Keeping the Joy

Over ten years ago, I completed a white belt training and earlier this year, I had a burning desire to re-commit to Nia. Fortunately, my trainer, Winalee Zeeb (trainer of the year) was waiting with open arms, literally and metaphorically.  A few days after I completed my audit, I bought a  t-shirt that boldly stated: “The journey is the destination”.  I laughed aloud. It was perfect! It reiterated what I already knew and fortunately, Winalee led us in embodying the process all week during the training. I felt transformed. I knew that this was just the beginning of my journey of creating a sacred livelihood. According to the teachings of Nia, “creating a sacred livelihood is the process of living into your purpose while honoring the unique way you exist in the world”. (White belt principle 11)

Now my challenge has been to surrender to my journey as I create a sacred livelihood with Nia. I have had so many blessings and disappointments. However, I have decided to focus on the lessons I have learned in receiving both. I realize that I have a choice on how I react to disappointments along the way. I choose to receive them as lessons. It has made me reach out to other Nia teachers, Nia headquarters,  and Next Generation Trainers for advice and support and I get strength from their experiences. I feel so blessed that I’m part of a community that wants to see me succeed and will truly go out of their way to lend a pearl of wisdom, share their experiences, and/or help me find opportunities in my community. When I left my white belt in late February, I had one place that was interested in me teaching Nia. Now, I will begin teaching Nia at three places this May.

In regards to living the sacred livelihood,  it is not easy. However, each day, I feel myself getting stronger as I gain more perspective on my journey. Nia reminds us that sometimes the destination is truly the journey. It’s like learning a new routine, we must embody the music completely and be attuned to the sensations the music evokes in our bodies. When I’m dancing a Nia routine, I’m able to embody the moves and not think about anything else but the music. I listen to the drums, the violins, the melodic voices that awaken and soothe my spirit. I surrender to the music completely. I don’t think “Can I do that move? or When does class end? What song is next? ” I just concentrate on the first principle of the white belt, “the joy of movement” and dance on. When I concentrate on the joy of movement, my body moves naturally to the music. If I need to tweak a movement to maintain pleasure, I do so, still keeping in step with the music.

Keeping the joy in the movement allows us to value the process as well as the product. This is very empowering, freeing, and challenging. It is a struggle to keep this perspective  in a society that values production everyday.  However, I choose to value this journey, while I create a sacred livelihood. I trust that each step that I take will lead me closer to my goals, while keeping  me in step with other aspects of my life. I rely on my instincts and what feels right to me. If I hit a bump in the road, I will release my frustration, take a step back, and tweak the way I approach people and/or places. I will try to focus on what blessings I have now and enjoy them, instead of focusing on what is next? It will come.

I know that I have more to do and share when it comes to Nia and I’m enjoying what I’m learning and I know that I will not let anything stand in the way of my spiritual and creative path.

“Love life, engage in it, give it all you’ve got. Love it with a passion, because life truly does give back, many times over, what you put into it”-

Maya Angelou

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The Artist Way: a spiritual path to higher creativity

A few weeks ago, I taught an introduction to The Artist’s Way, a book created by Julia Cameron. The Artist’s Way is a book that serves as a guide to lead you to a spiritual path of higher creativity.  The book consists of creative exercises, being dedicated to writing morning pages, and having weekly artist dates (at least two hours) with yourself.

After I explained the program, I asked each person to go around the table and talk about a creative goal that they can achieve by the end of the year. As each person spoke, I saw their eyes light up on the prospect of stating this in front of others. Feeding off the energy of others that want to encounter a higher level of creativity gives you a surge of empowerment.

I was struck with how powerful it was to teach this class in a community setting, while I also participated in the exercises with the class.  There is a sense of responsibility that is gathered in a community setting. You are able to learn from others and they also learn from you. I left that class with a renewed energy to facilitate, The Artist Way in a community setting. I began to search for a space.

The journey to achieving your goals can be as rewarding as the goal itself.  It’s important to recognize and even document our journey. When we are aware of the people and challenges we encounter, while reaching for our dreams, we add to the richness of our experience.

My journey of wanting to teach this class has led me to an awesome facility, The Open Mind Center (www.theopenmindcenter.com). The center is located North of Atlanta and it focuses on spiritual and professional growth and creativity. The owner of the center hired me to facilitate The Artist Way this summer. There are no accidents. I felt as if this place was waiting for me to come and I’m so excited  to see what unfolds at my destination.

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Believing in the power of creativity!

This week my journey took me to a boot camp sponsored by the Alliance of Artistic Communities that was so inspirational! Everyone who attended were either artists or people who believed in artists and were interested in developing further artist support for emerging and established artists. It gave me faith that people still believed in the power of creativity.

According to Alliance there are 48 states and 42 countries that provide artistic communities and the numbers continue to grow. If you are an artist, don’t give up on your craft! There are several people and organizations that believe in you!

What is an artistic community? It is a place that allows you to work on your craft. Whether you are in visual arts, writing arts, the performing arts, or use mixed media, there is a place that you can apply to go to that allows you to work on your process. Some even pay you a stipend! Most offer you a free or subsidized place to stay while you are creating. For further information on artist communities, please go to the alliance’s website: www.artistcommunities.org Continue reading

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Living a sacred livelihood

Living a sacred livelihood. It is what we hope to do when we dedicate ourselves to our life’s purpose, our passion. It seems so easy at first but the path is challenging because we are stepping into the unknown- to a destination that will take us on highs and lows, blessings and disappointments and so many gifts in the form of experiences. Despite the many hills and valleys, I remain optimistic. If we keep the passion and the joy in our work, how can we fail?

Living a sacred livelihood  happens when we choose to honor our own work and do what we love. I’ve been moved to write this blog because this week I’ve encountered many people, including myself, that have been frustrated with the results of their hard work. Disappointment, according to New York Times Bestselling author, Joyce Meyer, is normal. She states,  “All of us must face and deal with disappointment at different times. No person alive has everything happen in life the way they want or in the way they expect” It is how we handle these challenges is the real gift.

Let’s encourage each other to remain dedicated to our life’s purpose.  My hope is that this blog will validate and inspire others that are trying to live a sacred livelihood. What is sacred about you? What is your life’s purpose?

If you are striving to make a livelihood with your practice, please know you are not alone. You will be surprised on what unfolds, if we change our perspective.  I’ve received so many blessings from unexpected places.  Make sure you keep the joy-that’s what makes it sacred.

Please feel free to share your story on this blog. I look forward to hearing from you.

http://www.soulploiatation.com

http://www.nianow.com

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Joy of movement

A few days after auditing a white belt training with trainer of the year, Winalee Zeeb, I bought a  t-shirt that boldly stated: “The journey is the destination” .  I laughed aloud. It was perfect! It reiterated what I already knew subconsciously and  it was reminding me of what Winalee had been embodying all week during the training.

While I’m dancing a Nia routine, I’m able to embody the moves and not think about anything else but the music. I listen to the drums, the violins, the melodic voices that awaken and soothe my spirit. I surrender to the music completely. I don’t think “can I do that move? or when does class end? what song is next? ” I just concentrate on the first principle of the white belt, “the joy of movement” and dance on. When I concentrate on the joy of movement, my body moves naturally to the music. If I need to tweek a movement to maintain pleasure, I do so, still keeping in step with the music. I’m excited to teach others and share the joy of movement with them.

Keeping the joy in the movement allows us to value the process more than the product. This is very empowering, freeing, and challenging. It is a struggle to keep this perspective  in a society that values production everyday.

For more information about Nia go to http://www.nianow.com

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Welcome to Nia (purpose)

It is my hope that this blog will inspire others as they discover the joy of living a sacred livelihood.

http://www.nianow.com

http://www.soulploitation.com

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