Thursday, December 30, 2010

What I Like About You...

Hi!
I am sitting in my cute suite in Plantation, FL.  It's a cloudy day and 69 degrees, and I have rehearsal soon.  But I am so very happy to be here.  Last night, after the most hellacious travel experience of all time, I finally arrived in Fort Lauderdale, having missed opening night due to the blizzard in NYC.  I stopped at the hotel to check in and put my contacts in, and headed right to the theatre, as I was on for the Groupie.  Despite the long travel day(s) and frustration, I was SO ready to jump right back onstage. When it was over and my body ached all over (as if to say "What the HELL did you just do to me!?"), the only feeling I had was GRATITUDE.  I love my job so much.  I love this show so much.  And I love these PEOPLE so much.  I think you need to know how amazing they are.  And we all know they are amazing in the show, so I am going to concentrate on what you may NOT know about them from seeing them rock out.  Ahem:  In honor of my love for my ROA family, I present to you:  WHAT I LIKE ABOUT YOU:  The Cast Edition!


In Alphabetical Order:


To MiG Ayesa (Stacee Jaxx):  I love YOUR love for your beautiful wife Simi, how you light up when you talk about her, and are so proud to be her man. 


To Angela Brydon (Waitress #1):  I love how comfortable you are in your own skin, and your willingness to accept all of us exactly as we are.  Jersey needs to turn out a couple more of you, girl.


To Joey Calveri (Joey Primo):  I love that you march to the beat of your own drummer, I love your opinions and philosophies and deep thoughts, even though I think some of them are crazytown!  :)


To Nick Cordero (Dennis):  I love your chill vibe, your deep and juicy creative spirit, and your total commitment to our ROAdy Productions videos.  There's a REASON why you are Obi Wan Cordero!


To Rebecca Faulkenberry (Sherrie):  I love your ability to keep perspective and balance.  I love your genuine and warm smile and how you are always PRESENT in a conversation.  And your boobs are awesome too.


To Lindsay Janisse (Young Groupie and Dance Captian extraordinaire): I love your silliness, your commitment to health and wellness, and the quiet command you have in any situation. You are a total star, even with Lupe having her WORST day.


To Sean Jenness (Booth Master):  I love that under all of the ridiculous vocal riffs and shots of Jameson, you are 100% trustworthy, 100% genuine, and 100% supportive.  I truly value your opinions and I see how supportive you are of everyone else.


To Holly Laurent (Swing Power!) I love your ability to stay cool and calm in stressful situations.  I love your comfort in knowing who you are.  And I really see you as a nurturer.  Mostly because you can hold people's hair when they puke and don't end up puking yourself.  Love you girl!


To Patrick Lewallen (Lonny):  I love your simultaneous puppy dog excitement and chill vibe.  I see you as the mascot of the show, and I love watching you discover how freaking much you can do with your talent.  You are NOT just a karaoke DJ, honey.


Constantine Maroulis (Drew):  I love how you rally the troops and organize Monday Night Football, impromptu hotel parties, and good times!  And yes, your hair does smell great. :)


Lauralyn McClelland (Constance Sack):  I love your brilliant sense of humor, and cannot wait for the day you are on SNL. Also, I love your capacity for LOVE.  Your sensitivity toward others is so beautiful.


Rashad Naylor (Ja'Keith/Mayor):  I love your ability to take everything into perspective.  I love your joy, your discipline, your impromptu lyrical dances and lip smacks, and your nasty nasty ad libs!!


Josh Sassanella (Swing Power!):  I love your work ethic, your absolute creativity (and mastery of imovie), and your willingness to lovingly smack me down when I'm being unreasonable.  And I love that your sense of humor is a mirror to mine.  I also love your balance between man and little boy.  Until there is too much little boy.  Then we get in a fight. 


Teresa Stanley (Justice):  I love your quiet, calm, wise, motherly vibe.  There isn't a selfish bone in your body, and your compassion for others is beyond measure.  You are trustworthy, dependable, and completely fierce.


Casey Tuma (Regina):  I love your generosity and thoughtfulness, your compassion for others, and your fabulous taste in food and shopping.  :).  I also love your enthusiasm for keeping us all together with game nights, outings, etc.  Miss Class President!


Bret Tuomi (Hertz):  I love your dependability.  You are one of the pillars of the company- stoic, strong, consistent, and willing.  And, although you keep it on the QT, you are freaking hilarious.


Travis Walker (Franz):  I love your love for 90's hip hop and R&B.  I love your connection to family and good friends, and I love that you never try to be anything other than the star you are.  Genuine, heart of gold, funny as hell.


J. Michael Zygo (or just Zygo, Swing Power!):  I love that you came in here late in the game, knew your shit, put up with people calling you "Not Dan," and still it feels like you've been here since the beginning.  You are HILARIOUS and creative and I want you and Jill to have babies when Brian and I have babies so they can be best friends and get married. 


I also want to send a huge shout out to the management, tech, merch, and band peeps and intend to shout you out individually as well, but if I do it now I will be fired for missing rehearsal.  I love you guys and am so proud to be in this family. 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Swingtown in the Motor City

Dudes.  We have a situation.  Call in the backup.
Oh wait, I am the backup.  I'm a swing.

For those of you who aren't theatre peeps, a swing is a person who understudies several ensemble tracks and sometimes one or more principal roles.  We are supposed to be ready to go on at a moment's notice when a member of the onstage cast gets sick/injured/vacation time, etc.   ROA has four kick-ass offstage swings (2 guys, 2 girls) and one equally kick-ass offstage male standby to cover the 14 people who rock on the front lines every night.  When one is offered a swing track in a show, there are always mixed feelings.  First you feel iffy because you don't know if you will ever REALLY go on (an internal battle for any performer ego, let's be honest).  Then you get stoked because you get to learn and potentially perform different roles, hence upping the challenge and excitement in a long contract.  Next you tech the show and get overwhelmed with notes, numbers, and traffic that you can only document in your swing book and not feel physically until who-knows-how-long later, when the lights hit you for the first time and it's full tilt boogie.  Finally, you come to contentment with being the one who is trusted with this difficult yet important job, and you are sometimes just as grateful to hang in the dressing room and knit during the show as you are to take your turn on stage.

This week in Detroit, a 24-ish hour flu bug has reared its ugly head, and is running rampant through our cast.  In the past 5 shows, three of the swings (present company included) have been onstage.  Last night three girls called out with the flu, and one had to muscle through (as there are only 2 chick swings to cover).  Tonight we started the show with a full cast, but by "Dead Or Alive" I was hastily getting into hair and makeup to take over for one of the girls, who quite suddenly fell prey to the pesky virus mid-show.  I took over after intermission, and finished it out with what I hope was nothing more than minor inconvenience to my colleagues onstage and off, as it was my first time on for that track.  All in all, I felt pretty good!

As a swing, we always hear about these circumstances, an old story being rehashed in post-show dramatic fashion at a bar.  But tonight was the first time it happened to me.  I consider it a rite of passage to have experienced and survived that last-minute emergency scenario, as if I earned a hardcore swing badge I can now wear with pride.  It feels like going from brown belt to black belt.  Writing that makes me sound borderline crazy, but the point is, even though it was far from perfect, it's always nice to be reminded of a few things:
1.  We know more than we think we know.  We just have to remember to trust ourselves.
2.  People will always be there to help you when you need it.
3.  Being perfect isn't the point.  Your best is good enough, and you CAN thrive under pressure.
4.  Sometimes it's better to just jump in, instead of letting anticipation get the best of you.

Ironically, I was already set for my debut in that particular track tomorrow night.  I am excited to do Act One, which is more challenging than Act Two.  But I won't be stressing it now as much as I would have, had I not been thrown on tonight.  So again, as a swing, I am grateful.....

...and quarantined in my hotel room, armed with antibacterial spray, my neti pot, a strong mouthwash, and comfy candles.  Soon I will go to bed, surrounding myself with healing, flu-preventing love.  I'd rather save the day than call in sick.  And so it is!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Pack it up, pack it in, let me begin... Again...

Today is Sunday, which, when on tour with ROCK OF AGES, means one of two things: 1. SHOT NIGHT, or 2. Time to pack up and move to the next city. Today is a packing day. Tomorrow we move to Detroit, which is only the fifth city on the tour, but we are already growing weary of the mobile lifestyle. I miss my dresser, and my bed, my closet and my towels and shower curtain. Silly things. My kitchen table. The way the light hits my kitchen in the morning.
For those readers who have never been on tour, here’s how it works. We live out of 2 suitcases and one small trunk, the latter of which travels with the show trucks and stays at the theatre. Our total belongings cannot exceed 200 pounds (100 in the suitcases, and 100 in the trunk). One must be strategic about where to store our items so as not to exceed the baggage weight limit when flying. Sundays force us to mentally take stock of everything we own, categorize it into trunk vs. suitcase vs. trash can (sad but true), and then use remedial physics to fit it where we need it to go. We do-si-do between the theatre and hotel, swapping out black boots for brown, fall jackets for puffy coats, until it all fits, and we can go for that end-of-city drink to take the edge off (shout out to Nicholson’s Gastropub in Cincinnati, who created a custom ROA drink menu during our stay here!).

There is something charming about living with less (I recently picked up the book Radical Simplicity, written by Dan Price, who lived his entire adult life in a tipi with a sleeping bag, hotplate and an outhouse—a little extreme but refreshing and oddly inspiring), but every once in a while I have a mild freak out. Last night I had a dream that I returned to my hotel room to find that the sink and toilet had been removed (which I interpret to mean that my creature comforts and needs are at a bare minimum and I’m not happy about it). I woke up, checked to make sure the toilet was still there, and stumbled to my single serve hotel room coffee maker. I unwrapped a disposable coffee cup from the ever-present plastic wrap that seems to cover every dish and utensil have used since September, and longed for my favorite coffee mug (a white ceramic mug with a picture of a red-lipped, mean faced bee that says “Bee-otch”). And I got a little cranky.

Because I am a Taurus and into Things and home and hearth and all of that earthy stuff, I have to create a home in my hotel room. If you ever come to visit me on tour, here’s what you’ll find in my room:

*Lavender vanilla room spray, purchased on my honeymoon
*A very handy and extremely functional CVS brand mini-humidifier. It is compact, good for the ol’ voce, requires only an upside down water bottle, AND combats that dry hotel feeling. Love this and cannot live without it.
*my 6-inch tall Buddha statue
*at least 2 books (right now I am reading The Girl Who Played With Fire and Awakening into Oneness: The Power of Blessing in the Evolution of Consciousness. A little intrigue, a little spirituality. I like this combo.)
*CANDLES for ambience and a nice scent- an absolute must to transform any space!
*My portable iPod dock (nothing like old Craig David in the fall to stir up cozy memories of my crock pot and couch)
*A photo of me, Brian, and our dolphin friend Ladwani, taken on our honeymoon
*My netbook, which I use to skype with Brian and connect with the outside world, as well as watch The Event on Hulu.
*My favorite soaps, shampoo, and lotions (no hotel samples for me… I need my stuff)
*Assorted scarves to drape over uninspired furniture

It’s not luxury, but it feels that way, considering the weight of the statue, candles, books, and ipod dock! But I need these things to stay sane.

So today, in between shows, I’m heading back to the hotel to pack. I do, by the way, always unpack when I get to a new city. I like to hang my clothes up and see what I have. I take comfort in having a sock drawer. On tour, it’s the little things that bring joy. But the re-packing. Not fun. Especially when you’ve been in a city that doesn’t offer much in the way of things to do (ahem, Cincinnati…) besides go shopping. In the last two weeks, I’ve acquired 2 pair of shoes, a new pair of pants, and a new bottle of perfume. But I NEEDED them. ;) I mean, a girl can’t get through fall without a pair of brown flats. What else would I wear with that new Michael Kors sweater I picked up in Minneapolis? Sheesh!

By tomorrow evening, I will be setting up my little home in Dearborn, MI. I am so excited to venture to Ann Arbor for a few days, and even guest teach a few classes at my alma mater, The University of Michigan, for the Musical Theatre and Performing Arts Management students! And even with all of the packing, un-packing, and re-packing, it’s most valuable to remember that, as I mentioned in my last blog, home is not necessarily a specific place. It’s in my husband’s touch, the electricity of a Steelers game day in Pittsburgh, the taste of chipati at Pizza House in Ann Arbor, the reunions with old friends along my travels. I am so, so lucky. Wishing you a cozy Sunday in your home sweet home, until next time!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Every Rose Has its Thorn

I am sitting alone in my hotel room in Cincinnati, catching up on a few of my fave blogs (you MUST check out the best running blog I've ever read, Michelle Hates To Run), and I realized that my blogger profile still read "soon to be married woman."  I got married on September 25, so I changed my profile to read "wife" instead. 

My husband was here last weekend and got to see me in the show for the first time.  I was excited, and he was loving and supportive and proud, as he always has been, and always will be.  When I first saw the show Off Broadway in the fall of 2008, he was there, and he turned to me and said, "You HAVE to be in this show."  He not only supported my dream to do ROA, but also shared my dream as if it were his own.  He wanted it because I wanted it.  And when I got it, he insisted that I sign on, despite the fact that the contract conflicted with our wedding, honeymoon, and that sacred first year of marriage.  It's the relationship you dream about, the marriage that skeptics say isn't possible, and it's mine.  He is my perfect match, my best friend, my soul mate.  And those pecs... whew!  ;)

If this dream job of mine has any downside, it's that I have to live my life away from him.  Aside from our Saturday morning coffee talk over skype, we see each other every two weeks.  He patiently endures the endless commuting, delays, and drama at the NYC airports for a quick two night stay anywhere I am.  He brings me my mail and waits for me at the stage door, always with a silly grin and open arms.  He banters with my new friends and sings along in the audience.  And, no matter what city we're playing, when we crawl into bed at night, we cuddle up, look at each other, and say, simply, "home."

I don't know how to express the magnitude of my gratitude for him.  So I figured a blog shout out wouldn't be a bad place to start.  I love my life and I adore my job, but I miss him every day.  I am, however, grateful for the feeling, because I'd rather miss him than not know what it feels like to have that Great Love.

The point of this entry is this:  We are all worthy of Great Love.  And we should all experience it.  If I can, you can.  Please don't settle for less.  Be specific, hold out for your dream, communicate, and enjoy.  It is possible. 

Friday, October 29, 2010

A spoonful of spiritual sugar

Hi bloggity friends!
This has been a very interesting and trying week for many of us out here on the ol' ROA tour.  Strange things are afoot in Cincinnati, and we can all feel it.  We've had phantom fleeting injuries, silly onstage snafus (slipping, tripping, and dropping things), and even a tornado warning.  Not to mention, the eight women in the cast are slowly being pulled to the same cycle, and this week has many of us howling at the moon, just in time for Halloween.   Our hotel has been taken over by hundreds- I mean HUNDREDS- of card carrying members of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, who fisheye our black-and-fuschia colored nails in fascination in the elevator (One guy actually said, "You're in ROCK OF AGES, aren't you?").    Audiences are cheering unusually loud and long for the "Reagan Era" joke.  We don't know what's happening. 

For me, this has been a strange week in which I have had a difficult time maintaining perspective.  Due to unforseen circumstances, My swing costumes have not yet arrived from the NYC costume shop, and my onstage debut as Young Groupie is now almost a week overdue as a result.   I am clearly very eager to get onstage for many reasons, but I have spent way too much energy this week in my head: complaining, stomping my feet, sighing audibly, and trying to assign blame.  It is exhausting, and incredibly unflattering.

Being away from home and my network of spiritual peeps makes it easy for me to lapse on my spiritual practice.  Oneness, meditation, manifesting, etc.  This morning, however, while killing time before my massage appointment, I came across a recent entry in my favorite blog, Oneness In The City, penned by one of my besties, a sassy, savvy, goddess who I regard so highly that Brian and I asked her to perform our marriage ceremony (which she did, and beautifully).  Her entry, smartly entitled "the bitch of bliss," woke me up like a venti redeye.  Her entry made me feel many things about how I've been thinking and acting- childish, spoiled, and temporarily checked out.  But it also made me feel a LOT better.  It brought me back to "reality" (what is that, anyway) and reminded me that it's all good.  We are tested occasionally and how we deal is everything.  I want to be like her.  I want to float above the drama and know in my heart that things work out.  So this is what I choose.

The truth of the matter is, and the part that I so easily forget, is that it is all unfolding in its perfect time. I will get onstage.  This is not life or death. It's just a rock musical. All of these seeming setbacks are just tiny little bumps in the road of (tour) life.  I don't perform open heart surgery, and no one is going to die if I don't don my blonde wig and swing on a pole tonight. It's all good. For realz. 

So I'm off to my massage.  2 hours ago I was afraid I wouldn't be able to relax, as I'm expecting a call to let me know if my costumes arrive.  Now, the phone is going off, I'm not going to worry about it, and my only thoughts will be of the present.  What a present.  Thanks Mags.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Big props

Wow, okay so it's been a long time.  Things have happened.  I am a newlywed, my career has shifted, and my world has been ROCKED. 

So remember my blog in June, "Confessions of a Girl Who Wants to Rock?"  The blog entry entirely dedicated to my dream and strong desire to be in ROCK OF AGES?  The one where I took a deep breath and told the world how BADLY I wanted to be a pole dancing, 80's-fabulous video vamp?  Well, as I write this, I am in Minneapolis, our third city on the First National Tour of ROCK OF AGES, and I am having the time of my life.  I want you to know that I got it.  I have it, and am now sitting smack in the middle of my dream show, loving every freaking glitter-dipped second of it. 

I am convinced that the shift happened when I started verbalizing it.  Writing about it.  Upping the cosmic ante, choosing to believe I could have it, and for the first time in a long while, sharing what I held closest to the vest.  It was scary.  I felt vulnerable and weird and cheesy.  But guess what?  I left it all on the floor, and it worked.  I'm here.  And every day, I am grateful.  Last night was my first onstage performance, and it was so much fun!  I was so lucky to have the support of the cast and crew, not to mention THE best husband, who sent me lovey messages and blessings all day, and proudly tagged me in his Facebook posts as I made my debut as Justice, an 80's strip club she-pimp on the Sunset Strip.

The last few months have been charged for sure- so much emotion as I left my Hoboken apartment and my man for our first tour stop, 15 days before our Vermont wedding.  The excitement of opening a Broadway First National Tour and being part of it all.  The perfect wedding weekend with our families and closest friends.  The most luxurious, romantic honeymoon of all time.  The thrill of finally going onstage after two months of preparation.  And now, as I settle into tour life for the long haul, I can take a deep breath (and maybe a nap), and say THANK YOU. 

THANK YOU God for giving me EVERYTHING I WANTED this year so far.
THANK YOU to a supportive cast, my new friends, who are so outrageously talented.  It is such a blast out here with you all.
THANK YOU to my students and bosses and mentors in the fitness world for understanding that I had to go, and for loving me anyway
THANK YOU to Brian for supporting my dream so fully that you are flying all over the country every 2 weeks to see me, and for reiterating that I had to take this job, even during our first year of marriage.
THANK YOU to the producers of ROCK OF AGES for granting me my wedding and honeymoon off!!!  Seriously, THANK YOU!
THANK YOU to my agent for having the balls to ask for that and believing that I could actually get it (and THANK YOU for that amazing bottle of champagne on opening night!)!
THANK YOU to everyone who trekked to Vermont for our wedding.  I hope you had as much fun as we did! 
THANK YOU to Emily Post, or whoever said we have a year to write Thank You notes (but I promise it won't be that long)!

Since I'm no longer teaching at the gym, I have renamed my blog "It's Just The Road."  Same theme applies.  I am finding that perspective, my theme for "It's Just the Gym," is a quality that I really need on the road!  Something funny happens when you tour... your world gets a lot smaller.  You travel, work, and socialize with the same people every day.  At first you suffer from what my friend and fellow swing Dan calls "FOMO" (Fear of Missing Out), so you roll with the pack as much as you can.  Then, before you know it, a misplaced wig cap sends you into a backstage tirade because you didn't give yourself any breathing room in that last city, or you were up until 2am watching "The Event" on Hulu.  You freak out if you don't make a quick change or if you bump into someone onstage.  You would rather keel over and die than miss a performance when you're under the weather.  It's in these moments when we must remind ourselves... OH YEAH!  It's just a rock show!  With poop jokes and Whitesnake songs.  And it's supposed to be FUN!

Enter: extreme self care.  I'm learning to find the balance out here.  We have to take care of ourselves, stay creative, nurture our bodies and our minds, drink water, make our hotel rooms feel like homes.  My FOMO is gone.  I have lots of time to make memories.  I'm starting to think creatively in my spare time.  We are shooting our first ROAdy Productions webisode.  I am thinking about knitting again.  Taking every day as it comes, and remaining grateful for it all, as we navigate our way across the country on this incredible journey.  Much more to come, and thanks so much for reading!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Summer Fun- What a Concept!

I’m back!  I haven’t blogged forever because I have been muscling my way through the summer.  Go mode in full effect.  I have been teaching 14 classes a week, training in a new modality, planning my first ever outside-the-gym workshops AND my wedding (81 days to go!!), musing on my brand, and checking off various and sundry boring and incredibly triflin’ tasks to get me closer to conquering my little corner of the world.  
And big surprise, I got sick last week.  In the middle of teaching my Monday Shanntastic lineup at 63rd and Lex, my body, fighting to booty pop through the last 20 minutes of Hip-Hop on the 1/2, brought me to a screeching halt.  The rest of the week was a blur of early nights and home remedies, and as I came out of my cloudy malaise, it was July 1.  And I thought, “shit.  I have to make up a new intenSati series.”
Creating a new series can be an involved process.  You need to feel it, love it, and find the perfect music to support it.  You need to make sure the choreography flows and you vary the workout from the month before.  I need to love the affirmations because if I don't, I feel like a cheerleader with no soul.  And music, as some of you know, is EVERYTHING to me.  I DJ it myself on my Mac every month.  It takes time.  So, I sleepily tucked into a cushy chair near the pool at the Columbus Circle Equinox to begin the process.  I asked myself what was going on with me right now that I could share?  What can I draw upon for July?  My ipod, on shuffle, skipped to a fun mix of Lady Gaga’s “Alejandro” mashed with Madonna’s “Holiday” (aptly titled “Alejandro’s Holiday” by the amazing DJ Corey Craig) and it hit me.  I haven’t been having any fun.  I’ve been keeping my head down, pushing through, making the money, doing the work, and it took the age-old, borderline-played-out 80‘s-friendly lyrics to smack me into reality:  “If we took a holiday, took some time to celebrate, just one day out of life, it would be so nice!”  
And I thought, “Holy shit Erika, you need to relax and have a little fun.”
And a series was born!!!!  HOLLA!  My commitment for July is to enjoy my freakin’ summer!!!  Take time to celebrate this amazing time in my life!  I’m marrying the man of my dreams!  I am healthy and happy!  I love my work!  I am in my creative spirit and am surrounded by amazing friends, family, and limitless opportunity!  Just writing that feels so much better than “I am tired.  I am overworked.  Wah wah wah, poor little victim me.”  No wonder my body shut down on me!  Blech!
So, here I am on week one of Operation: Summer Fun.  And it’s making a huge difference in my day to day so far!  Last night after teaching, I hopped the Q train with my girl Heather all the way to deep Brooklyn to see my brother John and his band play.  Buzzkill Erika would have said “He doesn’t start until 9:30pm and I wouldn’t get home until 1am because I live in Jersey and I’m just going to go home and catch up on So You Think You Can Dance and go to bed, because I have a 9am meeting tomorrow.”  BO-RING!  Fun Erika said “I love my brother and his music, AND I haven’t seen Heather forevs, and the ride to Ditmas Park will be a great way to catch up!”  I went, drank seltzer, loved every minute of it, and was home, sober, by 12:40am....
...at which point Buzzkill Erika taunted me, “You should cancel your in-person meeting tomorrow and see if you can do a phoner instead.  It’s so late and you will be going all the way into the city for an hour meeting and then coming home, and you have so much work to do...”  FUN Erika replied with “Dude.  You LOVE Tom.  Every time you see him you get inspired and you laugh and connect with your creativity and feel great.  You can still get decent sleep and come right home to do your work.  Just go!”  And so I did.  Not only did I leave my meeting with Tom on a total creative high, but I connected with a new AMAZING mind/body space, where I plan to unleash some awesome workshop action.  AND they have acoustic nights once a month, so I connected them with my brother.  I came home energized, and inspired to blog!
Fun. It’s a win-win.  I’m into it.  The Buzzkill persona is a drip.  And fat.  Wanna see what I looked like when I was letting my Buzzkill persona run the show, in my pre-intenSati, pre-happy, miserable and uninspired life?  Here.  Don't say I didn't warn ya.  2 1/2 words for you.  Chins.  Arms.  Ew.


Happy feels (and looks) much better.  See?  An upgrade in so many ways, but that is for another blog :)...

But I digress...So how does my new take on the summer affect YOU?  Well, to start, I am taking Fridays off for the rest of the summer.  I will do nothing on Fridays or Saturdays but play and rest and bask in the sun and laugh.  Away from work.  This means I will be a happy, rested, present teacher for you.  And I will have a tan.  Yay!
I am taking myself off the Equinox schedule on Tuesdays in August (sorry, Tribeca peeps!) to do what I love most and run my OWN workshop at Pearl Studios, called The Sizzle Sessions.  Check it:
The SIZZLE SESSIONS are an opportunity to fall in love with your greatest asset:  Your hot bod! Celebrate the body you’ve got, get to know it a little better, and shake up your chakras while working up a sweat and having a blast!   I will lead you through four fun, freeing movement sessions to help you identify present and potential physical blocks, determine what you want for your body and your health, and shake what your mama gave you!  No previous dance training is necessary for this group workshop- all levels are welcome and this series will benefit professional dancers and strictly-in-the-shower dancers alike!  All you need is a great attitude, a desire to feel great and deepen your relationship with your body, and a sense of humor!  Each week we will explore a different kind of movement practice:
Sizzle Session One: Self Exploration
A fun, exploratory freeform dance session to identify your blocks and boundaries, and discover your favorite form of self expression!  Afterward we will do a brief meditation and journal exercise to acknowledge these discoveries and explore them further.
Sizzle Session Two: Sensuality
Sensuality is your enjoyment of the world and your own physicality as perceived by your senses. It is not a special gift or talent- we all have it!  We will work with all of the senses in this class to tap into our sensuality, so we can share with others who we are at the height of our enjoyment and bliss.  
Sizzle Session Three:    Swagga!
Assert your power in movement! In this playful, hip-hop based session, we will start by documenting our successes, attributes, and strengths, and then channel what we find into some dope moves and booty-poppin’ choreography.   Feel the power of moving with an edge, connected to the ground, while pulling in a little of last week’s Sensuality.  
Sizzle Session Four: Spirituality
For our last session, we will focus on using movement as meditation to reach a higher level of consciousness.
Sound good?  Here are the deets!
WHEN:  Tuesdays, August 3, 10, 17, and 24, 6:30-8pm (Tuesday 8/10 will be 7:30-9pm)
WHERE: Pearl Studios, 500 Eighth Avenue, 12th Floor, Penthouse 1, NYC
COST:  $100 (includes all four sessions.  A la carte sessions are NOT available for this workshop.)
REGISTER: erika@erikashannon.com or call 917-742-3204.  Space is limited so register today!
I want you there.  It will be a blast.  Let’s have some FUN, dammit!   Are you in??? 
Love and freeze pops to you all!
xo
Erika

Friday, May 28, 2010

It's Just The Truth- Confessions of a Girl Who Wants to ROCK

This morning I did the Ah Meditation with a recording by Wayne Dyer's guru Siva Baba (it's a powerful and amazing meditation for manifesting your desires- try it!), and at the end of the recording Siva Baba says "Embrace Your Manifestation."    So I decided to go all out today and embrace one of my greatest desires:  I WANNA ROCK.


Last week I had yet another round of auditions for ROCK OF AGES on Broadway.  I had so much fun (how can you NOT have fun dancing to "Pour Some Sugar on me"?!  I have wanted to be a video vamp in a Whitesnake video since I was old enough to crimp my own hair).  And I felt so empowered as a woman- I was in my body, my voice sounded great, and I felt totally solid about what I did.  


I think in musical theatre, we are very cautious about admitting when we really want something, because - let's face it- more often than not we end up not booking the job.  And it's the ultimate adrenaline spike, which makes it harder.  We get all gussied up, we prepare, warm up, dance our faces off, sweat, get out of breath, get a callback, sing, get another callback, read, dance again, and then... nothing.  And this process happens over and over again.  So we develop this protective armor, and we suit up under our fishnets and half tops and La Ducas, and put our stoic, yet best foot forward.


But every once in a while, a show comes along that is just the perfect show.  It melts the armor.  You see it and think "oh man, that is my show."  Well, ROCK OF AGES is my show.  I know it, my agent knows it, and I'm fairly sure the creative team knows it, as they keep calling me in.  I have been through four rounds of auditions so far.  ROCK OF AGES is my show because I grew up in the '80s. The summer between 6th and 7th grade, Michelle Bruno and I would go to Whitehall pool every day, and listen to our tape recorded mixes from B94 FM while we worked on our tans... "Be With You," "I Wanna Know What Love Is," "Welcome to the Jungle"... On the way home, we would sit in the back seat of her mom's burgundy Cadillac, sun-drenched and sucking on candy cigarettes.  We would pretend we were on our way to a big sold out arena show, where we were the stars.  We'd get home and cut up our t-shirts (sometimes even fringe-ing them ourselves) while we waited for "Pour Some Sugar On Me" to come onto the MTV rotation.  We'd walk to the drugstore and buy frosty shades of Wet 'n' Wild lipstick for $.99 as "Dead or Alive" piped through the store's speakers.  


You see, I'm from Pittsburgh, the place where 80's hair band music never dies.  I am flying home today, and I can guarantee I will hear one of the aforementioned songs on WDVE on my way home from the airport.  My peeps are hard workin', beer drinkin', sports lovin', mullet headed balls of love.  I want to represent, for my hometown.  For my childhood, for my passion for thrashing around while scantily clad.


Yes, ROCK OF AGES is my show.  And I want it.  In my class I encourage my students to leave it on the floor, to play full out and take risks, and if they fall, not to worry, it's just the gym.  Well, I'm going to leave it all on the floor right now.  It's just the truth.  I want this.  I want it bad.  Siva Baba does not say "guard the manifestation" or "protect the manifestation" or "doubt the manifestation."  I embrace it.  I like the image of hugging it.  Nurturing it.  and rocking it.  With horns and fist-pumping.  


So this one goes out to all of my musical theatre girls and guys who go home and silently pray that they get the job they just told their friends they are ambivalent about.  I'm turning up the volume on my prayer.  And just like at the gym, if I fall, if I don't get it, I am willing to publicly admit that I fell.  But I want this, and here goes.  I REALLY REALLY WANT TO DO ROCK OF AGES ON BROADWAY.  NOW.  I WANT THIS JOB WITH MY WHOLE HEART.  I EMBRACE MY MANIFESTATION.  THIS OR SOMETHING BETTER.  AND SO IT IS.  


Whew!  That feels good.  I hope you will embrace your manifestations.  We are not meant to hold our greatest dreams inside.  We are human.  We are emotion.  Even in musical theatre :)


Today I am heading back to Pittsburgh for some family, fun, friends, and Primanti's.  I won't be teaching until Tuesday of next week, UNLESS you are in the burgh and come to Dance Workshop by Shari tomorrow, Sat 5/29 at 11:30am for intenSati!  $10 gets you in the door and I have DVDs!


Please, for your own sake, ROCK OUT.  Thanks for reading, be well, and see you soon.





Thursday, May 13, 2010

Playing the Sexy Name Game Pays Off!

Hello bloggity friends!

This month only, I am teaching a class called "The Shape Bikini Body Workout."  I am doing this because the club has a partnership with Shape Magazine for the month of May, and one sculpt class per club has changed its name (and ONLY its name) for the month to celebrate.  I volunteered my PureStrength class for the name makeover because I thought it might pull in some people who have never taken my class.  I must note that I did not change the content of my class at all.  I do the same exercises in Tuesday's Bikini Body class as I do in Sunday's PureStrength class.  In fact, when I walked in to teach my first class at the top of the month, I had completely forgotten about the name change...

until I saw the huge crowd of women on the floor, jockeying for space and the last few 5 and 8-pound weights in the bin.  Now, I always have good numbers, but this was incredible.  What the... *DING!  LIGHT BULB MOMENT!

These women were new to my class, eager as hell, with a look in their eyes that implored me... "Please, please give us the answer!  The perfect bikini body!  Can I get it in the next 45 minutes?"  And the men in the room, who are used to my PureStrength format and hadn't thought to check the new schedule, were looking around, bewildered and pleased at the same time!

So I changed my script, fast.  I started talking about how all of the exercises we do with our own body weight are SO, like, totally doable in the Hamps by the pool!  How instead of the dumbbells you can fill last night's vodka bottle with water and improvise at the Jersey Shore!  I laughed at myself, they laughed at me, and my classes have been at capacity ever since.  No weights or mats to spare.  And guess what?  I'm never changing those classes back.  Would you?  Below are my before and after class descriptions:

My regular PureStrength description:
"A complete body conditioning class.  All muscle groups are explored in this constant functional movement class with cardio components."  (This is a respectable description.  Honest, no frills, straight to the point.  Masculine, even, which would explain why I have a steady stream of dudes and serious fearless women in that class).

The Shape Bikini Body Workout description:
"Get bikini ready with the best exercises dedicated to flatten your abs, tone your legs, and sculpt your hips and butt.  This is the perfect integrated strength, cardio, and power sculpting workout designed to melt away fat- just in time for bikini season!"  (This is a brilliant description.  Women don't even have a choice in the matter.  Basically says the same thing as the PureStrength description, except the great phrase "melt away" and the key words "tone," "flatten," "perfect" and "bikini" grab the female eye, not to mention the exclamation point at the end!  Yeah!  Work it, sisters!!)

I am in love with this revelation.  Not only has it gotten my creative juices flowing and helped me step up my teaching game, but my students are actually working harder.  They have a specific goal, and they WANT it bad.  And I am so happy to help them!  Now of course i must mention that the secret to a bikini body or dream body of any kind is persistence, and a regular, consistent workout schedule combined with a balanced diet.  This schedule may or may not include classes that have the word "bikini" in them.  Friends, the bottom line is, get your ass to the gym 4-5 times a week, work your butt off, go home and eat right, and you will have the bikini body.  But for now, I'm totally fine managing the throngs of thong-hungry cuties at 44th and Lex.  I should partner with a spa so everyone can do my workout and then get a bikini wax.  Any takers???

As for me?  I want to be the Bikini Body Spokeswoman.  I'm getting cute for class, wearing little matching outfits that show my bod and maintaining glossy lips, enjoying being a girly girl in fitness, making new connections with my peeps, making my managers happy, feeling great.  I love when people come to me for help.  I admit it!  I think my next class will be called "The Double Your Income in 2010 Workout."  I will teach it at Wall Street.  With the PureStrength format.  Or how about " The Find the Love Of Your Life In The Next Two Weeks Workout..."  I will charge extra for that one!

All joking aside, here's the secret formula.  Take care of your body.  Take care of your mind.  Get plenty of rest.  Find a spiritual practice.  Live in gratitude.  Laugh and have fun.  Add lots of water, enjoy!

Join me for the Shape Bikini Body Workout:
Tuesdays 7:15-8pm at Equinox Tribeca
Wednesdays 6:15-7pm at Equinox 44th and Lexington
For this month only!  (or is it????)

OR:  PureStrength!
Sundays 10am at Equinox 19th and Broadway
Fridays 12:30-1:15pm at Equinox Columbus Circle

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Catalyst Cleanse... How I got my groove back from making ONE decision

A few weeks ago, I was not feeling awesome.  I was down, bloated, lethargic, uninspired, and my usual Erika Shannon Mojo was nowhere to be found (see photo on left, from Easter Sunday.  Blech.  Don't let the kale salad on my plate fool you).  I was injured, I had started giving into ridiculous cravings (Tasti D-Lite?  Really?  I don't even LIKE it!), and I was feeling TERRIBLE about myself.  I knew I had to do something, and fast.  


I chose to commit to the Isagenix Nine-Day cleanse because I know several people with active lifestyles like mine who have highly recommended it.  It was easy to follow, the meal replacement shakes are DELICIOUS, I got to eat a "real" meal every day (crucial for me- I love to eat!), and it didn't leave me hungry (as many juice fast cleanses do- don't even ASK about the time I did the Master Cleanse and tried to rehearse for Broadway Bares and teach a full schedule while surviving on water with lemon and maple syrup).  Within the first three days I noticed a HUGE difference in my attitude and energy levels.  With no caffeine, heavy food, sugar, or starch, I felt CLEAR.  Sparkly!  I started buzzing with creative ideas for choreography and class ideas.  I picked up weights in PureStrength for the first time in four weeks.  I began seeing a chiropractor and practicing the Alexander Technique.  I got my tax return check and went shopping for new spring clothes.  I scheduled a session with my life coach.


As I started to feel better with each day, I became increasingly aware of a simple (ugly? surface?) truth:  Am I really that vain that getting a little skinnier makes this big of a difference?  It reminded me of a particular saying that I have heard ad nauseam in my life:  "Nothing tastes as good as being thin feels."  Something about that statement makes me feel icky, even cheap.  Is that really how I feel?  What if it is?  Is that wrong?  But then I looked at the nature of my life- how my body gets me jobs.  How I stand at the front of the room as an example and (hopefully) an inspiration to my students.  Of course it should feel good to love my body!  My "money maker" IS my money maker!  And even if it weren't, what is so wrong about looking and feeling fabulous?  In fact, if we don't feel fabulous, why the hell not?  We should all be walking around, strutting like peacocks and flaunting our trim tummies like luscious plumage!  


I am so glad I did that cleanse.  I am so happy to have found my power again.  This week alone, people have offered me coffee cake, biscotti, soda, pasta, and steak.  And I have, without hesitation, politely declined.  I am now even more aware of my body.  What it REALLY wants as opposed to what my mind thinks it wants.  And I am going to continue this way.  I am back to eating regularly (no caffeine, Tasti-D or soda, yay!), and I'm also maintaining a regime with the Isagenix Cleanse for Life drink and the shakes for breakfast (which I LOVE), and daily vitamins and antioxidants!  Feels so good.  I love waking up every day and looking in the mirror!  The picture below is from my birthday, a few days after I finished the cleanse.  Revived!  Woo hoo!

Looking back on that nine-day transformation, it is most remarkable to me that this ONE THING, the action of doing the cleanse, had a snowball effect on the rest of my life.  I fixed my shoulder.  I am developing a practice for my everyday health.  I created the May intenSati series in RECORD time.  I started taking major responsibility for getting my finances in order and feeling powerful and abundant with my money.  I have regained confidence, agility, sparkle, sass, and my MOJO is back!  It feels great to be back in my own skin.  As my friend Cherie Lily would say, 'WERK!"

So...here is my question for you:  Is something dragging you down energetically?  Do you need a change?  Is your mojo intact?  If not, pick one thing you can do to generate a change in attitude.  It could be simply committing to drinking 8 glasses of water per day (with lemon to increase cleansing), working out 4 days this week instead of two, meditating 5 minutes per day, etc.  The key is not necessarily in the action.  It's in making the commitment and sticking to it, and feeling the PRIDE in accomplishing your goal.  Trust me, it will snowball into utter fabulousness!  Now THAT really feels yummy!


So do it UP peeps!  Let me know how I can support you.  And if you want to give Isagenix a try, email me!  I loved it so much I became a distributor, so just say the word and we'll get you hooked up!






Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Pushing the Limit- Tears and working out!

Last Friday I went to a cycling class with my friend D.  I had never been to this particular facility before, and the owner had invited me to see if I would be interested in teaching there.  The place was beautiful and has a reputation for totally bumpin' music, so I was excited to check it out.  I showed up in my cute outfit, rented the cycling shoes, and hopped on bike #31.  

Now, before I even clicked in, I was carrying some worry.  I had been nursing a shoulder injury for three weeks, and I knew that riding out of the saddle could be a problem if I was careless.  But I had already rescheduled once, and I decided I had to show up.  I had also started a nine-day cleanse that day, and was afraid that the shake I'd eaten for breakfast wasn't going to be enough to get me through the class and my next sculpt class I had to teach.   But, as my friend T had graciously reminded me the day before, we store so much energy in our bodies, and it would be good to shake it up again, tap into my reserve, and shake things up a bit.    

So there I was.  Clicked in, ready to ride.  I looked around at the 59 (yes 59!) other people waiting for class to start, already vigorously pedaling with grim, determined visages even though the instructor hadn't even entered the room yet.  I pedaled idly while chatting with D and examining my sparkly engagement ring in the dim candlelit studio, and waited.  Wanted to go easy on the shoulder, and I was cleansing.  Take it easy, E.  

Well, then class began, and it became apparent pretty early on that there was no taking it easy.  After all, I was the one who was INVITED here, I had to represent, I had to do well.  About halfway through class, we were on a 3-minute sprint, and I burst into tears in the middle of either "Run This Town" or "Empire State of Mind," I can't remember which.  I was exhausted.  I was drenched.  I was f#cking HOT, I was agitated, I was worried about my shoulder, and I wanted OUT OF THERE.  But there was no way I was quitting.  I was so mad that I was mad, I cried more.  I started saying things to myself.  Talking to myself how I talk to my students.  "FIND MORE," I said.  "FIND MORE."  And I did.  We recovered from the sprint, and for a split second, I felt pretty damn good.

Within 15 minutes I was crying again.  I'm pretty sure I audibly sobbed at one point.  Thank God for loud music (I loved that they passed earplugs out at the front desk, BTW).  This time, as I cried, I tried to figure out if it was because I HATED that ride or LOVED it.  Was it torture or a breakthrough?  I still don't know, but you bet your ass I'm going back.

To be clear, I hadn't cried from pain.  If my shoulder were exploding, I would have clicked out and navigated my way through the sweaty sea of Tribeca moms to the safe haven of the locker room.  The fear I felt about it was much more potent than the actual physical pain.  And the next day, my shoulder was pain free for the first time in weeks.  Coincidence?  I don't know.   But I think not.

After class, D and I went for a coffee (me: tea.  Cleansing!) and she said to me, "I totally cried."  I think I jumped up and down with glee just knowing that I wasn't the only one!  I think when we are being pushed to be better, we get defensive.  We show resistance.  And then comes the inevitable point when you either have to quit or break on through to the other side.  As a student of intenSati, I have experienced this so many times.  Forcing myself to stand in the front row of Patricia's class in front of my students so I can't slack off, and then regretting it when I start to cry halfway through the upper body series because I really, really feel like I might pass out if I don't take a break.

Taking that class last Friday was a beautiful reminder to me.  A reminder that as a teacher, I am responsible for facilitating your breakthroughs.  So if we're in class and you hear me say "FIND MORE," and you want to stab me in the eye and burst into tears, you are in exactly the right place.  Just remember that I am there to help you find your strength, your stored up energy, your potential.

So let's ride!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

That "old" excuse...


I have a confession to make.  I have a favorite excuse.  Are you ready for this one?  Here we go:  I am old.  I am too old.  I say it at least once a day.  I say it more when I'm surrounded by beautiful young people or people who bring out my insecurity.  Or when my body is tight or in pain (which is often, as I teach 11 classes a week!)

It's so DUMB!  I know this!  But I say it anyway, all the time.  And I think it at least three times as often as I say it out loud.  It's my favorite go-to thought to achieve instant insecurity.  Last week I was having THE most amazing time shooting a commercial for L'Oreal with the megastar herself, Miss Beyonce Knowles.  I felt like a million bucks.  Her glam team made me look just that, totally glam, and I only played her manager!  The blowout was fierce, the makeup was flawless, and the experience overall made me feel like a star (the picture on the left is me with Stephanie, who did my makeup for the shoot).  I could go on and on about how exciting it was to work with Beyonce, but I'll save that for another blog!  Suffice it to say she defines star quality.  Beauty, graciousness, professionalism, and a great silliness about her to boot.  Perfection.
But I digress.  I also had the great honor of working with the beautiful, sweet young women who played her singer/dancers.  While there was no actual dancing in the commercial, two of the girls have danced with Beyonce before, and often.  They are smokin' hot, and they are twelve years younger than me.

If I may backtrack for a second, I have always wanted to dance with a recording artist on tour.  When I was growing up it was Janet Jackson.  I wanted to be a Janet dancer so badly.  Then it was Madonna, then Britney, Justin Timberlake, you know the deal.  I used to tape every episode of "In Living Color" on the VHS and learn every Fly Girl routine.  I was obsessed.  And here I was, chillin' in the dressing room last Thursday with the girls, one of whom was one of Beyonce's beauties from the epic "Single Ladies" video, and she told me she started working with Beyonce at the age of 17.

When I first heard this, I felt deflated.  Like I had missed my window.  BUT then I think about Tina Landon, Janet Jackson's longtime choreographer, who recently performed in the 2009 VMAs at the age of 44, and Dara Torres, who won the three silver medals for swimming at the 2008 Olympics, at the age of 41.  I will be 34 in a few weeks, so hey, I'm not doing so bad!  All I can do is take expert care of my self,  remember what I want, and GO FOR IT.  And oh yeah, banish those thoughts about being the resident grandma on every gig I book.  Because, as I can see from an objective glance at this photo from the shoot, it's ALL in my head.


Yesterday I had a photo shoot for new headshots, and for some reason the makeup girl hardly put any make up on my face.  I was an insecure mess the whole time because I was thinking about my laugh lines, my crinkly eyes, and on and on and on.  Screaming on the inside that I needed concealer.  Feeling OLD and exposed with no Beyonce glam team to make it all better.  I let my discomfort with my age ruin my experience.  I wanted to crawl out of there.  The voices were taunting me... "you should be knitting or something.  Who are you kidding?  You're almost too old to be 'young mom!'  "Then I came home and compared the new, unretouched photos with some old headshots of mine.  And I thought hey girl, not so bad!  The pic on the left is from early 2005 (don't you love the blonde? Ew.), the pic in the center from early 2007 (a bit vampire-ish with the skin color, eh?), and the one on the right is from yesterday.  It's a LOT better than I thought. I am aging gracefully.  And I'm worth it (hee hee couldn't resist).


                   
So here's my question to you:  Where do you limit yourself?  Where in your life do you make up stories so you don't have to take a risk?  How do your words of self doubt justify your actions?  How often do you let negative thoughts sabotage your joy?  How long are you going to let that happen?

If I were to have a session with my life coach today, she would prescribe a new promise for me to keep.  So, here it is, Jo!  As of today, I am no longer allowing myself to say ANYTHING about being old.  It takes away my power.  It makes me feel SO much older than I am.  So if you're reading this, and you ever hear me say it, I invite you to call me out in public and I will drop and give you 10 push ups.  The push ups are a consequence.  Something annoying that I don't like to do, so I will avoid breaking the promise.  I especially don't want to do push ups right now because I am nursing a shoulder injury.  So, needless to say, my lips are sealed.  (By the way, if you are interested in working with a coach, I recommend The Handel Group any day of the week and twice on Sunday.  They have helped me change my life).

It's a beautiful day today.  I'm going to apply sunscreen and head out for a walk, and enjoy the body I'm in.  I hope you do the same, and I'll see you in the studio!  


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The power of a YES

Yesterday was quite a day for me.  I was sitting in my kitchen, crying over my coffee (no joke) as I drafted a response email to a recent and raw rejection letter, feeling so totally defeated and debating about how bitchy I could be over email without getting fired completely.  It was not a shining moment.  I decided against the bitchiness, deleted the snarky comments, released my need to be right and clever, and hit send with a simple "thank you, I am grateful for your feedback."  Because under my bruised ego, I was.  Then I ate a piece of Godiva 80% dark chocolate, took a deep breath, and set about returning other emails.

My trusty pink Blackberry buzzed at me and I saw that it was my agent.  This was it.  I was expecting this call- THE call, after the initial audition, the callback, the "put those dates on hold" call.  The call that says YES, the gig is YOURS!  OR close, but no cigar.  I said a silent prayer and picked up the phone.  I really needed a win.  And for the first time in a long, long time, it was a yes.

My initial feeling (which still lingers as I type this post) was relief.  I believe my first words to my agent were "Oh thank GOD."  The Yes meant so much more to me in that moment than the actual gig, the money I will make, the star I get to meet and work closely with, the notoriety.  It was the sweet taste of validation.  That sip of champagne when you haven't had any for a year, how it warms your whole body as it goes down  The feeling of "oooohhhh man that is GOOD."  The little nod from the universe, patting me on the head and saying "it's okay honey, you're on the right track."  And all of a sudden, the past four months of NOs crack open and show me that they were simply clearing the way for this very big Yes.

So I celebrated.  I called my fiancee and my mom and my family.  I looked up at my vision board and saw a picture of the star I am going to spend two days working with this week, and said THANK YOU.  I went for a massage.

And then I went to teach intenSati.  As I stood at the front of the room, I reflected on my intro for my last class, just the day before, how I was doubting that I was "the one," how I really needed a win, how I use the words from class like a lifeline to stay strong and keep the faith.  And here I was, 24 hours later, with the Yes.  And that's when it hit me.  The lesson does not lie in the Yes.  Don't get me wrong, the Yes is AMAZING and exciting and makes everything better.  But we spend most of our time in that limbo between the initial wanting of The Thing and receiving it.  So what do we do in that time?  We practice faith.  We choose to believe it's on its way, and in perfect time.  We accept challenges as lessons.  We honor our desire, we remember what we want, we stay the course.  And, in the simple words of one of my besties, THINGS WORK OUT.

This Thursday and Friday I will be shooting a L'Oreal commercial with Beyonce.  I am so grateful for this Yes!  I am also grateful to be a teacher and to have a reason to search for the lessons- so I can share them with you.

Much, much love to you and have a fantastic day!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Can't make it to class? Pick up the book!

I mentioned in my first post that I teach a class called intenSati.  Don't worry, you aren't the first person who thought "say WHAT?" after reading that word.  "Inten" stands for "intention" and "sati" means "mindfulness."  Deliberate action plus deliberate thought, WHILE you're kicking and punching and lunging and squatting, and oh yes, speaking out loud.  IntenSati is about living a life you love, in a body you love.  It's a killer workout AND the reason I teach fitness in the first place.

In October of 2005, I joined Equinox as a member, and wandered into Patricia Moreno's intenSati class with no expectations.  55 minutes later I was a sweaty mess and my head was absolutely spinning with ideas, revelations, and one very big realization.  You see, I was VERY unhappily married at the time, and the first lesson in intenSati is that we are all 100% responsible for our lives.  We are in control of how we think, how we act and react, how we co-create our reality.  I realized that I had been keeping myself in misery, blaming it all on my husband, and denying that I could do something about it (and yes, all it took for me was one class).  Long story short, I left him eight months later*, and the freedom I felt on that day was nothing short of astounding.  Ever since walking into this class, I have made a daily choice to LOVE MY LIFE.  And sometimes, even now that I teach the class, I run into those old familiar friends, Denial and Fear.  So I punch the crap out of them (there's a lot of punching and other martial artsy influence), and feel better almost instantly.  :)

If you're curious about the class and you haven't taken it yet, click on the link above to buy it on Amazon.com.   Each exercise in the book has an affirmation to match that you can do at home, or anywhere you feel comfortable.  Plus, there are little pictures of me and the Sati team smiling out at you from the page for encouragement!  No brainer.  Get some!

If you're ready to check it out live, visit my website to see my schedule and come as my guest!  Just email me for a guest pass.  IntenSati is the best total body workout you can get, so if you start to feel overwhelmed, I will be there to remind you that "it's just the gym!"

*DISCLAIMER:  Taking this class will not necessarily cause you to end your marriage!  Unless, of course, your marriage is what's keeping you from being happy.  The beauty of the story is, through intenSati, I met my fiancee Brian.  So there you have it.  No love lost!  In fact, I cannot even measure how much I have gained.  But that's another post for another day...

Have a great weekend!