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Update in pictures, two weeks ago.

I meant to post this two weeks ago, and then the mass shooting happened and I wanted/needed to post about that.

Here are bits and pieces from my life approximately two weeks ago…

life is beautiful signProbably a sign related to the Life is Beautiful music festival. Good reminders of ways to seek beauty in everyday life.

iPad proofreading

A makeshift workstation for proofreading transcripts. My husband supplied the book and encouraged me to remember my posture. It did help. ūüôā

united way shirtOn September 29, I volunteered at the local YMCA as part of the United Way’s annual Day of Caring (hence the shirt above) . There were volunteers at many different sites throughout the city. I had fun. It was good to remember how much I like woodworking.

Jenga

Part of what we created at the volunteer project: a full-sized Jenga set!

fall color 17JPGWe went up to the mountains that Saturday to see some fall color. Hurray for aspens!

 

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Holding space through Nia

Someone asked me if I was willing to reschedule my Nia class yesterday because of Sunday’s shooting. She was going to a vigil at her church.

I understand her wanting to be able to do both, and how other events have come up in the aftermath of the tragedy, and how it has disrupted people’s lives (especially locally). Aside from the logistical aspects, like the class was in three hours and rescheduling a rental space is easier said than done, my thought was:

No. I need this. We need this.

In some ways teaching and going to a Nia class after a tragedy is a reprieve from the updates from the constant news cycle; the local press conferences; the updates from friends; even the pain of grief, shock, dismay, and other emotions. For me, it was like taking a long deep breath after a day of short, shallow breathing.

It’s also an opportunity to come together, to process emotions, to be with what has happened. Sometimes it’s direct; at other times, it’s indirect. It’s holding space for people to be where they’re at, to feel how they’re feeling, and move through it.

At the end of class, I felt calmer and clearer than I had all day. All the emotions I’d been experiencing were still there, but I felt less tense. It was a blessing to have this space, this Nia class, and to share the experience with others.

Las Vegas.

Las Vegas

Last night, there was a mass shooting on the Strip in Las Vegas.

I woke up to the news today. I suppose if I had stayed up later, I might have heard it before going to sleep (assuming I could have slept after learning that) — but I didn’t. Some people I know heard sirens or snippets of information on police scanners or social media last night. There are more headlines this morning. It’s hard to look away.

This mass shooting happened about 15 minutes away from where I live. I feel less safe here at the moment, even though I know logically that I’m probably no less safe than I was yesterday. This is one incident of an increasing many, in this country and in the world. I feel heartbroken, sad, and scared.

Perhaps I will write a post that includes more opinions later.

But for now, I’m sending love and light for all those affected.

Odds and ends

 

Some odds and ends, thoughts and moments from this week:

*Sometimes the line between looking forward to something and dreading it is very thin for me. I have moments where I’m like, “I’m excited for this but I really wish it wasn’t happening today. How many hours do I have before I have to go do it?”

*After telling someone “I messaged them [photos] to you,” I realized that in today’s nuances of technological communication, ‘messaged’ could be interpreted as “Facebook message.” What I really meant was that I texted them to her.

*Sometimes, add another few moments of mindful meditation to my day can be really helpful. I generally do a few minutes in the morning; one day this week, I also took a few minutes in the afternoon. When I’m feeling anxious, reconnecting with my breath can be so important.

*I tend to forget that I enjoy woodworking and working with power tools. Granted, I don’t have the opportunity to do it much anymore. I volunteered yesterday at the YMCA as part of a city-wide volunteer event, and we were making playground equipment and a full-size Jenga set out of wood. And even though it was warm, it was nice to be outside, doing something physical, and creating something.

Update in pictures

Aside from the link roundups, I haven’t posted much lately. I thought I’d use a few photos to give a glimpse into my life currently. Maybe I’ll do this on a regular basis.

proofreading books

My proofreading reference books. I spent about half this year gradually going through an online course on how to proofread transcripts for court reporters. I finished the course in July and started marketing in the later part of last month. So far, I’ve had a few jobs and two clients. I’m definitely feeling the freelancing life out. In the long run, I hope it picks up; in the meantime, I’m glad that I’ve started.

morning light

I love the soft light in the mornings. Also, the temperatures in the mornings — and in general — are getting cooler. We also turned our air conditioning off (at least for the time being)! Yay!

tree of life earrings

I was at a networking and vendor event on Tuesday, and a customer asked if I could turn these pendants into earrings. This is the result, and I really like how they turned out.

Moving to Heal reflections

M2H-LOGO-2015

 

It’s been three months since I took the Moving to Heal training in Santa Fe. Moving to Heal is a Nia training geared towards adapting movement to enhance the healing process. This can include healing from a physical injury, moving through depression, working with aging populations, and more.

It was my first time meeting Debbie Rosas, co-founder of Nia and a force of nature in her own right. Initially, I was a little intimidated by the idea of meeting her and taking a training from her. From the weekend I spent with her, I can say that she’s an incredible source of Nia wisdom. She’s curious, loves to learn, and has great passion for what she does. I heard from others that she was softer at this training than they’d observed and experienced at other trainings. Since it is largely about self-healing, Moving to Heal requires a softer touch, and she held that type of space for the weekend beautifully.

Dancing, Studio Nia Santa Fe

Painting on one of the walls of the Nia studio

Reflections on what struck me, moved me, made me think:

The first day concentrated mainly on self-healing, on following the body. While I’ve gotten better at this, I still sometimes am more focused on the moves and having the movement help me feel a certain way. I realized during a recent bodywork session that I often want an “easy fix” when I’m experiencing physical pain or discomfort, and it doesn’t always work that way; it often takes more time. Tuning in and asking my body what it needs and following that can lead to more awareness and even a shift in sensation.

The second day, which was a little more externally focused, we did exercises where we limited at least one of our senses so we could have more of a sense of what it might be like for people who can’t hear, see, or move as well. I chose hearing and put earplugs in. It brought my attention more into my body and into each sensation; my¬†intereoception (sense of the internal) was more activated as a result. ¬†However, it also meant that I was straining to hear the music and Debbie’s voice. She said, “Close your eyes,” at one point. I did, and it was even harder to hear. It was as though I had been cut off from the room and the experience. Those who limited their vision (by putting Vaseline on eyeglasses) said that they felt like their hearing became more acute, but it was disorienting and even dizzying to not be able to fully see what was going on. It’s very easy to take being able-bodied and having full (or close to full) ability in the senses for granted; it was eye-opening to gain insight on what it might be like for someone with these limitations to do a chair Nia class.

Speaking of chair Nia: It’s definitely different. We first tried it at the end of the first day without much instruction, just rotated among several Nia teachers in the room, following their movements. It was playful, silly, sometimes intense, sometimes more gentle. The next morning, Debbie gave us more tips about doing Nia in a chair: first, use your core and your upper and lower extremities as much as possible. Without doing that, she said, we — and our students — would be more likely to be sore afterwards. While movement is more limited in a chair, it’s also active in a different way. It requires creativity in doing adjustments or modifications. I can, for example, do choreography/moves originally intended for the feet with my hands. Or I can modify on the ground with small foot and leg movements. Or I can stop altogether and just follow the movements with my eyes. There are so many options that I normally don’t think of when I’m dancing or teaching. With all the options, doing Nia in a chair seems less limited and more like a different experience.

The second day, we played with some of the 52 moves, and it was great to see how I could repeat one move in a variety of ways. Repetition doesn’t have to be boring or limiting, and there can be variations within it.

There were also moments that were sweet, such as connecting with a partner during an exercise and creating a deep sense of safety and security. At the beginning, each of us danced in the center of the circle when Debbie called our names, one by one, creating the space.

There was connecting with other Nia people, sharing our love of this holistic form of dance fitness, creating a strong sense of community. Spending time with dear friends and meeting new ones.

I remember the conversation during the first day’s lunch, when I shared with my assigned group about how Nia had helped me with depression and my sensory processing issues. Nia has been so healing for me, and I want to continue that process. I want to be able to share that with others.

I’m still sitting with how to take my Moving to Heal practice to the next level — I’d like to be able to teach a regular Moving to Heal class at some point soon. That requires having a space and regular students, and I’m still figuring out how to establish that. In Nia, we refer to “natural time,” doing things in the time needed, at my own pace, as they unfold. I remind myself of that when I feel time pressure, when I want to start doing things right this instant. I’m taking steps. And in the meantime, I’m learning new routines and occasionally reading the materials/guidebooks.¬† I can also continue my own self-healing movement practice at home.

Sometimes, it can be fun to “turn up” the Nia moves to the highest level, full expression, more of a cardio workout. There is also a lot of value and beauty in slowing and scaling the movements way down. When I slow down, I can sense better into where I’m at, how I’m feeling, and what my body needs. While I can certainly turn to the external and explore how I can give that experience to others, I move first for myself, for my own self-healing. And that is what I learned and received from the Moving to Heal training.

Internet finds: thredUP

Once upon a time, I did not like shopping.

Okay, maybe that’s not exactly true. I didn’t — and don’t —¬† like the fluorescent lights of many brick-and-mortar stores. I don’t like the feeling of overwhelm after spending just a little too much time trying clothes on (does it feel uncomfortable, or is it just because I tried several things on and now everything feels like that one scratchy shirt?). When stores are busy, I don’t like the buzz of many other human voices and and trying to get around people standing in the middle of aisles.

Online shopping can simplify things. No crowds. I can shop on my own time in bits and pieces, fits and starts. Yes, sometimes it’s a pain to order something and not have it fit right and then have to return it. But when it fits right and it’s something that I probably wouldn’t find anywhere else? It’s pretty satisfying.

I found thredUP in 2015, and I remember thinking that an online thrift store was such a great idea. I found myself spending time browsing items I might never end up buying. I discovered there was something gratifying and soothing in that activity. Even more gratifying? Buying clothing at decent prices that fit. Although I do more browsing than buying, I’m definitely a return customer. A major find: I bought a pair of corduroys that turned out to be a beautiful burgundy color (I thought they were brown when I ordered them), and they ended up becoming my favorite pair of cooler weather pants. It was, in many ways, a happy accident.

burgundy pants

My favorite pair of pants: burgundy corduroys

I never expected to become more aware of brand labels, but I think I can thank thredUP in part for that. I don’t need to know a label for bragging rights. However, I’ve found that it’s helpful to know what brands I like and to be able to anticipate how the clothes might fit.

I’ve realized, somewhere in the past few years, I’ve begun to enjoy the process of acquiring new-to-me clothing and being more creative with my wardrobe. Comfort is still my #1 priority, and I like finding unique and pretty items, too.

This summer, thredUp has had contest giveaways on their Facebook page. For several weeks in a row, they had a color theme: pick a clothing item of a certain color and post the link with a comment. That week, the color was blue. The directions were simple: put a blue item of clothing in your cart (under $25), share the link, and tell us what occasion you’ll wear it for. And they would randomly select a winner from those who commented.

I chose the above top and commented that I’d wear it out on a date with my husband sometime this fall. I didn’t expect to win, but received a notification later that week that I’d won. I received it in the mail last weekend. So yay for free clothing! The top is soft and drapes beautifully, and the color is so vivid in person (photos are close but don’t quite do it justice). It’s a little shorter than tunic length. The back is my favorite part about it.

Whether you’re looking for designer fashion or everyday clothing, thredUp has a lot of variety. They have clothing for women and children (girls and boys), everything from active wear to fancy dresses. I recommend the site — you might just find a new item for your wardrobe. Happy browsing!

Note: This post includes my own thoughts and opinions and is not sponsored by thredUP or any third-party website.