Keeping the Joy

The following post is written by Dr. Shondrika Moss-Bouldin, a White Belt certified Nia teacher in Georgia. The story first appeared on

Over ten years ago, I completed a Nia White Belt Training and earlier this year, I had a burning desire to re-commit to Nia. Fortunately, my trainer, Winalee Zeeb (the Nia trainer of the year) was waiting with open arms, literally and metaphorically. A few days after I completed my audit* I bought a t-shirt that boldly stated: “The journey is the destination.” I laughed aloud. It was perfect! It reiterated what I already knew and fortunately, Winalee led us in embodying the process all week during the training. I felt transformed. I knew that this was just the beginning of my journey of creating a sacred livelihood – the process of living into my purpose while honoring the unique way I exist in the world (White Belt Principle 11).

Now my challenge has been to surrender to my journey as I create a sacred livelihood with Nia. I have had so many blessings and disappointments. However, I have decided to focus on the lessons I have learned in receiving both. I realize that I have a choice on how I react to disappointments along the way. I choose to receive them as lessons. It has made me reach out to other Nia teachers, Nia headquarters, and Next Generation Trainers for advice and support, and I get strength from their experiences. I feel so blessed that I’m part of a community that wants to see me succeed and will truly go out of their way to lend a pearl of wisdom, share their experiences, and/or help me find opportunities in my community. When I left my White Belt in late February, I had one place that was interested in me teaching Nia. Now, I will begin teaching Nia at three places this May.

In regards to living the sacred livelihood, it is not easy. However, each day, I feel myself getting stronger as I gain more perspective on my journey. Nia reminds us that sometimes the destination is truly the journey. It’s like learning a new routine; we must embody the music completely and be attuned to the sensations the music evokes in our bodies. When I’m dancing a Nia routine, I’m able to embody the moves and not think about anything else but the music. I listen to the drums, the violins, the melodic voices that awaken and soothe my spirit. I surrender to the music completely. I don’t think, “Can I do that move?” or “When does class end?” or “What song is next?” I just concentrate on the first principle of the White Belt, “The Joy of Movement,” and dance on. When I concentrate on the joy of movement, my body moves naturally to the music. If I need to tweak a movement to maintain pleasure, I do so, still keeping in step with the music.

Keeping the joy in the movement allows us to value the process as well as the product. This is very empowering, freeing, and challenging. It is a struggle to keep this perspective in a society that values production every day. However, I choose to value this journey, while I create a sacred livelihood. I trust that each step that I take will lead me closer to my goals, while keeping me in step with other aspects of my life. I rely on my instincts and what feels right to me. If I hit a bump in the road, I will release my frustration, take a step back, and tweak the way I approach people and/or places. I will try to focus on what blessings I have now and to enjoy them, instead of focusing on what is next. It will come.

I know that I have more to do and share when it comes to Nia, and I’m enjoying what I’m learning and I know that I will not let anything stand in the way of my spiritual and creative path.

“Love life, engage in it, give it all you’ve got. Love it with a passion, because life truly does give back, many times over, what you put into it.” -Maya Angelou

*An audit is when a belt graduate re-takes up to four sessions from a previously completed training for free or the entire training for half the regular price.