Monday, August 15, 2016

The beauty of imperfection - by Jim Apone

How many times have you started a sentence with “if only”,” I wish” or something similar? The problem doesn’t lie in the fact that we have hopes, dreams or desires, rather it lies in the fact that we think we are incomplete without these material things we long for. How much energy have we wasted thinking the perfect life is out there and it’s not ours? How many times do we relive the past wishing we would have done something different or we think of the perfect thing to say, an hour later of course. How often do we live our lives two weeks into the future or two weeks in the past? How often do we compare what we feel on the inside to what we see on the outside of others? All of this leads us to believe that we are somehow not living that fabulous life, that we fall short of perfection. That somehow everyone else has their act together and we just can’t seem to catch up let alone live that “perfect” life. It causes us misery, feelings of inadequacy, depression, and self-hatred and in some cases, large amounts of debt. How could you possibly measure up to a fantasy? The simple answer is you can’t. The good news is you don’t have to and you can stop right this second. I don’t know if I’ve described anything that you can relate to but that was exactly my story. I used to say I was looking for perfection in an imperfect world. It took me many years to realize that I had it backwards. Everything is already perfect; it was me that was imperfect and in that imperfection is exactly where I found joy. You might wonder what exactly changed. Well I can tell you I still have the same weight to lose, the same amount of money in the bank, the same friends who seemingly have the perfect life. I still have the same imperfect life but I came to realize that none of it mattered anymore. I realized that all the energy I was using living two weeks in the future or past were just making me miss the life I had right here, right now. I could start to enjoy birds singing outside at 6 in the morning instead of getting upset that they woke me up. After all they didn’t know they woke me up and they gave me their song for free. I could see the beauty in nature instead of rushing past worrying about something that might not even happen. I could laugh with a small child; I could sit with an elderly neighbor, I could take the time to be a human being instead of a human doing. I could laugh, love and cry. It was in that being present that I truly discovered all the beauty and joy that I had been rushing by barely noticing. I don’t want to give the impression that everything is all roses. Being present you feel the pain, the anxiety, the discomfort at a seemingly amplified level. The beauty is you feel it in the moment and then the moment passes. You feel it! So often we don’t want to experience pain or discomfort, we don’t want to feel at all so we stuff our emotions until they manifest in anger and we direct it towards some unsuspecting people, places or things (ourselves included). We simply hide from life when we feel it’s less than perfect. It never occurred to me what I was missing, hiding from the less enjoyable aspects of life, what lessons I was refusing to learn. What the pursuit of perfection had robbed from me. How I missed all the beauty that was imperfection. How the pain yields to joy, how the rain yields to sunny skies and how life goes on if you are willing to live it. I hope you have an imperfect life, I hope you find the beauty of imperfection and lastly I want to share a poem by Bob Perks that sums it up perfectly...
I wish you enough I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright. I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more. I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive. I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much bigger. I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting. I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess. I wish enough "Hello's" to get you through the final "Goodbye." My friends, I wish you enough!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Taking time for "me time".

I'm stating for the record, my name is Barbie and I'm a stressed out mother! I love my kids more than anything but sometimes I want to find a nice padded cell for them to bounce around in while mommy takes a nap. Don't get me wrong, I would make it really nice with toys and food, I'm not a monster! They wouldn't need to stay long either, I just want a nice long nap, maybe a bath, possibly a snack, four/five hours, tops. Mommy would be right as rain. I could pretend like I'm joking but as I write this my almost three year old just poured sweet tea all over the rug, so yeah... What I'm getting at is a mom needs a break once in a while, but how can you find the time? My job as a fitness instructor is great because it's a job with stress relievers built in and I don't feel bad about getting a babysitter, because hey a girl's gotta work. Exercise is one of the least utilized, but most effective stress relievers out there, I'm pretty sure some really smart scientist quoted that, but I do know it works for me. I've also made a lot of great friends while teaching and attending classes, being a busy mom that's something that gets difficult as your kids lives take over your own. We need girlfriends they just make life better and loads more fun. So to you busy, stressed out mom, I urge you to find that "me" time. It can be a fitness class, book club, a walk on the beach, or just coffee with a friend. Just take a break, you deserve it and don't feel guilty it will actually make you a better mother and a happier person. No padded cell needed, for you or the kids.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Fit and Fresh

Yoga means to connect, to join, to yoke, and bring together. Connections are everywhere… when we move with our breath, become still and join mind with body, and when we connect with one another. Bobby and I have known Kevin over the past several years through our yoga vacation in Jamaica. Kevin has been on staff at The Negril Escape Resort and Spa as a yardman, working with maintenance, helping with the laundry and other jobs, and most recently as head of the laundry. Kevin always, always wears a big smile, works without stopping and seeks to do the next job, and always has time to make sure you are comfortable. He never complains or speaks a negative word. And yet, as most people we know in Jamaica, his life is not easy. He is not afforded the simple, routine basics that we are so accustomed to having. It’s with this background that I recognize Kevin as one of my teachers. One early morning during our last visit, we greeted Kevin with your typical, “Good morning. How are you?” My mind was on what I had to do before teaching class. When Kevin immediately answered in his enthusiastic voice and vibrant smile, “I’m fit and fresh. Fit and fresh, Miss Claire!” I took pause. I still do when I remember this sweet moment. Kevin chooses to live his life in abundance. He’s fully engaged with each activity and views his world as being filled with the extraordinary gifts that are always available to each of us. He’s fit and fresh as he greets the new day. His words continue to impress me. His words remind me that in each moment we can choose. We can choose if and when to connect. We can choose to be what and how we want to be. I choose fit and fresh today. Thank you, Kevin. By: Claire Liddle

Sunday, January 10, 2016

New Year, New Mind

The pressure is on. It’s the New Year, and that means a new resolution to guide your path forward for the coming year. But if you’re like the majority of us who set resolutions, 92 percent of us to be exact, that resolution loses steam by the end of January, if not before, and falls into the graveyard of forgotten resolutions. Statistically, only 8% of those who make a New Year’s resolution actually keep it. For many, resolutions for the New Year start with a fitness goal, breaking a bad habit, getting organized, or managing finances better. But what if we thought about resolutions as intentions, like those we set in yoga? Perhaps we let those intentions become our goals for the year, not just in yoga practice, but in life practice?

An intention is a higher-consciousness of a thought, a thing, a goal, and using it for a higher purpose. Intentions provide you with an agenda to help you set your priorities and expectations. By consciously setting an intention, you are saying to yourself, and the universe, that you are committed to this thought, this thing, this goal. Making your intention clear also helps you become more mindful when it goes off track, so you can quickly self-correct.      

Mind over Matter
47% of resolution makers set count self-improvement as their goal. Reducing stress in their lives is a big part of that category. The day-to-day stress can cause illness and even interfere with cognitive capabilities. Just like the calm you get from an hour-long yoga class, strive to maintain that “mind over matter” experience  outside of your practice to combat the everyday stressors at work, school, or at home. Take a quiet time out whenever you get a chance, whenever you’re feeling tense or frazzled.

What You Think You Become
Buddha taught, “The mind is everything. What you think, you become.” If you think you are successful, you will be successful. If you think you are a quitter, you will be a quitter. According to some researchers, the average human has between 50,000 and 70,000 thoughts in a single day. Imagine if the majority of those thoughts were negative. What if we all wasted our thoughts on worrying about things we can’t control, or worrying about the future or the unknown? What if our thoughts are complaints or criticisms? What you focus on has a dramatic impact on your reality, so think positively and train your mind to ignore the negative thoughts and focus on the unlimited potential you can unlock.  

Manifesting Energy
Remember, your thoughts and energy create your reality. Through positive thoughts and energy you can manifest your desires, success, and wellness. Move this positive energy you create inside of your body to the outside where you can experience it, share it, and become more aware of it. When that energy – the negative thoughts - stay inside, you aren’t as likely to hold yourself accountable for it. You can manifest this energy through writing your thoughts down, drawing them, or painting them. Then, send them back to the universe to manifest your goals!

Setting an intention will not only bring your yoga practice to a deeper level, but can bring your daily life to a deeper level. Try making these intentions everyday habits without the pressure of a once-a-year resolution to help ensure your success in maintaining them.

Did you know…that yoga is a practice that you carry with you throughout the day, long after your time on the mat has ended, so it’s the best place to set a daily intention? Check out Movement Works Winter Yoga schedule to find a class that meets your needs.  

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Peace, Love, and Mandalas

When is a circle more than just a circle? Well, the short answer is, a circle is never just a circle. Did you know that according to the ancient science of Sacred Geometry, the configurations created by interlocking spheres – circles – form the matrix of all universal matter? Think about the circles in our environment like the sun, the moon, and the earth, and the circles of our bodies like our pupils and irises, and even our circle of friends. All are spheres of energy and power that can help us heal and create.    

Perhaps there is no better representation of wholeness, balance, and healing than that of the scared mandala. The term Mandala comes from the ancient Sanskrit language and means circle or center. Mandalas are often used as an art therapy tool to promote healing and positivity. And what better time for a little positivity and healing than Christmas.
circle of the

Come fall, we hit the ground running preparing for the upcoming holidays with family and friends and don’t stop until the New Year. And though the holiday seasons are a celebration of birth, life, love, peace, and togetherness, they can also produce stress and anxiety. By the time the season is over we’ve exhausted ourselves physically and emotionally. Creating a mandala can help you and your children wind down and mediate during the holidays and give a chance to connect with one another through the power of art.

One way to harness the power of a sacred mandala circle is through a mandala coloring book. You can find several options online or most likely at your local craft stores where the coloring books are found. Feeling creative? Sketch your own mandala pages to color. Through the power of mandalas you can:

  • Be aware
  • Be balanced
  • Be creative
  • Be mindful
  • Be relaxed
  • Be together

Mandala coloring books give you and your children a time out from the pressures of life to connect thru mindfulness at Christmas time and beyond. Make it your family’s new healthy and mindful Christmas tradition. 

From all of us at Movement Works, we wish you a safe, calm, peaceful, and joyful Christmas.  

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Movement Works Presents Second Annual Holiday Variety Show in South Brunswick County

"A Dancing Christmas" showcases two of the best gifts on earth - music and movement.

Although only in its second year, "A Dancing Christmas" promises to be a Brunswick County holiday tradition.

It's a true holiday variety show featuring nearly 20 vignettes inspired by the passion for dance and music in the name of the season, and showcases tap dance ensembles, hip hop, jazz, and modern dance assortments, yoga sequences, samurai sword performances, Christmas Waltz and Tango pieces, juggling, and singing. And no southern variety show would be complete without a visit from its own spin on the traditional Santa...some crooning from an Elvis look-alike dressed in holiday finery.

The audience can expect to see programs set to classic holiday songs like "Sugar Plum Fairy", "March of the Toys", and the timeless piece from The Peanuts Gang, "Linus and Lucy" by world-famous composer, Vince Guaraldi. In addition, fun and contemporary pieces like James Brown's "Go Power" from his one and only Christmas album, "Funky Christmas", a hip hop remix of "Jingle Bells", and North Carolina's own Squirrel Nut Zippers "Carolina Christmas" round out the evening.

A production of this size, over 50 cast members, is something you might expect to see in a well-seasoned professional show, but Nancy Smith, artistic director and lead choreographer isn't intimidated.  "It's our plan to hold at least two performances each year, one for our winter and spring seasons," she explains.  "Eventually, as we grow, we'd like to offer even more performance opportunities. It's my job as an artist to not only share my craft, but to produce work, and this is how you promote the arts. By making art."  Nancy, a Brunswick County native, is no stranger to considerable dance productions. Her work has been seen at venues in New York City like Fredreck Lowe Theater, Skirball Center for Performing Arts, Aaron Davis Hall, the Tank, and Peridance Capezio Center, to name a few.

"A Dancing Christmas" offers something for every audience member - families, children, and seniors. Performers range in age from 3 to 75, which means everyone will be inspired to keep moving. The ballroom dancers range from 50 to 70. "They move across the stage with such agility and grace," says Nancy. The ladies tap ensemble is composed of dancers ages 25 to 75. Talk about tapping across the generations! For the tweens, teens, and in-betweens, Modern dance performers improvise, bringing their own unique flair to the art.

In harmony with the show's title, "A Dancing Christmas", Nancy hopes to give the gift of music and movement to everyone who attends, and hopes residents of Brunswick County and beyond make the holiday show an annual family tradition.

"Numerous venues roll out their holiday performances from Myrtle Beach to Wilmington. Somehow, Brunswick County, lying in between, is easily overlooked," Nancy says. "We are simply starved for the arts and culture. Beginning here, at this time of the season, we have an opportunity to support and promote an understanding in the arts."

"A Dancing Christmas" will be held at South Brunswick Islands Center, 9400 Ocean Hwy. 17 W. Carolina Shores, on Saturday, December 12 at 7:00 pm. Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for children and are available at the Movement Works studio or at the door on the day of the show. A portion of the proceeds will support Hope Harbor Home, a domestic violence center that provides around-the-clock comprehensive care to women and children in need.  For more information contact Movement Works at 910-579-4845.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

How Gratitude and Willie Nelson Can Change Your Life

When it comes to words of wisdom and advice for living a grateful life, we typically find resolution from the likes of Buddha, Mother Teresa, Deepak Chopra, and Willie Nelson.  Wait, who?  Yep, here’s a brief but profound quote from the outlaw of country music himself:

“When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around”  -- Willie Nelson

Short, sweet, and to the point.  But it’s also easier said than done; to be grateful that is. Most of us
generally think that gratitude is something you say out loud, like “thank you”, but gratitude is deeper than that.  It’s something you feel, but it must be practiced, recognized, and shared.  And the more you practice gratitude, the less effort it becomes.  Here are ten examples of gratitude:

·         Gratitude is a conscious effort to appreciate what you already have, not what you don’t have, and certainly not worrying about what others have.  

·         Gratitude is also about valuing what’s good in your life and not dwelling on the bad stuff. Most of us have had, or will have had misfortunes at some point in our life. 

·         Gratitude is about giving credit to others, but not discounting your own achievements. You can find gratitude in winning or succeeding without the burden of humility.

·         Gratitude drives your desire to do more – for yourself and for others – not to be complacent.  

·         Gratitude is listening to a story that’s been told and retold by a family member or friend, but listening just as intently this time as you did the first time.  

·         Gratitude is sieving sand through your fingers on the beach, appreciating each grain.

·         Gratitude is the quiet time you have to sit and appreciate something – a good book, a warm drink, a letter from a friend.

·         Gratitude is acknowledging a smile from a stranger you pass on the street.

·         Gratitude is an open mind and the ability to learn and grow intellectually, spiritually, and emotionally.

·         Gratitude is being alive, healthy, able bodied and able minded, and being thankful for whatever degree each is in, because it can always be worse.   

What’s your definition of gratitude?  How do you practice it?  How do you share it?   The fact is we have so much to be grateful for.  For example, this beautiful, mild climate we’ve been experiencing throughout the month of November.  It’s hard to believe we’ll be celebrating Thanksgiving this week! 

So as you prepare to gather with friends and family on Thursday, take a long quiet moment this week to think about what it means to be grateful. And think about those pioneers of gratitude (Willie Nelson included) and the conscious decisions they made to care more about what they have than what they don’t. 

From all of us here at Movement Works, we wish you and your family peace, love, spirit, and mindfulness this Thanksgiving holiday.

Happy Thanksgiving!