Juggling Clouds – Rediscovering Dance After My Father’s Death

by julie on February 20, 2012

Photography by Nia Technique

“No one will die, Julie,” I repeated to myself on my way to Nia dance class this morning.

Knots tightened in my stomach as I drove down the same roads in reverse from the fateful morning I’d received the call from my step-mom, Kathy. I hadn’t been back to Nia since.
 
“It’s just dance class. It was just a coincidence.”  Yet this didn’t stop tears from streaming uncontrollably down my face most of the drive.
 
I wasn’t sure I was “ready,” but my Nia community welcomed me back with open arms. 
 
“Great to see you…” No one said it directly, but they knew and I knew they knew.  
 
 
I was frightened and robotic walking into the classroom. No smiles. I put my purse down in the corner. My hands shook slightly turning my phone to silent. “No. One. Will. Die.”

A dark cloud had overshadowed my love of Nia this past month. 
 
Yet the music and moves quickly transported me to another world. Nia is nothing like the rest of my life.  It’s dramatic and luscious; creative and free. 
 
“We’re juggling clouds,” our instructor Suzannah described at one point, pulsing her hands in front of her.
 
I giggled and followed along, raising my palms up in the air to begin juggling.  A big smile crept across my face. I needed this piece of my puzzle.  I know my Dad would have loved to see me so happy. 
 
Grieving is not a symmetrical process that can fit neatly into calendar squares of days, weeks or months. I accept that deep dark sadness and uncontrollable crying are still a part of my experience. Thank you to Nia for helping me rediscover pockets of sunshine. 
 
Perhaps stormy weather is inevitable. We’ll just have to learn to juggle clouds.
 
 
The lovely and joyful Suzannah of www.SuzWorks.org

 

Want a taste of Nia? Two local Nia superstar instructors are donating their time to join us at the SLEEP WALK on March 10th, 2012!  Suzannnah (SuzWorks.org) and Sue D. will lead a Nia-inspired warm up before our walk!

{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

Gail February 20, 2012 at 10:38 am

So glad you are back to dancing. I love the image of juggling clouds.

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One Nia Girl February 22, 2012 at 2:54 pm

Beautiful. Really beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing this.

All the best,
Jenny Block
aka One Nia Girl

http://www.facebook.com/pages/One-Nia-Girl/165667146882531

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Rachael R. Resch March 1, 2012 at 5:14 pm

Thank you for sharing your story. What I love about Nia is that all emotions are welcome. The Joy of Movement can hold them all: love, grief, play, anger, whimsy.

Blessings on your healing journey,
Rachael R. Resch, PT
Nia Training Faculty

http://www.NiaNow.com/RachaelResch

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Anonymous March 1, 2012 at 5:17 pm

Awesome. Nia is like coming home to me.

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Joanie Brooks March 1, 2012 at 5:29 pm

Hi Rem! Your story is beautiful and I am sending you love and light. I am so happy you went back to Nia and your supportive community. Keep dancing and yes the dark clouds do turn into sunshine!

Joanie Brooks, Nia Training Faculty
Nia White Belt Trainer

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Yamuna March 1, 2012 at 5:29 pm

Thank you for sharing your story! My latest Nia catch phrase is "Find the Joy" I find no matter what is going on my life, sadness, craziness, stress………… in Nia class I will find the JOY again!!!

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JIllpagano March 1, 2012 at 5:37 pm

Pockets of sunshine huh…love it. Creative imagery. Perhaps a Nia teacher in training??
Thanks for sharing your story.
Jill Pagano

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Roberta March 1, 2012 at 5:44 pm

It's amazing how so many of us come to classes with an emotional issue, or a physical need for healing. We're only human! I love how Nia invites us to tune into our sensations and emotions, to dance just as we are.

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danielle March 1, 2012 at 5:47 pm

♥ ♥ ♥

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Randee Fox March 1, 2012 at 6:05 pm

This is moving and beautifully written. Thanks for being so open. Dancing with the waves that grief can bring, I have learned, is incredibly healing.

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Anonymous March 1, 2012 at 8:09 pm

Thank you for sharing your beautiful story. You really are in good cloud juggling hands with Suz! May your movement bring you great joy and healing

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REM Runner March 1, 2012 at 8:11 pm

Thank you so much for all of your support and kind comments. This made my day!!!

With a big smile and gracioius heart,
Julie (aka the REM Runner)

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Jackie March 1, 2012 at 8:49 pm

I am so touched and glad you found your way back to your Nia community. They will hold and support you with love as you heal!

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Kate Finlayson March 1, 2012 at 8:51 pm

Wow Julie, How wonderful that you had the courage to step back into the Nia class, let go of the fear and receive the blessings of juggling clouds :). I can imagine that your father left this world floating on the very Joy you danced that day. Grief is an amazing process and I am so grateful that Nia gives me the beautiful gift to FEEL all my feelings as I experience JOY. Bless you on your mission as you shed light on Narcolepsy. Keep on dancin' through Life! With joy, Kate

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Kate Finlayson March 1, 2012 at 9:00 pm

Julie, I so admire your courage to step back into your Nia class and receive the blessings of Juggling Clouds! Many times I have thought I needed to be in a certain mindset to go to class, ready to celebrate. But I must say that it is in those tough times that Nia brings incredible healing to my emotions and spirit when I need it the most. Your description of Grief was right on. In reading about your dad, I have a feeling he left this earth flowing with the Joy you created in your dance. Keep dancin' through life, and may you continue to bring awareness and light to Narcolepsy.
With Joy, Kate

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Julie Wylie March 1, 2012 at 9:53 pm

Our stories inspire and encourage. Thank you for sharing yours. A grief therapist pointed me toward Nia. I've never looked back…
Blessings along your journey.

To Your Health,
Julie

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Julie Wylie March 1, 2012 at 9:54 pm

Our stories inspire and encourage. Thank you for sharing yours.

A grief therapist pointed me toward Nia, I've never looked back…

Blessings on your journey.

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Jule Aguirre March 1, 2012 at 11:05 pm

wow. I love your raw vulnerability in finding your way back to moving The Nia Way…your heart's way… your body's way…

beautiful. just beautiful!

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Jule Aguirre March 1, 2012 at 11:06 pm

wow. I love your raw vulnerability in finding your way back to moving The Nia Way…your heart's way… your body's way…

beautiful. just beautiful!

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Adi Goren March 2, 2012 at 12:05 am

Feelings and emotions are an integral part of the practice of Nia…Thank you for allowing us to witness your process.

What an inspiring teacher Suz is!

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Letizia Accinelli March 2, 2012 at 12:32 am

I know exactly what you are saying Julie and how you are feeling. My father died in October and up to a few weeks ago every time I was dancing Nia and I was looking up I had tears in my eyes. I have tears in my eyes while I am writing now, but I let the tears come when hey want to. I feel better afterwards. I believe Nia and the Nia community played a big part in my dealing with grief . I never stopped dancing and the pocket of sunshine are getting bigger now.
My father will always dance above me while I am juggling with the clouds!
Love to you
Letizia Accinelli

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Sophie Marsh March 2, 2012 at 12:51 am

I too feel gratitude for Nia and the beautiful community it creates. Permission to dance my truth, to dance my grief and my love. thank you for sharing your feelings so openly Remi. xxx

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mariaskinner March 2, 2012 at 7:43 am

Coming back to Nia always feels like coming home to me! Thanks for sharing your return?

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Ken Gilbert March 2, 2012 at 9:39 am

Juggling the Clouds and walking on earth; a great metaphor for health, fitness and well-being. To be in your Body/Mind/Emotion and Spirit. Thank you for sharing your Nia "initiation"!

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Laurie Bass March 2, 2012 at 12:55 pm

Love that Nia has held the space for you to move, to grieve, to smile, to juggle, in your own way, your own time ~ this space has held me as well. (p.s. I'm the chick to the right of Suzy in the dance photo above;)))

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Debbie Rosas March 2, 2012 at 1:42 pm

I am so impressed with how the human spirit will not be kept down. Dance is something we do awake and when we sleep. It is The Body's Way to move energy. When you sleep, you are still dancing! Love Debbie Rosas Co-creator and founder of the Nia Technique.

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Yonit Lerner Ofan March 2, 2012 at 2:51 pm

Thank You Julie for sharing your story!
Nia has changed my life 10 years ago. Nia makes me shine all day. Nia allowes me to be myself at any given moment. Nia taught me to love myself just the way I am, and I love it!
Hugs & love,
Yonit, Nia White Belt Trainer

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Yonit Lerner Ofan March 2, 2012 at 2:55 pm

Thank You Julie for sharing your story.
Nia has changed my life 10 years ago. Nia makes me shine everyday. Nia allows me to be myself, express, heal and condition my body & soul.Nia taught me to love myself just the way I am, and I love it.
Love,
Yonit Lerner Ofan
Nia White Belt Trainer

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Anonymous March 2, 2012 at 3:58 pm

this is great. Nia is so much more than just an exercise class !!

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Ann Christiansen March 3, 2012 at 2:07 am

Thank you for sharing. I can feel with you through your words and recordnize much of what you say- Yes Dance transforms, Yes Nia holds space for all emotions and through movement the body will transform itself , the chemistry of universal Joy spreading a sense of wellbeing and giving back the ability to smile.Even when it is for a brief moment and through tears. much love Ann

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Caroline Kohles March 3, 2012 at 4:20 pm

I am so sorry for your loss. My heart goes out to you. I can't say that I know exactly how you feel because grief is so personal, but having lost someone near and dear to me recently I do know what it is like to get back into class after feeling so shocked and numb and stricken by grief.
As a Nia student, teacher and trainer I can tell you that Nia has helped me through some really tough times. I am a New Yorker and was in NYC on 9/11. My boss told me I didn't have to teach my Nia class when we heard the news that the towers had been hit. I looked at my class and told them the only thing I could think of to do at that moment was to dance Nia and pray. I taught the Nia routine Global Unity. When we finished the class we all stood in a circle and held hands for a moment in silence and then we bravely left the classroom to listen to the news. It was then that we learned the towers had fallen. We looked at each other crestfallen but determined to help our city heal. It was a very powerful experience to not have to teach an exercise class that was supposed to "make everyone happy" but instead allowed everyone to feel whatever then needed to feel that day and in the weeks and months that followed. As my city came to grips with the 9/11 tragedy I taugh my classes. In them we both celebrated life and mourned the senseless loss of so many. I was grateful that Nia allowed me to be "real" and that as a result my students and I had a place to express our all of our emotions through our bodies. Nia is a beautiful practice so keep dancing girl. Maybe one day you and I will meet on the dance floor. I look forward to that. Many Blessings, Caroline Kohles Nia Education Faculty, NYC

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Martha Randall March 6, 2012 at 10:34 am

THank you for sharing your beautiful story. As a Nia teacher and trainer for 15 years, I too have seen and experienced the magic of stepping in to class for healing. One student this week is awaiting results on tests and wasn't sure she could come to class and move. She then realized that even if she sat on the sidelines, the spirit of community, music, movement would support her. She is welcome here. We are all welcome here! Martha Randall, Nia Training Faculty, Toronto Canada

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Kelle Rae Oien March 12, 2012 at 5:43 pm

Thank you for your honesty and willingness to be vulnerable. Stepping into a Nia class with ALL of who we are can take a lot of personal power. As we've all seen. It is worth it though. Movement heals!
Love, Kelle
Santa Fe, NM

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Christina June 9, 2012 at 7:58 am

Dear Julie, long ago, your father was a mentor to me when I was working in the field of Higher Ed Law. After I heard him speak at a seminar, I confronted him to question his view on some arcane point. At the time I was staggering through the grief of having lost my father, following a three year battle with a recurrence of lung cancer. My father departed a week after his 66th birthday; your father departed soon after his 67th birthday. I weep for you.

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