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Monday, October 25, 2010

"Passage Through LIght and Shadow"

Children of Ararat

Produced and directed by

Anahid Sofian

I got back late last night from a trip to New York City exclusively to see Anahid Sofian's latest production, "Passage Through Light and Shadow: Children of Ararat". This extraordinary tour de force, the culmination of over fifteen years of research, is a masterpiece effort and should be seen by all serious students of Oriental dance who wish to broaden their horizons of dance as a production art. Without losing any of the intimacy inherent in the dance form (The Theatre at St. Clement's, in NYC, is a perfect venue for such a work), Mdm. Sofian's latest work is inspiring and informative to all of us who explore new directions for our dance.

In my Unveiling blog, I review the work as an artistic accomplishment: both a show and as a cultural landmark for the Armenian people.In this blogpost, I'll discuss how this current work is the capstone (to date) of Mdm. Sofian's continual evolution as a dance artist, a choreographer, and as a producer of every more complex, richly layered, evocative, and inspirational works.

This evolution is, in face, precisely what Mdm. Sofian has been doing in the last several years. Those of us who have been privileged to watch her unfolding into the full glory of her creative genius can take her path as an inspiration, and as a call to similar growth within our own endeavors.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Unveiling: The "Shared" Journey Has Begun!

Dear Ones --

I began writing more to you, here in this blogpost, back last spring - during April and May. And many of you (wonderful, dear family and friends) responded by signing up as "Followers." Thank you so much! Each one of your warmed my heart with your interest in Unveiling, in what we were doing here in the Alay'nya Studio, and most of all - in the unfolding pathway as it exists for each of us.

Up until now, Unveiling has been largely a private journey. I began writing the book itself as far back as 1996 (and have chapter drafts in Archives that have that copyright date). But as I admit in the Unveiling Introduction, it took many efforts, over many years, to get to the point where I was really and truly ready to complete the book.

Now, after an arduous and extremely focused summer, Unveiling is complete, and has been uploaded to the Design Team. Just a few minutes ago, I started a new blog: The Unveiling Journey. This is the Unveiling-specific blog. It will contain everything from sharing the "meta-story" of how Unveiling came to be written (my own process for writing), to the strategy and tactics of book writing, publishing, and marketing, to the unfolding Unveiling story - the juicy, special details - who is who and what is what. I'll reveal my master teachers and their teachers (and perhaps include a few special stories), and share my special, "behind-the-scenes" stories of the real, live unveiling of Unveiling!

To stay on top of Unveiling, go to The Unveiling Journey and sign up as a Follower. (Just the same as you did to become a Follower at this site - and if you haven't done so already, start Following me here today!)

I'll be sending out occasional (don't worry, you won't be "spammed") emails to all my Unveiling Followers (at least, those of you who give me an email address) letting you know all the juicy details of what's coming up: The Video Book Trailer (and maybe even show some behind-the-scenes shots of it being produced). The parties, the book signings, and the interviews. The articles that are being written about Unveiling.

And if you're thinking now about Christmas presents (it's never to early to start), why not plan on getting autographed Unveiling copies - dated on the first week of Unveiling's release - for your smother, grandmother, favorite aunties, sisters, teachers, students, and girlfriends? My Design Team and my Production Team are working around the clock; we plan to have Unveiling ready direct through, and also through me (which will be the way that you can get an autographed copy - or as many autographed copies as you want) for Christmas.

More soon!

yours in dance -
The "Fountain of Youth" Guru

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Welcoming Our New Neighbor, Nourish Market Mclean

Nourish Market McLean on Old Dominion

We're delighted to welcome in Nourish Market McLean, which opened in early June, 2010, on Old Dominion, heading from McLean to Great Falls, VA.

We've just discovered Nourish Market, and are thrilled that they are offering both vegetarian and non-vegetarian sandwich and soup options. They're easy for pick-ups on the way home to Great Falls.

I stopped by this morning, spoke with Aaron who had helped them since before their opening, and enjoyed learning about their green-friendly approach. They have bamboo floors, bamboo ceiling acoustic deflectors, and LCD lighting around the cool goods display containers. The decor is open, spacious, and VERY clean; it's a treat to walk in! They have a wide range of snacks, to-go items, and even some lovely wines.

Nourish Market is located at 8100 Old Dominion Drive, Suite E, McLean, VA 22102. They are open from Monday through Saturday, 7AM - 7PM, and on Sunday from 10Am 4PM.

P.S. - I tried their gRAWnola bar -- delicious!

Monday, June 21, 2010

What does 2012 Mean for Us?

I stepped outside earlier this morning, and could feel it. It wasn't just the sense of the very longest of the very long early summer days. It wasn't just the heat, the humidity - promising that a lovely morning would turn into a sweltering afternoon. Rather, it was feeling, and sensing, that pivot point of the year.

Earlier today, for the briefest of moments, the sun stood still. At least, that is the sense that we have, here on Earth, in our experience of orbiting around the sun. And now, with a greater sense of acceleration, we start to whoosh towards the other side; towards the shortest days, and the longest nights.

And we will repeat this two more times, and on the third "whoosh" towards the longest night, we will be approaching Winter Solstice of 2012; the time that has been the focus of much attention over the past several years.

What exactly are we expecting? Will the world suddenly come to an end? Will the Apocalypse of John's story in Revelations start coming true, word for word? Will we wake up on the morning of January 1st, 2013, to a world that is remarkably different - if we wake up at all?

Or is there something else?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

It's About Healing ...

Inner Healing through Belly Dance

It's been a lovely day. I started with - if not reconnecting with some people - at least getting a few more of those names into my ACT! contact management database, AND my MS Outlook contact cards, so that - when the time comes - I CAN connect with them. Lovely feeling.

I've done a lot of preps for the very technical course I'll be teaching at one of the local universities this fall.

And, because my mind needed something "real" - not just the latest techno-story, but something with a bit of meat - I did some physics. At least identified some articles that were VERY interesting, and did the quickest of little write-ups on a few of them - more just annotating bookmarks than anything else.

And then I went for a walk.

Lovely, almost cool early summer evening. The birds had started singing before 5AM (I was up well before then), and here it was well after eight - and the sky was still light. How I love this season! And just a few days now until solstice - the maximal energy point of the year. I can feel it, and love this time.

But during the walk, something started happening. Actually, it had begun before I left the house.

I was beginning to feel things -- lots of emotional "churn" was coming up. Feelings of sadness, of loneliness, of needing to connect, and of loss. Of remembering people who had died, and with whom I could no longer connect - or not so easily. And feeling the "pain" factor that is the flip side of being highly creative, and needing intensely focused time in order to create. That is the loneliness of these moments.

And it just so happened that there was no one of "like mind" to whom I could turn.

And so, during the walk, it started to happen. Some music came into me -- I was "dancing" in my mind as I walked down the street. I came home, put the music on, and started some improv. Yes, there were some choreography fragments that I'd learned in a workshop - about a year ago at this time. But the music had a lot of "heart-swelling" types of movements embedded in it.

In fact, the music was very "heart-oriented," with a subdued "dub-dub," "dub-dub."

And it was that feeling that I started connecting with during dance.

I used the dance to open my diaphragm, to open my shoulders and pecs (which had become very constricted during all the computer work of the day), and to feel.

And tomorrow, I hope to again do the same.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Unveiling: Chapter 1 (Excerpt)

Unveiling: An Inner Journey

Chapter 1: What Do Women Really Want?

Dear Ones - An excerpt from the first chapter:

"The Wife of Bath was a saucy lady. We find her interesting, even today, as we note her feisty and independent spirit. She held her own among fellow pilgrims when, enroute to Canterbury, they held a story-telling contest. Her story harkened back to the days of knights and dragons, of spells and sorcery, and of damsels in distress.

"In the days of King Arthur, a lusty young man came upon a beautiful maiden, and promptly raped her. There was a hue and cry at this misdeed, and King Arthur sentenced him to death. The ladies of the court, however, felt this sentence was too harsh. They pleaded for his life. Finally, King Arthur gave this young man over to the Queen. His life was completely in her hands. If she decided that he was to die, he would die. If she decided he could walk free, he would walk free.

"The Queen thanked King Arthur, and made her decision. 'I will grant you your life,' she said, 'if you can tell me what thing it is that women most desire.' She gave him a year and a day to find out, and to return to her with that answer."

For the rest of Chapter 1 -- Unveiling should be released by early Autumn. Until then, I'll be posting more tidbits and teasers -- enjoy!

It's all about doubling (Blogsite Followers)

Connecting the "Best of the best"!

Dear Ones --

My goal has been to connect the "best-of-the-best," and build a strong resource community.

This is the 43rd day since I restarted my blog. After the first few days, I started asking for "Followers." My goal was to build an online community which connected the "best-of-the-best" - the best massage therapist (hooray, Anna Gordon! Glad you'll be back this coming weekend - starting June 11th!), the best raw foods specialists (see Raw with a Twist, the best breakthrough facilitator (see Julie Rahm as America's Mindset Mechanic), and so on.

I've been thrilled that Joe Williams, the world's leading proponent of the Delsarte Method, has also joined us.

Many of us are small business entrepreneurs.

One way to track how well we are reaching our community is to look at how we're growing our Followers.

In 43 days (and let's take off 3 days for initial blogging and getting some content going), I've doubled my Followers four times: From 1 to 2, from 2 to 4, from 4 to 8, and (just in the past hour) from 8 to 16. That's four "doublings." This took 40 days.

If my math is right - and if we're really dealing with doubling here (this is a geometric progression, not a linear one - for those of us who remember our high school math class) - it is taking 10 days per "doubling."

So now - I'm both making a prediction and asking for your help.

I'd like to "double" again over the next 10 days. That means, go from 16 Followers (the number as I write) to 32 Followers, by Thursday, June 17th.

Let's treat this as a game, and let's help each other "win." Anyone else want to play? Anyone else who wants to double their Followers in ten days? (I bet some of you will do much, much better than me!)

Let's all check in with our results on Thursday, the 17th!

Exciting News! Raw with a Twist opens in DC Area this July 4th Weekend!

Fabulous good news for all of us who desire total life transformation: Raw With a Twist is open for business starting the July 4th weekend.

Fabulous Show last night - WAMEDA Members Showcase!

We had such a great time at the WAMEDA (Washington Area Mid-Eastern Dance Association) Annual Member's Showcase last night! First, congrats to Verna and Jerry of Dancer: The Unusual Store, for hosting such a fine event. Verna did a beautiful job of creating an excellent stage; lovely backdrop and plenty of room - also room in front for dancers who wanted to get close to the audience or take more space for a larger-format dance. There was a cash bar, and WAMEDA provided us with an array of light refreshments.

Verna, I love that you organized a great combination of skilled sound techs and video crew - the two factors most important in making a show go smoothly, and helping it be memorable later! I'm SO looking forward to seeing the DVD!

As usual, Gerson Kuhr (the Fitness Pharaoh)was once again our gracious and impressive host - and a walking testament to his physical conditioning regime. You looked gorgeous, Gerson! And put many of us dancers to shame - we should all be getting coaching from you, or at least working out regularly with your DVD, Core Training for Belly Dancers!

Cleo's Closet was our vendor, and provided a lovely and intriguing array of scarves, hip belts, and jewelry, along with CDs and DVDs. Thank you, Carmen, for giving us such luscious shopping options! And it's good to know that we can shop online with you as well.

Dancers included Amustela, Jaka, and others from the WAMEDA community.

I had a chance to close the show with a Candle Dance, which is part of my summer curriculum.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Alay'nya performing Candle Dance this Sunday, June 6th, in Clinton, MD

Candle Dancing by Alay'nya!

I'm thrilled to present a beautiful candle dance, set to "Mosaic" on Sandstorm by Farzad Farhangi, this coming Sunday at the annual Washington Area Mid-Eastern Dance - WAMEDA Members' Hafla in Clinton, MD. The event will be at the American Legion Hall in Clinton, and will start at 2PM. I'll kick off the second set - which is my favorite; this dance really is a "ritual invocation" of fire energy - and now is the time to bring this into our lives!

Photo by Kriss. Used with permission.

There will be many other wonderful area dancers, including Amustela, who first introduced me to Farzad's beautiful music. She's closed out our last several shows, and always gets rave reviews from the audience!

Friday, May 28, 2010

The Day Starts with Perfume and Lipstick

No kidding. It does, really.

As I write to you, my day is just beginning - a couple of hours earlier than usual (it's 4:30 local time, and the time that you see for blogposts is Pacific - VERY misleading!).

Early, early morning - right about now - is my favorite time for writing to you. The "air" is quiet, so to speak. The hubbub and churn and people-density of the day has not yet started.

I love this quiet time. Because I'm an early-morning person, my mind is awake and clear - perhaps at its best in terms of insight coupled with intuition. (And a little bit of caffeine helps!)

At various times this year, I wasn't even "playing by my own rules." I'd wake up, and immerse myself in a project - still wrapped in a warm, fuzzy bathrobe. Yes to a cup of tea and feeding the cats. No to everything else. And then, I'd come out of "project immersion" to find that it was late morning - sometimes even early afternoon - and I was far from either looking or feeling my best for the day. And a very late recovery would ensue.

Now, one of my "secrets" to happiness (and even fame and prosperity!) is to "get gorgeous first."

This means everything. I'm not kidding; I really do mean EVERYTHING. The full, all-out, pull-out-all-the-stops gorgeousness. Do everything you might do for a big date, or a great night out on the town. (OK, sometimes, even now, I skip setting my hair -- but I'm even becoming more diligent about that!)

As an example, right now I'm not only showered and "dressed," I'm taking "dressed" to its highest level. I'm wearing a long, coral-peach silk negligee - trimmed with lace that has just a tiny bit of sparkle. (And although I've had this gorgeous piece for a couple of years, today is the first day that I'm wearing it. I had been saving it for something "special." Well, today is "special"! I'm writing to you, and that's "special" enough, isn't it?

I'm wearing my silky Chinese-brocade robe, best Manolo Blahnik mules, full cosmetics and jewelry, and whooshed all over with my very best perfume! And there's no one in the house who is awake to enjoy this. Except that I'm writing to you - and for a private moment, between us right now, isn't that reason enough to make this time very "extra-special"!

We've got a lovely Memorial Day weekend coming up. Why not take time - MAKE the time - for yourself? Whatever it is that you've got planned, look (and feel) as gorgeous as possible while doing your "whatever."

Take a look at your to-do list, and see if there isn't a way to simplify, or get some things off your list entirely. Add a little time for making yourself beautiful, and giving yourself a little pleasure. Allow your inner Goddess to emerge, and allow others the privilege of serving the Goddess - by serving you!

Remember, there is a world of difference between approaching others when you are stressed, harried, and groomed just enough for social civility - versus being a "Goddess;" someone who is so beautifully put together, and so calm and simply enjoying being in the present moment, that others simply want to be with you - because they'd like a little of what you have to rub off on them!

Live joyfully, my darling!

yours in dance - Alay'nya

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Number One Secret for Reality Creation

Dear Ones --

By now, I trust, you are pretty good at reality-creating. Sometimes we call this "co-creation." And if you haven't done so already, please run (not walk) to your nearest Amazon website and order Jerry and Esther Hicks' The Amazing Power of Deliberate Intention: The Art of Allowing.

Another very fabulous read is Machaelle' Wright's Behaving as if the God in All Life Mattered.

These are basics. And if you haven't already read them, applied what they have on a regular basis, and experienced the positive results in your life, then you will be DELIGHTED when you actually "try these on!"

But now, I'd like to introduce you to a more refined and subtle aspect of reality-creation. This is tremendously important, and yet often overlooked - as our culture pushes us into such a "push-forward" mentality. As a result, we often find ourselves striving (and underneath that, a bit too anxious) when we do whatever it is that we are doing in our lives.

This is a particularly pernicious pitfall when we start doing reality creations - most of all on the "important stuff."

We often feel that we need to push to get things done.

Instead, often the most important thing that we can do is to pull back a bit, and get ourselves in the right state as we create whatever it is that we are creating.

I write about this extensively in Unveiling. In fact, I devote several chapters to just this art!

Yet right now, let's not pull from Unveiling - let's look at an earlier work that describes reality-creating, and has come from one of the most widely-read authors of our time: Napoleon Hill.

You may already know - and be very familiar with - his famous classic, Think and Grow Rich.

But Napoleon wrote several books. One of his most important, and perhaps less-well-known, is Grow Rich! With Peace of Mind. He wrote this in his later years, after he had not only learned and taught the lessons that he received by observing the wealthiest men of the century, but also after reflecting on how his own psyche (and that of many others, such as you and I) interacted with the basic "Grow Rich" principles.

He gained a sort of meta-knowledge; a higher level of understanding.

And he shared his late-life wisdom with us.

So now, let me share a secret with you. This is one that Napoleon used, and one that I've used, and so have many others.

It is simply this: When you create something, you have to be in the "same state" as that which you desire to create in order to create the instance of it.

Sounds cumbersome. Maybe sounds a little weird. But let me try to explain.

If you're desiring to create wealth, you have to create wealth from the experience of already being wealthy!

If you're desiring to create relationship success, you have to create it fromt he perspective of already being in fabulous relationships!

Napoleon himself gives a practical example. In Chapter 8, "How to Transmute Sex Energy Into Achievement Power," he writes:

"When I reread the manuscript I saw that it lacked something."

He knew, from his previous studies - because every single book that he has ever written has contained a whole chapter on transmuting sex energy - that the quality of transmuted sex energy was exactly what his first drafts were lacking.

He got into "state." That is, he accessed his core, vital, raw sexual energy - and poured it into a second draft. As he put it, "I rewrote it from start to finish" and the result was "electrifying."

As he summed it up, "Anything you do can be electrifying and positive and profitable when it is infused with sex emotion." (Italics his.)

He makes it clear that this is not the same as the act of physical sex. (With or without a partner.) It is the sexual energy, the emotion of that energy, that he is drawing upon and pouring into his creation.

We do this, of course, when we dance. And we certainly know when a dancer is pouring her "sex juice" into a dance, and when she is not!

I've used this teaching many times when writing Unveiling.

In fact, I used it today.

I started the day off in normal, rational-cognitive mode. It began with brewing a cup of tea, and having a good, solid exercise session before I sat down with my Day Planner and my "to-do" lists. (Which were, as they are for most of us, way too long!)

And I knew that something was "off."

It was the "sex juice" factor.

I was starting a new work-week, and I was starting it dry. Dull, Dreary. Totally and completely lacking in "oomph."

The only solution was to "reboot."

I changed from exercise gear into a silky robe. Instead of pulling my hair back in a clip, I fluffed it a bit and pulled it into a nice, neat coiffure. I added jewelry, perfume, sexy shoes. I put on some more lipstick. (Yes, I do wear lipstick - even at home, and even for a morning workout. Practice makes perfect!)

I was feeling a little silly by the time I got this far, but I continued. Instead of using my "normal" coffee cup, I found and washed out my fanciest of fancy china, and served myself coffee in china on a silver tray. I found and polished my favorite silver spoon. I made a breakfast treat of fresh fruit in yogurt, and instead of grabbing a bowl from the cupboard, I sought out a pretty little oversized brandy snifter that I knew was around here someplace.

In short, I made everything, including myself, extra-special. I added oomph!

And yes, I was feeling a bit silly - although I had a big, silly grin on my face by this time as well! And I was enjoying myself so much more - and almost laughing at myself and everything around me.

My mood began to lighten up. Instead of feeling tight-wired and focused and intense, I began to loosen up and find the lightness and humor in things.

And from this state - one much more positive and juicy - I began to re-experiment with some contacts database software, and to follow-up on connections with people that I'd just met, and NOW - still feeling fun and juicy - and having had a lovely lunch that a fellow household member just made - I'm ready to take on Unveiling!

Try this - or your own version of the same thing - and post a comment on your results!

Much joy to you, dear sisters -- yours in dance - A.

Check out great posting on Julie's blog!

Dear Ones -

I've found Julie Rahm's "America's Mindset Mechanic" blog to be very useful - LOVE the "plumb bob" analogy!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Four "Levels" - A Simple Example (Continued)

Dear Ones --

Picking up with the discussion about our Levels, which I introduced a few days ago -- we return to a simple and practical example: How do we keep current with our "connections," especially the new ones? Most especially, how do we handle the piles and stacks of business cards that so many of us have?

I left this topic with you three blog-posts ago, as a bit of a "cliffhanger." I meant to share with you, in the next post, the insight that I received that "pivoted" how I treated the whole matter of business cards and people-connects. One reason for the little time-delay was that I wanted to first put the insight into action. (And yes, I DID spend the next two days on just that - putting the insight into practice.)

I still wanted some input from a "coach," though - someone who was much better in this area than I was. And as good fortune (or active co-creation) would have it - this is exactly what I got, just last night, from my dear friend Debra. (And I hope to introduce you to her soon!)

Debra is an expert at people-relations. More than that, she is very much "on top of her game." So I simply couldn't find a better person to not only coach me, but to provide an excellent real-life example of how to handle her growing volume of "people-relations." So, let me share with you both what I learned as "insight." Then, in the next blog-post, I'll pass on what I learned last night from Debra as "practical guidance."

THe "insight" is simple. (And this is where we have the conversation about Levels.) We all have "papers" in our lives. These may be letters that need response, papers to file, receipts to enter into spreadsheets and then file, or - that most infamous collection of "papers" - business cards. Very often, for many of us, these pile up. These piles quickly become intimidating, because each little piece of paper can require a great deal of attention, energy, and plain, simple work.

Business cards are the toughest - because we KNOW what it is that we REALLY want to do with them: We want to get the data into both our smart phone AND our main computer database (the one that we use for managing our distribution lists and "big" data storage). Then, we want to get a nice "connection" note off to the person that we just met, and file the card into some sort of paper back-up file. One little-tiny card can require a big gob of time.

So here it is: If we're just thinking about that business card (or that handful, or stack of business cards) on the simple, physical level, then the effort involved in "processing" that card seems disproportionately large. I - and maybe you - have all too often looked at the little cards and said, "Important - but I'll get to them tomorrow." And tomorrow becomes the next day, and the next.

The challenge is that the little piece of paper is so very small. And the effort involved is really kind of BIG.

But this is at the simple, physical level - Level 1.

The insight that I received is to treat handling business cards as a multi-level process, just as with dance.

Level 1 is handling the simple mechanics of the card. Do the data base entry (and the duplicate into the smart phone, or the synch-up - if you are so technically savvy.) Write the follow up note, and file the card away - with a notation on the card that both data entry and follow-up were done.

Level 2 is getting over my resistance about putting the time into this (when there are so many other things to be done!).

Level 3 is where the insight begins.

I realized that each business card was a token for a new, potential relationship. (This is using an artificial intelligence / cognitive science term.) The card wasn't the relationship itself - but it could stand in for the new connection.

I realized that while I was processing the card physically, I could also build the relationship energetically. While doing all the details of data entry, I could bring mindful attention and awareness to the new person, and create the intention of building a new relationship. I could, in fact, create the energy-link between us as I was filling in the remembered details from our conversation, and wrote a little email follow-up.

Being mindful and attending to our energy-connection is Level 3 work. Creating the intention, and charging it through our action of annotating and writing, is Level 4.

Thus, we can transform something that might be a time-consuming "chore" into an energy-process that builds a closer connection on many levels.

And now, if you'll excuse me, I met several wonderful new people at an event last night - and it's time to enter in those new business cards!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

More on the latest word!

Darlings -

Still learning how this blog works -- with regard to most recent post (just a few minutes ago) - you'll note that I talked up Anna G., a fab massage therapist who is re-opening her Northern Virginia practice.

I suggested that you contact Anna through my comments, or by sending me an email to forward to her.

Connecting with Anna - or with ANY of my Blog Followers - is MUCH FASTER and EASIER than that! You see Anna listed as a Follower (no picture, but find her). Click on her icon in the Followers section. A window comes up which you can use to send her a message. To do this, you have to be a Follower yourself. But it works, it's EASY - and this is a great way to check out the many people whom I'll be "talking up" as bringing great value to those of us who are transforming our lives.

Isn't technology just a wonderful thing? Great way to connect with each other!

Latest word - Anna G. - the BEST massage therapist - back in town!

Dear All --

Can't wait to share the exciting news!

Anna G. (see her comment on blog just prior to this) is coming back to the Northern Virginia area on a regular basis - every two to three weeks - to take care of her existing and new clients.

Anna is absolutely one of the VERY BEST healing, intuitive massage therapists that I have EVER known! It is a privilege and joy to work with her.

Connect with Anna via posting on this blog, and she can respond to your posting - and/or - send me an email at alaynya at alayna dot com - and I will forward to her!

Have a lovely, joyous, and blessed day!

yours in dance - Alay'nya

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Putting the "Levels" into Practice: A Simple Example

Dear One --

I love meeting new people. (And old favorites, as well!) I love exchanging business cards. I love the buzz, the excitement, of creating that in-the-moment connection with someone. (Does this describe you, so far? If so, read on!)

I also love creating new ideas, new dreams and visions, and bringing them into being.

Where I am so regrettably weak is in the "little details." Tracking expenses, keeping up my travel autolog, and - you guessed it - following up with these wonderful, esciting people once I've met them.

As all busiess consultants and "relationship gurus" will tell us, following up is the most important thing once we've met someone. We all know this. I know it. But putting this into practice is the hard part.

The "gotcha" for me is the tedium factor of processing little bits of paper; something that I'll put off when I'm in high-creative mode (such as writing a book, coming up with a new invention, or developing a business plan.) The tedium-factor is also because one single little business card - properly done - really is a LOT of work. It's even more work than the initial meeting with someone!

As a result, I have stacks of business cards. They're all over. I have cards from the last two weeks clipped together. The ones from a few weeks prior are clipped together, and pushed back to an "in-box" which, I tell myself, will be a high priority. (Very soon now. Any day.) And the ones from even further back are in baggies, somewhat organized by event or general interest area, and further stored in bags or baskets. Not a pretty sight on an energetic or emotional level, not to mention keeping the office well-organized.

Does this sound familiar to you?

Most of us - unless we are VERY self-disciplined, and have great focus and intention - let this little matter of business cards and follow-ups simply slide. And then we lose those valuable, delicate new relationship-beginnings.

I love the insight provided to us by Machaelle Wright, whose work in Perelandra has put her in touch with the various Nature Devas. In her communications with them, they share that a garden is something that is a joint creation between human and nature. Also - most significantly - a garden need not be grown in soil. There are such things as "soilless gardens" - companies, or organizations of any kind. Anything that we create with intention and purpose.

This is a bit of a digression, but with a reason.

If we envision building our relationships as akin to creating a garden, then each new relationship - represented by each "business card" - is like a tender, delicate seedling. We can either plant it carefully and nourish it. Or we can take the effort that we've already made - in obtaining the seedling-beginning - and let it wither and die through lack of attention.

So much for analogy. And truly, we know this already.

The challenge that I've faced, lately, is that as I come out of being intensively focused on the creative process (writing, rewriting, and now editing and refining) of Unveiling, it's time to start connecting with people once again.

These stacks and piles and bags of business cards demand attention.

And yet - I've cringed at the thought of going through all the work - the "tedium" of the data entry, all the little emails to generate, etc. It just seemed like too much work.

So last week, facing these stacks of cards, I felt that it was simply too much. And did the only thing reasonable. I turned this over to my "Higher Power" (God, however you would describe this One.) And took a nap. And when I got up, I had the insight - the guidance - that I needed in order to handle these business cards - and the "seedling relationships" - the right way.

(To be continued ...)

Monday, May 10, 2010

Tune Up Your Life - With Help from America's "Mindset Mechanic"!

Dear Ones --

Our entire process is about transformation. This is not just "reinventing" ourselves at a superficial level - this is more than a makeover! Rather, it is going deep into the core of our beings for a "whole life transformation."

Right now, I'm developing curriculum (Levels 1 - 4) that will help us use dance as a powerful vehicle - as a body/mind/psyche/spirit integration pathway - that will help us do just that!

At the same time, we can all use some practical, helpful "tools" in our lives. So let me introduce my dear friend, Julie Rahm, America's Mindset Mechanic. Julie can help you "Tune into your dreams, tune up your energy, and tune out the 'white noise' in your life!"

I've known Julie for years. When we were both following "corporate" pathways, she was consistently excellent. Now, she's consistently fabulous - and can help us all achieve our dreams!

You may want to follow Julie on America's Mindset Mechanic Blog site - I've found some great ideas there! While I've known the principles for a while, Julie's got a great way of helping us "tune up" our application of these same principles. It's like taking our car (our high-performance minds) into the shop for a little - really - "tuning up!"

Friday, May 07, 2010

Unveiling -- the Permissions

Dear Ones --

Today, as I get up to write to you, it is early morning - a little after 4AM. The sky is still dark, the birds are still quiet, even the tree frogs ceased their chorus several hours ago. It is in these very quiet moments that I share with you, because one of the things that I (and many other creative persons) most like to hear is: What is the creative process like? What is it like to actually write a book; to go from concept to many rough drafts to final form to the final polish?

The creative process in others fascinates us, because we hope to learn something that we can use and apply to our own endeavors.

As soon as the sun rises, and the spell of quiet-time breaks, daylight energy starts surging in and I'm part of the "practical world" once again. And now that I am so close, so very close, to getting Unveiling to you, much of what I've put off over the past year is now on my desk. My daily "to-do" list crawls off the page, and - just as with you - even as I write down all the "to-do's" and attempt prioritizing, I know that I'll only do a small fraction of what's on the list.

And the reason, of course, that I only get a fraction of the "other stuff" done is that I'm still massively allocating time to Unveiling.

A while ago - this is about a month or so back - I could sense the energetic "completeness" of Unveiling. At some level, it was already in final form. All the chapters were in place, all the necessary concepts and thoughts were there - even though I've continued to get guidance and inputs, and little things that make such a difference to the final outcome still come to me. (This is much like adding the final fresh, most tender, ingredients to a long-simmered stew, just before serving.)

As I said, energetically, Unveiling was complete.

Pragmatically - now that's an entirely different story.

I spent most of yesterday, and will spend much time over the next few days, writing the Permissions letters. These are the ones in which the author contacts the publishers of other author's works, asking for permission to include extracts of the others' works in their own.

In my case, I have many, MANY extracts from other author's works. About three dozen in all.

Why so many, you might ask? After all, isn't Unveiling supposed to be my work - not just a compilation of ideas and insights from others?

And yes, truly, it is.

But the story goes back to the origin of Unveiling.

Many years ago, I began my own quest. I realized that I had stumbled, more or less, on a "path." In fact, I had found the "path" that I was looking for - a body/mind/psyche/energy integration pathway for women. I had spent many years prior studying martial arts, and finally (and somewhat reluctantly) concluded that they were not right for me. All that block-kick-punch-strike -- too masculine. While I loved the energy, the intensity, the total awareness and physical discipline of the martial arts, they were essentially masculine. Fundamentally, they were all about fighting. As a woman, I was less and less interested in fighting; less and less interested in the masculine path. I wanted one that was, at its core, intrinsically feminine.

When I found Oriental (belly) dance, I knew that I had "come home." And for years, I was able to find extraordinary teachers in the dance arts, much as I'd earlier found extraordinary teachers in the martial arts. (I write about them in Unveiling, and in the Unveiling website - when it is itself "unveiled" - I'll link to their sites.)

But even though I was getting fabulous dance training, crucial aspects - the "life-path-integration" aspects - were still missing.

I craved some sort of guidance. Specifically, I craved a book.

I looked high and low, and couldn't find one. (This was some fifteen years ago.)

In response to my own need, I began writing. And of course, books - written by others - began to emerge. They played a crucial role in what I'll be sharing with you.

So - right now, my job is to get those Permissions letters out, day by day, until all the publishers and authors have been contacted. Then, Unveiling can rightfully give you tiny little "snippets" of insights that others have provided, and you'll be able to follow up on your own.

This is a long job - I've been at it for days, and more will come. But what is exciting is that years ago - when I first started writing to you - these materials (by and large) did not exist. Or I was unaware of them. Or even - if aware - I didn't understand the role that they would play in the final manuscript. (Again, think of cooking -- and being in a well-stocked kitchen. Sometimes, we don't realize that we need a certain ingredient - like a bit of tomato paste as well as the fresh tomatoes - until we're well underway with the cooking!)

Now, new and relevant books, articles, webzines and blogs are producing relevant insights, every single day. This means that many of us are holding the same thoughts, and asking the same questions.

Darlings, it is time to unveil Unveiling, and I can't wait to share it with you!

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Did you feel the energy shift at Beltaine?

Dear Ones --

Here it is, Tuesday, May 4th. About a week ago - Thursday, April 29th - a sort of "energy shift" started. Do you remember, for those of us on the East Coast, that we had a relatively dry few days, and that it got very warm from Friday the 30th to Saturday, May 1st?

It wasn't just the physical warmth though; there was a distinctive "quickening" or "enlivening" that happened. Nothing on a grand cosmological scale; I'm not talking about something millennial (or even centennnial). Rather, the simple, annual cycling of energies. In this case, an intensification of the emerging "spring" energy and a transition into "summer" energy.

Most of us - very naturally - get caught up in the energy patterns themselves, and don't really notice the energy-feeling as something distinctive. I was caught up, myself! (You'll note that I haven't blogged in over a week.) And even when two days of rain followed that lovely Saturday, the energy-feeling continued, and continued further as the beginning of this warm, dry week emerged.

The thing for us to notice - as dancers and as energy workers - is when there is a transition.

One of my household members had a May 1st birthday, and threw a great big party. And - appropriately enough for Beltaine - there was a wonderful "bonfire" in our fire cauldron!

I celebrated Beltaine by being drawn into re-developing a fire dance.

This is the same fire dance that I had done several years prior; using Mosaic (the first cut) on Sandstorm.

This is one of the first works by Farzad Farhangi. So fortunately, I already had a detailed set of notes on the musical structure, and some previously-developed base choreography.

What is different now, is that I'm seeking to work with the fire energy itself, not just to do a dance. And this means - yes - doing more than just a "candle dance," which is how I interpreted this dance earlier.

In short, it's not enough to just do an impressive choreography and even to work with candle flames. For energy work, there are two whole extra dimensions.

The first dimension has simply to do with feeling the "energy" of the element with which we're working. For a fire dance, I want to feel that zingy, enlivening fire energy. (This is Level 3 in our practice.) And Level 4 (the second new dimension) is what we create with the fire energy - how we hold it, shape it, and purpose it - at an energetic level, while we are doing the dance on the physical level.

Kind of like walking and chewing gum at the same time, although a good deal more complex.

And I'll admit - I'm a beginner at this sort of thing. Doing this is as complex, and as challenging, as it was many years ago, when I tried to do a veil dance with zills for the first time. It is REALLY a new experience to seek to get the physical movements so down-pat (even if they are improv), so that my conscious attention is on the energy-experience, and I'm not focused on the details of technique and choreography.

But this is where the art is becoming brand-new, all over again - and this is enormously exciting.

And back to the energy-shift of Beltaine - the transition. What happened at Beltaine was an introduction of fire energy - very different from the quickening of life-energy that brought us all out to our gardens around Vernal Equinox; this had a qualitatively different feel.

So if you would care to take on an exercise, start to notice (perhaps even record your impressions) of the energy shifts, especially as we come to the cross-quarter days as well as the seasonal quarters. (This means: the Summer and Winter Solstices, the Vernal and Autumnal Equinoxes, and the cross-quarter days of Beltaine, Lammas, Samhaine, and Imholc.) Feel the energy, and observe how your natural instincts respond. Then see how you can transition that into your dance!

Also, Waverly Fitzgerald has a lovely and inspiring website, schooloftheseasons, and an associated blog; livinginseason. I've been following her site for years, and reference it within my own web - and am delighted with her sensitive, insightful blog postings!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

It's about transformation ...

Years ago (many years), I was making the crucial transition from martial arts to Oriental (Mid-Eastern, or belly) dance. I knew that I had "come home." But after several moves, town to town, and several teachers, I found myself in a city with no Oriental dance teachers.

There really wasn't much choice. I "hung out my shingle," and started to teach.

You know the old saying, of course: "We teach that which we need to learn."

The process of teaching accelerated my own learning.

Beyond this, though, I found myself having a desire, an actual longing, to find a pathway for personal growth. I knew that the dance art could be - and would be - an essential component. Beyond that, I didn't have a clue.

With all my heart, I wished that there was a book to read that would explain all of this. How we - as women - could reconnect with what was our original sacred path; how we could find honest-to-God(dess) body/mind/psyche/spirit integration and healing.

What I was looking for was a path of personal transformation.

I looked high and low. I looked for teachers and books. (Remember, this was pre-internet days - no on-line search to pull up the world's resources!)

Finally, I found my first "clue" -- a book, Being a Woman, by Dr. Toni Grant. She wrote it back in 1988, in response to her own search, her own longing - which was much like mine.

And guess what? Even though she proposed four core feminine archetypes, she didn't invent them - for that, she gave credit to Toni Wolfe, who was both the mistress and protege of Carl Jung. However, she built on and elucidated the set of four "archetypes" that Toni Wolfe had intuited. She made that work not only available to women today, but relevant as well - a great starting point!

This was like finding the first "stepping stone" in a hidden path; it truly was like finding a guidepost hidden in the deep forest. From here, I began my journey - a journey that evolved into the book that I had wanted to read, and which I've now written: Unveiling: An Inner Journey.

And now, dear ones, back to the "detail work" of preparing this book for publication - so I can get it to you!

yours in dance - A.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Because it feels so good ...

Dear Ones --

Teaching two back-to-back dance classes simply feels fantastic!

After several weeks where, for one reason or another, I taught only one class on Sundays, yesterday was a great chance to "amp-up" by teaching two back-to-back classes again.

I'd forgotten how good it feels.

One class is certainly good, but two (or more) is better. Even two (or more) classes in a week, if not on the same day. By the second class, my body is more warmed up. My body's "memory" for technique and even choreography is deeper.

As I move around after class, I notice that my body is "springier" - I feel as though there's more elasticity in my joints. It's easier to get up off the floor, or to bend and twist to pick things up.

Beginner's classes are - surprisingly - especially wonderful for toning and conditioning! Even though I've been studying and teaching for years, it is so great to be reminded of how fabulous that deep, core workout feels. My abs and butt, hips and thighs all simply feel more powerful after today's classes.

Wherever you are, darling, I hope you're enjoying your dance practice as much as I am!

yours in dance -- A.

It's been a long time - and worth the wait!

Yes, darlings - I know.

Over a year is a long, very long, time to go between blogposts.

There is a reason.

It's the book that we all want to read.

Unveiling: An Inner Journey.

Why is this important, to you, to me, to all of us right now?

There are only three real questions in our lives:
1) What do we really want? (And can we figure this out?)
2) Once we figure out what we want, can we get it?
and - the wonderful, important question -
3) Is there a "fountain of youth," and - if so - can we get some of it?

The answers, dear ones, are yes, Yes, and oh-so-definately-and-resoundingly-YES! (Especially to the last one.)

But it has taken me years to get these answers, and even more to write them up for you.

In fact, after over fourteen years of work, as of a year ago, this book was still not done. And while I had much of the groundwork in place, the REALLY IMPORTANT STUFF - the answers to the questions that we all have - had not yet come together.

Now they have.

The book - Unveiling - is nearly ready.

I'm in final editing, copy-editing, and final-touches-and-rewording stages.

Three more weeks, and it goes to Amazon. (Actually, to Amazon's CreateSpace - my publisher. But for all of us, when we want to buy this, it will be listed on Amazon. And thanks to the wonders of marvelous technology, it will be listed as an "In stock, ships within 24 hours" option!

There will still be a little bit of a wait involved. (Once I get it to Amazon, because it really is a REAL book, and they have to do all the typesetting and layout and such, and I will proof designs and galleys, it will take an ADDITIONAL 10-12 weeks.) This means, we'll actually get this book - hard copy in our hands (or Kindle, if that's how you prefer it), sometime around the end of July or beginning of August. Certainly in time to make this a "beach read"!

And won't we all have one heck of a party when Amazon DOES release the book? Wow, what a fabulous time we'll all have - and the biggest hafla we've ever hosted!

But for now, darlings, it's back to work. Chapter 7 needs a little rewriting. (I found just the best stuff last night, to help make it clearer and more readily pulled into our heads -- now it's time to integrate this info so the chapter will make so much more sense, so easily!)

This book is full of insights and practical knowledge that will help us change our lives!

Plus, there are stories -- from my life, from some of yours (if you've been my students or teachers, or even co-workers and friends).

And even more - there are suggestions for very specific things that we can do to achieve breakthroughs; to create honest-to-God(dess) for-real transformations in our lives!

More soon, darlings -- as I get this book ready, and uploaded, and on its journey to you, I'll be telling you MUCH more about it!

Yours in dance -- Alay'nya