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It’s been a wild week in Charlottesville, y’all. The UVA men’s basketball team won the national championship for the first time…ever. Basketball gets me through the winter with its long season and exciting games but I love this team not just for how they play but for the way they ARE.

After the win on Monday night, head coach Tony Bennett told the team, “Don’t let this change you. It doesn’t have to. Stay humble and stay thankful.” This, to me, is an embodiment of The Lion’s Roar: the absolute confidence that you can be with, feel and handle anything. You can stay who you are and not let the big wins or the big losses change you. What happens isn’t who you are, it’s just what happens. You get to choose who you are as whatever happens unfolds.

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, some announcements of things that are happening!

Honoring the Effect of Trauma in our Lives with Larry Goldstein and Wendy Hubbard April 27
Larry Goldstein and Wendy Hubbard lead a workshop on releasing the grip of trauma using structures work, personal stories, and group work. Structures enable a person to go back safely to a traumatic memory with crucial support that was missing then and offers fresh options — an alternative memory – a different outcome in which basic human needs are met and longing for love and protection are fulfilled. This reconstructs inner implicit memory maps in the brain and helps people become viscerally acquainted with feelings that were lacking early in their lives. Pre-course online class Saturday, April 20, 3-5pm, In Person One-Day Class Saturday, April 27, 10-6p, Post-course online class, Saturday, May 4, 3-5pm. Cost $150. Limited to 12 participants. To register and for more information, contact Wendy Hubbard at whubbard0@gmail.com.

First Friday Freedance with Kate ~ May 3 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, May 3 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, Apr 8, 2019, 1045am ~ Embodied Presence: The Lion’s Roar

Say 3:51 John Mayer
Essarai 5:48 Cantoma
Journeyman 6:41 Bob Holroyd
For You I Will (Confidence) 3:50 Teddy Geiger
Little Lion Man 4:01 Mumford & Sons
Malawi Moonlight (Dance Version) 5:27 African Tribal Orchestra
Rhythm Is? (Marques Wyatt Mix) 5:49 Afro-Mystik
The Thing That Helps Me Get Through 4:35 Michael Franti & Spearhead
Feel It (feat. Mr. Talkbox) 4:40 TobyMac
Lionheart 6:15 Angels Of Venice
Wondering Where The Lions Are 3:48 Bruce Cockburn
Bach: Cello Suite #4 In E Flat, BWV 1010 – 1. Sarabande 5:03 Yo-Yo Ma

Tuesday, Apr 9, 2018, 840am ~ Embodied Presence: The Lion’s Roar

Say 3:51 John Mayer
Essarai 5:48 Cantoma
For You I Will (Confidence) 3:50 Teddy Geiger
Little Lion Man 4:01 Mumford & Sons
Malawi Moonlight (Dance Version) 5:27 African Tribal Orchestra
Rhythm Is? (Marques Wyatt Mix) 5:49 Afro-Mystik
The Thing That Helps Me Get Through 4:35 Michael Franti & Spearhead
Feel It (feat. Mr. Talkbox) 4:40 TobyMac
Lionheart 6:15 Angels Of Venice
Wondering Where The Lions Are 3:48 Bruce Cockburn
Bach: Cello Suite #4 In E Flat, BWV 1010 – 1. Sarabande 5:03 Yo-Yo Ma

Wednesday, Apr 10, 2018, 11am ~ Embodied Presence: The Lion’s Roar

Say 3:51 John Mayer
Essarai 5:48 Cantoma
For You I Will (Confidence) 3:50 Teddy Geiger
Mariposa Traicionera 4:23 Maná
Little Lion Man 4:01 Mumford & Sons
Malawi Moonlight (Dance Version) 5:27 African Tribal Orchestra
Rhythm Is? (Marques Wyatt Mix) 5:49 Afro-Mystik
The Paris Swing Box 5:24 Parov Stelar
Feel It (feat. Mr. Talkbox) 4:40 TobyMac
Lionheart 6:15 Angels Of Venice
Wondering Where The Lions Are 3:48 Bruce Cockburn
Bach: Cello Suite #4 In E Flat, BWV 1010 – 1. Sarabande 5:03 Yo-Yo Ma

Thursday, Apr 11, 2018, 840am ~ Embodied Presence: The Lion’s Roar

Say 3:51 John Mayer
Essarai 5:48 Cantoma
For You I Will (Confidence) 3:50 Teddy Geiger
Mariposa Traicionera 4:23 Maná
Little Lion Man 4:01 Mumford & Sons
Malawi Moonlight (Dance Version) 5:27 African Tribal Orchestra
Rhythm Is? (Marques Wyatt Mix) 5:49 Afro-Mystik
The Paris Swing Box 5:24 Parov Stelar
Feel It (feat. Mr. Talkbox) 4:40 TobyMac
Wondering Where The Lions Are 3:48 Bruce Cockburn
Bach: Cello Suite #4 In E Flat, BWV 1010 – 1. Sarabande 5:03 Yo-Yo Ma

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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I told myself not to say it. I think I actually bit my tongue. But suddenly, I heard the unkind, impatient thing fly right out of my mouth. I saw the words, sludgy and dripping, hang in the air between us and immediately, I regretted them.

I saw his face and shoulders fall. He responded with his feelings and I did my best, I really did, to feel my feet and my breath, to reflect back what he’d said, to be present.

Instead, I was swamped with pain and regret and a mind-flood of talk about what a bitchy jerk I am and how I always do this and how the people I admire would never say such a thing. In a heart beat, in a breath, the discomfort was so strong that I unplugged and split from my body.

Embodied presence – connecting mind and body, being in the present moment – sounds simple and easy enough. We’re living in these bodies all the time, after all, so how tough can it be to be in there? The truth is that it’s a huge challenge for most of us even when we’re sitting quietly on a cushion with sunlight in our hair and flower petals falling around us. When we are upset, angry, tired, hungry, in pain, afraid, or uncomfortable in any way, the practice of keeping body and mind in the same place at the same time can feel utterly impossible.

In her two dharma talks about Embodied Presence (which you can find here and here), Tara Brach invites us to explore the unpredictable wilderness of the body. The mind does what it can to control the uncontrollable and tuck in all the loose edges but that neatness is a false refuge. The body in all its messiness is the only place to connect to empathy, love, freedom and unfolding of life itself. The only place. She suggests that whenever we leave the body, when we vacate the premises, it comes down to one thing: there is something we are unwilling to feel. We find ourselves disconnected and separated from direct experience because there is something that feels scary or dangerous or uncomfortable and on some level we think we can’t handle it. So we run.

Last week, we focused on Embodied Presence and the practice of getting body and mind in the same place at the same time. This week, we continue this exploration by looking at the ways we take ourselves out of the body and how to get back in.

It’s such a common state, to be up in the control tower of our heads that we might not even realize we’re doing it. Tara Brach offers four signs of being in trance and out of the body:

  1. obsessive thoughts on a loop often as a way to prepare to avoid something bad,
  2. negative judgment about myself or others (see above example of me thinkingthinkingthinking about being an impatient jerky pants),
  3. distraction of any kind especially on screens or online (like habitually reaching to check my phone when I feel nervous, for example),
  4. speeding around and rushing, as if getting more done will keep the difficult feelings at bay

When you see this list, do any of these feel familiar? Perhaps you’re like me and they ALL feel familiar. When we are in this auto-pilot, sleepwalking state, we are intentionally (although often subconsciously) avoiding feeling something edgy or uncomfortable. Mindfulness – in movement, in meditation, or in the moment – invites us back into the lush wilderness of the body.

Brach teaches that the intensity of any of these states is in direct proportion to our unwillingness to feel what’s in our bodies. In order to come into embodied presence, we have to make the courageous and intentional choice to wake up. She teaches that first, we must notice what’s happening (ah, I have hurt someone’s feelings and that feels wretched), then name it (pain in my heart and heaviness in my stomach), and breathe (amazingly difficult when I’m suffering) and interrupt the pattern – even briefly – by allowing ourselves to feel whatever it is.

This practice leads to what is sometimes called The Lion’s Roar which is the ability to be with, to roll with anything, ANYTHING that happens. The Lion’s Roar is the fearless proclamation that everything that happens is workable and that I have the ability to handle and feel anything. Imagine the freedom of trusting in our capacity to be with whatever life delivers.

Notice that this state of presence is not called “The Roaring Lion” which feels startling, fierce, and threatening. Instead, the Lion’s Roar is the energy of confidence. It is the knowledge that this power is available no matter what arrives. When we practice, The Lion’s Roar is a strength that infuses life like an aura, a light that allows me to face anything.

Few of us will be able to claim the Lion’s Roar as our way of being all the time, but the practice of noticing, naming, breathing and interrupting the well-worn sleepwalking pattern offers glimpses into the possibility of freedom.

The next time you find yourself caught in one of the signs of being out of the body, ask yourself, “What am I unwilling to feel?” This question alone is the first step toward finding your Roar.

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