Dear Bella,

Oh those body tales of woe…our stories.  Myriad chapters spread over time.  My current troubles began as many do.  Insidiously.  Which the dictionary defines as “proceeding in a gradual, subtle way, but with harmful effects.”  Right?  A shadowy ache in forearm, there one day, gone the next.  Elusive then lingering.  Lifting a full tea kettle: ouch.  Tenderness in elbow.  Not  debilitating, but unpleasant, worrisome.  And after wishing it away a bit too long, I deeply massage forearm and that definitely helps.  But right hand starts to complain about so much tedious work.

And then magic happens.  A déjà vu moment that’s regularly recurred in this life dedicated to treating body ailments…mine AND yours.  So I’m minding my own business, tennis ball rolling out my shins when the bulb lights up.  Shin.  Forearm.  Same!  Two parallel bones spanning knee and ankle just like the two bones that connect elbow and wrist.  In a posture of utter supplication, I roll the forearms just like the shins, cruise up into elbow and dig into triceps. Which are, of course, part of the drama.  Such a tearful moment: relief, gratitude, awe…all wrapped into one juicy sensory experience. Quick video:

Here’s the rest of the story.  A variation on this synchronicity has occurred countless times in my work.  The very next morning a young cello player comes to my studio with chronic left forearm pain.  We had work to do in her thoracic spine, scapula, rib cage.  It’s all connected.  But we finished the session with this very technique.  I kid you not.

I am not a traditionally religious person. But every so often I feel god working through me.  Bestowing me with ailments to feel into, move through. And then this gentle nudge to pass the healing magic on.  Is this forearm thing behind me yet?  Well, no.  Just like you I do the self-care I need and then get busy or neglectful or fate-tempting or downright stubborn.  Resistant to the obvious: this body needs consistent care and attention and love.  And then I come back.  Just like you.

It’s that coming back that I am here to support.  Read on a bit about these two juicy things if you want a leg up:

  • About Yoga: a triplet of free videos to inspire you. Pull out your mat and jump start your practice. New offerings on this page as the spirit moves me.  This triplet is to help you foster a rib cage loose, long and strong.
  • Release and Realign: we finally named this Friday morning drop in class that officially begins January 6.  But don’t wait…come out for the free class December 16 10:00 Clara and meet the “we”.

Who is this “we” of rotating teachers?  Kim Wagaman and I met in 2007 at Yoga Solution.  Her openness, attention to alignment and breath and balance and asymmetry, her sparky curiosity and sprinklings of poetry utterly moved me.  Ever since those early days we’ve been mining possibilities.  We’ve taught workshops together and went parallel online when Covid came to call.  Jeanne Munoz was in my teacher group at It’s All Yoga 2012.  As soon as we completed training we collaborated on a Friday night Roll & Release class.  Until she had twins and we had to take a pause.  We knew we’d be back together someday.   It was meant to be.  That day has finally come.

If you have a body tale of woe–a current story or multiple chapters spread over a lifetime, maybe something insidious that is proceeding in a gradual, subtle way, with harmful effects—I’m right here for you.  Did you know that back in my clinical era I used to see 12 patients a day?  That was hecka training.  Now?  One a day.  Love it.  Because it is so nourishing relaxed, focused and creative, spontaneous yet individualized.  So utterly uncompromised.  I adore this work.

No matter where we meet—on the dance floor, on the mat, on the treatment table—-please be welcome.  Join me for a tearful moment: relief, gratitude, awe…all wrapped into one juicy sensory experience.

❤️Bella

Now I’ve been all about letting go lately…more about that later.  So it was fitting for my teaching to focus on our organs of elimination: kidneys and bladder.  In case you don’t know, we systematically roam all around the body in Roll, Release, Align.  Fascination on a different anatomical region week by week.  Shoulder’s up next.  There’s a lot of talk talk talk about embodiment.  This weekly approach brings it home at the most fundamental level.

Anyway, did you know your bladder is so incredibly expert at letting go that it can completely rule your day to day world? Here’s just one indication you are an unwitting slave to your bladder: is your habit to enter unknown territory and quickly locate the nearest bathroom?  If I’ve captured your attention, listen up, I’ll share two simple urinary norms.

  • First norm:  if your fluid intake is optimal—# of ounces equal to ½ your body weight—you will need to pee 5-8 times in 24 hours.  It actually takes 3-4 hours for bladder to fill, but this tricky beast signals fullness at quarter tank.   Hmmm.
  • Second norm, so easy to check: it takes 15-30 seconds for a full bladder to empty.  A 10 second dribble is a slavery indication.

Pretty easy to ascertain if you fall in the range of normal.  If not and you’d like to reclaim some freedom, I have physical therapy skills to assist you with that.  It can be a life-changer.

These bodies.  Oh my.  They can be such metaphors.  Wouldn’t you know this bladder fascination arose concurrent with a personal episode of letting go.  I hear you.  Many of you have experienced the incredible post-death duty of emptying a home.  My mother-in-law lived in the same home for 56 years.  Family has been sorting through a very long lifetime of memories.  Random correspondence, check registers, cards, house repair bills, community service awards…all boxed willy-nilly.  Collectibles of butterflies and peacocks and southwest art.  Ancient magazine stacks and leather dusty books.  I’ll stop with the details. All six kids and families pitched in to complete this heart-wrenching work.  Hubby and I did three intense days deciding what to dump, what to give away, what to keep.  Over and over and over.  The house stands empty and ready to sell.

But that was not the end of this letting go saga.  I came home, looked askance at my own home of forty years and could not imagine my children facing this daunting task. We have already taken three big loads to dumpster/Goodwill.  There is more to go.  The sense of release, of lightness, of freedom…it runs satisfyingly deep.  I don’t have any intention of leaving the planet soon, but when I go, I want it to feel like I’m just slipping out.  Unfettered.  Free.   Airy.  Spacious.  Empty.  I still long for more but I want it in the shape of experience, love, learning, connection, wisdom.  Not stuff.

Back to LA for the memorial service and then off to Esalen to assist Lucia Horan with Resource and Renew (full up).  This is a fact: every day your body automatically releases everything it does not need.  Feel in…what are you letting go of?  Why?  When you actually let go, what is the sensation, the emotion, the meaning on the other side of that release?

We don’t have to do it alone. Always so nourishing when we let go together….❤️Bella

I kept gazing at the glossy magazine picture of a Sacramento orthopedic surgeon. His son, who is taking over his practice, stood at his side.  Me and this man go way back clinically.  His son and mine were in Little League together.  On a whim, I rang him up and we reminisced.  At 71, he is retiring…but only from the rigors of surgery.  He will continue to see office patients.  We laughed about back when we were both thirty and wondering how dottering elderly docs could still be practicing.  We talked about the experiential lifetime it takes to hone a medicine craft.  How both of us feel we are at the top of our game.  What a shame it would be to withdraw from service in this moment.  We shared a precious moment of perspective, wished each other well, said good-bye.

After nearly five decades, this lifelong passion had such an incredible interrupt.  I took a pandemic year off from treating patients in the flesh.  I saw a few on Zoom, but my precious green treatment table gathered dust and it was so quiet and lonely in my studio.  But something was brewing during that year as I poured all my creative juice into on-line teaching and treating.  And now that I’m seeing patients in the flesh again I sense that brew.  While I worked in new ways, fresh levels of integration were happening on their very own.  A more deeply honed clarity.  A more easeful listening. A flushed out presence to the fullness of another.  There is never a plan and always complete clarity at each choice point.  Not too much, not too little.  How best to partner with, how best to be in service.

Fifteen years ago I saw 12 patients a day.  A different kind of integration was happening back then. Last week unfolded like this.  Monday: new patient, long time yoga student, wanting clarity on how to come to her own mat, less reliant on outside input, more confident in her own attunement.  Tuesday: second Zoom appointment with East Coast yoga student, ironing out pieces of self-care for knee and neck.  In the afternoon, new patient who had fractured her hip three months ago, was frozen in place, unsure how to get in motion now that the fracture was healed.  Wednesday: a yogini in need of a coach, a hands-on partner untangling a chronic hip issue.  Thursday: a dancer with a new shoulder injury.  Friday: second visit with a deeply in touch patient with a long term bladder control issue, a session weaving experiential anatomy and chakra exploration.  One patient a day instead of twelve…so incredible.

We always sit and talk awhile first.  I observe habitual postures and watch each person move in specific ways.  Then we head to the dusted off treatment table: my hands glide over body trouble spots, neighboring regions.  Open and curious, Braille-reading subtle and not so subtle changes, side to side differences, resistance points, tangled fascia, stiff facets…so often affirming what I initially heard and witnessed.  I manually treat any specific tightness.  We re-check motion.  Together we translate all that to self-release practice.  Tightness addressed, we assess tone, especially in the core, and general length, especially in spine and legs.  We end by creating a video for ease of home follow through.  It’s so fruitful to be disciplined for a couple weeks, get down on the mat most days for twenty minutes, feel if what we fashioned feels like a natural embodied connect.

I always check in the day after first treatment; every once in a while we bite off more than a body can chew.  And so we rest a bit, integrate new skills at a slow pace.  Really, within two weeks most patients can tell two things.  First, this is or is not a self-care practice that feels like a good fit.  How do we know that?  Ideally I want patients to feel drawn to the mat.  To have it be an experience of pleasure, intrigue, relief.  There are so many ways to heal.  The question is, is this one for you?  Second? Really, if the intervention is accurate, there will be a positive change in symptoms within two weeks

I so often write about the experience of dance and yoga.  For me, this third side of my work triangle is integral support for the other two.  It has been utter pleasure offering thirty minutes of rolling release prior to our dance in Wednesday Waves.  Tonight is our final session of 2021.  Likely we’ll continue that roll, dance, art combo in 2022 (yikes!) for awhile.  And of course Essentials is the obvious support for anyone who has been a one-on-one patient.  This week we complete the pelvic bowl by feeling into the organ contents as we practice.  On to the spine in 2022.  After 9 months of re-exploring and merging bandhas into our core toning I’ve internally learned SO much.  This is the third go round of a basic instructional version of mahabandha.  See how it feels.

So there you have it.  It’s the time of year for all those last classes: last Wednesday Waves tonight, last Essentials Friday morning, last Sweat Your Prayers this Sunday…the traditional celebration of solstice…wear all white please!  Classes resume in January.  Which is also the traditional time of  year many of us feel a fresh start brewing about healing in motion.  I offer 10 minute phone consults if you have questions about what that might look like for you: (916) 267-5478.  Leave me a good time to reach you if we don’t connect.

Sending love through the cyber waves…Bella

 

A body rests face down on my treatment table and my hands, butterfly wings, rest upon the flare of ribs.  I sense our breath in tandem gently pressing my way south—right, left, right, left.  One side gives, responsive to my touch, springing back as I release compression. Swedish translation for this flare of ribs? Heart basket.  Indeed, this one side gives way like the fibers of a basket.  The other side lives up to the English name: rib cage.  There is a dense unyielding quality, a jail bar rigid resistance.  The two sides are like night and day.

I don’t remember when I began conversing with bodies this way.  There are early memories of being behind someone, my hands an inquiry around shoulder blades, my thumbs in curious exploration where neck meets the head.  This unfolding wonder about finding the knots, their strange asymmetry, the pleasure response evoked with just the right amount of pressure, the palpable sense of tension releasing.  Eventually it became part of my work in the world.

I do remember the moment this hands on passion woke to new possibility.  It dawned when my own heart basket was the recipient of treatment. The therapist taught me how to follow up using the double-wrapped tennis balls and be my own best body worker. It was 1984, it blew my mind, it healed my woes, my focus took a left turn.  I realized the release that skilled hands can generate translates to what self-care tools can create.  Since that epic day my work became duel-fueled: hands-on investigation paired with my rapidly expanding self-care voyage.  Translating the provision of relief (often temporary when done TO you) into the power of deeply informed education.  Lasting changes happen when the right stress is applied to the right tissue on a steady basis.

My latest discovery tickles me to no end.  Calves.  Tight on anyone who is active.  The standard foam rolling technique—leaning back on hands with calves on roller—meh.  Never felt like it was doing much.  Catch this video if you want to really release calves.

We practice this calf release weekly in Essentials.  This week we’ll pull together foot and ankle, shins and calves, knees and thighs…plug the whole leg into the sensual curvy ball/socket of the hip.  90 minutes Friday morning is total luxury; 15-20 minutes on your mat most days is magic.  Maybe you’re intrigued.  Maybe you’re tired of feeling too tight or too weak to do what you love to do.  Maybe you feel the call to care for your one and only body.  Here’s the best way in.  Prepare for the journey with these tools.  Then dive into Essentials: the introduction, now in the Video Library.  After that there are three ways to show up for yourself: 1) purchase any session in the library   2) join us on-line Friday or  3) enroll for Friday and receive the most up-to-date recording that same day to do in your own time.  Easy to create 3-4 shorter sessions with each recording.

And I am right here for that in person one-on-one session that flows in this dance from the pleasure and relief of hands on table work to the joy and empowerment of mat education.  Zoom appointments you wonder?  I guide the self release that informs the resulting education.  Always we end with a video recording for home.

So is there a conversation you are currently engaged in with your body?  It speaks volumes in sensation and whispers in endless variations of breath.  Sometimes it clamors for our attention and other times it’s afraid to bother us.  Listen in.  I’m right here to be in that conversation with you.

❤️Bella

Can you feel your precious feet on the floor?  The weight falling into heels.  Sensitive to the empty space in the dome of the arch.  Plump nesting ball of foot.  Each teeny earth contact point of ten toe pads. Being grounded in these trying times…so many ways to practice.  But you might start with your feet.  What do you feel right there, right now?

Our bodies speak to us in sensation.  Sometimes, in some body parts these sensations begin to inscribe sentences. Over time some of these sentences develop into chapters.  An entire story can become written in a particular region.  If you are human, most likely this experience has been yours.

I still remember my body composing a chapter in early 2007.  The sensation began so faintly, my foot gently aching from time to time.  You might know this one.  How a random ache develops into that first step out of bed being exquisitely painful.  Sensation that haunts every move, captivates your full attention.  When you begin to inquire, plantar fasciitis will be the most common response to “what is this?”  On the “how to get rid of it” front, many practitioners will focus on where the sensation is arising: the pain at foot bottom.  Seems logical enough.

I limped along with this developing story for a good long while, using my hands to massage the plantar fascia at foot bottom, meds, various supports, rest.  Finally went to a physical therapist specializing in foot treatment.  Did he treat the painful bottom of my foot?  No.  Instead he dug into my inner shin, breaking up some gnarly fascial binding.  I had no idea this lower leg tightness was causing the foot pain.

I followed up with my own posterior tibialis digging, a muscle that sends its tendons to foot bottom.  Plantar fascia is the surface cover over an extremely dense tendon region down there.  And those tendons originate from muscles in lower leg.  My recovery chapter began with releasing what had tightened.  Lately I’ve been calling the release self-care I teach the “gateway drug” because it temporarily relieves the pain.  For full healing, after establishing loose, the healing practice of long and strong are ready to move front and center.  Not only did I learn how to consistently loosen up tight tissue, I learned how to stretch it accurately and strengthen it as well.  This chapter had a happy ending.

Over the ensuing years I’ve treated many of your feet.  I love this work and through working with you one-on-one, general principles have emerged that apply to all of our feet. Maybe your foot hurts right now, maybe you’re AOK but this pesky foot thing periodically crops up, maybe you’re just curious about how to prevent this challenging and universal problem.

To that end, this Friday September 17 Essentials begins its new chapter—Foot, Knee, Hip.  The first two classes of this series will focus on our incredible feet and uber-connected lower leg.   Come get educated and inspired by yoga infused with self-care physical therapy sensibility. Those tootsies will love you for it.

Love, Bella

 

The picture up top?  For seven days, my reality.  And now I’m back.  There is smoke.  There is Covid.  There is drought.  There is Afghanistan.  There are hurricanes.  There is loss upon loss upon loss.  My first day back felt disastrous, overwhelming.  I wondered if the time away was worth the onslaught of return. And I wonder how we continue to move through each day with a modicum of grace.

This morning it feels possible once more.  For now.  It comforts me lately to reflect on a vision of some great power in charge of The Big Plan. Holding the infant that I was in 1950 and saying, “This one. This one I am preparing for 2020.”  Because lately it feels as if the ensuing decades, regularly dosed as they were with ample suffering, were perfectly crafted to deliver me to be with these times.

And also to be with you and hold space for you in these times. The clarity I am blessed with around this calling startles me in its spontaneous arising, its unbroken feeling of connectedness.  This deep well of resonant responsive reciprocity.  And so offerings that invite us to stay present continue to unfold.  It is what I know how to do.  And some days it is the only thing I am clear about.

ESSENTIALS

I want to welcome you to this world if you have yet to dive in.  Twenty minutes on your mat to breathe, roll, tone and stretch can create huge change.  And ninety minutes weekly supports you in that personal practice.  You can do that on Friday mornings at 10:00 or you can dive into the evolving  Video Library.  Calendar Saturday October 2 10:00-noon for a slow moving  introduction to the basics.

I am also holding small, outdoor in person classes for the vaccinated. Frequent pivoting required—stay tuned! If that is of interest to you and/or you have an outdoor space that would support a small class, please drop me a line in reply.

5RHYTHMS:

For many of us, the medicine we receive from dancing is vital and potent.  Majica Alba and I continue to wind our way through the morass of how to safely and effectively offer.  If this territory is unfamiliar, you may take a peek here.

We dance every Sunday from 10:00-noon, on-line AND in person (vaccinated). This also has required frequent pivoting; stay tuned. Please reply if you wish to receive Saturday updates regarding the in person offering—weather sometimes calls the shots on this beautiful two acres.

For the month of September we return to Clara on Wednesday nights 6:30-8:30.  Ready for the crazy details? All east doors open, masked, vaccinated only, limited participation for optimal physical distancing.  This tells you how much we love our dance medicine!

PHYSICAL THERAPY

It is so good to be with you again up in my studio.  And I will continue to see you on Zoom if you are not in this geography or for any reason unable to safely be seen in person.  Our time together is dedicated to those specific unique-to-you body challenges.  You know.  That achey back, troublesome shoulder, ever present hip, undependable knee, persistent foot, tense neck.  You get the drift.  If you are willing to spend twenty minutes on your mat most days, I’m your practitioner.  Our collaboration moves from assessment to hands on treatment to home self care instruction, supported by our video creation.

The Big Plan is relentless…and so is this unbroken feeling of connectedness.  Feeling you out there….❤️Bella

 

Ever had shoulder pain?  No???  You are lucky and very unusual.  I totally remember my first bout.  Scooping really hard ice cream at a school fundraiser, this giant container of vanilla, the table way too high for a short gal like me.  Feel that?  But I was fine doling it out for a couple hours.  It wasn’t until the next day I noticed a dull ache about three inches south of the shoulder joint.  Classic.  And so began my personal introduction to rotator cuff dysfunction.

Way different than learning about it in a textbook, for sure.  But that’s how it’s been in my lifetime. I am the living result of a very active existence moving with a multitude of illuminating misfortunes.  A recipient of the inside story on body aches and challenges.  Ranging from the annoying to the severe.  Low back and hip and neck pain, nerve impingement, foot and knee difficulties, tennis elbow, ankle sprain, patellar fracture, scoliosis, forearm/thumb irritation.  Don’t get me started.

My rotator cuff chapter lasted on and off for a decade. In fact, the somatic memory of it is still with me, awakened because I’ve comfort-inducing-slept on my right side too much lately.  I did not learn what I needed to know about the necessary rehab and management from books or, sad to say, going for physical therapy.  There is such an emphasis in current clinical practice on strengthening and range of motion.  The ubiquitous “fingers up the wall” and the predictable tubing external rotation is still the all too common prescription.  A treatment that can actually be extremely irritating.  I’m sorry if this sounds familiar to you.

On my own, I waded through deep study of the anatomical mechanics and ongoing trial and error and observation.  I kept my sights on what was tight and needing release. I experimented my way to creating subtle stability, gained proficiency in shoulder taping. I had a couple cortisone injections.  Only then, gradually and respectfully, could strength and range of motion be added in.  My healing scenario of three steps forward and two steps back was the same frustrating roller coaster I coach every one else through.

Combine the shoulder’s amazing range of movement, the demands we continually place on it  and the delicate way it is pieced together…well, it’s amazing it functions well at all.   If you are super-curious, this video will answer all your geeky questions about the mechanics of the fascinating shoulder complex.

In Thursday and Friday Essentials this week we play in this deep shoulder field.  We always start with a little slide show of the territory.  The imagination is so powerful in healing.  We release the entire spine, shoulder blades, legs and organ body and then dive into creating subtle core stability.  Warrior 2 will be the perfect simple pose to feel the way the rotator cuff gently cinches the ball of the humerus into the shallow socket of the scapula.  To feel the way the gentle cinching is supported by the release and stability we have awakened in our earlier practice.  We’ve added the use of blocks and access to a wall to our practice.  Don’t have yet?  I always offer alternatives.

On Saturday, in once a month Essential Recharge we coast through the territory covered in February.  Feel the heart basket in its entirety: thoracic vertebrae, ribs and sternum, heart and lungs and diaphragm, the deep musculature that creates movement.  Recharge is for you if you’ve never experienced Essentials.  And it’s totally for you if you want a luxurious slow ride through how to be loose, long and strong.

My second vaccine is this Sunday.  Which means I will finally be available for in person physical therapy visits in my East Sac studio.  Transmission is still an open question, so unless you have been vaccinated, double masking for both of us will be required.  I will continue on Zoom probably as long as I remain in practice.  It has been amazing to see many of you beyond the bounds of my local geography.  It has limitations that the advantages far outweigh.

The shoulders…we can sometimes feel as if we carry the weight of the world there.  It’s been said that it’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it. True that.  Let’s learn to carry with ease…❤️Bella

I’m totally indifferent to any debate about science validity.  For me, it’s a given.  Neil Tyson said, “The good thing about science is that it’s true whether or not you believe it.” Totally resonate.  Given the fact that science just is, what intrigues me is it’s intersection with the sacred.  The co-mingle of science and magic.   The marriage of science and art.

Perhaps this possibility, this mysterious sense of magic, paved the way for politically-motivated individuals to cast this recent science-doubt-spell.  In this time of critical national need, when the very best public health can offer is desperately required, so alarming to feel the practice of medicine compromised.  It was heartening this week to hear Dr. Fauci, longtime head of NIH, address the dangerous partisan games played at the upper levels of CDC.  Shocking.

Religion is a culture of faith.
Science is a culture of doubt.
Richard Feyman, physicist

Science is born of a fertile imagination, from the depths of mystery. Curiosity hypothesizes.  Comfort with the unknown is the first step to evidence-based research and treatment. I grew up steeped in this fusion of the known and the unknown, literally dancing my way through childhood in the home of a scientist father.  Who also loved to dance, by the way.  My fluid body in motion has always been my preferred artistic way of being in the mystery.  But science knocked on my little girl door via the written word and I fell headlong into the medicine world of Clara Barton, nurse.

The life sciences and healing took hold of my mystic moving body and disciplined me. Kept asking me to meld matter and spirit. Find ways to negotiate between reason and intuition.  Look for common ground between logic and wonder, determination and destiny.  I’m still at it.

Medicine is a fusion field.  Many patients expect or would like it to be pure science-based.  Some practitioners pretend that it is.  Case in point: this week I treated a patient in Chicago with recent onset heel pain.  Yes, I’m still working on Zoom, vaccination end of this week!  It was science that taught me the route of the sciatic nerve, how to stress it, how to hypothesize heel pain originating in spine.  But it was artistic intuition guiding me to create ways to release the hold this neural tension had on her body and spirit.  Science teaches me about the inner workings of body.  It is the ground my work rests upon.  But facts and data will never be enough to shape the warm fertile field in which healing happens.

Inviting you to be in that warm fertile field 10:00am this week: Thursday, Friday or Saturday. What’s the diff  ‘tween Thursday’s Basic and Friday’s Deep Essentials? We always roll and release, power tone and stretch.  They’re interchangeable.  Deep is 15 extra minutes, time for a bit more classic yoga asana.  Saturday’s Essential Recharge is two hours, once a month for students who want to deepen and new students who want introduction.  This week the science guides us through the organ body, the vital biological structures that keep us ticking. And the magic happens when we feel the energetic space between heart basket and pelvic bowl, stay present with our breath and welcome insights that percolate through our soul and enliven our spirit.

Closing with Albert Einstein, wizard of magical science, who said: Science without religion is lame.  Religion without science is blind.
 
Loving being in the mystery with you….bella

On my way to an inquiry about fully inhabiting the power of being, I was kidnapped by the word fluency. I’ve taught classes aplenty on the rhythm of flow.  I wanted another way in, a quality more all encompassing than feminine, circles, receptive, earth, interior, dark, inhale, continuous, weighted.  I kept obsessing on the word fluency, felt like a somatic expression of the power of being.  A being deeply in touch with their internal weather—breath, sensation, shifty feelings, looping thoughts—and fluently able to enter the external, the slipstream of human and earth events. You’ve seen beings in full possession of this quality.  They confidently glide through any space they occupy, 360 degree aware of the full surround. Fluent.

This delivered me to fluency in language.  Which is the ability to both express AND understand. And this notion transported me to influence.  I had us partner on the dance floor.  From the power of our own being, one person influential, the other being influenced.  A conversation.  Fluency is essential for true give and take dialogue. In this process our bodies grasped something sorely needed in this crazy polarized culture.  The ability to be influenced or be influential depends with whom you are talking these days.

This personal love affair with words was mined a couple days ago by Holly Holt , friend and fellow teacher.  She’s passionate about writing and is all about fostering the writer in us all.  To help meet that vision, she’s talking to women who write.  Women who cannot help but write.   I agreed to the interview because I adore that mission and 100% support her in it.  But I also knew there might be some pearls from this guided conversation.  I was not disappointed.

My first poem was penned at age seven, a plea to the tooth fairy. A poem that initiated a lifelong stream of verse.   And there was that diary I kept from eight to eighteen, relinquished to the trash bin in a raging fit of embarrassment.  Sigh.  And forty years of journals dating from 1970. A woman who cannot help but write. In 2005 I started this newsletter as an informational communication of my offerings as I transitioned from clinical practice to brave worlds unknown.

But toward the end of 2011 those private journal entries ceased. I must have sensed that lodged in all that off-the-record vulnerability there were musings to reach an audience I cared about.  This crossover to more personal disclosure was never a conscious decision, just a slow roll over. Didn’t start saving posts until 2013.  I just finished categorizing some of them for the new web site in Recent Revelations.

But the interview set me to wondering. Has my writing changed, lost its candor through its link to my public work in the world?  Has utilizing my writing to beat the drum about my work altered it?  In some weird way this question relates to my soup restaurant dream. Will monetizing my love of cooking change how I feel about being in the kitchen? The interview floated me all around this question and also showed me how tightly woven word love and embodied practice are confluent in me. Confluent.  Love of word, love of body…inseparable.

This age old word love of mine.  Its inextricable tie to embodiment.  This compulsion to pour sensation, feeling and thought into the written form. The revelations that come down the pike as word meets movement, as movement meets word.  Language interwoven with bones and breath and blood.  I’m dropping the worry about my writing being adversely affected.  Of course it’s impacted.  And that’s a good thing.

My private journaling was always about documenting experience and exploring what I was feeling.  I needed to write to know.  This here?  Same.  Except that because you are out there reading, the writing adventure is amplified, deepened, enriched.  Thank you for that.

I absolutely adored being with you last Saturday to trial run Dance Essentials: roll, dance stretch.  So much so that it’s re-scheduled for December 12.  If you have yet to enter the world of Essentials, this coming Saturday is perfect: a slow two hour cruise through release, tone, stretch.  Opportunity to feel so much…including fluent.

Love, Bella

P.S.  An inquiry about foot pain motivated the short video below.  Physical therapy via Zoom works amazingly well to address this oh so common challenge.  Don’t suffer with that one! Let’s do it.

Been thinking about resiliency.  The way we desperately need it right now.  What it takes to build it.  This gratitude-filled surprise to feel the most resilient I’ve ever felt in my life.  I kid you not.  Curious musing here about why that might be, starting with the dictionary definition.
 
Resilience: the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness; the ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape
 
Maybe this ability to recover quickly builds (or not) through negotiating the challenges and trials of childhood and young adulthood.  In middle age some of us tap that resilience reservoir and buckle down, get with the program.  Me?  I took the traditional road.  Before I could snap my fingers, I was immersed in the traditional trappings of mid-life: discovering how to live in a marriage, stumbling and fumbling through parenthood, signing my life away to a thirty year mortgage, negotiating career moves that morphed to entrepreneur-ship.  In retrospect all that doing looks daunting.  In the midst, I just kept moving through, deeply tapping reserves I didn’t even know had accumulated.
 
Perhaps resiliency multiplies in response to being mined.  Anyway, making it all the way to now wasn’t just resiliency; I had a ton of luck and an equal amount of privilege delivering me past the bounds of middle age.  It surprises me every day to be here.  And in this current crisis, the huge demands of middle age are magnified while ease is expanded for some elders.  I put myself in that category.

Still, when someone asks how I’m doing, what it’s like for me these crazy days, my answer depends on the moment.  If they really want to know, if they have a bit of time, I speak a truth full of ups and downs, suffering and freedom, struggle and surrender, anguish and surprise. To live in this chaos, to be present with this level of unknown, can exhaust us.

If you’re more tired than usual, you’re totally normal.  Our nervous systems are pushed beyond their comfort zones.  I’ve had my share of weariness.  But these months have been illuminating my ability to lean into a deep well of personal resilience.  A reserve built over a lifetime, and not just through the sheer act of making it through.  There is something more: the way I’ve consistently cared for myself over time is serving up a wallop of endurance, a stamina that feels uber-essential for survival in this chaos.

This Saturday’s Essential Recharge offers a practice for building resilience.  All these “R” words keep tumbling out of what’s in store for us in two hours of Recharge:
Reflexes: instinctual response to the moment, heightened with practice
Resilience: built through finding balance between power and fluidity
Release: step one, key to unleashing all that power and fluidity
Resourced: by the dynamic duo of subtle strength and soft surrender
Reverence: connecting us to a greater power than our own
 
Two hours to gently receive an introduction/refresh of all the essentials.  You choose how to follow up at home with access to real-time recording.  Bits and pieces you can dive into in the privacy of your home, on your timeline.  Here’s a quick YouTube video-shot of the territory we’ll cover on Saturday. 

If all this intrigues you and you want additional support, on-line classes begin again every Thursday and Friday morning starting September 17.  And I’m listening.  You have been talking to me, telling me the positive effects you are feeling from this practice.  Wow…who knew resiliency could feel this good.
 
Come feel with me…..❤️Bella
 
P.S.  Link to pre-enroll/donate for Essential Recharge is at the bottom of this page: Yoga On-Line.