Unsurprisingly, as I began gathering descriptions of past workshops and drafting plans for new ones, they aligned themselves neatly into the seven Touchstones that also form the book’s underlying structure: desire, presence, balance, circle, compassion, spirit, and integration.
Please contact me to discuss pricing, scheduling, and other particulars. I love conspiring with dancers and musicians, and I welcome collaborations that offer a twist on any of the topics touched on below.
From Desire to Integration: Creating New Realities
Should life feel dull or out-of-focus, or should a deep yearning feel out-of-reach, it might be time for a check-in with your most creative self. Weaving meditation with journaling, and circle discussions with a great big box of crayons, this offering invites participants to connect with desires, known and unknown. Imagine the possible realities of bringing them to life and leave with a few concrete practices to accompany your journey.
This offering was originally presented during a summer solstice retreat as “Make Your Creative Projects a Reality: Birthing Dreams into Being,” and it has matured into an intention-setting, block-busting gift to participants and facilitator alike.
Where do creative projects begin, and how is creativity sustained day-to-day and breath-to-breath? How do creative practices differ from person to person? This offering incorporates the richness of multiple perspectives with an open question and answer format.
Please contact Christy to identify panel participants, as this offering can take many forms: from straight facilitation of an event panel, to, geography willing, the inclusion of other members of the Enrichment Circle, or as a more intimate circle of participants given equal time for expression.
Yoga Nidra: Breathe and Restore
This offering beautifully complements a packed conference schedule, where participants might benefit from some self-care. Yoga nidra is a deep meditation practice that mimics the stages of actual sleep; it’s like sleep with a trace of deep awareness that opens portals to your unconscious mind. Swami Satyananda Saraswati is one of the first to have codified teachings from early Vedic literature into an eight stage practice.
After a brief history, participants are invited to sit or recline as they are led through a nidra in the classic framework that has been updated to playfully explore the act of breathing, drawing upon Donna Farhi’s inquiries into breathing states, and Blandine Calais-Germain’s anatomical visualizations. There are no strenuous poses to hold, however, participants are encouraged to create an intention. Holding this mental focus at the beginning and end of the practice aids participants in absorbing this resolve at a cellular level.
Basic Bellydance, American Tribal Style (ATS)®
The Enrichment Project began with dancers, and movement remains vital to our creative approaches. Participants are invited to become present to their own bodies and powers of observation during an hour-long belly dance class geared towards those new to the artform. The class includes a warm-up, targeted cool-down, and covers three fast and three slow moves from the Fat Chance Belly Dance ATS format. These moves can be enjoyed solo, or cued improvisationally with other dancers to extend the circle!
This offering grew out of certification in the ATS format during General Skills and Teacher Training co-led by Carolena Nericcio and Megha Gavin in Birmingham, AL in 2011. It has since been workshopped with participants as diverse as lawyers and new mothers, ballroom dancers and high schoolers.
Five Songs from Five Cultures in Four Languages
Grab your passport for an epic sing-along from North Africa (“Sidi Mansour”) and Egypt (“Hadouni, Hadouni”) through Israel (“Erev Shel Shoshanim”) and Turkey (“Uskadara”), that will wind up in Serbia (“Ajde Jano”). Learn cultural tidbits, translations, and guaranteed tongue twisters. Transliterated sheet music can be provided in advance; drummers and melody instruments welcome.
Please contact Christy to arrange other songs or collaborations!
Intro to Aerial Lyra
Have you ever dreamed of becoming an aerialist, but sweaty palms, a belief that you’re not strong enough, or a fear of heights has kept your feet on the ground? Get a taste of the circus heights with this intro to aerials class, suitable for beginners. After a thorough warm-up and discussion of strengthening exercises, you’ll get to take your turn in the air! Exhilarated laughter assured; jumping jacks guaranteed.
This class is typically capped at 8 participants to give everyone maximum fly time. Please contact Christy to discuss venue and safety measures. Participants are encouraged to bring water and yoga mats, and to wear yoga or exercise attire. “Some kind of pants are an excellent idea; ten-yard skirts and inversion are a humorous but ineffectual combination.” ~Sadie
Circles: Holding Sacred Space
Whether sitting in circle with a group of others, or with all the elements that make up the circle of myself, I’m always transformed by the power of holding space. Participants in this offering create and commit to tenets of circle work before navigating the fine art of the check-in.
Sitting in circle takes practice and skill, and the praxis is even richer than printed words can convey. Please contact Christy to set a circle topic or theme, and to discuss the circle’s length and size. For obvious reasons, this offering is best suited to an intimate group.
Do You Trust Your Data? Why Cybersecurity and Why Now
Originally presented as the opening keynote for a womens’ cybersecurity weekend organized by the AnitaB.org foundation, this lecture explores the human concept of trust as applied in digital contexts, some of the problems that challenge the industry, and why now is an excellent time to join the fight. The innate problem solving tendencies of women are ideally matched to solving these fundamental issues, and yet women account for only a tiny fraction of the employed workforce, and so this presentation closes with tactical resources for learning more.
This offering was initially tailored for an audience with an IT background who were interested in transitioning into the security space. Please contact Christy to customize the presentation for groups of any technical background interested in learning more about digital privacy, including measures you can take at home and online to better safeguard your personal information. In today’s circles of social media and online everything, these are important skills to maintain.
An Elemental Journey from Grief to Joy
As serendipity would have it, in a show’s lineup many years ago, my planned improvisation was set in between one song about grief and another about joy. This prompted me to explore the journeys I improvise from grief to joy, uncovering an elemental pattern to my processing. This pattern structured the types of movements I danced during the show; more importantly, it began to inform my own self-awareness. What stage am I in, and how can I show myself compassion for where I sit along this continuum today?
This offering investigates the elements– water, air, earth, and fire– and their associations. Participants are invited to map their own trajectories and move through space, inspired by the theories of Rosangela Silvestre and participants’ own intuition. There is tremendous healing power in identifying one’s own patterns, which is magnified when dialogue opens with others to understand the differences in our similarities and the similarities in our differences.
Flame and Release
From the sputtering wick catching to the ashes gone gust, fire transforms me. As the last stage in my processing journey, this is also the element I’m liable to skip. I never had much success in letting go– of grief, anger, persistent anxiety– until I began acting it out. Participants are invited to look at candles and curling smoke in new ways, and even how to work with “cold fire” when lighting an actual fire is not possible or advisable. Prepare to set intentions and transform energy.
Weather and space permitting, the group may adjourn outside; this segment can introduce fire toys like torches, fans, staff, hoops, poi, and even an umbrella. Rather than a skills class, participants receive a meditative approach to the snap and hiss of the wicks. Drumming and other ways of holding space are available to all skill levels, and even seasoned fire spinners are led to appreciate how the element of intention augments an existing practice.
This offering has been shared in multiple guises, and it can be customized for topic preferences and length of time. Regardless of length, participants will receive a grounding in basic fire safety and first aid, for we all must take responsibility for our own transformations.
Tarot Workshop: Witches Bridge Club
My husband Doug named this offering: “My mom gets together with some women to play bridge, and the tarot’s like a bridge, right?” I love this, as the tarot has always been a tool for me, connecting disparate thoughts, bridging gaps to reveal my own patterns. Tarot doesn’t require memorizing a book or being “psychic;” it engages curiosity, creativity, and intuition: Expand your realm of the possible.
Witch Bridge covers the history, fundamentals, and rules of the game. (Spoiler alert, there are no rules.) And after watching a practice round, players are invited to pair up and play a couple of rounds. Several decks will be on hand; inspire the group by bringing yours! This whirlwind tour of archetypes pairs well with an offering of Radical Ritual readings at an event.
Trance in Dance and Music
Avocado green shag carpeting pressed against my cheek as I lay panting after spinning for an eternity in our dining room. I was maybe five or six, and my clumsy feet would pick up speed, the blood streaming out to my fingertips, as I experimented with different tilts to my chin until I tilted off my axis at last, twining my fingers in the carpet to to keep from flying off the earth. I don’t know why I did this; no one ever taught me how. Sometimes, I just spun. I could while away whole afternoons like that. One day, I discovered my whirling had a name, a tradition, and so, across the years, I have indulged my passion, researching trance dance and music, from Greek maenads to modern electronic dance halls.
This offering is an honoring of those traditions, a group experiment, and it can take many forms. Please contact Christy to discuss the desired length and structure based on the interests and contexts of participants.
The Enrichment Project began with designating a word, a desire, and writing it on a rock. These Touchstones sparked movement, reflections on qualities both present and absent, and they rippled out into our lives like stones dropped into still water. This offering leads participants through meditation, journaling, and movement exercises to select a series of Touchstones. These form the basis for Radical Rituals that can be creatively incorporated into daily living.
Though we will spend time discussing stones and their qualities, a Touchstone doesn’t need to be a stone, per se; I’ve been told that a Lego works just as meaningfully. This offering can be structured to involve pre-work, including bringing objects from home to serve as Touchstones, or it can involve taking a walk together to identify elements within nature that reflect the qualities desired.
An Ocean of Breath Yoga Flow
Those exquisite moments of checking-in, just before flowing into a series of asanas, are the sweetest. Across a range of gentle movements–from the saggital plane to the coronal, from circling to twisting– participants are invited to listen to the oceanic roar of breath. What craves movement? What seeks stillness? And from this concentrated dot of breath, we surrender together to the current of the pleasing stretch, the unplanned pleasure. This offering concludes with a return to stillness in a resting pose (or an active power pose, if appropriate), to integrate the body’s wisdom.
I codified this structure for spontaneity around my own personal practice, which means I love any opportunity to indulge in it. When Majda requested a yoga flow to be led the morning of her wedding, after checking in and connecting with our oceanic calm, we elevated our collective joy, catwalking our giggles straight into hair and makeup.
Ephemeral Enrituals – Temporary Labyrinths
Labyrinths can be pretty designs, detours, meditations, or quests. Global variations of unicursal paths date back to Neolithic times, each with rich cultural significance and ritual. I built one in my front yard and have become a veritable little Johnny labyrinth-seed since, scattering temporary labyrinth installations on camping trips, in parks, along the Atlanta BeltLine, at the ocean’s edge…
Please contact me if you are interested in a temporary installation or in consulting toward a more permanent installation. Let’s co-create an enriching ritual.