Right Now

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This week we celebrate both Passover and Easter. These spring holidays have me thinking about renewal and hope. I’m thinking about what it means to have enough.  Most of all, I’m thinking not about last year or next year but being right here, right now.

If we’re very very fortunate, we will spend three months staying at home, safe, healthy, and with enough of everything we need. Many in the world will not be safe or healthy and will not have enough. I’m not going to ask you to feel grateful for what you have because others have so much less.  I am asking you to inhabit this life we’re living right now.

How we live right now, with businesses shuttered and contact with those we love curtailed, is temporary. In the span of our lives, these few months are short.

While we’re in it, though, each week feels long, in part because we don’t know how long this situation will last. Of course, we never know how long our present situation will last, but we happily operate under the illusion of stability.

I want these months to be rich and unique rather than a big waiting room. I want to honor this experience with my attention and respect.

Ilene reminded me at the end of one Zoom Nia class that we should end the way we do at Studio Sway, with three claps. This is when I began to see that our Zoom classes are not a pale imitation of classes at the studio. We are not dancing in a waiting room. We have students joining us from Taos, from California, from Portugal. We have students who left New Mexico and are rejoining us and students who have never done Nia before. These classes have their own life and are deserving of a unique name and rituals.

Welcome, everyone, to Studio Ilo. I chose the name Ilo because it means joy, delight, happiness, and pleasure. It’s also a super cute word. Thank you, Finns; I am borrowing from your language.

We begin class with opening our palms and thinking about our class focus. We then bring the focus to life with three claps.

We end the class by clasping our hands together. Our class experience is there in our clasped hands. Shaking the hands together, vibrating our palms, we bring our hands first to our bellies, then to our hearts, and then to the sky.

When we closed Studio Sway, I grieved. When I began teaching Nia from my house, I was – even after all these years – surprised by how good it felt to be teaching. I know you guys need this. I’m not sure you know how much I need it.

Now that I’m teaching from my living room, livestreaming via Zoom, I’m all in. This is a great opportunity for me to grow into a stronger teacher. Of course, I’m looking forward to being at Studio Sway again. I can’t focus there now, though. My focus is right here, and what we’re doing now is this little miracle of technology, desire, and good fortune that we can see and hear each other to dance together while we’re apart.

I want to acknowledge that for many of us, right here and right now is scary and uncomfortable at best -- and life-threatening at its worst. This feels like a tsunami that is far out enough that we’re not feeling the whole of it yet but we know it will be devastating when it hits. And the aftermath, oh, how much we will need to hold and support each other in the months following this seismic economic shift.

I’m not asking you to enjoy being right here right now. I’m asking you to find the joy and seek the pleasure and experience the connections because those are here, too. I’m telling you that I smell the wisteria in my front yard, in its fullest bloom. I have maybe a few days like this with the scent so strong I can smell it from my kitchen when the front door is open. I know any moment the wind can take those blooms away. 

Right now, I breathe in.