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Happy Thanksgiving, friends. Thanks to all who spent some of their holiday time dancing with us this week – either in person or in the etherwebs. I’m grateful for each of you and for the chance that we have to be together in one way or another.

May the practice of approaching everything we do from the perspective of self-care and service (or both!) remind us that we GET to be here doing this life.

You can find all the playlists below. If you’d like to listen to them, you can find almost all the music on Spotify where you can listen for free! Please let me know if you have any questions about any of the music we dance to!

Before the music, though, announcements and other goodness:

Buddha Cat & More at Hot Yoga Charlottesville, December 8, 12-1pm
Join us a Hot Yoga Charlottesville (216 Water St W Ste 103, Charlottesville, VA 22902) from 12-1pm for a holiday Buddha Cat book and art happening. We’ll have books for signing and art for sale and snacks for snacking on Saturday, December 8. Come sweat and shop – or skip the sweating and just shop!

Buddha Cat & More at The Elderberry, December 8, 2-330pm
Come to The Elderberry (1917 Commonwealth Drive
Charlottesville, VA 22901) from 2-330pm on Saturday, December 8. Come have some tea and check out not just Buddha Cat books and art but the wide selection of herbs and healing products! The herbalists are putting together a relaxation package to go along with the Buddha Cat vibe.

Get 20% off Buddha Cat & More at my web site between now and Dec 2!
In thanks and celebration of Buddha Cat, I’m running my first sale ever! Sign up to be a Buddha Cat Backer (it just means you’re signing up for my email list!) at http://www.susanmcculley.com and you’ll receive discount codes for 20% any order between now and December 2. Plus, as a BCB, you always have access to a discount code for free shipping that never expires! Do check out the site for new art and thank you cards! [If you’re already a Buddha Cat Backer, you should have received an email with the codes, if you didn’t or are having any trouble with finding what you need, please just email me at sjmnia@gmail.com and we’ll sort it out!]

Buddha Cat & More at the Cville Arts Cooperative
I’m delighted to announce that my work has been accepted at Cville Arts Crafts & Art Cooperative (www.cvillearts.org) on the downtown mall at 118 E. Main Street (near the fountain and next to the mosaic sofa)! This beautiful, eclectic gallery offers a variety of art and crafts made by all Virginia artists. My display is up ~~ you’ll find it in the back gallery! I am honored to be included in this talented gathering of artists! Please do some of your holiday shopping at Cville Arts!

Buddha Cat Now on Amazon
Buddha Cat is now also available on the world’s largest retailer! You can find both Kindle and paperback editions! AND if you are already a reader and fan, PLEASE would you write a review? A review is one of the most powerful things you can do to spread the word. Find the book listing here! Thank you for your energy and support!

Buddha Cat Available at Local Stores!
If you’d rather not order online and/or if you’d like to support an independent bookstore, you can find the book at some local establishments!
Over The Moon Bookstore at 2025 Library Ave in Crozet, Virginia. It’s a beautiful store filled with great books, lovely things and chocolate and is well worth a visit. They also carry Buddha Cat postcards!
New Dominion Bookshop on the downtown mall at 404 E Main St in Charlottesville, Virginia. New Dominion is the oldest independent bookseller in Virginia, and carries books in fiction, non-fiction, and children’s literature, and a unique selection of architecture and landscape gardening resources…as well as Buddha Cat – the book, prints and cards. Please do go in, ask for Buddha Cat by name and support local artists, local booksellers and local cats.
Quilts Unlimited / J. Fenton Gifts on the downtown mall at 118 West Main St in Charlottesville. This is a great place to find contemporary American Handcrafts, artisan jewelry and whimsical (even Buddha-y) gifts.
Hot Yoga Charlottesville at 216 West Water St., Charlottesville, VA. The home of hot yoga since 2004, HYC offers a variety of heated yoga classes that heal body, mind and spirit. Join us on Saturday, December 8 from 12noon-1pm for A Holiday Art & Book happening. The perfect time and place to find thoughtful, mindful gifts!
The Elderberry at 1917 Commonwealth Drive in Charlottesville. A full service herbal shop, The Elderberry is a place to get expert advice, a full herbal apothecary and a supportive community. On Saturday, December 8 from 2-330pm, come have a cup of tea and check out the special relaxation package they are putting together to go with the book!
PawPrints on the downtown mall at 201 East Main Street near the fountain. A locally owned shop, PawPrints offers unique items for both people and pets. You can find fun cat and dog themed toys, treats, gifts and apparel – and Buddha Cat!
Integral Yoga Natural Foods at 923 Preston Ave, IY provides the foods, supplements, personal-care products – and Buddha books! – needed to maintain a healthy, happy lifestyle.
Pantops Veterinarian Hospital at 315 Winding River Lane, Suite 101
Charlottesville. PVH  is a full-service small animal veterinary facility, with practice for dogs, cats, rabbits and guinea pigs and where they celebrate the Buddha in all of our fur babies.

Yoga Retreat in Mexico with Lynsie McKeown ~ February 9-16, 2019
It’s time to say YES to you and your well-being; to put you first. Join Lynsie McKeown, February 9-16, 2019, for 8 days of daily practice, luxury villas, delectable meals and immersive experiences in paradise. This retreat is designed to nourish, support and celebrate YOU. Immersed in beauty and nature, you’ll experience the benefits of a complete practice; asana (vinyasa tantra), pranayama, guided meditation and Yoga Nidra (a deep state of restoration, relaxation, and awareness). Body, mind, heart and soul will be rejuvenated. You’ll leave feeling full—full of more joy, motivation and inspiration to carry you through the rest of your year. Find out more here.

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

Monday, Nov 19, 2018, 1045am ~ GET to: Self-Care & Service

Helpless 4:15 K.D. Lang
Dance of Sarasvati 9:07 Kitaro
Hero Dead And Gone (Discotheque Mix) 4:55 De-Phazz
I Want You Back (Z-Trip Remix) 4:35 Jackson 5
Open Your Heart 5:46 M People
Suit & Tie 5:27 Justin Timberlake
Uptown Funk (feat. Bruno Mars) 4:31 Mark Ronson
Mission of My Soul 4:09 Peter Himmelman
Hooch 3:45 Everything But The Girl
What a wonderful World 3:40 Sarah Brightman
Sweet Potato Pie 3:14 Al Jarreau
Thank You 3:50 Tori Amos

Tuesday, Nov 20, 2018, 840am ~ GET to: Self-Care & Service

Helpless 4:15 K.D. Lang
Dance of Sarasvati 9:07 Kitaro
Hero Dead And Gone (Discotheque Mix) 4:55 De-Phazz
I Want You Back (Z-Trip Remix) 4:35 Jackson 5
Open Your Heart 5:46 M People
Suit & Tie 5:27 Justin Timberlake
Uptown Funk (feat. Bruno Mars) 4:31 Mark Ronson
Mission of My Soul 4:09 Peter Himmelman
What a wonderful World 3:40 Sarah Brightman
Sweet Potato Pie 3:14 Al Jarreau
Thank You 3:50 Tori Amos

Wednesday, Nov 21, 2017, 11am ~ GET to: Self-Care & Service

Helpless 4:15 K.D. Lang
Down To Earth 5:59 Peter Gabriel
Dance of Sarasvati 9:07 Kitaro
Hero Dead And Gone (Discotheque Mix) 4:55 De-Phazz
Brown Sugar 3:49 The Rolling Stones
Open Your Heart 5:46 M People
Shoofly Pie 3:57 The Wood Brothers
Mission of My Soul 4:09 Peter Himmelman
Home 5:05 Marc Broussard
Sweet Potato Pie 3:46 James Taylor & Ray Charles
Gratitude 6:27 Jamie Catto & Alex Forster

Thursday, Nov 22, 2017, 815am ~ Thanksgiving Day ~ GET to: Self-Care & Service

Sweet Potato Pie 3:14 Al Jarreau
Down To Earth 5:59 Peter Gabriel
Sweet Pea 2:13 Amos Lee
Coolsville 4:53 Rick Braun
Shoofly Pie 3:57 The Wood Brothers
I Feel Lucky 3:33 Mary Chapin Carpenter
Brown Sugar 3:49 The Rolling Stones
I’m Alive (Life Sounds Like) 3:52 Michael Franti & Spearhead
Long Train Running (Groovy Dooby Mix) 5:07 DJ’s Brothers
Yahoo 7:33 Veeresh & The Humaniversity Sound
sugar pie 3:39 The Subdudes
Sweet Potato Pie 3:46 James Taylor & Ray Charles
Gratitude 6:27 Jamie Catto & Alex Forster

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!

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Gratitude is a powerful force. I can let gratitude guide my choices, help me make decisions and abide by them. I can also use gratitude to transform a situation that I’m resisting into one that I appreciate. Thank you to every-body who came out to dance this holiday week – in person and virtually! I am lucky to get to play with you all. For those celebrating it…Happy Thanksgiving!

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 you want to know about:

Every One of Us: A Conversation with Ruby Sales, Weds, Nov 29, 6-730pm

Virginia Foundation for the Humanities is proud to welcome civil rights icon and public theologian Ruby Sales in a conversation with Charles Marsh, professor of religious studies and director of the Project on Lived Theology at the University of Virginia, moderated by Justin Reid, director of African American programs at VFH. The event will take place from 6:00-7:30 PM at the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center at 233 4th St. NW in Charlottesville.
This free, community event has been made possible by the Office of the Executive Vice President & Provost at the University of Virginia. Additional support has been provided by the Black Student Alliance at UVA, the Carter G. Woodson Institute for African-American and African Studies at UVA, the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center, the Office of the Vice President and Chief Officer for Diversity and Equity at UVA, and the Project on Lived Theology at UVA.
Register here to receive event updates and an event reminder: [https://vfh-ruby-sales.eventbrite.com/] Seating is general admission on a first-come, first-served basis. Please arrive early to ensure you get a seat. You do not need to bring your ticket to the event.

Nia classes for people with cancer, survivors, caregivers & staff at UVA with Susan Tate ~ on Mondays and Wednesdays
Join Susan Tate, Black Belt Nia Instructor for Nia classes with a focus on moving to heal on Mondays, 5:30-6:30pm & Wednesdays,12-1pm on the 4th Floor of the Emily Couric Clinical Cancer Center. These free classes start October 16 with a kick-off celebration class at 5:30 pm.  Registration is not required. Contact Susan Tate at susan@susantate.orgfor more information.

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

Monday, Nov 20, 2017, 1045am ~ Gratitude Guides, Decides & Abides

A Thousand Beautiful Things 3:07 Annie Lennox
Pavement Cracks 5:10 Annie Lennox
Hero Dead And Gone (Discotheque Mix) 4:55 De-Phazz
Back to the Earth 5:27 Rusted Root When I Woke
Papa Dukie & The Mud People 4:39 The Subdudes
Something To Believe In 4:44 Parachute
Uptown Funk (feat. Bruno Mars) 4:31 Mark Ronson
Love Is Eternal Sacred Light 4:02 Paul Simon
Yahoo 7:33 Veeresh & The Humaniversity Sound
Kind And Generous 4:06 Natalie Merchant
Let Your Light Shine 4:06 Keb’ Mo’
Gratitude 6:27 Jamie Catto & Alex Forster

(below is the poem I shared at the end of class)

Tuesday, Nov 21, 2017, 840am ~ Gratitude Guides, Decides & Abides

A Thousand Beautiful Things 3:07 Annie Lennox
Pavement Cracks 5:10 Annie Lennox
Back to the Earth 5:27 Rusted Root
Qalanderi 7:10 Cheb i Sabbah
Legend In My Living Room 3:46 Annie Lennox
Uptown Funk (feat. Bruno Mars) 4:31 Mark Ronson
Shoofly Pie 3:57 The Wood Brothers
Yahoo 7:33 Veeresh & The Humaniversity Sound
Something To Believe In 4:44 Parachute
Let Your Light Shine 4:06 Keb’ Mo’
Paddle and Portage 3:36 Solitudes

(below is the poem I shared at the end of class)

Wednesday, Nov 22, 2017, 11am ~ Gratitude Guides, Decides & Abides

Sweet Potato Pie 3:14 Al Jarreau
Down To Earth 5:59 Peter Gabriel
Qalanderi 7:10 Cheb i Sabbah
Freedom 2:50 Tyrone Wells
Coolsville 4:53 Rick Braun
Woke Up This Morning 3:55 Ruthie Foster
Blood Stud (Ray Mang Remix) 8:36 MB Disco
I’m Alive (Life Sounds Like) 3:52 Michael Franti & Spearhead
I Feel Lucky 3:33 Mary Chapin Carpenter
sugar pie 3:39 The Subdudes
Paddle and Portage 3:36 Solitudes

Thanksgiving, Nov 23, 2017, 830am ~ Let Us Give Thanks That Life is High Adventure

Sweet Potato Pie 3:14 Al Jarreau
Down To Earth 5:59 Peter Gabriel
Home 5:05 Marc Broussard
Say Hey (I Love You) (Featuring Cherine Anderson) 3:56 Michael Franti
Coolsville 4:53 Rick Braun
Shoofly Pie 3:57 The Wood Brothers
Start Wearing Purple 3:43 Gogol Bordello
Long Train Running (Groovy Dooby Mix) 5:07 DJ’s Brothers
I Feel Lucky 3:33 Mary Chapin Carpenter
Thankful 4:04 Jonny Lang/Michael McDonald
Sweet Potato Pie 3:46 James Taylor & Ray Charles
What a Wonderful World 5:45 Eva Cassidy
Paddle and Portage 3:36 Solitudes

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!

welcome-111816
Deep gratitude to everybody who came out to dance this week including the big gathering on the basketball court on Wednesday (thanks for teaching with me, Mary Linn!) and the crowd that came out to play this Thanksgiving morning. How lucky am I to get to play with y’all every week? Durn lucky. May we all take a break from our habitual thinking and doing and spend time feeling and being this holiday.

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

And first the announce-y things:

• Celebrating Slow: Donation-based Nia at Buck Mountain Open to everyBody ~ December 2, 6-7pm
“Sometimes I think there are only two instructions we need to follow to develop and deepen our spiritual life: slow down and let go.”
― Oriah Mountain Dreamer
Contrary to Nature’s rhythm in this season, the winter holidays come upon us at breakneck speed. Layered on top of already busy lives are parties and performances, cooking and customs, shopping and wrapping that have us running from November to January.
Slow down. Get clear. Be intentional about what you are doing and where you are going. Approach the season as you would a small child: gently, slowly and with an open heart.
Bring a friend. All are welcome regardless of age, experience, fitness level … anything! Donations support the Buck Mountain Health & Wellness Ministry which is doing great work for both the congregation and the community!
For more details and to RSVP, go here.
“For fast acting relief, try slowing down.”
― Lily Tomlin

• dance.sit.create. day-treat on Saturday, Feb 18, 2017, 8:30am-5pm
We’ll be at it again – dancing.sitting.creating. together — 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. Early Bird: $100 if registered by December 15. Late Bird: $125 if registered by February 15. Limited to 20 participants. Go here for all the details and to register

• Join us for heARTful Action
Whatever your political leanings, these are difficult days. Now more than ever, we need to use our creativity and art to make our community (large and small) a kinder, more inclusive, healthier place.
The focus of heARTful Action is on putting positive, loving action into the world, directed particularly to the least powerful among us including (but not limited to) black and brown people, immigrants, LGBTQ people, Muslims, elderly and low-income people, and anyone else feeling compromised, including the environment. All are welcome to our mutually supportive community.

heARTful action ~ Intention
Love warriors using our creativity and connection to sustain movement toward kindness, inclusivity, and health in our community and world. We are a community supporting each other in the expression of our unique gifts while we stay responsive and awake to the needs within us and around us. We act from a place of aliveness and positive purpose.

You can join us on Facebook here and/or ask me and I’ll add you to our email list. All are welcome, invite anyone who you’d like to include. And if you have a group doing similar work, we’d love to network with you and hear about what you’re doing!

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, Nov 21, 2016, 1045am ~ Saying Yes

Passing Through 5:19 Bob Holroyd
A Different Space 8:43 Bob Holroyd
Marisi 6:33 Cantoma
What I Know 4:14 Parachute
Tantrika 9:27 Makyo
Is Your Love Big Enough? 3:22 Lianne La Havas
Just Say Yes 4:41 Snow Patrol
Shining Path 7:23 Dreadzone
Redemption Song 4:10 Playing For Change
The Spirit of the Earth Continues (Floating Earth Remix) 6:32 Cybertribe

Tuesday, Nov 22, 2016, 840am ~ Saying Yes

Passing Through 5:19 Bob Holroyd
Marisi 6:33 Cantoma
Dah-Din Beats (Ges-E + Usman) 8:01 Genetic Drugs
Tantrika 9:27 Makyo
Vertigo 3:15 U2
Just Say Yes 4:41 Snow Patrol
Shining Path 7:23 Dreadzone
Redemption Song 4:10 Playing For Change
One Zero Two 3:02 Alucidnation

Wednesday, Nov 23, 2016, 1215pm with Mary Linn ~ Welcome in the Details

Grateful 3:54 Nimesh Patel & Daniel Nahmod
Three Little Birds (12″ Mix) [Dub Version] 5:20 Bob Marley & The Wailers
Somptin Hapnin (Water In Me) 10:32 Adham Shaikh
We Come Together (Fishy Beat Mix) 3:48 Goldfish Feat. Sakhile Moleshe
Shoofly Pie 3:57 The Wood Brothers
Keep On Searching 5:08 Kraak & Smaak
I’m Alive (Life Sounds Like) 3:52 Michael Franti & Spearhead
Just Say Yes 4:41 Snow Patrol
I Am You 4:50 Kareem Salama
Thank you 4:19 Alanis Morrisette
sugar pie 3:39 The Subdudes
Gratitude 6:27 Jamie Catto & Alex Forster

Thanksgiving morning, Thursday, Nov 24, 2016, 830am ~ Welcome in the Details

Sweet Potato Pie 3:46 James Taylor & Ray Charles
Pavement Cracks 5:10 Annie Lennox
Home 5:05 Marc Broussard
Qalanderi 7:10 Cheb i Sabbah
Keep On Searching 5:08 Kraak & Smaak
Shoofly Pie 3:57 The Wood Brothers
Moon & Sun 6:02 Dalminjo Fjörd Fusioneer
What I Know 4:14 Parachute
Yes I Will 4:20 Michael Franti
I Am You 4:50 Kareem Salama
Sweet Potato Pie 3:14 Al Jarreau
Wiarthul 5:55 Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu

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!

yes-111716

“…instead of resisting emotional pain, we [can] say Yes to our experience. The instant we agree to feel fear or vulnerability, greed or agitation, we are holding our life with an unconditionally friendly heart.” – Tara Brach

Imagine yourself sitting at a holiday table with your nearest and dearest. The table is set with shining glasses and dishes and is heavy with steaming, delicious food. As you get ready to eat, you ask everyone to say what it is that they are grateful for. The first person says:

“I’m grateful for my family, my friends and this food.”

The next person says:

“I’m grateful for making art with my step-daughter and niece. I’m grateful for my husband’s resourcefulness and his creative mind. I’m grateful for my friend Rebecca’s honesty and deep compassion. I’m grateful for smooth, satisfying potatoes, for rich roasted brussels sprouts, and sweet creamy pie.”

How do these two feel different when you hear them?

The first response is an idea, a thought about those people and that nourishment. The second, a more embodied gratitude, is based on noticing details and specifics about the objects of gratitude.

Gratitude. People have expounded upon it for as long as people have expounded. In this space alone, I’ve written about gratitude not once, not twice, but more more more more times than that. The reason everyone else and I write about it so often is that gratitude, if deeply felt, is a powerful transformational force. Gratitude can change everything.

Going back to our holiday table, I see that I can get stuck in the idea of gratitude instead of living the felt experience of gratitude. At its most basic level, gratitude is about appreciating what is happening now…whatever that is. We will have preferences, likes and dislikes, but real gratitude, gratitude that stretches our capacity to feel our lives, makes space for everything that is happening.

Once when I was all twisted up in my feelings about what was happening in my family, a friend said, “How do you know this isn’t exactly what needs to happen?” I sputtered around for a while about how it was obviously not what should happen, and she said, calmly and peacefully, “How do you know?” I had to admit that I didn’t.*

I think of that conversation often when I’m resisting my feelings about whatever is going on. And I recall that conversation when I read these two extraordinarily wise pieces by two teachers far more articulate and insightful than I could ever be. I recommend them highly.

Tara Brach, The Practice of Saying Yes

John Tarrant, How To Welcome the End of The World

Rumi’s classic poem, The Guesthouse, speaks succinctly of this gratitude practice of welcoming everything fully.

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
As an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

Gratitude is being present to whatever feelings are happening and saying yes, welcoming it all. My ability to fully embrace the challenging parts allows me to be fully present with the joyful, pleasurable, loving ones.

“Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.”

Happy Thanksgiving.

*An important post script: I am in no way suggesting that anyone who has suffered trauma or loss should say “yes” to the loss, only to allow for any feelings that arise. As Tara Brach says in the piece I reference above:

I do caution my students, however, that it is not always wise to say Yes to inner experience. If we have been traumatized in the past, old feelings of terror may be triggered. We might not have the balance or resiliency in a particular moment to meet our experience with unconditional friendliness, and our attempts at Yes might actually end up flooding us with fear. It would be better instead to find a way to alleviate the fear, perhaps by seeking comfort with a friend, doing vigorous exercise, or taking prescribed medication. For the time being, saying No to what feels like too much, and Yes to what simply works to keep us balanced, is the most compassionate response we can offer ourselves.

Deepest regret for my inadequate words and any resulting misunderstanding on this point.

wearing-the-cape-even-when-not-wearing-the-cape-110216

Wow, did I ever love dancing in my superhero cape this week! AND I am reminded that the practice is to build my inner resources, my INNER superhero cape, so I feel can feel centered, relaxed, alert and ready for whatever unfolds — even when things get hairy. The key is to wear your superhero cape even when you’re not wearing your superhero cape.

Special thanks this week to Mary Linn for sharing her juicy superhero self — even for the surprise appearance on Tuesday morning!

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

And first the announce-y things:

• heARTful: a space for the artist in everybody ~ a 3-minute survey
Rebecca George and I are launching a new creative adventure and we would love your input! Please take this 3-minute, 3-question survey: let’s build it together!

• TEDx Charlottesville: The Power of One on Friday, November 11
I’m delighted to be a small part of the big event of TEDx Charlottesville on November 11. It’s my honor, privledge and excitement to be coaching two of the amazing line-up of speakers: Lulu Miller and Monica Montgomery.
You can listen to the work of Lulu Miller by checking out her Invisibilia podcast on NPR. I’ve been loving the new season that explores the invisible things that shape our lives. All the episodes are excellent but I think my favorite was The Problem with the Solution.
And check out some of Monica Montgomery’s heart-stopping projects as the founding director of the Museum of Impact, the world’s first mobile social justice museum, and the co-founder of and strategic director for Museum Hue, a platform advancing the visibility and viability of professionals of color, in museums, arts, and culture, and creative careers.
Tickets for this inspiring day are available now! Please join us for TEDx Charlottesville!

• SPACES STILL AVAILABLE — Going Below The Surface: Nia, Yin Yoga & Words Saturday, November 12, 1-4pm
REGISTER NOW, November 12, 1-4pm. Explore this focus in a special workshop — Going Below The Surface — that I’ll be teaching with Yin Yoga Instructor, Amy Kidd on Saturday, November 12 from 1-4pm at acac Albemarle Square. I will lead simple, varied, energetic movements to warm and mobilize the body: particularly the hips, core and shoulders. Amy will then take us through a series of Yin yoga poses designed to release muscle, fascia and other connective tissue in the core with long, supported holds. Interwoven through the afternoon, as energy is released and the body/mind relaxes, will be opportunities to write – either journaling or using simple provided prompts. Plan now to take an afternoon to breathe deep and see what lies below the surface.
Space is limited. Register now at either acac Albemarle Square (434.978.3800) or Downtown (434.984.3800)
NOV 12 WORKSHOP IS AT ALBEMARLE SQUARE!
$60 members, $65 non-members

• Thanksgiving Day Nia with Susan! Thursday, Nov 24, 8:30-9:30am
Start your day of gratitude with dancing! Join Susan for an inspired hour of mindful movement and enthusiastic tail-feather shaking on Thursday, November 24 from 8:30-9:30am (not 8:40am, y’all). Bring a friend or visiting family ~ guests come for FREE on the holiday! Or sneak out for a little sweaty You Time. Happy Thanksgiving!

• Celebrating Slow: Donation-based Nia at Buck Mountain Open to everyBody ~ December 2, 6-7pm
Contrary to Nature’s rhythm in this season, the winter holidays come upon us at breakneck speed. Layered on top of already busy lives are parties and performances, cooking and customs, shopping and wrapping that have us running from November to January.
Slow down. Get clear. Be intentional about what you are doing and where you are going. Approach the season as you would a small child: gently, slowly and with an open heart.
Bring a friend. All are welcome regardless of age, experience, fitness level … anything! Donations support the Buck Mountain Health & Wellness Ministry which is doing great work for both the congregation and the community!
For more details and to RSVP, go here.

• MARK YOUR CALENDAR! dance.sit.create. day-treat on Saturday, Feb 18, 2017, 8:30am-5pm
We’ll be at it again – dancing.sitting.creating. together — on Saturday, Feb 18 (snow date, March 4). Registration opens next week. More soon!

• Art prints now available on Susan’s web site!
Now available on my site: high quality prints of my art (more pieces coming soon!). Inspired by the dance.sit.create. retreats, these pieces are part meditation, part inspiration, part poetry. Printed on heavy matte paper, may they be reminders for creative connection. Free shipping to US addresses. For other options, please inquire! http://www.susanmcculley.com/shop/

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, Oct 31, 2016, 1045am ~ Be Your Own Superhero (with Mary Linn)

Heroe 4:23 Enrique Iglesias
Superman (It’s Not Easy) 3:42 Five For Fighting
Hero Dead And Gone (Discotheque Mix) 4:55 De-Phazz
SexybackClean Version 4:03 Justin Timberlake
U R The Answer 5:57 Stephen Bray/ Michael Beckwith
Fly 3:33 Bart Hafeman
Shout Now 3:17 Melissa Etheridge
Fingerbeat 5:57 Drumspyder
Roar 3:44 Katy Perry
Put Your Lights On 4:45 Santana Feat. Everlast
Colour In My Name (Featuring Precise) 6:08 Spiral System
Stillpoint 6:07 Gabrielle Roth and The Mirrors

Tuesday, Nov 1, 2016, 840am & 535pm ~ Be Your Own Superhero

Heroe 4:23 Enrique Iglesias
Superman (It’s Not Easy) 3:42 Five For Fighting
Hero Dead And Gone (Discotheque Mix) 4:55 De-Phazz
SexybackClean Version 4:03 Justin Timberlake
U R The Answer 5:57 Stephen Bray/ Michael Beckwith
Fly 3:33 Bart Hafeman
Shout Now 3:17 Melissa Etheridge
Fingerbeat 5:57 Drumspyder
Roar 3:44 Katy Perry
Put Your Lights On 4:45 Santana Feat. Everlast
Colour In My Name (Featuring Precise) 6:08 Spiral System

Wednesday, Nov 2, 2016, 11am ~ Be Your Own Superhero

Heroe 4:23 Enrique Iglesias
Escapar 3:28 Enrique Iglesias
Corazon Espinado 4:38 Santana
Work That Body 5:35 Rodney Hunter
Learn to Fly 3:55 Foo Fighters
Raag Trance 5:32 Biddu
Domination 7:26 Peace Orchestra
Put Your Lights On 4:45 Santana Feat. Everlast
Colour In My Name (Featuring Precise) 6:08 Spiral System
Superman’s Song 4:31 Crash Test Dummies

Thursday, Nov 3, 2016, 840am ~ Be Your Own Superhero

Heroe 4:23 Enrique Iglesias
Escapar 3:28 Enrique Iglesias
Corazon Espinado 4:38 Santana
Work That Body 5:35 Rodney Hunter
Raag Trance 5:32 Biddu
Learn to Fly 3:55 Foo Fighters
Domination 7:26 Peace Orchestra
Put Your Lights On 4:45 Santana Feat. Everlast
Colour In My Name (Featuring Precise) 6:08 Spiral System
Superman’s Song 4:31 Crash Test Dummies

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!

Happiness quote by Waitley

Even as illness cancels our expected family plans, I am filled with gratitude for each person who dances with us, reads these posts, listens to the playlists this and every week. The magic of inquiry and intent is that we can change anything and everything. Happy Thanksgiving, every body.

Below are all the playlists for the week — including the Grace & Gratitude Celebration that Mary Linn and I taught together and the Grati-Fest that Mary Linn taught this morning. Did you know that you can listen to all the playlists for free on Spotify https://www.spotify.com/us/ ? Sign up for free, follow me at “susanmcculley” and you’ll find my public playlists ~ just click and listen! No matter where you are, we can listen and dance together!

Here are some cool things you want to know about:

• Embracing Darkness: A Special Winter Class with Mary Linn & Susan ~ Friday, December 11, 6-7pm at Buck Mountain Episcopal Church Parish Hall

As the dark edges closer and closer to our doors, we have a choice about how to approach this time of year. We can huddle and steel against it, we can glitter and holly jolly over it, or we can embrace it. Please join Mary Linn and Susan for a special class of movement and music that invites the whole-hearted embrace of the darkness that is essential to growth and life. Rich instrumental, gospel and live vocal music underscores the focus on peaceful mindful presence we can choose to cultivate. Pay what you can (proceeds go to the Health & Wellness Ministry at Buck Mountain Episcopal). No experience or dogma needed. All are welcome.

• dance. sit. write. draw. Saturday, January 23, 2016 – Registration now open!

We’re dancing, sitting and writing again and this time, we’re drawing, too! Join me for a day of exploration at the intersection of movement, stillness and creativity. Registration limited to 20. Find all the information here and register here on http://www.susanmcculley.com

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, Nov 23, 2015, 1045am ~ Gratitude & Grace

Grace 5:31 U2
Hero Dead And Gone (Discotheque Mix) 4:55 De-Phazz
Deep Lotus 5:04 Naked Rhythm
Moon & Sun 6:02 Dalminjo Fjörd Fusioneer
Blood Stud (Ray Mang Remix) 8:36 MB Disco
Sometimes 5:14 Kaskade
Right Here Right Now 5:57 Fatboy Slim
Thank You 4:59 The Makepeace Brothers
Thank you 4:19 Alanis Morrisette
Kind And Generous 4:06 Natalie Merchant
Gratitude 6:27 Jamie Catto & Alex Forster

Tuesday, Nov 24, 2015, 840am ~ Gratitude & Grace

Grace 5:31 U2
Hero Dead And Gone (Discotheque Mix) 4:55 De-Phazz
Deep Lotus 5:04 Naked Rhythm
Blood Stud (Ray Mang Remix) 8:36 MB Disco
Right Here Right Now 5:57 Fatboy Slim
I Feel Lucky 3:33 Mary Chapin Carpenter
Thank You 4:59 The Makepeace Brothers
Thank you 4:19 Alanis Morrisette
Kind And Generous 4:06 Natalie Merchant
Gratitude 6:27 Jamie Catto & Alex Forster

Wednesday, Nov 25, 2015, 1130am with Mary Linn ~ Gratitude & Grace

Grace 5:31 U2
Thank you 4:19 Alanis Morrisette
Blood Stud (Ray Mang Remix) 8:36 MB Disco
I Feel Lucky 3:33 Mary Chapin Carpenter
Thank You 4:59 The Makepeace Brothers
Reconfluence 6:19 Bob Holroyd
Lucky 4:00 Melissa Etheridge
Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin) 4:49 Sly & The Family Stone
Let Your Light Shine 4:06 Keb’ Mo’
Thank You 6:26 Sinead O’Connor

Thanksgiving, Thursday, Nov 26, 2015, 9am ~ Mary Linn’s Grati-Fest playlist

Medicine/Rising Appalachia
Raifiki/Robin Boult & Bob Holroyd
We Shall Be Free/Garth Brooks
Brasilero/Shaman’s Dream
Lucky/Melissa Etheridge
Victory Dance/Mystic Rhythms Band
Yanna Hu Wey/One At Last
Indian Trance/Hilight Tribe Stellar
Let Your Light Shine/Keb’ Mo’
Thank You For This Day/Karen Drucker
Simple Gifts/Yo-Yo Ma & Alison Krauss

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!

Gratitude & Grace 112015

Gratitude

Just this, each day: bear yourself up on small wings to receive what is given. — Marcia Brown (full text is here. bring tissues.*)

If you read this blog, it’s not news that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. In addition to my sincere love of autumnal foodstuffs and having a super-long weekend for hiking and hanging with loved ones, I also am a big believer in the power of gratitude.

In this space I’ve written about Gratitude Feasting and Gratitude Fasting, The High Adventure of Gratitude and Graduate Gratitude.

In recent years, I’ve kept gratitude journals of various kinds, I do my best to write thank you notes for gifts big and small and I say a gratitude prayer before every meal (and this week I joined Mandy Blake’s Embody Gratitude project – want to do it with me? It’s free!). One of my favorite yoga teachers invites me in every class to identify one thing for which I am grateful (she cleverly does this right after the most intense pose of the practice when I’m sometimes hatin’ life) and every time, I’m appreciative to come back into a grateful heart.

A grateful heart is a light and spacious heart no matter what is happening around it. Grateful eyes see a world full of abundance and possibilities even when things are pretty bleak.

And yet for all these practices and despite my abiding love for gratitude, there is one thing I always forget. Over and over, I pour my gratitude out onto others, to the many gifts in my life, to Nature and the Earth. But over and over, I forget to be grateful for myself. I remember to be grateful for my health and my body and all it allows me to do, but for ME? For the I that I am? That, I always forget.

Which is understandable in some ways, since I grew up with an emphasis on humility (which sometimes wanders into the realm of self-deprecation) and besides, nobody likes to be around a braggy pants. But my lack of self-directed gratitude is surprising, even shocking, given that it’s what I teach about and write about all. the. time.

So in this sweet season of remembering to be thankful to the embarrassment of riches that is my life, I commit to adding myself to that list. If you happen to have the same habit for forgetting what a gift you are in the world, I hope you’ll do the same.

Grace

Grace finds goodness in everything – U2

Grace. I just love the word: Grace.

I love it in part for its multiple meanings**. On the spiritual front: unmerited divine assistance given humans and a virtue coming from God and a state of sanctification enjoyed through divine grace. (“State of Sanctification”! I just love that.)

On the secular side: approval, favor, mercy, pardon, reprieve, and the disposition to or an act or instance of kindness, courtesy, or clemency.

On the physical plane: a charming or attractive trait or characteristic. And of course, one of my favorites as a movement teacher: ease and suppleness of movement or bearing.

And finally, in this season of gratitude, grace is also a short prayer at a meal asking a blessing or giving thanks. Of course it means that. To give thanks, to ask for blessing is by its very nature an act of ease and suppleness.

I’m often an awkward thing: heavy-walking, tripping and bumping into things; slow on the uptake, at a loss for the right thing to say or do; missing emotional cues or blundering in sensitive situations. But I set an intention for grace and I’ve noticed that the most direct route to grace is gratitude. For suppleness and ease in my interactions, mercy and pardon for myself and others when things get bumpy, nothing gets me to grace more cleanly than gratitude. Grace puts the world and everyone in it in a state of sanctification because even the most awkward and misguided of us are sacred.

At this time of year, gratitude is the headliner as it should be. And gratitude will inevitably take me to grace It is a truth we observe and feel in our bones: when a heart is full of gratitude, it is also a heart full of grace.


 

* Thanks to Mary Linn for this quote and poem and for teaching me more in the past year about gratitude & grace than I’ve learned in a lifetime.

** all of these definitions come from Merriam Webster

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