Acceptance

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After all this time I have come to accept that being dyslexic is actually my super power. For so long I have hidden this aspect of myself and did not even know what it was or that there was a name for why I saw things, spoke the way I did or wrote the way I did. All this time I just lived with the shame and humiliation that there was something wrong with me or that I was just not intelligent enough. 

And now, I am opening myself up to simply accepting it as something that has truly been an asset and as a secret super power. Yes, my brain works differently than others but because of this I see, sense and experience the world in a way that has heightened me being an empath and healer that I am. Not to mention the creativity that I bring to making dances and building kinetic worlds. 

The other rather interesting thing that has come of coming out as dyslexic is that I have successfully built skills to work with it and through it to write and express myself better. The 30 day challenges I have given myself have helped to simply practice these skills and to build confidence in making small shifts in my courage to write. 

We know that we are able to change neural pathways and use neuroplasticity as a tool for remapping and relearning things. Because of this, folks don’t have to suffer in silence or believe themselves to be inferior or broken. It’s like many things we hide to avoid shame but in reality, if we open ourselves up, we find it possible to heal and to work through what is in fact solvable. 

What would it be like if we supported so many others on whatever journey they were on? What would it be like if we lead with acceptance and love rather than expectation and fear? Would we not all be more open and supportive? Would our lives be that much less difficult? It seems to me we all could live with a lot less trauma and a lot more acceptance. 

Why is it we as human beings feel a need to only feel safe when we are all the same? Why do we do this to one another? What is so comforting about being like everyone else and othering those that we don’t understand or fear? Don’t we in fact learn so much from our differences and grow because of them? 

I know for me there would have been a lot less mountains of healing to climb would I really have known that all of who I was/am was always good enough and embraced. If I was to say anything to my younger self it would be to not fear who I am and to live unabashedly unashamed. Live loud. Live big. And most of all, love yourself like no one could ever love you. 

Perhaps we all could find it within ourselves to encourage this in ourselves and in all of those we come into contact with. Perhaps we could practice acceptance and sometimes learn to live with what makes us uncomfortable at times. There is a lot the body can teach us when we lean into our discomfort and find out what is hiding within that. 

More and more I try to find out what is lurking in the uneasiness that needs my attention. Facing those moments and bringing them into my awareness is where the transformation happens. And trust me, there is a lot of transformation still to happen. 

I have found that admitting who I really was and facing what being dyslexic meant was a moment of great freedom and oddly great pride. Like many things in my life, I am relearning how to live with great pride and acceptance of the fullness of my being. 

A Return to Being

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I have long found great peace and connection with nature. I have long had a relationship with philosophies that hold nature and the earth in its main focus. To say I feel with the earth and its energies would be very much in line with my deepest sensitivity. 

A return to walking in the woods a few years ago was in many ways a return to myself. The self that had gotten lost in the hustle and bustle of building a career, meeting the requirements of imposed success and the notion that I had to prove my worth and talent by packing the resume and annual report. 

It has been nice resetting boundaries and reclaiming the things that had slipped away and were really important to the well balanced being I was hoping I was. A return to wellderness has been such a delight and healing thing returning to my body and my soul. Oddly, the space that COVID insisted on was in some ways supportive of this healing. 

In no way am I suggesting the pandemic was in any way positive, especially in light of all who lost their lives, livelihoods and struggled to move forward in their lives. What I am saying is that I am grateful for the choices I made for myself and my life because of the situation in which we were going through. 

When the time came that we were able to get back to a sense of normalcy in our lives it felt super important to honor the gift of being ever more present in my own. Walking, swimming, yoga and meditation has exponentially increased in my life and I am so grateful for the research and work that has come of it. That and the soulful return to the great outdoors and the return of a fellowship with nature. 

I am grateful for this moment and honored to be able to be present and share this experience with my boys as well. They do so love their walks among the trees on a daily basis. We all are able to enjoy this moment and to continue to deepen our love for one another and for this earth. 

Every Now and Then

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There are times when I slip into a silent space falling into a void of uncertainty and unknowing. My mind wonders about choices, paths and stories lost to the past. Although I am present, the open space begins to fill with questions. 

During these days I do my best to simply breathe and be ever more present without judgement or guilt. I can’t possibly know if the choices were right or wrong. I can’t see the end of the path nor rewrite stories lost. All I can do is just breathe the moment and relinquish my body to this space. 

Perhaps this is a symptom of again and something everyone experiences along the way of maturity and growth. Perhaps it is a good thing that there is this reflective time often experienced with tears. Perhaps this is the recalibration of energy and emotion to allow a moment and space for a new beginning. 

So I move through the motions of the day with conscious movement and breath in order to find my grounding and sense of anchoring during what feels like a downpour of unknowing. Sensing and listening through my feet seems to be the only way to make sense of it all. 

Sense of the insensible.

Mantra

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I see myself within the sunlight of my dreams 

I free myself of the shadows cast by the history of moonlight 

I bathe in the ecstasy of deep secrets lost

I release the vibrations of a transformed spirit 

I lean into the winds of change 

I walk forward finding myself in the ever present 

I accept all that comes and allow it in good time

I let go of expectations letting in more than ever imaginable 

I embrace my complete being while living amor fati

Really Knowing Showing Up

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We have all heard the phrase “just show up”. We understand what it conveys and we do this on many occasions whether we realize it or not. But just yesterday it really hit me and solidified its significance in a recent swim practice that I have returned to.

I was off on my day and had planned for a swim time early afternoon. After taking the dogs for a double play time with their friends and settling in to some research and reading, I could feel that sense of energy dropping and that play between making an excuse to take it easy for the day. The age old battle to keep to it or give in to not going.

After mustering the energy to go I gathered my things and dig deep to get myself in the car for a short journey to the pool. After holding true to the commitment I made I just said to myself I will go, get in and do what I can do for the day. That will be good enough and showing up for that will be success in and of itself.

And so I did.

Wonderfully the pool was pretty empty and quiet. I got in and just started swimming. I have a routine that helps me to count laps and frames my practice. I started and found myself just giving in to the breath and movements. Oddly, being because I was tired and not fully into it, I seemed to let go and release any attachment to how I was feeling and simply just swam. I got lost in movement and breath and just kept swimming.

I found myself swimming further and further than I had ever swam before and by the end of my swim I realized I was swimming for fifty minutes straight. I almost made it a mile. Which was a goal I hoped to achieve by September. Oddly, on a day I almost skipped was the day I broke through so many walls of my life. Ironic that perhaps some of our biggest achievements might be scheduled for the days when we least feel motivated, inspired or into the “work”.

it really hit me deeply that I may have on many occasions missed so many major accomplishments or break through because I have in and didn’t show up. I wondered what might could have been if all those times I have in to the numbing and hid from my own success? Realizing this it became very clear that I need to remember this next time I am feeling the need to skip something.

I didn’t stay in the woe is me mindset but did recognize that I need to remember this breakthrough lesson. It was now an inspiration for just showing up and doing my best without expectation.

processing this the output the rest of my day I wondered at so many times how this idea would work if I had shown up in all aspects of my life? Would relationships work better if we just showed up? Would all of our work be more deeply felt if we just showed up without expectation and simply with an open heart?

So how might we show up this week in many aspects of our lives? In what ways might I show up with that open heart and find myself giving in to the movements and breath and simply be present in the doing?

A Return to the Realignment of the Creative Process

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The journey of a creative spirit is unique to each individual who embraces their true nature and walks the path that is congruent with their hearts and their essence. Every person is creative and is a part of the overall creative energy that is life itself. To the degree we embrace the creative elements of our being is up to us and the choices we make to live our lives in line with our authentic selves. 

I knew from a young age I was creative but had no idea what that meant or that one could even live a life as a creative being. Growing up in a traditional and conservative home where creativity was not a part of our everyday lives, one never realizes that living in that way that is congruent is even possible. It is much like growing up in a home that is heteronormative and not seeing that there are people out there that think and feel the way you do. When the world is created for a particular group of people or an idealized ideology that excludes anything “different”, one never realizes that who they really are can be a beautiful way of being; truly being oneself. 

I went through a childhood of posing. I played all kinds of sports from baseball to basketball from football to wrestling and even gymnastics. I was not very good at any of them although I did have the most success in wrestling and gymnastics. The clear thing looking back on all of that was the throughline of movement. I was a mover and excellent when I was physically in my body and in a constant state of flow regardless of the quality or energy of that movement. 

I had always secretly wanted to sing and act while I was doing all of this posing. When I finally got to high school I met others who wanted similar things and realized there is a whole world out there who wanted similar things as me. I began exploring the idea of acting when taking theatre classes and getting involved in plays and eventually musicals. This was a shift towards that alignment with creativity and felt incredibly freeing. Was it possible to do something you really loved and it all be ok? 

And so began the journey of uncovering the creative spirit. I had the opportunity to be able to be in many different shows throughout the remainder of my high school experience and beyond. I followed the path of voice lessons, auditions and professional engagements. The career began to grow and the circles of opportunity kept expanding. Even so, there always seemed to be something missing that was not quite fulfilled. Until I realized how much dance was necessary for the next level of success. 

Once I had this realization I found myself drawn into the creative process of physical and energetic transformation. I was exposed to modern dance for the first time and felt like I was finally “home”. I was able to be in body and in spirit while I was exploring the fullness of my creative voice and simultaneously the fullness of my spirit. What was lacking in my spiritual practice was tied directly to my body moving in ways that revealed so much more about myself than I could have ever imagined. 

The introduction of Tai Chi as a physical manifestation of Taoism was a significant connection for me. So as I grew deeper within my dance training I also grew deeper in my spiritual practice. The evolution of me as a physical being was in line with my evolution as a spiritual being. I finally had a vehicle as a way to more fully understand my true creative nature and they wonderfully went hand and hand. 

And so the creative journey has always been the harmony of movement and spirit. All of my creative work is always deeply rooted in eastern esoteric traditions translated through contemporary creative explorations. Energy has alway been a part of my philosophy and is how I see choreography. For me, choreography is the art of shaping energy in space creating three dimensional visceral worlds as a way of exploring concepts and ideas of the heart. 

It is another reason that I rarely focus my work on gender or sexuality despite being a queer memeber of the LGBTQIA+ community. In my work I focus on the beings in the work and not so much those folks trying to portray something or someone. We work through the energy of the individuals within the landscape of the world and build from there. It has always been about being a dancer’s choreographer and helping the dancer feel comfortable in their own skin within the worlds they inhabit. 

I see the spectrum of yin and yang in all of my work. Not the western understanding of opposites or binary limitations, but rather the true nature of both yin and yang as a part of one another and that are within one another to even exist. It is always a reminder that we are all genders and all energies and elements. We are constantly finding our own harmony that is congruent with who we are and the energies of our body and our spirit. It is from this place, being in our own alignment, that we find the true nature of our voice and the ability to express its creative nature to its fullest. 

So even if I am not expressing my viewpoint as a queer body in motion, not being the perceived activist, I am artfully sharing a quiet viewpoint of a spectrum of love through a non-traditional approach to movement and creative expression.  Creativity is in and of itself activism at it’s best. The art of making and becoming, creating and expressing despite living in a world obsessed with money, success and fame is a revolutionary way of existing. 

Although I came out as gay when I was beginning my creative process, I feel as if I have not always come out or been honost with my creative career often hiding the ritualistic nature of my work or even the deep spiritual connection within my work. Yes, it has always been there, but I have not really allowed folks to fully see the depth of that information and how it is so significant in all of my teaching as well. Even in the EBAS work I have hidden a lot of the information away out of the fear of making folks uncomfortable with something foreign or unknown to them. And now it is time to let go of that and tell the story. 

It is time to tell the story of how I have come to this place in my life through a creative process alongside a spiritual journey. It is time to bring all three aspects of my being into harmony, not feeling the need to isolate the parts of myself for others’ comfortability. It is time for my comfortability and my peace finally after all of these years. Time to release the fullness of the creative spirit and embrace the multidimensional creative, energetic and sexual being that I am. Time to share that process and time to let go of the shame and fear of rejection or acceptance. I have fully accepted myself and now it is time to just be that in every way I am capable. After all, doing that is allowing myself to be present and visible for those that were never able to see it in their worlds before. It’s a way of being that champion so someone else can be the champion for themselves. 

A Return to Water


This summer has been all about transformation on so many levels. Yesterday was another example of making conscious choices to shift life in a few different ways and return the body to water. It was a time of repatterning and finding lost strength. 

It has been about two years since I have found myself in a pool and swimming. The pandemic forced everything to close and the indoor pools were no exception. Like many, our routines of working out in whatever ways worked best for us, were no longer at our disposal. 

After doing all of this internal energy work, walking and running, I knew it was time to dive back into the waters that brought me great joy and grounding. It had been so long and I knew I had lost so much strength in not doing so. It was now time to change all that. 

Since my gym closed their pool I needed to find another option to swim again but had no idea where I would go. I held out from using the aquatics Center at VCU for so long I forgot that this might be an option. 

I shied away from this option due to students being present. But that just reminded me that perhaps this might be the time to reevaluate that wall and find myself in a place that was convenient for me over any other issues that were holding me back. 

On Tuesday of this week I went ahead and went for it. I signed up for a membership and set foot in the gym for the first time since coming here 20 years ago. It felt good to bridge that gap and to see how beautiful a place it was. 

Yesterday I found the courage to adventure back to the pool and begin my swim practice. Oddly my silent goal was simply to go, get in and just see how we would do. I exceeded that goal by going ahead and swimming for about a half an hour. It felt great. 

Mind you, it was hard as could be but at the same time felt so wonderfully freeing. To be back in the water and rebuilding a relationship with my body and that element was divine. I was actually rather giddy in the process. It reminded me how much I have missed it but had been ignoring or rather not listening to the desire to be physical in this way. 

What a delightful reminder and oddly a beautiful way to reinspire even more wellness, strength and courage. I was so inspired by it that I went overboard in purchasing some new swim trunks this morning. Excited that they will be arriving this weekend for my next pool adventure on Sunday. 

I have decided a swim schedule for Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday will be a very manageable way to get back into being. A beautiful way to get back into the body. This added to the EBAS and walking will be an amazing cross training. It is delightful being on the path of being empowered by movement on all levels. 

It’s good to be back in the body and back into water. It’s good to be back to me

Returning to Body

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For this new moon I focused on setting my intentions and one of the things that I put out there was to find more ways in which I could alter my habitual patterning and find out what else I might be able to rekindle or ignite in terms of my creativity. There are a lot of things I would like to reawaken and reinspire myself to do. 

One of those things was to take risks creatively and to find myself in situations that will provide me an opportunity for greater exploration and discovery. Wonderfully I am one of six folks sharing and teaching for a queer creative workshop series. One of the things that is important to me is to support this series so as it can build momentum and a community. 

I have decided to not just teach but also to energetically and financially support this wonderful adventure. So, I have chosen a few of the workshops to attend and today was the first of them. It was rather exciting to sign up and get my energy focused and ready for this process. 

It was rather exciting to be a student again. Very exciting to not have to be the instructor or hold the space as I normally would. It wa such a luxury to just be and do in the ways of a person exploring the process and not driving it. 

I really enjoyed going through the creative process and being able to find a new way of making that was different from my own or at least inspired by a whole new perspective. I was also dancing so freely and with abandonment. Such a divine reverie that I have not felt in a long time. 

I was in my body again discovering in community. I was exploring and expanding movement possibilities with the focus on my quads as the inspiration or spark for how I was feeling about gender or feeling gender in my body. So good to fall back to the essence of my being simply by dropping down into my body. 

I realize how much I have missed this. I realized how much I would like to get back into the studios like this and just do and be to become all I can in my body. Time is wide long away and it would be nice to be in love with my moving body again and rekindle that passion and love of physicality and spirit. 

And so I found myself again. I remembered my physical being that I lost many years ago. I see him again. I feel him returning with every gesture, movement and phrasing. The light is retiring and there is a reanimation in process. Such a joy to return. 

Returning to (W)right

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It was nice to take a breath yesterday and just focus on my presentation for the Corps de Ballet International conference yesterday. It was such a nice sharing and such a wonderful deepening of my practice through sharing.

However, I did miss spending the time letting my thoughts turn into visible words. Yes, I think writing is righting me and I am so grateful for that transformation and development of that skill for myself. I have for so long been afraid and ashamed of being dyslexic that I tried to hide rather than tried to overcome. Fear and shame do a number on us especially when we let them keep a grip on so many aspects of ourselves.

What became very clear in my sharing yesterday was that the information lives deeply within me. Through writing extensively about my research I found myself so aware of the details, the arcs and the flow of my work that I did it all without relying on my notes or the “script”. It was incredibly freeing and inspiring. When you write you learn and you know.

I presented again today and found myself in the same way. Breaking free and finding oneself sitting in the center of ones being is incredibly exhilarating. I was in practice both as a presenter but also as the practitioner. I could breathe with my students as well as direct my students. I could deepen with them and simultaneously guide them to work or go even deeper. It is such a joy to see transformation and joy being lived and experience in front of your eyes and in real time.

I think that is one of the beautiful things about the EBAS work is that it allows us the time and space we need for transformation. Imagine if we allowed time and space for ourselves in all aspects of our lives? Imagine if we listened to the language of our bodies and our gut instincts more to see how we might do so?

Several writings back I spoke of making a conscious choice to not do so much or feel a push to do creative projects during the pandemic but to rather take the time I needed to go inward for the research. It worked in ways that I am still seeing benefits in. We are writing long before we put pen to paper or type our actual first word. We need to honor that and honor the ways in which research looks very different for all of us.

The same is true of work. As a professor and an artist it may appear that I am not working because I do not hold a nine to five job, but oddly, I am really working whenever I am awake and wonderfully when my dreams are making all kinds of sense out of those profound connections during the waking hours.

This another reminder that we can’t all follow one particular value system. It just doesn’t work. Work looks different just like we all look different. Different work happens differently for different people. And it’s this realization that has helped me to relearn what my work looks like as I re(w)right my life and find great acceptance of the ways I work best and make my best work.

Thirty Days of Thoughts: Day 30

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Well here we are, day thirty! I get to write my last entry into this thirty day challenge. I get to complete an arc and let go of this practice. For now. 

It has been delightful to write on a regular basis even if I fell short of the thirty consecutive days. I still feel very satisfied with the work and my progress on so many levels. As I mentioned in an earlier post, we still can succeed even if our attempts are not perfect. And that right there is a reminder of having humility in our work so that if we falter, we know we can still succeed. 

What I do find wonderfully fortuitous is that tomorrow I begin a wonderful sharing of my research in the Corps de Ballet International Conference. I am fortunate to be sharing my work on how I use the Five Elements of Traditional Chinese Medicine as a framework for teaching EBAS, ballet and all other creative aspects of my pedagogy arsenal. 

This sharing will start off with a more conceptual approach to the physical practice so folks can conceptualize the overarching principles and begin to see how they relate to the actual physical practice of EBAS as a bridge for the traditional form of ballet. This reimagining of how we animate the body to inhabit the practice of ballet might be helpful for those who are looking for support with bringing in new people and interest into the form. It is especially supportive of being inclusive due to its individual body centered approach. 

It is my hope that I am able to encourage a shift from a linear cognitive aesthetic approach to the art and to open a more multidimensional visceral imagistic opportunity for senatorial learning. This shift allows the body to be honored for its wisdom allowing it to be the focus and guide to the archeology of technique. As we excavate, revealing the heart of our moving spirit, we are cautiously aware of all that will be uncovered and revealed through its process. 

Part of the many difficulties in the training of folks is that we forget that the body houses trauma and that there are blockages, incongruencies and conflicts hidden in the depths of our physical being. Conscious or not. And if we are trying to transform the body we cannot forget that we too have to transform our spirit. We cannot forget that movement is in fact the only way to fully release and heal from our trauma. 

This approach focusing on the Five Elements allows us that collaborative and holistic approach to integrating the body bringing it back to its true nature and in harmony or symphony with its energetic self. This is incredibly inspiring to me and I am most excited to share it with folks from all aspects of the field. 

Now mind you, in working in these ways we do not diminish the training protocol and the necessity for neuromuscular repatterning. I’m fact, this kind of work increases the speed at which you are able to train dancers as they become conscious of their bodies in ways that support greater senatorial and neural connections to their work and their practice. 

Imagine an environment that is training awareness of body, mind and spirit so as to also be training voice and agency in one’s own relationship to their practice? Imagine also diminishing pain and also injuries as dancers are more aware of how to execute movements and choreography more wisely and judiciously?

Wonderfully, this way of working helps dancers find deeper connections to the creative process of making work as well. The elements are a support system as they all correspond to one another as well as have yin and yang organ relationships in addition to governing emotion, seasons, qualities, dynamics and above all; energies. You can see having this kind of awareness allows folks to tap into creative connections within their bodies and within the framework of a piece that are trying to create. 

As you can see I am super excited to share all of this with the conference and to share with you all that it is precisely this connection that has made the pathway for writing my books come into clarity. Yes, there will be a series of books related to this topic that points to technique, improvisation, composition, choreography and partnering. 

It has been this challenge that has given me the space to listen to what was being shared with me all along. It is this opportunity of doing that has sparked the flame and shown me how to go about sharing all of this. Even in this writing I have been inspired to write the other things and have been making wonderfully joyful progress. 

Even if this is the end of this particular cycle, it is the beginning of another. I get to share the next one with you as well and am looking forward to dropping little sections of it so you can taste it with me. 

Thank you for walking with me through these thirty entries and days! Thank you for your energy and your compassion. Whether you knew you were sharing it or not, it has been felt and appreciated. Thank you for letting me share and being a part of this transformational journey! 

Love and Light