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noticing

Fifty Life Lessons from Flamenco

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Fifty Life Lessons from Flamenco

During last weekend's Flamenco Retreat at the Oregon Coast (which I'm still on a high from by the way and which you can see pictures of below) we all agreed that flamenco teaches us about life and about ourselves

So, today I share with you fifty life lessons I've gleaned from flamenco.

Fifty Lessons:

(This list is full of links in case you'd like to dive deeper into some of the lessons.)

  1. Listen to your intuition, and trust your instincts.
  2. Express your true feelings
  3. Be present.
  4. Stand beautifully in your power.
  5. Prepare. (Really prepare.)
  6. Take risks.
  7. Focus.
  8. Act with intention.
  9. The answers are in the mirror, so look.
  10. Show up.

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Part 1: Four Dance Tips Learned from Monday Morning Observations

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Part 1: Four Dance Tips Learned from Monday Morning Observations

A story on the value of observation from a past Flamenco Tour (followed by four bulerías take-aways):

Sunday night I was writing

About flamenco and Jerez and what I'm doing here and what I want to learn here.

And I set some intentions for the week.

I had a few.

One was to Observe

To observe people dancing bulerías. Especially people whose dancing I liked. In class and out. Anywhere and everywhere.

To watch them, really watch them. And to notice what was happening.

To notice how they responded to the cante.

To notice how they danced with the compás.

To notice when they did what they did.

To notice the things I liked.

To notice the things that worked.

Maybe even to notice the things I didn't like.

And to notice the things that didn't work.

On Monday morning I went to bulerías class

That was the day Ani taught the ladies about dancing on a floor tile. I'll tell you about that in the next post.

It was also the day she read my mind.

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How to Use Bulerías to Strengthen Your Trust

Today in Part Two of the Trust & Flamenco Series I share with you how I use bulerías to strengthen my intuition. It's actually not all that difficult.

Because bulerías invites me to trust.

To trust me.

I don't always accept the invitation, but when I do bulerías becomes my teacher.

It teaches me to listen to and honor that instinct that talks to me. To follow it instead of questioning it. Questioning it gets me into trouble, I tend to question, but following it leads me to good and truth.

Trust is something I’ve been working on for quite some time.

And I’m not talking about trusting others,

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Four Steps to Following Your Intuition (Learned from Flamenco)

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Four Steps to Following Your Intuition (Learned from Flamenco)

I've talked before about how much I learn from flamenco. And I don't mean how much I learn about flamenco. Naturally I learn a lot about flamenco. But I'm talking about other things. Like trust for instance.

Trust

I have some issues when it comes to following my intuition.

I want to hear it. I want to trust it. I want to act on it.

If only it were that easy.

Fortunately flamenco has a lot to tell me about that.

Bulerías especially. Because with bulerías there are certain things I need to do. And as it turns out, these things also assist me in learning to go with my gut...

Four steps to following my intuition that I learned from flamenco:

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She Wants It To Be Real | Viernes con una Letra

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She Wants It To Be Real | Viernes con una Letra

This afternoon I was working on the letra.

I translated it, wrote it out, took a picture of it, and then decided I’d better hurry up and take a quick walk before the sun went down. It was nice out, and I could finish the post later.

It began to rain minutes after I began my walk.

I guess I needed to be rained on.

The sky had given me no indication that this was going to happen. It had been sunny all day, and all I noticed were beautiful nearning sunset colors from the moment I stepped outside. So many colors and shades of brightness that I didn’t really see the grey rain clouds.

I notice lots of things,

But sometimes I miss certain things that would be most helpful to notice,

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How Writing Saved Me in Jerez

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How Writing Saved Me in Jerez

I can't imagine learning flamenco without pens and paper. I really can't.

On paper I take notes.  On paper I figure things out.  On paper I put the thoughts that circle inside my head.  And there's just something I like so much about the feel of the pen moving atop the paper.

I often write in little books

They helped me a lot in the beginning, in Sevilla.

They help me today.

And they helped me a lot in Jerez.

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Five Castanet Technique Tips & A Confession

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Five Castanet Technique Tips & A Confession

You've read my thoughts on avoiding castanets burn-out, and you've read about what made castanets finally doable for me. Today I'll share with you five important technique tips. But first, a castanets confession.

It has to do with my moving thumb.

My right thumb, that is. My right thumb that moves when I am doing the roll with my four fingers, well, and when doing postiseo, but it's supposed to move then, so that's a good thing. 

It's a bad habit that I formed in my alone practicing.

I don't know if I could have avoided it had I spent more time studying under someone else's guidance in the beginning. I don't know if the teacher would have noticed it happening and helped me to prevent it from continuing and developing into a habit. These are things I wonder about.

Most people tell me it's almost impossible to "fix" at this point.

Most people except for Emilio.

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Three Ways to Find Success in a Flamenco Workshop

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Three Ways to Find Success in a Flamenco Workshop

I know that workshops can seem overwhelming at times,

and hard.

Difícil.  

Ricardo López, one of my favorite guys ever, knows this too.

And yes, even though he is a professional dancer who travels the world performing with people like Rafaela Carrasco, he still enjoys studying and taking cursillos.

So I want to share with you three suggestions from Ricardo that we can use in class.  

And after that I'll talk about how his tips can help us outside of the studio as well.

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11 Things I Accidentally Learned during rehearsal. Again

I was rehearsing with Kuma the other day  when I accidentally learned a bunch of lessons. All lessons that I'd learned before, as so often is the case.

He was playing cajón.  I was dancing.  And not long into things, the re-noticings started coming.  One after another.  I had to keep running over to my phone to write them down. Because I was so excited.  And because I didn't want to forget.

After awhile, on account of one of the noticings, I realized it was time to stop running away from our practice to write them down.

This was important.  

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The Discovery

The other day I made a great discovery.  (I'll tell you about it in a minute.) But first I want to talk about noticing, something I did a lot of last year.  It helps me to focus.  It teaches me all kinds of things.  And I intend to keep it up.

At times I record the noticings in little books.  At times I share them with others, like you.  At times they just stay in my cabeza.  Other times in my cuerpo.

Noticing is good.

It shows me stuff.  Like tendencies to rush, to stop listening, to leave my body.

It tells me what I need to work on.

It points out when I’m enjoying myself and when I’m not, to what factors into that, and how certain things feel.

It teaches me about how I like to create, about environments I work best in, about how I like to dance, why I like to dance, and who I like to dance with.

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This One Big Thing

Ok, so there is this one thing I've noticed that really, really, really has a BIG effect on my dancing.  Is it the biggest effect?  I don't know.

But it's big

I know how important it is, yet I still refuse to consistently give it the credit it deserves.

I want to remember to do it.  Or no, not remember, I want to do it even if I don't want to.

You know how much I like stories, so let us begin with a story.

Un cuento

It was a Wednesday much like today, sunny and hot that is.  I was in Jerez.  It was the spring of 2011...

The rest of the story comes in the form of but another excerpt from my journal.

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And Then, the Smiles

In the past weeks I've noticed something.  For those of you who've been reading, you know that I am trying to make this year all about noticing.

Anyway, in class I've seen people coming in with all kinds of expressions.

Many people wearing the kind of day, or week, they've had on their faces. Class gets going, and there are concentrated looks, which is exciting.

And then, the smiles.

I've been seeing lots of smiles!  

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We Notice and We Practice

And we notice while practicing.  I know that in order to improve, practice is necessary, but paying attention and noticing are equally importante.  The importance of focus, something I'm not always so good at doing... So everybody is talking about New Year's resolutions right now.  I don't really remember having made any for the past several years.  Perhaps this is because I haven't followed through and have forgotten them.  Perhaps it is because I have in the past made big huge resolutions without keeping them.  Perhaps it is because I'm so busy making little resolutions all year-round.   No importa.  This year I actually decided upon a New Year's resolution back in September or October or something.  I didn't really mean to.  It just came to me.  Something I wanted to do...but didn't feel quite ready for.

Since then I have declared my resolution to certain people and have been preparing for it.  And now I feel ready to commit.

Because I've given myself some time to practice.

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