little (Hands & Posture)
Oct 24 ~ Focus: Go with the Flow / Less is More (Spine)
Oct 31 ~ Focus: What do you want to let go of? (Breath)

Restorative Yoga with Octabusy: Letting Go of Doing to Restore Your Most Precious Device ~ Sunday, October 13, 4-6:30pm at The Studio at Dancing Water
What better way to celebrate the release of my book, Octabusy: Letting Go in a Sea of Doing, than an afternoon of deep restorative yoga, a reading and signing of the book, and some refreshment? Join me and my teacher, Shandoah Goldman for a recuperative practice for anyone who needs another coffee, rests only while sleeping, are healing anything, need permission to do nothing, or feel that your energy is running low. You’ll also receive a copy of the book (signed however you’d like ~ and you’ll also be able to buy additional copies of the book at 25% off!).
Shandoah’s guidance will help you recharge your body’s batteries and slow down your nervous system through restorative yoga, shiatsu pressure points, visualizations and breathing techniques. We will use bolsters, blankets and blocks designed to bring your body into postures which access the parasympathetic nervous system and give you the permission for deep rest rather than ‘stretch.’ Prepare to come back to neutral with an energized readiness. Please bring socks, a long sleeve shirt and an extra layer.
I’ll read some from the book and offer tea and refreshment to fill out this truly psychosomatic experience that will leave you restored, recharged and rested. $65 with signed copy of Octabusy. Space is limited, please register here. http://www.susanmcculley.com/shop/restorative-yoga-with-octabusy-letting-go-of-doing-to-restore-your-most-precious-device

Octobusy Launch Celebration at New Dominion Bookshop ~ Saturday, October 19, 7-8pm
I’m thrilled to be celebrating the release of my new book, Octabusy: How to Let Go in a Sea of Doing at the wonderful New Dominion Bookshop on the Charlottesville downtown mall on Saturday evening, October 19 from 7-8pm. I’ll read a little, talk a little, sign a little, snack and do a happy dance! You can get the information here and here and if you can’t be there, you CAN preorder from NDB!

Saturday October 26, 9-12noon – Nourishing the Nervous System with Mindful Movement
NOTE from Susan: I am thrilled, honored, excited to welcome Emily Wright to teach at Dancing Water. She is an extraordinary, approachable, gifted teacher. I can’t wait to do this with her. Will you join me?
The body is a central portal to nervous system regulation. When we are regulated and integrated, we have the capacity to be our most awake, available, creative, curious, flexible selves. Using a blend of guided movement work, journaling, visual art-making, poetry, and mindfulness practices, participants will explore states of autonomic nervous system regulation as a means to establish safe, nourishing connections to ourselves, each other, and the natural world.
About the instructor:
Emily Wright, MFA, PhD, is a movement educator, author, and practitioner. She offers classes and workshops in functional movement, contact improvisation, and intergenerational community dance informed by her extensive background in dance and other somatic disciplines.

Nia resumes in Studio A at acac downtown
Nia is back in Studio A at acac downtown:
Mondays 4:15–5:15pm ~ Rachel
Wednesdays 6-7pm ~ Jeanne
Fridays 9-10:10am ~ Loring
Saturdays 9-10:10am ~ Anne
Sundays 3:30-4:30pm ~ Anne
PLUS
at acac Albemarle Square, Tuesdays 12-1pm Nia Moving to Heal ~ Rachel (starting Sept 3)

The Movement Barn offers the GYROTONIC Method
Note from Susan: I recently had the good fortune to meet, move and have a GYROTONIC session with Casey Turner. I love the circular, functional, mindful approach of this technique. And I loved doing it with a view of the mountains in a field of flowers! Please check out her beautiful offerings.
The Movement Barn is a boutique fitness studio in Charlottesville, VA offering private GYROTONIC® sessions in a picturesque setting. Located in a field of wildflowers, The Movement Barn provides a unique workout experience for people of all ages and levels of ability. The GYROTONIC® Method is designed to increase strength, agility, and range of movement. This low impact system uses flowing exercises with circular and spiral motion to open energy pathways, stimulate the nervous system, and create space in the joints. For more information, visit http://www.themovementbarn.com, email catherine@themovementbarn.com, or follow @themovementbarn on Instagram!

First Friday Freedance with Kate ~ Oct 4 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, Sep 6 from 11:25 -12:25.

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

Monday, Sep 23, 2019, 1045am ~ One Word 2019: 100 Days

Passing Through 5:19 Bob Holroyd
Leaving Babylon 6:42 Bluetech
Takshaka 10:42 Makyo
Shadowman 6:36 Afro Celt Sound System
Denmark 5:07 Chemical Brothers
Gold Dust Woman 5:02 Fleetwood Mac
100 Days, 100 Nights 3:46 Sharon Jones, Dap-Kings
Hanuman Baba (Dub Farm Re-mix) 7:25 Krishna Das
Gravity 4:06 John Mayer
Lavender Hill 4:33 Lex van Someren
10 Questions for the Dalai Lama 3:15 Peter Kater

Tuesday, Sep 24, 2019, 840am ~ One Word 2019: 100 Days

Passing Through 5:19 Bob Holroyd
Leaving Babylon 6:42 Bluetech
Takshaka 10:42 Makyo
Shadowman 6:36 Afro Celt Sound System
Denmark 5:07 Chemical Brothers
Gold Dust Woman 5:02 Fleetwood Mac
100 Days, 100 Nights 3:46 Sharon Jones, Dap-Kings
Gravity 4:06 John Mayer
Lavender Hill 4:33 Lex van Someren
10 Questions for the Dalai Lama 3:15 Peter Kater

Wednesday, Sep 25, 2019, 11am ~ One Word 2019: 100 Days

Out Of Town 5:20 Cantoma
Journeyman – AO 6:41 Bob Holroyd
Back Home 5:19 Fishtank
In This Love Together 5:12 Michael Bernard Beckwith
Drumming Up a Storm 6:01 Bob Holroyd
Crosseyed and Painless 5:29 Angélique Kidjo
Maha Lakshmi 5:19 El Cosmo Group
100 Days, 100 Nights 3:46 Sharon Jones, Dap-Kings
Gravity 4:06 John Mayer
Lavender Hill 4:33 Lex van Someren
Ascension 4:52 Lex van Someren

Thursday, Sep 26, 2019, 11am Nourishing Movement at the Studio at Dancing Water ~ One Word 2019: 100 Days

Out Of Town 5:20 Cantoma
Journeyman – AO 6:41 Bob Holroyd
Back Home 5:19 Fishtank
In This Love Together 5:12 Michael Bernard Beckwith
Drumming Up a Storm 6:01 Bob Holroyd
Crosseyed and Painless 5:29 Angélique Kidjo
Maha Lakshmi 5:19 El Cosmo Group
100 Days, 100 Nights 3:46 Sharon Jones, Dap-Kings
Gravity 4:06 John Mayer
Lavender Hill 4:33 Lex van Someren
Ascension 4:52 Lex van Someren

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!


The playlists from the week are below. If you’d like to listen to them, you can find almost all the music on Spotify where you can listen for free! Put the music we dance together with other pieces that lift you up, calm you, and challenge you!

But first, here are a couple of things I know you want to know about:

Special class with Nia and Egoscue teacher, Antje Waxman
Thursday, December 28
1:30-2:30pm | acac Albemarle Square Studio A
Smovey FIT N DANCE with Antje W.
Join Antje for a unique dance class with Smovey rings. Smovey (from Austria) provides a dynamic upper and lower body workout. The Smovey rings create a vibration in your hands and stimulate the lymphatic system and the brain through hand reflexologies. Easy to follow dance steps and no heavy weights. Leave the class re-energized and feel the vibration in your body!
Email Antje to reserve your spot: antjew@acac.com

2017 Holiday Hours for all acac Charlottesville locations

Sunday, December 31 (New Year’s Eve)
Albemarle Square & Downtown: 7:00am – 2:00pm
Spas: closed
Kids Zones: 9:00am – 2:00pm
Crozet: no staff
Adventure Central: closed

Monday, January 1 (New Year’s Day)
Albemarle Square & Downtown: 8:00am – 10:00pm
**Susan will teach at Albemarle Square in Studio A from 11-1215pm (15 minutes later than usual)**
Spas: 12:00pm – 7:00pm
Kids Zones: opens at 8:30am
Crozet: regular hours
Adventure Central: closed

8-week Mindful Self Compassion class with Laura DeVault
We live in a world full of environmental challenges, political upheaval, and divisive rhetoric. Our self-worth can become dependent upon our latest success or failure, adding another layer of stress to our lives. Mindful self-compassion takes a different approach. When we turn toward our suffering with compassion, we can learn to be more peaceful in our inner world, as well as with our outer landscape.

In this course, we’ll engage in practices that will allow participants to have a felt sense of self compassion, as well as to take home practical tools for evoking self-compassion in daily life.

This 8-week class begins on Sunday, January 14, & continues through March 4, from 2 – 5 PM. It will include a 1/2 day retreat on Sunday, February 18, from 9 AM – 1 PM. Instructors Laura DeVault and Anna Vanhoy have both completed the Mindful Self-Compassion teacher training through the UCSD Center for Mindful Self Compassion. Contact Maureen Otten at 434-220-4686 to register, or contact either Laura or Anna for more information. Registration fee: $400.
You can also go here. https://www.facebook.com/events/148456942590320/

Nourish Yourself & Live Life to the Fullest in Puglia – Southern Italy
April 28 – May 5, 2018 with Sandra Savine, Balanced Hedonist

Join Sandra Savine and Cinzia Rascazzo for a retreat: “Nourish Yourself & Live Life to the Fullest” in southern Italy (Puglia) at the beautiful 4 star hotel Tenuta Centoporte Resort – Giurdignano (Lecce), Puglia Italy http://www.tenutacentoporte.it/en/home/

Slow down and live life to the fullest: Take cooking classes, eat simple, delicious and nutritious Italian food. Savor the healthiest extra virgin olive oil. Pamper yourself in lovely Mediterranean style. Release yourself from stressful habits that do not serve you as you nourish the self and embrace the beauty and joy that is available to you in every moment.

Price is 2990 euro per person (based on a double/twin room accommodation – only 10 rooms available).
http://hosted.verticalresponse.com/649296/ae6f060099/289604645/9977cedc66/
As always, please let me know if you have questions or how I can help more.
Dance on. Shine on.
Susan sig

Tuesday, Dec 26, 2017, 840am ~ Focus is a Superpower

What is the Journey? (remix) 4:29 TERU
Tears From The Moon 4:18 Conjure One Feat. Sinéad O’ Connor
Smokey Quartz 6:59 Shakatura
Open Sesame (G’s Talking Drum Mix) 6:10 Crosstown Traffic
Focus On Sight 3:47 Thievery Corporation
Two Princes 4:17 Spin Doctors
Take Me to the River 6:00 Talking Heads
Oh Yeah 4:15 Johnny A.
Pay Attention 4:18 Free Gospel Band
Easy Tonight 4:09 Five for Fighting
Peace 4:44 FRUiT

Wednesday, Dec 27, 2017, 11am ~ Focus is a Superpower

What is the Journey? (remix) 4:29 TERU
Tears From The Moon 4:18 Conjure One Feat. Sinéad O’ Connor
Smokey Quartz 6:59 Shakatura
Open Sesame (G’s Talking Drum Mix) 6:10 Crosstown Traffic
Focus On Sight 3:47 Thievery Corporation
The Boy in the Bubble 3:59 Paul Simon
Pop The Trunk (Thievery Corporation Mix) 5:22 Thunderball
Take Me to the River 6:00 Talking Heads
Oh Yeah 4:15 Johnny A.
Pay Attention 4:18 Free Gospel Band
Easy Tonight 4:09 Five for Fighting
Sanvean – I Am Your Shadow 3:49 Lisa Gerrard

Thursday, Dec 28, 2017, 840am ~ Focus is a Superpower

Healing Senses 8:27 Parijat
Mulatica Mia (Cuba Remix) 5:32 The Tao Of Groove 72
Palais Mascotte 5:47 Patrick Duvoisin
No Quiero Nada Mas 4:46 Sancti Spiritus
Pop The Trunk (Thievery Corporation Mix) 5:22 Thunderball
Keep On Searching 5:08 Kraak & Smaak
The Boy in the Bubble 3:59 Paul Simon
Bomba (Coba Soundsystem Mix) 5:45 Novalima
Sunsethighway 4:00 Kiln
Sanvean – I Am Your Shadow 3:49 Lisa Gerrard

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!

In any given moment, what isn’t pulling for your attention?

Long to-do lists in over-scheduled lives.

Advertisements everywhere you look, everywhere you listen, everywhere you go.

Multi-tasking for our multiple roles and in our multiple relationships.

And of course, the World Wide Interwebs. Email, social media, on-line news. Phones and computers binging ringing zinging and ever-pulling our eyes and minds away from whatever it is we are doing. “Look at this shiny new thing! Stop and come look!”

Which is why, business writer Eric Barker says that FOCUS is the superpower of the 21st century.

 

In this distraction-filled world, your ability to focus your attention can make all the difference.
Erik Barker is a business writer, so he talks a lot about how focus or what writer Cal Newport calls Deep Work, allows professionals to excel well beyond their colleagues given their ability to dive in deep past the onslaught of interruptions.

But what holds true in business is true in all other spheres as well. Whether you want to build a writing practice or a relationship with your partner, whether you want to concentrate on strength training or your creative life, practicing focus is the way to go past the surface to the heart of any skill.

Want to explore more?

You can read lots of good posts from Erik Barker but here’s one that’s spot on topic.

And I came across two interesting videos that I recommend

this one from a young manly man who is wise beyond his years,

and this more indepth one from a researcher in the Netherlands that goes more into the brain science and research.

One way that I practice this is to pick a word to focus on throughout the year. I spend the last part of December opening up and allowing a word to find me: one word that expresses how I want to feel and how I want to be in the coming 12 months. You can find more about this here and on my Instagram gallery.

It’s no mistake that this blog is called Focus Pocus: The Magic of Inquiry & Intent. I believe that focusing our minds, by paying attention, we are making an investment in ourselves and our futures.

To begin, a little Buddha paraphrasing:

Life is full of suffering.  The cause of suffering is holding on or pushing away.  Freedom from suffering comes when we let go.  Or, the cause of all suffering is wanting things to be different than they are.  To let go of that resistance is to let go of suffering.

Imagine you stop to buy some apples at a roadside stand.  You’re in a hurry, but you love Staymans and you figure you can be on your way in 5 minutes.  After scooping up the apples, a man steps to the cashier just before you.  He pats his pockets to find his wallet.  He’s forgotten tomatoes and goes to find them.  He chats with the cashier about the weather.  He counts out nickels and pennies.  You think your hair will melt with impatience.

The Sensation of Suffering

We’ve all been there.  Things are not going the way we want them to go and we suffer mightily.  When you are in that state of suffering, what do you sense in your body?  What is the physical sensation of suffering?

In my experience, when I am suffering, when I want things to be different than they are, somewhere in my body I am holding tension.  Tension is the physical manifestation of suffering.  And when I am tense, my mind is unclear and my heart is closed.

When it comes right down to it, what I want to learn in my life and practice is to let go.  I don’t mean to “let my body go” – I do my best to keep my body as healthy and fit as I can.  And I don’t mean to be a passive doormat – letting go does not mean that we can’t ask for and work for change.  I mean to let go of chronic tension and holding so I can be open to life and all the people (and beings) in it.

Miracle & Wonder Intent

Last week, my post was about the focus of the Miracle & Wonder routine.  The Focus (what we do and where we place our attention) is on ankles and wrists.  The intent (what we want to happen as a result of the focus) of the Miracle & Wonder routine is to relax the body and open the heart.

This may seem like a leap:  from ankles and wrists to an open heart.  But, the four joints of ankles and wrists are common places to hold chronic, oft-unnoticed tension.  By mindfully moving the joints in varied ways, I can release tension and free up energy, not just in my extremities but in my whole body.  As I let go of physical tension, my mind is clearer and my heart can open.

Letting Go Through the Body

In her lovely dharma talk, “Letting Go Through the Body,” Debra Chamberlin-Taylor tells about a turbulent landing on a flight into Albuquerque.  She’d made the trip many times and knew that turbulence was normal.  Nonetheless, she noticed that her belly clenched — as if the tension in her gut would hold the plane in the air!  As she consciously released her belly grip, her awareness expanded to the terrified women in the next row.  As she let go, she was able to open her heart to those around her.

Think of a time when you were irritated or angry and things were not going the way you wanted.  In that moment, how open were you to others?  Were you able to be kind to yourself and to those around you?  I know that when I feel anxious or threatened even in a small way, my perception narrows and my body, mind and heart tighten up.

Let. It. Go.

The mindful movement of Nia offers a possibility: in moments of tension and suffering, we can let go and make a different choice.  Using awareness, we have the opportunity to notice layers of tension that we unknowingly carry around.  As we release tension, we naturally allow our minds and hearts to let go, too.

Our physical, mental and emotional selves are deeply intertwined.  By letting go of physical holding, we can let go of our minds and hearts.  Whether you are dancing with me or not this week, see if you can become aware of even small holdings of tension and mindfully make a choice to let them go.

If suffering is tension, and letting go of tension is freedom from suffering, maybe it’s not such a leap after all:  move your ankles and wrists to open your heart!

%d bloggers like this: