What shall I make of this day? I am awake and desire so much from myself and what lies ahead in the delectable minutes before me. My heart, my mind, my whole being has been so full and overflowing of JOY! For months! What is this…who is this? What have I become? I wish for this to never end…this is almost too much for me to take in. I have become a stranger to myself. There has been a feeling of such quality, and depth and strength; so full and rich and vibrant it must…it needs…it demands to overflow the container of my life. I feel it ooze out of me into the messy world I inhabit.

So here I sit this morning, and it has been far too long since I have enjoyed a moment of this kind of solitude; composed and disposed of a mind to companion with myself; to dialogue on paper so as to perceive…to understand…to comprehend the meaning of this change which has bubbled over my thinking for so very many, many months now. I feel like I have walked into someone else’s life…where is my darkness; my despair; my sadness. What has become of them? They have flown away, carried off to parts unknown. Grateful I am to have lost those traveling companions, I am so full of awe and giddy delight of this new place of thinking and feeling and living; it is sweet; pure; peaceful. What have I done to deserve such recompense? In quite times, before I wander off to sleep I am almost afraid to wake lest my dreamscape vaporize upon morning’s first light; tempted I am, to fear waking and a return of the shadow lands.

Ultimately, what brings joy to any experience isn’t the experience itself but the quality of thinking that we bring to it. Slowing Down to the Speed of Life by Richard Carlson & Joseph Bailey

But no, every morning, every day is new! There is One who travels so closely with me these days and informs me otherwise. Here, now, together we go; there is no fear; no longing for another day; only perfect rest and bliss and love of everything…because everything is as it should be. My prayer, then, if I could form one perfect thought this morning, before the first light of dawn, is for you…the one who has read these words of mine.

Rise up in your solitude, in your quiet place and wait and hope and trust for your Peace to come and rest upon your heart and mind and soul. Today this is my hope and prayer for you. That in quietness you will discover what is most beneficial, most healing and helpful to you. Be patient; faint not; carry on in faithful service whatever and wherever your calling finds or places you. Be the change you want to see: in yourself…in others…in the world.


Dancing, Blessing, & Moving For Joy

I was over 50 years old before I personally connected  with the happy benefits of moving my body to music…in public…in front of other people…with other people. I know that sounds odd in today’s modern, immodest age, but that is just the kind of person I grew into.

Yet as a personal trainer and recreational sportsperson, I am well versed in the feel-good endorphins illicted in the body when it is engaged in moderate physical activities. I just  never considered or experienced the value of participating in a group fitness class  based in music or dance. I assumed such benefits were reserved for those who had a background in dance, and I had no such experience with dance in a social or fitness setting. Thankfully, in the early days of my fitness education training, my mentor (who was also my employer) strongly encouraged me to consider providing a group music-based fitness class to his facility’s program offerings.

The soul is seen when it reaches out in love. Blessing is done by the soul.
Blessing is the projection of good into the life of another.
We must think it, and feel it, and will it.
We communicate it with our bodies.
Blessing is kind of like an ancient dance of the Hokey-Pokey;
Before you finish you have to ‘put your whole self in.’
Soul Keeping: Caring For the Most Important Part of You ~ John Ortberg

Now fast forward 8 years and I have had the privilege of leading as many as 7 group movement classes per week in addition to a roster full of personal training clients. Half of those group classes involve moving to music; and I like to think of these music-based classes as synchronized movement therapy. I still don’t think of myself as a dancer, but in the six years of leading these group music-based movement classes I have witnessed over and over again, the transformative and healthful benefits produced upon the lives of those who regularly attend these physical activity classes.

Changing your personal meaning of exercise and physical activity from a chore into a gift will transform your relationship with movement.
No Sweat ~ Michelle Segar

And be assured, the only requirement necessary to receive a health benefit from moving is to simply choose a mindset of being a blessing…to yourself. When you attend to your body’s need for movement with the intentional purpose of having fun (read: joy), you practically guarantee a blessing upon yourself, your soul. Additionally, such a mindset (job one = fun) quickly displaces feelings of competition or uncomfortable self-awareness you might otherwise experience in a group setting.

As the instructor of these music-movement classes, I have discovered I am not immune to this soul blessing phenomenon which takes place during and after the classes I lead.  It is a mystical effect, of which I cannot easily explain. But many times during a class period this blessing energy is not only visible on the radiant, gleaming faces of group participants, but I also sense the invisible yet nearly tangible presence of joy (love?) mixing and moving in our midst…the likes of which make me feel like a silly, awestruck five year old child.

Always remember this: Most of our aging is just decay, and decay is optional; it’s  under your control. Some of life’s changes are not under your control, but this one
is. Taking charge of your life, physically and emotionally, is the best possible antidote to standard aging.  And it all starts with exercise.
Younger Next Year ~ Chris Crowley & Henry S Lodge, M.D.

Wherever I go and with whomever I talk, I preach the blessing-benefits available for the taking when we discover a physical activity which brings playful joyfulness into our lives. There is not a one-size-fits-all list of sanctioned activities which constitutes ‘real exercise’. No, the most vital part of soul/body blessing is in bringing and moving one’s self purposefully to each and every activity which brings joyful feelings to one’s heart and puts beaming smiles on one’s face.

When you recover or discover something that nourishes your soul and brings joy, care enough about yourself to make room for it in your life.
Jean Shinoda Bolen