When I first considered doing this training, I was concerned about my lack of Nia teaching experience, even though it was a FAB training - [designed] For All Belts. I loved the idea of being part of the creative process of choreography, and having done my White Belt, I did have familiarity with the process. But I couldn't help but wonder if that was enough. Although most of the participants were Nia teachers, I never felt that my lack of Nia teaching experience got in the way of my learning. The fact that there was a variety of levels of experience only added to the richness of it. Everyone involved in the training played an integral role in the success of the experience, and Debbie and Kevin orchestrated it all so beautifully. There was a spirit of acceptance, participation, cooperation, non-judgment and teamwork. And whether we were moving on the dance floor or in the midst of creative chaos, the fun factor was there. It was clear to me from the start that I was a part of something that had the potential to be memorable in my Nia practice and in my life.
One of the first things Debbie talked about was the importance of setting a focus and intent - not only in a Nia class but also in our dance through life. The time we spent expressing our focus and intent really set the tone for a wonderful FAB experience. As everyone introduced themselves and their intent for being there, I felt this was a place where I wanted to be. It didn’t matter how much teaching experience I had or what color belt I had or where I was from. I felt that this was an experience that would allow me to be comfortable giving and receiving openly with the support of outstanding leaders and a great community. I felt my invitation to dance.
Before I decided to take this journey, I was feeling quite comfortable and settled in my Nia practice. I like the feeling of being comfortable and settled, but I don't like to sit in it too long. Sometimes, I feel the need to shake things up a bit. I went into this experience open to change and with no specific goals except to deepen my practice and get re-energized. This training transformed me up in a number of ways. I found some new foci for my Nia practice, along with tools for achieving my goals. My appreciation for and knowledge of the 52 moves was taken to a new level. As I participated in creating choreography, I gained new appreciation, insight, and inspiration in regards to the creative process.
I have to admit, this was an intense training, and in Nia fashion the intensity drew from my mind, body and spirit. I was really tired by the end, and I'm still processing. For now, I just feel so much gratitude for the training and all the FAB participants. It was difficult not to be inspired and motivated by the personal stories, enthusiasm, energy and joy... as well as those special little moments of unsolicited support, like a smile or hug just when I needed it.
I give a special thanks to Debbie and Kevin for shaking things up for me, and for empowering me. Gratitude to Anna Shantz for all she did to help make this a fabulous FAB, and to the Toronto Nia community for how they welcomed me and my friend, Judy, all the way from Montreal. It was another great Nia adventure the two of us won't forget. I have one last thank you. I gave my body a challenge to enjoy 22 hours of intensive training in the space of two days while recovering from Plantar Faciitis and an injury to my intercostal muscles, and my body responded to the challenge without further injury. What a blessing to have a body that allows me to enjoy my life, and in so many ways, to have Nia to help keep it that way!
The effects of the training are still lingering. I woke up this morning and read this quote from E.B. White:
"If the world were merely seductive, that would be easy. If it were merely challenging, that would be no problem. But I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day."
After reading this, I couldn't help but feel grateful for my Nia practice because it really helps me to do both.