A Wobbly salute to all the good men

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A Wobbly salute to all the good men

In this age of renewed and redefined feminism and our angst about the political push and pull over rights for women (a battle that is both encouraging and maddening), I thought some nice words about good guys would be a great way to finish the weekend.

I spent two hours today in my new-found happy place:  Dance Church.  This is a big dance studio in a local neighborhood that holds space each week for a rave.  In the daylight and with old people and children and everyone else.   It’s amazing and has become the source of my smile for a number of reasons, chief of which is that I love to watch the men who come to dance.

Before my husband has a coronary, let me explain myself.  Today, I watched a father and his toddler boy.  The little one was clinging to his dad for dear life as Dad danced him around in joyful circles all over the room.  They both had the most gleeful expressions on their faces—looked like pure bliss for both.

In another corner of the room, a tall gentleman glided smoothly in geometric patterns of rhythm, stopping every now and then to shake hands with some of the more senior movers and shakers passing him by.

Another older man wears one neon orange sneaker and one neon pink sneaker, and spends the time giving little kiddos “slide-rides” across the floor on some of the large scarves available for all to play with.

There are several other men who are just there doing their thing—looking totally comfortable with themselves, enjoying their expressions and explorations, keeping to the corners or soaking up the energy in the middle.  I imagine these men to be gay, straight, artists, accountants, saints and sinners, fathers, sons, brothers, and friends.

My husband is another (and my favorite) of the men I watch—mostly because I was completely surprised he came with me in the first place.  At first he joined in because it was Mother’s Day and he volunteered because that’s what I wanted to do.  Fast forward to several minutes into the music, and this man I married was out in the middle of the floor, hands up, eyes closed, smiling and grooving like the bad-ass Irishman he is.

My point in telling this story is that I think men have a confusing path to walk today.  I am fully engaged in being a powerful woman and I love the new evolution of feminism.  The gender landscape can change in a hurry as we women further define our power and step into the confidence it takes to wield it wisely.  I am so grateful for men who embrace these changes as both genders learn more about what it means to be men, women, or somewhere in between.

So thank you from the bottom of my heart for men who are willing to be vulnerable and emotional and joyful and playful as much as they are strong and masculine.  May we all continue to dance with joy around and with each other and teach our sons and daughters how to do the same.

Dance your Wobbly dance, and have a great week.  

Open Space: A weird and irresistible way to lead a retreat, and why you should come!

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Open Space:  A weird and irresistible way to lead a retreat, and why you should come!

So this retreat thing.  I’ve been struggling for 2 weeks trying to explain to everyone what the Fall 2015 Embrace The Wobble Yoga retreat is about.  Then in a conversation on Facebook a thought occurred to me:  just explain it!  Tell your story about it!

And now, my Open Space story.

When I was 22, my mom invited me to go to a conference.  She had been to the one the year before and had a good time.  Basically, I was thinking all these freeze-dried hippies got together at a nice resort on Lake Superior and sat around in a circle and sang Kum Ba Yah all weekend long, with incense and tie dye.  Since my mom was paying the conference fee, lodging, and meals, I figured, “What the hell?……It’ll be nice by the lake at any rate.”

So, on the first day, we all (around 60 of us) get in this big circle, and the King Hippie (A very cool man named Harrison Owen–wearing a hat but no tie dye) begins to explain the weekend, and how beauty and order come from chaos, and how a little of that is a very healthy thing in our lives, and when we are willing to put our issues and challenges out there for others to see and collaborate on, we get a whack load of shit done in a very short amount of time  (my words, not his, and PS, there were some very high-powered people in the room, I learned later, and they were more deep thinkers, business moguls, and wonderful artists–with a touch of hippie in there too).

So then, we were all invited to put down topics of interest, concern, passion, or struggle on a sheet of paper and tape it to this big blank wall called the “Marketplace.”   A bunch of papers went up.  Then, we were all invited to take a look at the papers—the topics—and put our names down on the papers of interest to us.  There was a unifying theme to this whole bizarre thing, but for the life of me I cannot remember what it was.  I just put my name down on some of the topics that looked fun to talk about.

What happened next was this:  I remember not a thing, really, about what was discussed.  It was 18 years ago, after all.  What I remember is the way I felt.  Every group I joined welcomed me fully and cared about what I thought.  Some of the talks ended up being about my stuff and the group focused on helping me work through thoughts, ideas, solutions, etc. to whatever we were puzzling through.  In other groups I mainly listened and helped others where I thought I could.

Not once did anyone pat me on the head for being one of the youngest people there.  Not once was I asked to leave a group or given the once-over, or non-verbally told I wasn’t welcome at the cool kids’ table.  Never was it implied that my thoughts and views weren’t relevant or important.

After a life of being on the fringes, struggling to find my place, and feeling awkward in groups, I found acceptance and welcome.  I felt powerful and expansive and humbled and grateful all at the same time.  I felt extreme joy and the freedom to PLAY with these other weirdos.  Maybe sort of like ComicCon, only existential and sans storm trooper costumes?  I don’t know. I DO know during the celebration party and dance, I found myself playing DJ and getting the whole room to get up and move.  People were asking geeky ME to show them how to dance like I did.  Holy shit.  How is that even possible?

Needless to say, this was a life-changing experience to say the least.

I went to another such conference a couple summers later, and the theme was different.  This time, as a fledgling manager in my job, I came away with all sorts of tools for people skills, leadership, training and facilitation—-everything that has been a springboard for where I am now.

And the same feeling of personal power, importance, acceptance, love, and value permeated the whole weekend.

Fast forward to now.  I want to host a retreat because people need escapes that do not require airplanes and four thousand dollars.  I want to throw a little yoga in there (duh), but really, I want to create the space for the same feelings described above to occur for a group of 50 of my newest friends.  I want to create the opportunity for expanded community and turbo-charged problem solving.  I want to create a memorable experience in the beauty of nature with folks who want to go deep and laugh long.

So, if this all sounds good to you, I hope you will come play with me in September.  I don’t know exactly what will happen, but I know it will be good.  And if there is one thing we all need more of, it’s goodness.

See you in a few months at Dancing Yarrow, Wobblers.  And, here’s some early-bird incentive.  Register in the next two weeks and save fifty bucks.  I REALLY want you to party with me.

To sign up visit our site here: Embrace the Wobble Retreat


Take care and have a great week!

When Yoga Doesn’t Work…

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When Yoga Doesn’t Work…

This week has been a little tough.  There are many deadlines to meet for an upcoming yoga conference, the studio and classes and clients to serve, and a first-in-our-history retreat to finish planning and begin promoting.  Also, it’s been a week of injury for me as well, which leaves me feeling tired, in pain, frustrated, and sad that my regular activities are on hold till I heal.  (I’m kind of used to this by now, it’s chronic arthritis that flares up from time to time, especially seasonally.)

My go-to way of coping with weeks like this is to deny, deny, deny that anything is hard.  I’m trying to “use” my yoga tools—-detachment, gratitude, smile, breathe, stretching gently, etc.  None of them are really working at all to make me feel any better.

So, I’m here to say that yoga does not always work to fix life or to transcend challenges or rise above circumstance.  Sometimes it really does do all those things.  Just not all at once and not this week.

I’m sitting here right now writing and struggling (again) to admit that I cannot do everything and sometimes I need help.  I hate that I’m beginning to come around to the thought that maybe I need these weeks to remind me of those facts.

I’ve been reading a lot of articles on Facebook today about people who have problems that are way worse than mine—-even a very good one about Keanu Reeves and all the heaps and tons of loss he has suffered in his 50 years.  More than anyone deserves to experience, for sure.  Even THAT does not make me feel any better about my current place.

I think, then, the only thing to do is allow and admit that I struggle too—that I am struggling now, right this minute, and yet I am okay.  I will struggle for as long as I do and then life will move through a new rhythm and it will be my turn to not struggle for awhile.

I don’t write this article to garner sympathy or have a pity party– rather to serve as an example that it is okay to be in the group of “other people who have problems”  once in a while and sit there for as long as you need to.

It’s nice sometimes, just to let others into your struggle.  I can’t think of anything specifically that I need (other than for my back to stop hurting—but I have a great chiropractor) right now…maybe just company.  So, Wobblers, keep me company while I sit here in the soup.  What is going on with all of you this week?  What is your high?  What is your low?  What are you doing this weekend?

Be well and tell those who keep you company through the struggles AND the triumphs how much you appreciate them.

Oh, and here is a link to a lion and a tiger keeping each other company.  This video actually DOES make me feel a bit better.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t9je3P-_NmU


Leah

A completely shameless plug!

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A completely shameless plug!

Hi, Wobblers.  I’m terribly excited about this Saturday, so I’m going to talk about it in my blog—because it’s mine and I can.

This Saturday, we are going to hang out in the studio for a couple of hours and talk about bodies.  Their shape, their size, their abilities, or lack thereof.  Our feelings—good and bad—about them.

We are going to talk about “perfection” and what that word means to us and how we frame our bodies around that word.

We are going to get educated on exactly what it takes to maintain certain ranges of body fat, and how much work it takes to feel and appear fit.

We are going to be making some personal decisions—-about what healthy looks and feels like–for each of us.  About what kind of nutrition makes us feel nourished, supported, entertained, and satisfied.  About how, when, and where we move our bodies—what our limits are and how to expand them—both in our minds and limbs.  AND WE ARE GOING TO BE COMPLETELY OKAY WITH OUR CHOICES.

Okay, and because it’s a yoga studio, we are also going to do some yoga.  (Of course!)  Finally, we are going to sample some snacks too, so you get to be a voice in deciding the products our studio may offer to it’s students and members in the coming months.  We exist because of you, so why wouldn’t we want to know what you think about our decisions?

So, if you want to join our body party, we still have a few slots left.   Register here on this link:  http://www.embracethewobble.com/education-workshops

This could be the first step to your BEST self.  Or maybe it’s your 99th step.  Either way, we want you on the mat.  Plus, several very cool people have already signed up, and you don’t want to waste a chance to be one of the cool kids, do ya?  I didn’t think so.

Take care, Wobblers.  Say nice things to yourself, and we’ll see you Saturday.

Leah:)

Why You Should Get The Hell Out of Dodge

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Why You Should Get The Hell Out of Dodge

I’d really love to book a flight every quarter to Bali, or Tahiti, or even Florida for a week or two of blissful sunshine, luxury accommodations, and gourmet whole food prepared by the best chefs in the industry.  I’ve been to the beach before (when it was within driving distance to my house) and I fully believe that breaks like the one described above are absolutely essential to our health and well-being.

Trips like the one I described help us to de-stress, renew, fill our “cups”, and heal all of our cumulative little hurts—-the physical, spiritual, and emotional pains we endure on a daily basis.

Though someday I fully believe I will have the financial means to travel the world with my family and vacation for weeks or months on end, today I live in the real world.

Thankfully, in this real world, a retreat space exists to provide all of the benefits I just talked about, and it’s RIGHT HERE just outside of Minneapolis.  Can you believe that?!

Ladies and gentleman, I give you……….Dancing Yarrow Farm, and Dennis and Melanie, the Experts-in-Everything owners.

These people are amazing.  And their land is amazing.  And you really should just drop everything and go there.  With or without your kids—either scenario works great.

Melanie and Dennis have created a full-service, farm-to-table retreat experience complete with a running river, sauna, hiking, and Frisbee golf for those who prefer a mainstream family getaway.  For those open to a little deeper dive down the rabbit hole, Dennis provides herbalist healing, dietary consulting, and will readily share his wealth of knowledge on energized mineralization of his soil and the evolution of his journey to complete sustainable living.  It’s fascinating.   Plus, they live in this really cool dome house that is a study in energy efficiency and creative space design.

Our meals (dinner and breakfast) were a rainbow of seasonal color and flavor, despite it being not-quite-spring.  We enjoyed a local chicken, roasted to perfection by Melanie’s capable hands, fresh beets, green beans,  and potatoes.   Dessert was a German-inspired raspberry crumbly cake, finished with a coffee-esque drink called Dandy-blend, made from dandelions and other cool stuff.  I won’t even mention the TWO kinds of pancakes and egg-quinoa-vegetable casserole deliciousness we enjoyed for breakfast the following morning.

Wobblers, THIS is a retreat for real people.  You can chill out or fill your plate with activity.  You can totally unplug.  You can work (they love help on the farm, and reward you with food for different levels of work commitment during the growing season) or play, learn, sweat and swim, or even kayak on the Buffalo river.

Stay tuned, Wobble Tribe, because plans are in the works for a Wobble Yoga retreat at Dancing Yarrow in the Fall.  Meanwhile, take yourself, your spouse, and/or your kids out there for some summer camping to get a taste.  You won’t want to leave.  Find them at http://www.farmstayus.com/farm/Wisconsin/Farm_to_Fork_Retreat_at_Dancing_Yarrow.  Tell them Embrace The Wobble Yoga wishes we were there!

Even though the pics below were taken on a cold, wet, March day, there is still so much beauty and we left feeling warm, full, and renewed!  Melanie and Dennis are featured in the second pic.

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dennis and melanie

dancing yarrow farm

Resolution Refresh!

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Resolution Refresh!

‘Afternoon, Tribe.   I’ve been hearing lately from many people they are in a slump.  This is pretty common up here in the land of the Vitamin D deficiency.  March is tough month.  It’s spring one minute, and winter the next.  Seems like people are getting one last cold virus just because they can.  We can’t plant anything or break out the barbeque just yet, but also cannot skate, ski, or snowboard.  Best of all, shoveling is still required some days!

Oi.  Slumpity-slump-slump.

So, my best advice is pretty short and simple—kick yourself in the butt to do one healthy thing each day.

  1. Move your body (meet us on the mat—-it is an instant mood-lifter, promise!)
  2. Take a nap.
  3. Eat a salad with lots of greens (they are just coming into season now……)
  4. Talk to a friend—spend 10 minutes bitching about how crappy it is right now, and then encourage each other and say happy things for the next 20 minutes.
  5. Look at your body—-find a piece of you that you love—your legs?  Your shoulder?  Your cute little ears? And let that love radiate through your entire self….
  6. Have a glass of water or a cup of herbal tea.
  7. Go shopping for a pair of shorts.
  8. Get a pedicure to prepare for sandals.
  9. Remember that our current “tweener” season will not last forever, and our toes will be in the lake before too long.


So, that’s it!  Wobble on, Tribe……Spring’s almost here!

Changing The World One Wobble At A Time

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Changing The World One Wobble At A Time

Did you know that we all change the world?  Since we are all unique, the world would not be the same without each of us standing around at our respective bus stops.   The chance smile, a bit of eye contact, the loose change you give to the dude with the sign on the freeway exit, it all makes a difference.

I started to get a little discouraged about my difference-making ability the other day when I heard about this pizza place in Philadelphia—maybe you saw the video making the rounds?  Basically, the owner sells pizza slices for $1.00 a piece—pretty ho-hum run-of-the-mill business plan and I’m sure he pays his bills okay if he’s in a good location.  At that price, the pizza really doesn’t even have to taste great, although I’m sure he cares about the yumminess of the product.

The cool thing about this place is that he offers his customers the chance to pay it forward by paying more for a slice (customer’s choice) and then whatever amount over the initial dollar gets written up on a Post-It(™) and stuck to the windows and walls of the joint as a coupon.  Anyone can use a coupon if they need it.

So, here’s this guy, with his little pizza shop, making a huge difference to a lot of people in a way they can immediately feel—as in, they don’t feel hungry any more when they use a coupon for a slice.

After reading this amazing story, I was lamenting that my little studio should be doing more, being more, helping more people, and trying to be everything to everyone.  (My ultimate goal is to save the world with yoga—-as any good yoga teacher would wish.)

I often wonder how to bring yoga to more people in my very diverse community, and I know that money is one barrier to coming to class.  Transportation might be another. And, even though our community is diverse, our yoga classes are not—-we are mostly white, mostly women.  I’m not sure how to broaden our base and reach out to more people from different walks of life.  So, I’m sitting there stewing in the juice of all this stuff, and then…..

The very next day in my inbox was a message from one of my students.  She was saying that she feels more confident in her skin and able to proudly wear clothes that show her shape a little more, even if she feels her shape is not “perfect.”  She says she can do more with her body because of our classes.  She says she is in for the long haul, and the vibe she enjoys with us is one of acceptance, humor, and encouragement–All the things I set out to make true about the business and the service we provide.

Maybe it’s not so much about the difference we make in the lives of the masses.  Maybe it’s about making a difference one person at a time.  

So that doesn’t mean I’m resting on my laurels over here and patting myself on the back and calling it a day.  (Okay, maybe I gave myself a tiny back-pat……but still……)  I’m still committed to diversifying our student base and breaking down that barriers that might keep someone from experiencing the trans-formative power of yoga.  My method can be one of attraction above promotion, and it’s okay if the process moves slowly.

Thanks to all of you who are making a difference in MY life by reading this blog and coming to class and having fun and making friends in our community and all the rest.   My hope is that you take whatever good vibes you get from Wobbling and make a Wobbly difference in the life of just ONE other person.  If we all did that with intention, imagine the mountains we could move!


Take care, Tribe.  Love to all!