Wait! Before I get too involved in what I want to talk about today – I must first say Thank You!
Thank you for all the love and support you have poured into me over the past few weeks as I journeyed into the unknown to film for NiaTV.
On Saturday afternoon, I returned from Portland after an intense and grueling week of intense focus and patient wait wait waiting, and am now grounding myself into my normal routine of life. I would like to share with you the journey that I have made, and some of the lessons that I received along the way.
It was a true honor to participate with 9 other Nia teachers and trainers in creating Nia Moving to Heal content for NiaTV. It was one of the hardest weeks of my life both mentally and emotionally. Some of the other teachers said it best – it felt like we ran a marathon, and more. This is the first time that any of us, including Debbie Rosas and our producer Stuart, had done anything like this. It required patience, flexibility, and a willingness to be constantly adapting as we worked.
We had all spent a lot of time planning and preparing for this week, we felt like we could not wait a minute longer, we were all eager to begin filming.
But Wait! The first couple of days were focused on writing scripts and spending some time reading from a Teleprompter. Our initial excitement and nervousness about filming was halted as we spent our time writing and rewriting, practicing, and honing skills. These two days were filled with mixed feelings, nervousness, focus, high attention. On the 3rd day filming began but for me the wait continued.
The Real Start.
On the 4th day, I started the day filming my experience, Cadence. The wait was over, and I felt confident and excited as I began to embody and share Nia Moving to Heal. Stuart was amazing and helped me stay calm and grounded as I practiced and paced the Teleprompter to my style of speaking. My favorite moment during the filming was looking over and seeing Stuart nodding his head and the camera man rubbing his hands as I was. The feedback was positive from Stuart, and Debbie had some small tweaks regarding the language used – it all felt very positive and encouraging.
Many of us teachers struggled with whether to use the Nia terminology or not. The new format of 1:1 (no students following us on camera), combined with not knowing who will, in the future, be watching, was challenging. We did not know who we were talking to, who we were working with, will it be you who watches my video, what do you want me to say to you? We worked hard, and it was a good experience.
After filming Cadence, Stuart was so excited that he didn’t want to wait – he wanted to continue filming my other experiences (I had not mentally prepared but I felt willing to go with the flow). However, after the initial recording of my welcome, we realized I needed to edit my script and shorten the experience to 20 – 30 minutes.
The Abrupt Stop.
So I stepped aside to rethink a bit. Shortly after this, I realized that I was having an allergic reaction to the tape we were using to hold the mic in place. My skin was red and I started feeling more and more anxious. Winalee, another Nia teacher and trainer, got me to calm down and my symptoms subsided as I worked on my breathing, and took in more fluids. However, I never felt the same after that, and I was not steady as I stepped to film my next experience, Awake, the following day.
Trying To Start Again….
I woke up on that last day not feeling myself. The intensity of the last few weeks had finally caught up to me. I was exhausted, and waiting to film until late afternoon didn’t help with my feelings of disconnection and anxiety. I stepped in and couldn’t connect to the music or moves and my hands were trembling. It felt as though I could see boredom in the camera man’s eyes, although, to be fair, it was probably exhaustion, and I didn’t feel grounded. Then we realized that my last song wasn’t added to the playlist, but at this point Debbie said it wouldn’t be used. Honestly, I was okay with that as it didn’t feel like me. This whole day was a struggle, and I was exhausted.
Receiving Lessons Along The Way.
This whole week would be a lesson in what works and doesn’t work and, I realized, an opportunity for me to create movements that would feel better on my back. I have a space here to work within the limits of MY body, as I create a dance for others who are also working within limits.
After the final filming, the emotional release that occurred was a bit overwhelming. Many of us found ourselves crying once we were done. I am grateful to the support I received from others including my new Nia mom, Jamie Klein. We all went through this journey together and many of us had the same feelings and thoughts. We weren’t alone in the process, and that really helped all of us to process our feelings.
Realizing My Strength.
On Friday night, I felt completely raw and drained. It had been a week of tears and I realized many of these stemmed from the fact that I had chosen to let myself be more vulnerable than I have ever been in my life. I have always had some kind of protection in order to survive life challenging events, such as the loss of my mother, and here I was, completely open. Stepping into the unknown to film for NiaTV without further guidance regarding the choreography, left me in a vulnerable position where failing felt like a very real option. But ultimately this experience wasn’t about failure. It was about learning that Nia Moving to Heal is still in the beginning stages of development and the content and language around the work still needs to be clarified and perfected. It was also about determining the skills that we need to improve the filming process.
The End and The Beginning.
Now we wait to see what content comes from this past week. That week is over, but it is not an end, it is a new beginning. A new creation. A new adventure. It will take some time before we know what will be born of all that work. In the meantime, I’ll enjoy the load that has been lifted from my body after completing this part of the project. I am looking forward to stepping into classes to continue to share the joy of Nia with all of you!
One More Thing.
Before you go – scroll back to the beginning, and just read the titles of the paragraphs here. Does the short story that the titles tell seem familiar? Have you experienced a journey that could be described this way? A start, a stop, a more convincing start. Some waiting, some patience, some struggle, some exhaustion, maybe some tears. And then an end of sorts, a respite, a place to stop and refuel… Sounds like life, doesn’t it? We all struggle, and then we all have days like my last Thursday, where everything feels amazing. We all throw our heart and soul into things, celebrate the joy of being alive, and then cry from sheer exhaustion. We rest, and then we get up, and we do it all again.
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