The Art of Keeping It Real

Well friends, it’s true…  nothing in this life is promised.  I have had to learn and relearn that in the past few months in many ways.  So I ask myself and I ask you, how do we keep it real for ourselves when we have no idea what’s coming our way?   How do we continue to show up, be present and REPRESENT when our loved ones are sick, our relationships are challenging or the path we have chosen feels shaky or like it needs a shift?  

I am reminded again and again that the way that we show up for ourselves reflects so clearly in how we show up for others.  Keeping it real means we start where we are, we work with ourselves in a way that is both disciplined and gentle, and not just with the parts of ourselves that we like, but also what Abdi Assadi calls the Shadow (thank you, Sangeeta).  We gently stay with ourselves through the greatest inner battles and instead of turning on the TV, grabbing that bottle of wine or reaching for the ice cream to dull the pain, we allow ourselves to witness, to listen, to experience our situation as it is.  

Breakti has taught me to stay, even when it’s hard.  It has taught me to open my heart, even when it hurts.  It has taught me to see my students, my classrooms, my journeys as little gems and nuggets of amazingness waiting to reveal themselves.  All of that requires that I show up first with myself and own my personal experience.  I must keep it real with ME before I make space for anyone or anything else

My recent trip to Virginia opened so many windows for me into the darkness and light that we all share.  As in all my Breakti classes, I challenged the students to step to their edge with playfulness and humor.  I asked that they make enough space to try something new, perhaps acheive something they didn’t know they could do, and be able to laugh and lighten up a little.  They fully stepped to the challenge and owned every part of themselves.  So rad.  

In my Space workshop, we talked about keeping it real.  We discussed the shadow.  As I mentioned in class and I will say many times again, we NEED the darkness in order to see the light.  We need silence in order to hear the beat (and in order to have the beat even exist), and we need every part of ourselves to be honored and owned so that we can witness our relationships and paths clearly and from a place that is whole.  THAT is keeping it real.

Join me for my last class of the year in NYC, and perhaps together we can step a bit closer to keeping it real.  

Click the below image for more info and to register. 

Breakti

Metta or Maitri practice - staying open and tender in the face of tragedy

Hi friends,

It has been admittedly hard to drum up the courage to even look at the news these last days since Hurricane Sandy hit our shores.  I think I join many when I say I have felt fear, helplessness, relief at the safety of my loved ones, heartbreak upon witnessing the loss others are enduring, guilt, compassion, and honestly numbness.

I thought I would share a practice that I think is essential and helpful to all who have the ability to sit for a few minutes.  It simultaneously opens your heart and connects you to all those who are suffering or in need.  There are many variations on the phrases presented below, but the intention is always the same: extend loving-kindness and compassion to ourselves, to our loved ones, to strangers, to difficult people, and to all beings.  

These four simple phrases can be used.

“May you/I be safe”

“May you/I be happy" 

"May you/I be healthy”

“May you/I live at ease in this world”

Traditionally you start at home, with yourself.  Find a comfortable seat and start by watching the breath.  Notice its texture and feel.  Note that your seat supports a tall spine and easeful breath.  After a few moments of settling in, you may start with the inner contemplation (or you may say out loud if that feels more appropriate).  Start at the beginning and move through the phrases giving yourself time to really see yourself in your mind.  "May I be safe"…  Pause and reflect upon what that means.  "May I be happy"….  and so on.  

You then may extend this out to a loved one, a friend, a neutral person, a difficult person, and then all beings (or maybe it’s easier to start with everyone in New York, or the East Coast because that feels more immediate)..  I think it’s important to stay with that for a while, to work with all the tragedy we have seen and allow that to sink in and open our hearts to the tenderness we all share.  

You may do this for any amount of time.  You may go back and start from the beginning and repeat.  If you do have the ability to take time from your day to do this, it may help you feel that you are more connected, less numb, more able to be present with yourself and everyone around you, and perhaps more settled in the reality of what has happened and is happening all around us.

May you all be safe, happy, health and at ease in this world.  

ap

I wrote the following passage on my Breakti page yesterday, it applies to the class, but it also applies to anything that you’ve been wanting to do but haven’t out of fear of some kind of failure. Go talk to that cute person. Go buy some oil paints and learn to stretch a canvas. Go call your family member that you got in a fight with and apologize. Go take some time for yourself and be still in a beautiful place. ….. 

……The more people tell me they are afraid come to Breakti because they are worried it’s too hard or they are nervous…. The more I realize I have to make myself try things that scare me or are new so I can keep it really real and reinforce for my students that it’s not about being the best or doing tricks. Breakti is about finding ways to approach our experience with open mind and compassion through the process of movement. Start there and no matter what you “get” in terms of the “fancier” postures, it’s really ALL GOOD because you already “got” it by trying. The point is that you show up. You show up for yourself and you might actually surprise yourself. Nothing that is new is really easy. That’s why it’s a PRACTICE. And stepping up to the things that take us out of our comfort zone from time to time is an amazing way to practice being exactly where you are. #love #breakti