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FOCUS POCUS NOTE! FocusPocus is now one complete post (art, focus, playlists and announcements) all together on Thursdays! 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.

Full disclosure: I don’t like winter. I never have. Sure, when I was a kid I enjoyed the occasional Connecticut snow day but I would have traded them all for summer sun and swimming and watermelon. So it was eye-opening for me to read a piece by Dr. Deepak Chopra called Transform Winter into a Restorative Season (I really hope you’ll read it.)

Dr. Chopra describes the natural wisdom of winter and invites us to tap into the balanced renewal that is possible in the darker, colder, grayer months. His first direction is to focus attention on energy ~ not just energy quantity but energy quality. He says,

… keep your quality of energy at a comfortable place of balance. … Dynamic balance is known medically as homeostasis, and the body-mind is designed to maintain it. So, your goal is simply to cooperate with what your body-mind wants to do.

Here are some thoughts (from the hibernating bear, of course) about how to do that:

His second suggestion is to focus on renewal and healing. Beyond balance, these are activities and perspectives that help us fill ourselves up and keep us from getting depleted. Dr. Chopra recommends that we follow renewing pursuits: creativity, appreciation, acceptance, self healing, service, kindness and that

Healing should not be approached with an attitude of ‘I have to fix myself.’ Healing is a natural process of the body-mind that you only need to cooperate with.

Our culture of get-’er-done and go-all-out-all-the-time, tends to skip over the stage of renewal, restoration and recuperation. The Gestalt Cycle of Experience shows the natural cycle of anything we experience. For example, you might wake up in the morning with a soft sense of emptiness, what we might call the fertile void. Then you have a sensation of thirst. You might have the awareness of a dry throat or tongue so you shift to mobilzation by deciding what to do about your thirst and action as you move out of bed to the sink (if it’s me, I go straight to the faucet, but my husband is all civilized and uses a glass). As the water connects with your mouth and throat, you feel contact and then satisfaction. With your thirst need met, you can withdraw from that experience and return to the fertile void.

Americans are all about the mobilzation/action/contact/satisfaction part of the cycle and then skip over the rest, zooming off to the next mobilization. Dr. Chopra and the season of winter itself asks us to pause in the lower half of the cycle.

Really, winter offers us a unique opportunity to pay attention and invest in self-awareness. Winter is about listening to the cycle of nature and our own bodies to align with balance and recuperation. What are some ways that you might spend more time in creating dynamic balance, restoration and self-awareness in the second half of this winter season?

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!

Things are happening, y’all! Before the playlists, here is all the details on what’s coming up!

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!

Welcome Spring with Four Thursdays of Nourishing Movement Classes at the Studio at Dancing Water in March ~ with Special Guest Teacher, Susan Tate on March 26!!
As winter wends to an end and spring starts springing, join us for 4 Nourishing Movement classes in March on Thursdays, Mar 5, 12, 19 and 26 from 11am-1215pm for just $40. On Thu, Mar 26, I’m delighted that author, teacher, wellness visionary, Nia Black Belt (and one of Susan McCulley’s first Nia teachers!), Susan Tate will be guest teaching! Prepare for the growth of the season with classes with two Susans! Go here to join us!

Full Moon Restorative Yoga with Shandoah ~ Moonday, March 9, 430-6pm
Shandoah Goldman returns to The Studio at Dancing Water (2370 Old Lynchburg Road, Charlottesville) to continue the full moon restorative practice! The full moon is a time of completion. The fullness of the cycle lends itself to a practice of non-doing. Join Shandoah for a deeply nourishing practice of restorative yoga. Using props to offer support and comfort, the body is invited to profoundly let go and unwind. Rather than efforting or stretching, this is the practice of releasing and relaxing. We’ll celebrate what is finished and soften into the next cycle. Shandoah is a gifted guide for deep release and is a Shiatsu practitioner offering hands on assists during class. All bodies welcome, no experience in yoga or anything else is needed. Email Susan at sjmnia@gmail.com to get on the waiting list.
Monday (Moonday!), March 9, 430-6pm at The Studio at Dancing Water ~ $30, $25 if registered before Feb 28!

First Friday Freedance with Kate ~ Mar 6 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, Mar 6 from 11:25 -12:25.

New Nia Classes + Workshop with Susan Tate!
Susan Tate will be offering Nia classes at the beautiful Charlottesville Tango on Water Studio beginning with a FREE celebration class at 11 am on Sunday, March 1. Thereafter, classes will be on Sundays at 11 am.
$18 drop in/or discounted class card
Charlottesville Tango on Water at 208 E Water Street.
More info: http://www.susantate.org
AND To introduce people to the studio and Nia in this new space, Susan will offer her MindHEARTBody Balance: Letting Love Lead the Way Nia workshop there on Saturday, February 22 from 1 – 4 pm. Early registration is $50 / $65 day of. For more info and to register: https://mind-heart-body-balance-charlottesville-2-22-20.eventbrite.com

Resetting & Balancing the Nervous System with Mindful Practices & Herbal Nourishment: Book Signing and Workshop with Susan & Heather ~ Saturday, February 29, 2020 ~ 10am-12pm at Nourish Louisa
“Stop the glorification of busy….It is OK not to be busy. Repeat this with me: it is OK not to be busy.” ~ Joshua Becker
Mid-winter is the perfect time to look inward at the rush and tumble of our days and practice ways of reconnecting and restoring our frazzled nervous systems. Join teacher and artist Susan McCulley and Clinical Herbalist Heather Wetzel to explore a realignment of our busy, over-scheduled days at the beautiful Nourish Louisa shop (http://www.nourishlouisa.com/) at 205 W. Main Street, Louisa, VA 23093
10:00-11:00: Book signing and conversation about the counter cultural choice for presence and less busyness with Susan, author of Octabusy: How to Let Go in a Sea of Doing. Come talk with Susan, watch an art demonstration, and have a cup of something warm.
11:00 – 12:00: Susan and Heather will present a short workshop focusing on re-balancing body, mind, and spirit using mindfulness life hacks and herbal strategies for moving from the habitual responses of our nervous system’s “fright, flight, or freeze” reactions into a more balanced, flowing, and peaceful state of “rest and digest.”. Topics include:
· How to support yourself to be more centered, calm and relaxed.
· Physical and mindful practices that can bring you back to center and be done anywhere, no matter what is happening around you.
· Tastings (including recipes) of tried and true adaptogenic herbal preparations to enhance your resilience to stress
· New ideas to support and encourage graceful adaptation to change and less reactive to stress
We all need encouragement and new ideas to support us as we move through our fast-paced, stress-ridden world. Reserve your seat now as space is limited at http://www.nourishlouisa.com/! Saturday, February 29, 2020 ~ 10am-12pm ~ $15 ~ includes lunch and small drink of your choice / Limited to 12 participants.
Interview about Octabusy & Other Things on Lisa Jakub’s Embrace Your Weird podcast!
It was my honor and pleasure to have a conversation with Lisa Jakub about the seduction of busyness and ways of navigating it on her fantastic podcast, Embrace Your Weird. Please listen, share, review and spread the word! Go here to check it out!

WHERE TO FIND OCTABUSY!
Support local retailers by buying Octabusy
at New Dominion Bookshop on Charlottesville’s downtown mall (ndbookshop.com, 434-295-2552, staff@ndbookshop.com)
and at The Telegraph Art & Comics https://www.telegraphcomics.com/
and at the beautiful Nourish Louisa shop in downtown Louisa! Go here http://www.nourishlouisa.com/ for more. I’ll be sharing more soon on events at this super-cool spot!
And just this week: both Buddha Cat and Octabusy are now available at the lovely Wine & Country Shop in Ivy! Please check them out here. It’s an amazing store full of wonderful finds, not just super-cool books!
You can also order signed copies of Octabusy (including discounts on multiple copies) now on my website at susanmcculley.com/shop
and get Kindle and paperback editions on Amazon!
(And wherever you buy it, please leave a review there!)

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

Monday, Feb 10, 2020, 1045am ~ Restorative Winter: Energy & Renewal

To Mend 4:42 Bluetech, Lynx, Janover
Love’s Divine 4:39 Seal
Lady Delay 7:03 Anton Kubikov & Maxim Miyutenko
Shadow 4:28 Big Blue Ball featuring Juan Cañizares, Papa Wemba
Exit Through You 5:52 Big Blue Ball featuring Joseph Arthur, Peter Gabriel, Karl Wallinger
Everything Comes From You 4:42 Big Blue Ball featuring Richard Evans, Joji Hirota, Sevara Nazarkhan, Sinéad O’Connor, Guo Yue
Release It [Instrumental] 6:27 Afro Celt Sound System
Lovers of Light 3:58 Afro Celt Sound System
A Little Bit Of Riddim (Featuring Cherine Anderson) 4:19 Michael Franti
The Mummer’s Dance 6:13 Loreena McKimmet
A Thousand Beautiful Things 3:07 Annie Lennox
Vespers 4:13 Lisa Gerrard & Patrick Cassidy

Tuesday, Feb 11, 2020, 840am ~ Restorative Winter: Energy & Renewal

To Mend 4:42 Bluetech, Lynx, Janover
Love’s Divine 4:39 Seal
Lady Delay 7:03 Anton Kubikov & Maxim Miyutenko
Shadow 4:28 Big Blue Ball featuring Juan Cañizares, Papa Wemba
Exit Through You 5:52 Big Blue Ball featuring Joseph Arthur, Peter Gabriel, Karl Wallinger
Everything Comes From You 4:42 Big Blue Ball featuring Richard Evans, Joji Hirota, Sevara Nazarkhan, Sinéad O’Connor, Guo Yue
Release It [Instrumental] 6:27 Afro Celt Sound System
Lovers of Light 3:58 Afro Celt Sound System
The Mummer’s Dance 6:13 Loreena McKimmet
A Thousand Beautiful Things 3:07 Annie Lennox
Vespers 4:13 Lisa Gerrard & Patrick Cassidy

Thursday, Feb 13, 2020, 11am at the Studio at Dancing Water ~ Restorative Winter: Energy & Renewal

Beyond This Moment 4:47 Patrick O’Hearn
To Mend 4:42 Bluetech, Lynx, Janover
Love’s Divine 4:39 Seal
Lady Delay 7:03 Anton Kubikov & Maxim Miyutenko
Shadow 4:28 Big Blue Ball featuring Juan Cañizares, Papa Wemba
Exit Through You 5:52 Big Blue Ball featuring Joseph Arthur, Peter Gabriel, Karl Wallinger
Everything Comes From You 4:42 Big Blue Ball featuring Richard Evans, Joji Hirota, Sevara Nazarkhan, Sinéad O’Connor, Guo Yue
Release It [Instrumental] 6:27 Afro Celt Sound System
Lovers of Light 3:58 Afro Celt Sound System
The Mummer’s Dance 6:13 Loreena McKimmet
A Thousand Beautiful Things 3:07 Annie Lennox
Vespers 4:13 Lisa Gerrard & Patrick Cassidy

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