There was something about teaching every Thursday night that kept me grounded, providing an anchor in a strange and variable schedule. Unhooked for more than a month now, I find myself never quite sure what day of the week it is or whether it is the weekend or not. Factor in travelling east and west on 80 for the past week and it adds up to a bit of very welcome befuddlement. Just returned from San Francisco and looked at the next few days: patients to treat and teaching to do: Rock & Roll Tuesday morning (wow, loving this…) and my last time to hold the Sweat this season at Coloma on Sunday.

So what, pray tell, is happening on Thursday night this fall and why is there a flier called Breaking Waves? Well, the name came when Juliette and I sat down at Old Soul one morning to dream up something new, something to crack open the way things had been and pave the way for emergence. So this is breaking news about Breaking Waves. Which will be at the same time and in the same place and will offer up the same great music variety. But that’s about all we can say will be the same. Because when two people are co-anchoring the wheel, things have a way of becoming less predictable. Not that I was ever a big fan of predictable. But after ten years I certainly had some inevitable ways.

You know you can drop in any night to this Thursday class. But we are big time inviting you to pre-enroll and here’s why:

  • SHOW UP: Commitment is love in action. Commit to a weekly date with yourself and your practice. You are worth it. Commit and contribute to sustaining this precious community, built from scratch by awesome people like you.
  • SAVE: Geez, do the math. Pre-enroll by Aug 3 for $13.90 a class.   Pre-enroll by Sept 10 for $15 a class. Can you still drop in? Yes, $20 a class.   Four partial scholarships available: email bella@bodyjoy.net.
  • GUEST TEACHERS: Pre-enrollment of 35 or more? We invite guest teachers.
  • DO IT: on line City of Sacramento.org-dance (code 14404) OR  pre-enroll at the door September 10.

Thursday Night Fall Waves is all about 5Rhythms and runs September 10 through Dec 17. Gabrielle Roth says, “free your body, express your heart, empty your mind, awaken your soul, embody your spirit.” Who doesn’t want this juicy movement medicine for connection: within, with others, with community.   Come hone and refine your skill in full-fledged authenticity and fly-by-the-seat-of-pants freedom. This is a possible outcome when you learn to meditate in motion. Are you edge-y enough to commit to that prospect?

Do it….love, bella








The Guru Room is where the teacher sleeps at Harbin. This makes me gag. Don’t get me wrong…there are gurus that sleep there, I’m sure of it. It’s just, I’m not one. Me? A down-in-the-trenches with you teacher, just another bozo on the bus facilitator (thank you Kathy Altman via Firesign Theater). Just as confused and curious and shut down and broken open and trying to put two and two together as you. Honored to be entrusted to hold space so we can do all this messy stuff together.

This was an incredible workshop weekend and if you think for one moment that Jenny and Juliette and I were the ones who had it all together…know that we were in that 57 person stew right with you. Doing a practice and teaching it are separated by an extremely thin line. Making mistakes right and left, dragged by the hair into learning and growing and changing because everything that happens turns into a platform for just that. Take Saturday. It put me right on my own edge.

After body diving Friday, Saturday was about cultivating heart space. If you’ve been a reader for a while, you know this personal I-don’t-do-that theme. Totally in my comfort zone teaching the body stuff. And, though I am full of emotions, leading investigation around feelings…just not my strong suit. The day began with this lazy drifting through that potent twilight zone twixt sleep and wake…clink, clack, clunk—the roller and ball work for Saturday just landed in me. Walking my own edge, I offered a practice pairing emotions with release zones. Twenty-five years of working just landed into some new unexplored, never quite articulated map. This often happens when we are willing to be down-in-the-trenches and surrender to not knowing what’s next. Not a Guru strong suit.

After two hours exploring this map, I was a student in Jenny’s field, struggling to name what I was feeling in any given moment. Later (in the Guru Room) I unraveled with my two co-conspirators. Angry, frustrated…is there a general assumption that everyone can communicate this information on demand? I am continuing to unfold this life-ability and it is slow and trembling and sometimes impossible and sporadically available and always unpredictable. Before we dove into evening ritual theater, I stood up before the entire posse and out-ed myself. No problem naming the fear and the shame arising from that radical act. And I asked for a show of hands for anyone else out there who often finds it literally impossible to give a name to what the heart is whispering. I was relieved, reassured (there’s another emotion!) when at least ten people raised their hands.

I could keep writing about all that transpired as a result of this vulnerable share. But my point is about that Guru thing and how grateful I am to be among you and not have to be that and how much I keep learning by just standing up and saying what is true for me and how awesome it is to have community around me that wants to do that to. Thank you, truly, from the bottom of this quivering heart.


Back in the day, I taught a mat class in the clinic called Loosen, Lengthen, Strengthen. When the opportunity arose to collaborate for a six week series focused on strength at It’s All Yoga, I perked right up.

Power Up! ( https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/classic/home?studioid=4333) begins today: Tues/Thurs 12:00-12:45 six week series. You can drop in anytime and check out this high energy opportunity for “personal training” without strain. No mirrors, no meatheads. This is territory I know and love and have a pretty unique spin on.

So the recent newsletter from Michelle Marlahan, owner of It’s All Yoga (http://www.itsallyoga.com/), about being appalled at advice given by a fitness M.D. hit a deep nerve. Pointers on “braced neutral standing posture” to protect your spine in daily living were boiled down to this list, verbatim:

  1. Squeeze your butt as hard as you can.
  2. Pull your ribcage down.
  3. Get your belly tight.
  4. Set your head in a neutral position and screw your shoulders into a stable position.

I was as appalled as Michelle. This is no way to live a fluid and relaxed life. And yet there are times we go to the gym or power train or just lift that 90 pound bag of dog food when intelligent bracing is called for. So I decided to write my own list of four, called operating instructions: what to pay attention to in those training AND everyday moments when being careful is called for.

  1. Take a body side view: feel the line that drops through earlobe, shoulder, hip and ankle. The gentle neck curve and low back sway fall in front of that line. The back curve of ribs and hook of tail lay behind. These curves are needed! This is neutral alignment, the safest and most efficient base for arms and legs to lift from.
  2. Take a body front view: notice that face, shoulders, hip points and feet are pointed in the same direction. Unless you are intentionally training in a diagonal plane (a bit trickier!) this orientation provides maximum safety and efficiency when legs and arms are lifting or carrying a load. Even your body weight can be a load when training in repetitive activities, like squats and lunges, curls and presses. Combine twisting and lifting with extreme caution.
  3. Feel your breath: tune in to the natural way to marry breath and motion. We are built to exhale during heavy exertion, like exhaling up from a squat or breathing out while curling a weight to shoulder. Seek and engage the natural breath and motion pattern. Notice where and when the habitual tendency to breath hold appears and quit that. BREATHE!
  4. Feel your deep power: feel what the body already does naturally with each breath cycle. 1) Exhale and gently draw pelvic floor up and deep abdominals back. Key word is GENTLE. 2) Inhale and tenderly lift breastbone as shoulder blades glide down and back of neck lengthens. Key word is TENDER. Harness this natural occurrence effortlessly by focusing attention on the marriage of breath, motion and power. This is a 25% muscular contraction, no gripping, squeezing or pulling allowed. This activation does not change the side view curves or the front view orientation.

Besides feeling so darn good, strength training is such an effective way to improve bone density and core stability. And daily life requires strength sometimes. Think gardening, cleaning the garage, lifting groceries from the trunk, caring for infants and elders. The list is long and includes all the ways we often sustain injury. This “braced” advice can truly be useful. Gently practicing these four operating instructions—integrating alignment, breath, power and motion— creates a field of safety, effectiveness and mindfulness.

Wanna learn some more? Come down some Tuesday or Thursday around lunchtime.

Pema 3

Wanted coffee. Walked into Chocolate Fish. My window seat was taken. Took the middle seat I didn’t want. Didn’t even notice the gorgeous ocean photo on the wall. Decided what I really craved was a latte. The music is too loud in here. Hate that. So wrapped up in myself, I didn’t spot the full-in-bloom white oleander out the window. Didn’t even notice when the guy in the window seat got up and left. And so it goes. Want, don’t want, doesn’t even register.

Picked up Pema Chodron again a few weeks ago. Start Where You Are was the first of her books I ever read and this is time number three circling back. Captivated by so much of her straight up, easy access writing. The Poison as Medicine chapter lays out the humorous and tragic messy (klesha) stuff we spend our time mucking around in. I loved reading this once more. When we lose sight of how spacious life truly is, we fall into being tight little humans, looking out at everything from our it’s-all-about-me lens. We assess everything that comes our way as I like or I don’t like or we just miss it completely.

I laughed out loud when I re-read about Mortimer. The guy who works in your office. The one who walks by person #1 and, unbeknownst to him, triggers juicy fantasies about connection, relationship, desire. Strolls by person #2 who can’t stand Mortimer, eyes averted, praying he doesn’t come near. You guessed, saunters by person #3 and they don’t even see him, like he doesn’t even exist on the planet. Passion, aggression, ignorance…our three habitual tendencies. In a nut shell.

And what, pray tell, if we actually observe ourselves engaged in these messy habits, are we supposed to do about it? Well, witnessing is a great way to start where you are: painfully, eye-opening-ly funny. Relax, we are indeed human. If we actually notice, we might continue to watch ourselves and see what we do next, see if it’s true we tend to do one of two things when Mortimer triggers us. We act out on our craving or aversion…we actively get his attention or we run and hide under the desk. We act out. Or we repress: we want to connect with him so badly but we tamp down all our rampant desire or he bugs us so much we focus all our attention on him and seethe with disgust. Or of course, in total ignorance, we don’t even notice there is a human being incarnate worthy of honor passing by our cubicle.

Curious lately about my own go-to, my own preferences in this department. Well, there’s no good answer on this one. The embarrassing truth is all there is. I, like you, do all three, all day. But my lifetime programmed response is head-in-the-sand. Thank you very much while I just hide in this cave and nurture my ignorance. If I don’t know about it, surely it won’t bother me, does not apply. And if I actually do notice it and it bothers me, well I’ll stay true to form and repress all that messy stuff as quickly as humanly possible. Which can be amazingly quickly. I’m good at it.

So if by now you’re thinking…forget it, I’m O.K. with skating along surface-happy. You just might have the same conditioning pattern as me, preferring ignorance and repression as life tactic. And that can work, perhaps even for a long time, until some bomb drops in your lap making that game plan non-functional. The unforeseen wake up call that delivers many of us to practice. I haven’t found the other easy, magic way around this and it’s not like we get somewhere and then we’re done. Inconveniently, practice seems to need to occur regularly, without fail, especially when we don’t want to go. So this is just a kick in the butt to find what that practice is and stick with it. Especially when it gets hard. Oh, did I already say that?

You don’t have to practice with me. And if you are inclined, multiple opportunities to exercise that regularity this week: Tuesday morning for Rock & Roll at Seed, Thursday and Friday morning and Friday night at It’s All Yoga, Thursday night and Sunday morning 5Rhythms at Coloma Center. All info in sidebar. Extended practice? Even better. Three days at Harbin Hot Springs, one more scholarship available, June 19-21.

So, yes, relax. We are indeed human. And then get up and do something about that. Love, bella


About six months ago, I was phone-dreaming/collaborating with Jenny Macke http://presence-studio.com/?page_id=204 about Harbin Hot Springs https://bodyjoy.net/5Rhythms-workshops-sacramento.html#harbin, throwing ideas, visions, intentions into the juicy soup pot between us, stirring it up. We both want to lift us out of the sticky day-to-day ensnaring web that consumes us, creates a barrier to truly knowing who we are and what we really need. Words were flying all over cyber-space until, almost in the same nano-second, we uttered “cultivating space”. That just nailed it: cultivate space, inside and out. It’s always there, inside and out, it just gets obscured in the daily fray.

In the months since that phone call, this intention, in small ways and large, has been manifesting everywhere. If you’ve been reading here, you know about the “good little soldier”. I’ve been super-tracking this ego character. Following his well-blazed trail alerts me to where the day-to-day web ensnares me. Since the start of the year, tracking has been bolstered by a self-declared monthly day of silence, Friday is my next one. No big rules around this day, just turn off the phone and computer, meditate a bunch, be quiet. Each dedicated day has had a different flavor. I have danced and been on the mat. I have cooked and gardened. I have read and wrote and soul collaged. I have been outdoors a lot. I have been silent, I have been singing. I have done nothing. In short, I have been cultivating space.

And then three weeks ago Vojin Kopuz, a 5Rhythms student from Bosnia, came to stay with me. He needed housing and wanted to learn about teaching by being in an established community.   Really, only a vague idea why I said yes to this request; I figured he could be here a week and then housesit while we travelled to N.Y. When this 26 year old enthusiastic, joy bundle arrived, I was still quagmired in a hard place; I was cultivating but felt anything but spacious. I was stuck in a hole and ready to make some changes but barely seeing my way toward the light.

His passion being perma-culture, he stepped into my yard and said “what shall we do here?” Within a few hours he had me shovel in hand, sweating and dirty, pulling weeds and turning dirt, breaking up hardpan and separating good mulch from bad. Together we cleared and nourished a completely weed-choked area un-farmable and fallow because of an overbearing redwood. The tree came down last year and now the land it choked and shaded has been re-vitalized. When I returned from New York, I planted it with fledgling vegetables. In short, I have literally been cultivating space.

In the long view, it’s been only a moment since I climbed out of the quagmire, started to make some changes. From this vantage point, in this new cleared out space, beyond the sweat and dirt, after separating good weeds from bad, there is spaciousness, inside and out, clearly palpable. And it shouldn’t surprise me, but, of course, several new fledgling plants have begun to emerge out of the emptiness. I am randomly watering and fertilizing and who knows which ones will thrive. I know very little, but I do know this: when we cultivate space, we create room for something new to emerge. And it may simply be more space. And the good little soldier, who, by the way recently was promoted from infantry to the calvary (it is so much easier on a horse…) is learning that more space is a very good thing.

So if you can carve out three days, if you want to dance and stretch and roll and soak in support of clearing things out that obscure your connection to the essential, bona fide you…come cultivate space with Jenny and me and the rest of this beautiful community June 19-21. Come see what emerges, it will probably surprise you.

no internet dayc3

We all need deep personal support and sometimes it comes from sources way less visible. There is unspoken sustenance that may need to come out of the closet: stillness, withdrawal from the exterior world, turning inward. Heartened by my three days of silence at the end of 2014, I made a resolution. I never make resolutions. But I did. One day a month in 2015 for complete and utter unplugging. The only rule? At home with no screen time: no phone, no computer, no TV X 24 hours.

So far each experience has had it’s own flavor, a unique self-crafted container. But here is the common thread: the support and tender touch of following my own undistracted flow nourished me for several days following. It fueled a memory of slower time gone by when this was closer to the norm. Until 1998 I steadfastly refused to own a computer or join the email thing; I saw the writing on the wall, or on the page, I guess. I guessed the way it would utterly change my world. And it did. And not all of it is a bad thing. But something has been lost and I feel like I’m finding it again. Here’s one piece of it.

Time outdoors is a big draw for me and on these no-tech days I easily go there. Nature deficit disorder, described in Richard Louv’s Last Child in the Woods, contends that human beings, especially children, are spending less time outdoors. This is resulting in a wide range of behavioral problems and the lure of the screen is one of the biggest factors keeping children (and the rest of us!) inside. I’ve lived on this quiet residential street more than 40 years. It used to be a veritable playground. My kids grew up roaming with the neighborhood posse: children of all ages playing ball and hide and seek and games born of their wild imaginations. Now they are all grown and gone and there is a new crop of kids here. I sit on my porch and it is eerily quiet. I miss those rowdy calls, their visible playful energy, the general alive chaos of it all. Mostly I know there are children because I see them scuttling from door to car and back.

“Something’s happening here…what it is ain’t exactly clear.” This week I actually have to make a sign to put up at Coloma Center about turning off your cell phone during practice. Don’t ask. Right here, in this precious moment, I’m inviting you to find some clarity around this one. Will you join this dialogue with a simple (but not easy) challenge? One 24 hour period, just one…to turn it all off…at home. You might begin right now by noticing what this request brings up for you. Maybe that immediate gut response is enough to get you intrigued, perhaps watching the way you resist, find excuses for, laugh right out loud at this challenge, let alone actually consider taking it on. My next dedicated turn off day is April 21. If you’re game, please respond by letting me know what 24 hour period in April you are willing to pull yourself out of this morass. Be brave, make a commitment, maybe even let me know. But for sure write to me and let me know of your experience, even if it’s just about your no-way response to the challenge.

What are you waiting for?

Love, bella


I first heard the term “holding space” when I dove into dance as a moving meditation. Curious how this phrase tenderly moved through me and informed every bone in my body. I knew immediately that this was the ineffable language for what I had been doing as a medical professional all my adult life. I just didn’t know there was a name for it. It’s a skill I’ve honed over a lifetime and still I fall short time and again, get up, dust myself off and keep learning. It comes most naturally for me when I’m at work one-on-one seeing you for physical therapy. It is more challenging to refine in the classroom setting, for me, easier in yoga than dance. Actually it’s a life craft we all practice, whether we know it or not. For most of us it shows up in our work lives and in our personal relationships as well.

An article entitled What it Means to Hold Space by Heather Plett is currently circulating in cyberspace. I encourage you to read her essay

(http://heatherplett.com/2015/03/hold-space/) that distills eight tips in the most stellar way. Here they are verbatim along with my own rambling commentary about how this plays out in one-on-one treatment sessions with you:

  1. Give people permission to trust their own intuition and wisdom. I love listening to you relay your history and describe your unique challenges. So easy to feel your particular brand of innate wisdom and immediately reflect it back. So inspiring to witness your intuition operating, what you inherently know already and where you know you need help…why else would you make an appointment? Always throwing the ball back in your court: how does that feel? love how you made up that creative move! how are things different now that we did that? In fact, it is way more than permission…it is recognition and celebration.
  2. Give people only as much information as they can handle. I cringe to remember my early eager years, all that academia spilling over, way too many explanations and expectations about how self care should look. Now I don’t say much, I just listen lots, wait for questions, pass on volunteering that extra bit. You usually leave with maybe ten minutes of home follow through to do each day for two weeks only. Just enough to make a positive change that will be its own reward and motivator.
  3. Don’t take their power away. I love to capture and capitalize on each emerging moment you create a gain, where you figure a new way to move, where you have taken the wheel. I am so not the all-mighty healer type, the professional you surrender to in order to be fixed. For me, it is all about being a coach and witness and celebrating as you take the driver’s seat.
  4. Keep your own ego out of it. Easier said than done, for sure. I know I am in trouble when too many words are coming out of my yapper. I continue to learn to come back to the most important person in the room…you.
  5. Make them feel safe enough to fail. This is so important. I love to tell you about the Sanskrit word prajnaparadha, the natural human tendency to turn away from what we know is best for us. Because this is how we all fall down. We know what we need to do and we all lapse. Period. It is such a relief to know this is totally normal. Whips and chains don’t really serve and I am always here to serve independent of where you fall on this spectrum.
  6. Give guidance and help with humility and thoughtfulness. Nobody needs a know-it-all. I love to share my own misgivings, lack of answers, acceptance of the unknown. We are in such a beautiful place when we hold hands and face the mystery together.
  7. Create a container for complex emotions, fear, trauma, etc. We start our work together on the physical plane. It is, after all, physical therapy. As we delve into the body channel, all the rest opens. Your heart is in the room, your thoughts, your soul, your very spirit. This vulnerable fact is what moved me out of standard health care delivery, inspired me to face my own depth more completely and prompted me to create a tender receptive environment where every part of you is welcome. That word container goes hand in hand with holding space.
  8. Allow them to make different decisions and to have different experiences than you would. I have lived in a body with its own diverse share of challenges for nearly 65 years. The decisions I have made on how to deal with trouble and the experiences I have had around this territory are vast. Of course, you have your own unfolding story. It is not my story. It is yours. Looking at expectation and prejudice is really alive for me right now. Shedding their insidious layers keeps me on my own edge, just the place I need to be in order to have your best interest at heart.

So there you have it. I could re-write this through the lens of teaching…the joy and challenge of holding space for students. We could all re-write it through the window of relationship, the way we hold space for the people in our lives. We are all holders and we all need to be held. What a soft-hearted world it would be if we all found ways to bring this more alive in our own lives.

Maybe this is the moment to make an appointment to be held in healing whatever is giving you trouble lately: (916) 267-5478. Be held in practice this week: Thursday night for the last of Winter Waves, Friday night for Let it Roll, Sunday morning for Sweat Your Prayers. And stay tuned to the next newsletter for the results of fundraising from Movement as Medicine.

For me, holding you is one sweet form of being held….bella

freedom and liberation

Wind sheds chaos in the trees, light is a subtle shade of brilliance and 67 people are acutely aware of how precious the time remaining is. For that I am humbly grateful. I am one of them. Very few are privileged enough or even see the point in carving three days out of time to focus on the biggest perspective. Most of us are so busy making a living it is easy to forget what a sacred and rare thing living is.

For AGE, in addition to Kate Shela, a multitude of teachers from each decade—20’s, 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, 70’s— shared their wisdom. Together, we dwelled in the past, relished the present, wondered about the future. Hour after hour, day after day we danced and drew and wrote through a particular lens: how life liberates us and how it can freeze us as well. There was refreshing liberty in personally clarifying the meaning of this by choosing random life experiences to investigate.

As an adult, I know liberation is an inside job. It has nothing to do with what life throws me and everything to do with how I choose to respond. It begins with unequivocal surrender and is stymied in the presence of certainty. It has vulnerability and humility and utter presence at its core. My head likes to obscure it and my heart has its back. It happens when I stand on my own two feet and trust…trust myself, trust the circumstance, trust the mystery. Liberation is slippery in challenging moments and sometimes the most radical change in perspective is required to create it.

What I know about freezing is that, as a child, it was instinctual, a survival response to threat. But then, at a certain age, it shifted into the habitual. In the light of mature awareness, it too has everything to do with how I choose to respond. And what is really exciting is to feel how, at the far end of the age spectrum, it happens so rarely and, when it does, I am able to witness it in current time. And usually it is not freezing at all. It is more like rolling. “Oh that….yes, I know that one…I’ll just roll with it or maybe it will roll over me or through me or under me.” It moves, it doesn’t freeze.

By the end of three days the shapes and flavors and stories of liberation and freezing went hand-in-hand, felt totally related, informed each other with the stamp of my personal style, magically and fluidly morphed from one to the other and back again. When it came time to write a letter from my elder self to my current self, the words leapt onto the page. My ancient self implored: don’t forget this sacred time of honoring the deep. I know you: quickly you’ll busy yourself, distract yourself, bury yourself in triviality. There is no time left to waste. Remember to ask for help when you need it. You are not doing life alone and are foolish when you pretend you are. Wake up. This is no rehearsal.

Stay in service….to yourself. Tend to that tender heart, that increasingly vulnerable body, that wandering mind. Nourish your soul with work you love and know spirit will manifest if you get out of the way. Surrender to the mystery. Stay in service…to the people you love. Find the fullest expression possible. Capture, foster, make the most of each moment. Do not wait for love to come to you; extend yourself to love. Reach out, make the first move. Be sorry, forgive, be wrong and own it. Trust, be steady, be vulnerable, be real. Stay in service…to your community. They are your life-blood, they are sometimes the reason to rise in the morning, they expect your best. Give it to them. They will hold you and back you and support you. Show up. Be honest. Be open. Be empty. Be….

Continuing to move toward liberation…..love, bella


I hadn’t been feeling well for several days. Yet it was Saturday afternoon and this commitment to teach Intro to 5Rhythms was long-standing and I am too much a professional to do anything other than show up. Maybe you’re like that too…a woman of my word, sometimes to a fault, for sure. As the first sounds filled the space, I felt my spirit lift on wings of music. And what to play and what to say and how to impart my deep love for this practice in a quick two hours, to the diverse variety of experience present in the room…well it all just began to flow. By the time we were complete, I felt immeasurably better. It is so obvious that movement is medicine. Look for the next Intro to 5R in this perfect space on April 11.

Two of the students who came are Sunday Dancers, my newly-coined name for those of you who love to show up on Sunday morning only. In 2014 I finally understood why Gabrielle considered Sweat Your Prayers an advanced practice for students who had been receiving instruction a long time. The Sweat Your Prayers format gives those with experience an opportunity to work their practice independently. Like going to yoga classes a long time and then rolling your mat out and doing it yourself. Now Sweat Your Prayers is a global phenomena with a life of its own, beautiful in many ways. And many show up and dive in with no roots in the particulars, no context for understanding some of what is coming to pass on the dance floor.

Anytime we begin to move freely, whenever we invite our bodies to find expression, especially when we shut up for two hours and actually feel…well, much can ultimately arise: physically, emotionally, head trip-wise, spiritually, you name it. When I facilitate, I see the outward manifestation of this truth. I also fielded many a phone call last year from those of you unsure of how to deal with some of the issues coming to light. Some Sunday Dancers have complimentary practices that support and serve them, help them deal with challenges that may emerge on the dance floor. Some stay stuck week after week, year after year in a limited movement vocabulary, ancient habitual patterns a sorry substitute for the new possibilities that often emerge with instructional practice. Some come for awhile, until the shit hits the fan, and then never return.

If I let it, it breaks my heart. But mostly I rest in a deep patient knowing that we all have our unique timeline. And if anyone is willing to listen, I invite them to take a leap, explore your juicy edge, dive in on Thursday, open to the possibility that there is so much more going on inside than you ever knew. And it can really be a life-changer when that juice becomes readily available. I’m sure I haven’t heard it all, but I’ve heard plenty. I know there are those quite adamant about not wanting instruction, those who god-help-me do not ask me to take a partner, those who just want to be left alone to ride the interior ecstatic replay loops.

It’s as difficult to name this as it is to witness. I have no answers…but I do have questions. When we humbly (love that word!) take those gently offered questions into our bodies, get out of our own way, we eventually realize that everything we ever need to know is right there on a cellular level. Thank you to those of you who took the first time leap this month. There is one more Thursday in January for you to come for free if you have never been.

Thank you to all the gorgeous Movement as Medicine volunteers who gathered Sunday learning how to work together March 15 to create a successful event. This time (still feeling under the weather!) my spirit was lifted by the unbridled enthusiasm, the steady willingness, the vast life years of experience present in this group. We just pulled together, did what was needed and literally kept the ball in forward motion for this fundraiser. We are particularly in need of bigger ticket donation items for the Silent Auction. Anyone have a vacation get away weekend to donate? Stuff like that!

Still noticing all the ways I don’t get out of my own way…love, bella


“Really? That’s just an old story.” Ever been on the receiving end of this condescending comment after baring your naked soul? Confiding hard-earned insight, true childhood root of why your all grown-up self just behaved like that? Maybe you actually censored that insight all on your own or maybe this pearl dropped from your own lips in response to a friend’s revelation. It’s a pop culture catch phrase. “That’s just an old story.” As if our old stories have no value. Ah but they do, they deeply shape us.

AGE February 20-22, the upcoming workshop with Kate Shela, has me reflecting on these stories and the way they shape each of us individually and as a community. The circumstances around our helpless early years, depending on whoever was taking care or not taking care of our every basic need. Big important story. Young children at the mercy of whoever taught us or didn’t, modeled for us or didn’t, how to connect to our feelings and learn to love another. Huge story. And as we made our way out into the world, were we supported in creatively exploring our budding independence…or not so much? Poignant story. Now add in each story every decade weaves in – in our bodies, in our hearts, in our minds. This creates our basic soul operating system.

We can know the stories are an illusion, that believing in and blaming stories creates suffering, keeps us victimized, separate, screws with our sense of belonging. Personally, in my world, there is only one way to break through illusion and it is not via groovy- spiritual-bypass-transcendence. We break on through the messy way: head on, warrior like, straight through.

In AGE we step back and take a look at the broad story. In Kate Shela’s words: “The investigation is life and death. Where are we now with all that has brought us to this point? How well are we aging? How old do we feel? Are we alive enough so that the fear of death does not kill us in the moment? Is living allowing us to be fully present to and in our lives? We are all given mysterious bodies that transform, regenerate and ultimately age. It is through the body that we experience our world and that we connect to the world. It is also from within our bodies that we make commitments for our timeline ahead. Let us show up in our wisdom no matter our age and discover how we wish to spend our time living so that we know how we wish to age.”

I’ve danced this territory with incredible guidance over the years. Multiple times, various ways, many hours. Without fail, every time, an unexpected layer peels away. You start thinking there can’t be any more. Yet each time there is a fresh tender vulnerable softness that gains footing, blooms, flourishes. And we are just that much more exquisitely, palpably free. How do you put a price on freedom? Early bird price through January 22 is $275. Worth every dollar.

Speaking of dollars. Have received several request for scholarship assistance for this workshop. The well has run dry. But we are doing something about that. Movement as Medicine is March 15. Join us in celebration – dance and yoga, drumming and expressive art – and raising funds (all by donation) for Yoga Seed Collective and that scholarship fund. Here is how you can help right now:

1. RSVP for volunteer meeting post-Sweat Sunday January 25. You could help with the silent auction, the retail, the set up/break down, at the door. But more importantly, you can be an integral part of this community and eat burritos.

2. Root through your drawers and give me an old nano or iPod you are not using. Gonna load it waves for the raffle. Email me.

3. Like us on Facebook

4. Why wait? Donate now. And thank you.

Come discover the stories alive in those bodies. Come move with me on a floor somewhere this week Thursday, Friday or Sunday. We are all at such a tender age…bella