Can You Breathe?

“In this house,

we believe:

Black lives matter.

Feminism is for everyone.

Humans are not illegal.

Science is real.

Love is love.

Kindness is everything.”

Dear Friends,

I wanted to title this week’s blog, “Speechless.” And end it there.

But I can’t.

If I am speechless, then that means I’ve gone back to staying silent.

If I am speechless, then that means I’ve gone back to my little bubble.

If I am speechless, then that means I’ve gone back to doing nothing.

“There comes a time when silence is a betrayal.”

Martin Luther King Jr.

So instead, I changed the title to, “Can You Breathe?” because by now I am sure you have heard the phrase over and over again, “I Can’t Breathe.” The phrase that automatically makes me feel sick to my stomach and brings tears to my eyes. I regret watching the video of the police officers pinning George Floyd to the ground. I regret hearing his pleads for air and for help. I regret witnessing a man actually die.

But no, I don’t regret it, because it happened. George Floyd DIED because of racism and police brutality and I needed to see it. You needed to see it.

I can’t breathe. I am suffocating in emotions I can’t even sort through. The problem is, this is not a rare occurrence by any means. The problem is, this happens all the time with no punishment! The problem is, our world is so racist and I’ve just turned my eye and stayed in my comfortable little bubble.

What used to happen and what is happening now hasn’t changed.

What has changed is the amount of witnesses taking videos and photos and posting it on social media. What has changed are the collective voices that are actually getting petitions signed and officers arrested. What has changed is that you and I are deeply involved whether we know it or not, and it is time to stop being speechless.

But A LOT more change has to happen. And it starts with all of us. I am no expert but I know I want to do something, so here are 5 ideas I encourage you to explore with me:

5 Ideas to Create Change and Make #BlackLivesMatter

  1. Self Educate: Read books or articles, listen to podcasts, and do the work to analyze your own biases or prejudices. We all can learn. I just started following @rachel.cargle on Instagram and am reading through her amazing resources (thank you Vicky and Wendy!) as well as @readlikearockstar who has a straight-forward way of teaching about cultural diversity (thank you Steph!).
  2. Speak Up: If you’re on social media, share resources, spread awareness, TALK! Begin conversations with your family, friends, co-workers, etc. about racism (and don’t be afraid to change your friend status if you find major differences in beliefs). I just started following @thetututeacher who has a lot of children resources about race and color, and I will attempt to talk with my girls about racism (thank you Steph again!)
  3. Sign a Petition: Help get the officers who knelt on George Floyd arrested! Change.Org: http://chng.it/8ydYQkJCYg or Color of Change: https://act.colorofchange.org/sign/justiceforfloyd_george_floyd_minneapolis
  4. Donate: There are so many organizations to choose from such as Black Lives Matter or your local BLM chapter: https://secure.actblue.com/donate/ms_blm_homepage_2019 or NAACP: https://naacp.org/make-donation-naacp/ or Campaign Zero to end police brutality: https://www.joincampaignzero.org/
  5. Show Up: Find a march or peaceful protest to join. Or here’s a way to participate today, Monday at 11am (thank you Sarah!):

Donation Class This Wednesday, June 3rd at 4:30pm PST

Please join me this Wednesday as we dance and raise money for #BlackLivesMatter. 60 minutes of dancing starts at 4:30pm PST and all the money raised will be donated. Or if you just want to donate with us, then that’s wonderful too! Click here for the direct Eventbrite donation link:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/107150518084

Finally, my blog wouldn’t be complete without a Tiktok right? Here’s this week’s 15-second video on how I’ve experienced racism as an Asian:

With very few answers but a lot of love,

Grace

Turning 101.

“You go through life wondering what is it all about but at the end of the day it’s all about family.”

Rod Stewart

Dear Friends,

Lately I have been getting migraines every week. On Fridays. Until Sunday. Every week.

I think I know why… I mean, I do know why. Lack of sleep. Constant stress. Anxiety. Parenting. Over-working. Eating pure junk.

The illusion of time but in reality, no time.

Have you heard the Interrupting Cow joke? It’s one of my daughter’s favorite, but this week my friend Lizzy brought it up because it represented her experience while dancing. I think many of us can relate:

Person 1: Knock Knock.

Person 2: Who’s there?

Person 1: Interrupting Cow.

Person 2: Interrupting C… (“MOOOOOO,” interjects Person 1)

I hope you got it. I realize as I type that it’s a little hard to emphasize the punchline in writing, but I think you get the point.

10 weeks in and I don’t know why I feel so unproductive. My house is a disaster of post its and toys and papers and clutter, and the only real housework that gets done is laundry these days. I spend a part of each day just putting out fires between my easily irritated kids and trying to get them to finish their work. I am forcing myself into working too much and I’m exhausted.

Here’s a Tiktok video I made describing a week in my life if I did NOT nag my kids all the time:

But all joking aside, there’s no other feeling at this exact moment except, “I am sad.”

Yesterday was my grandmother’s 101th birthday and my heart is longing to see my family. You know, really see them and have our sleepovers like we used to do once a month. I want to give my grandmother a hug. I want my girls to give her a hug. I want to celebrate together, in person, not over a Zoom call.

As the tears roll down my face as I write this, I know it’s a combination of it being late at night and being exhausted, plus hating my migraines that have haunted me all my life, plus the reality that we have no answers as to when’s the next time I CAN see and hug my family.

Today, I am allowing myself to just share my hurt with all of you. Because it really does hurt. My heart, physically aches.

And I know you understand that ache too.

This past week, we raised $676 for such a great cause, Family Reach, a non-profit that helps cancer patients financially, and we danced to celebrate Laura Holmes Haddad’s Golden Anniversary and her 5th year of remission from Stage IV breast cancer. Thank you so much to all that attended and donated!

This week, please join me again on Wednesday at 4:30pm PST for another donation class to raise money for The Hivery In SF and Marin, started by Grace Kraaijvanger, which is a collaborative, creative, and inclusive coworking space elevating the voices of women.

Thank you in advance for your community spirit and support!

I am accepting the things that are out of my control and embracing the things that are in my control.

I am reminding myself that health and safety is what is priority right now, and I am grateful that my parents are healthy and able to take care of my grandmother. In the big picture, I know we are so fortunate, in so many big and little ways.

Everyday I ask my girls to give me 4 hugs. It’s from a song by Charlotte Diamond called, “Four Hugs a Day” that I used to sing as an elementary school teacher. My girls always forget. Sometimes I do. But I think it’s super important.

“We need four hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.”

Family Therapist, Virginia Satir

As we enter into week 11 and the end of May, if you are doing shelter-in-place with someone else, will you join me and try to give and receive four hugs each day? I think that sounds like a good plan. Accept what is out of our control, and embrace what is in our control.

Hugs are definitely in our control.

Love,

Grace

The Covid-19 Pandemic Through a Cancer Survivor’s Perspective

“You will listen to a bird, really listen to it; you will look at a city sidewalk or a mountain or a single beautiful tree, and really see it. And you will finally – finally – live in the moment. Because that is all we have.”

Laura Holmes Haddad

Dear Friends,

One of the beautiful moments of shelter-in-place has been… the space.

That space in the sky that has opened up to shine down on us because we have created less pollution. That space in the air to actually hear birds chirping because of the quieter streets and fewer cars driving about. That space in your life that is usually filled with running errands, commuting, and working, but whispers to you, “Look at WHO is most important in your life and spend more time WITH them.”

Are we listening?

Why do I struggle with stopping my work and saying yes to my girls wanting to play Wii together? Why do I struggle with actually going through with the promise to take my younger daughter out to go exploring? Why do I struggle to feel a need to work non-stop, especially now that I am at home all the time? I hope you are not like me. Or maybe, you are.

“Live in the moment. Because that is all we have.”

The quote above was written by Laura Holmes Haddad, one of our fellow dancers, who happened to share a beautiful essay with me called, “The Covid-19 Pandemic from a Cancer Survivor’s Perspective,” which she wrote for Family Reach, a non-profit that supports families and patients financially through cancer. After reading the essay, I found out that Laura is celebrating her “Golden Anniversary” this month, as a milestone of reaching her 5th year of remission from Stage IV Breast Cancer. My question to her: Can we celebrate with you? And now my question to you:

This Wednesday, May 20th, will you join us at 4pm PST as we celebrate Laura and raise money for Family Reach?

This special class will be completely donation based, with all proceeds benefitting Family Reach. Sign up at www.stopdropanddance.com/classes or click here for the direct donation link: Family Reach Donation Class. Please feel free to share this event with anyone in your circle of family and friends who want to dance for a wonderful cause.

As an even more personal touch, Laura wrote a letter to all of you

There is a quote from John Lennon that goes something like this: “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.” I was 37 years old–making trips to Trader Joe’s, going to Pixie Park, and planning to go back to work–when life happened to me: I had Stage IV inflammatory breast cancer, a rare and aggressive breast cancer that affects 5,000 women a year in the U.S. Our kids were 14 months and 4½ years old. 

What followed was three years of procedures, chemotherapy, radiation, and surgeries in San Francisco and Los Angeles and profound uncertainty with a hefty dose of prayers on the side.

My community—this community–rallied around me with overwhelming kindness and support, helping take care of the kids, bringing meals to the house, driving me to appointments, flying with me to treatment, and donating airline and hotel points to help ease the financial burden. There is so much more to cancer than chemo: parking fees, medical supplies, babysitting, and out-of-pocket medications are just a few of the costs that few people consider when they hear the word “cancer.” But there are so many patients who don’t have that support and that is where Family Reach fits in. They help cancer patients and their families around the U.S. with financial support and financial planning services, highlighting the financial toxicity that often comes with a cancer diagnosis. And in response to the current pandemic, Family Reach has created a COVID-19 relief program for patients and families.

On May 12, 2015, I had my last dose of chemotherapy and was declared NED–no evidence of disease, which is a form of remission. I remain NED today. This five year “cancerversary” is what we survivors look to because the statistics show that if you make it to five years your long term prognosis is good. I celebrate every day but this month I am celebrating a little bit extra. But this is more than celebration; it’s also about recognition. I am recognizing the hundreds of people who helped me get here or helped my family help me. My sister Lesley, who introduced me to Grace, was the backbone of this cancer battle, organizing meals and playdates while my husband went to work to maintain our health insurance. There is simply no way I would be here today without the financial and emotional support of my family and community.

I am profoundly grateful to be here to dance and dream and watch my kids grow up. Thank you for helping other cancer patients and families live out their dreams, too.

With much love and gratitude,

Laura 

Thank you for sharing your story with all of us Laura. We are indeed a community and we are all stronger together.

I am constantly inspired by all of you in my life. Your words, your stories, your lives. Thank you for being a part of mine.

Love,

Grace

Don’t Mess With Mama Bear

“Mama Bear is such

a sweet way to

describe the fact that

I’d tear you open

and eat your insides

if you hurt my child.”

The Mom Life Uncensored

Dear Friends,

I’m a little bit embarrassed to admit that I went sort of wacko this week.

You see, I am a grown 41-year-old woman and I know who I am now. Well, at least I know myself well enough to post what I want to post on social media and be as authentic as possible. I pride myself on being creative and unique, and I am simply being 100% me. I write these personal blogs about exactly how I’m feeling. I post photos and videos of my family and hobbies. I share my dances and workouts knowing that I am far from being the “best” and I am in no way posting anything simply to “show off,” but I genuinely love working out and want to spread that love to others.

Everything I do begins with an intention.

I post on social media to either share inspiration, humor, hope, positivity, or connection. And… most of the time, people relate to me, or are kind and encouraging.

When this quarantine period began 2 months ago, everyone kept telling me to join TikTok because it has music and dancing. So I looked into it and decided that it might be a good way to promote Stop Drop And Dance. Well, it has been really great exposure and I am actually loving it. Oh, for those of you who don’t know, TikTok is basically a 15 second long video where you pick a song and either dance to it or make movements that match the beats and lyrics.

For a dance choreographer like me… TikTok is basically speaking my language.

Last week, my friends James and Bao, posted their wedding video to celebrate their 10th anniversary. In it was a short clip of James’ groomsmen making him do pushups to eat a grape off a plate. Well, I loved that. And so I looked in my pantry and found gummy bears. Actually, I found Sour Patch Kids first but… those were too sour. To the 15-second soundtrack of “The Gummy Bear Song,” I did 15 pushups and ate a gummy bear each second. I know, wacko, I told you right? It took several tries – to get the gummy bears to stand up, to figure out I needed to lay them on a plate versus a napkin, to pushup fast enough, to aim my mouth, to not choke the more gummy bears I put in my mouth – I mean, you can imagine. But I was determined. So I found the solution: the only way I could pushup fast enough and aim my mouth 15 times was to go into a wide push-up (wide arms and wide legs for stability). Not perfect pushups, but I got all 15 gummy bears!

This ridiculous video turned out to be my #1 video on TikTok. Currently over 300,000 views (not a big deal on TikTok, but for me it is!). And 99% of the comments are hilarious and funny.

But then one tween comments, “That ain’t a push-up.” And soon enough, other tweens “like” that comment and start writing their own. “You don’t know how to push-up.” “GAWD. What kind of push-up is that?” “That is not correct. Your arms and legs are too far apart.” I even got… “Wash your hair.” Probably one hundred comments like that poured in, all from young kids.

Wash your hair??? OMG.

Here’s the Mama Bear thing. You see, I actually don’t care. It doesn’t sting me because, I know they’re just kids and I won’t change what I post or share because of that. However, I immediately think of my young girls. And I think of the day that they get phones, and are tweens themselves, then decide to post something on social media… and get bombarded with criticism? Or just plain mean comments??? Hmm… knowing my girls, my older one would never post anything again, and my younger one would cry hysterically and be crushed.

There is a major problem with the younger generation growing up behind a screen. They have a false sense of “courage” to say things they would NOT say to their friends, to an adult, to another person to their face. All sense of respect or politeness or manners, are gone. For most people, if we don’t like someone’s content, we move on. But for kids, it starts with one kid saying something, and then the others hop on the bandwagon and just copy. Copy without thinking. Copy without care.

Well, a week goes by, and I got tired of it.

First, I had a talk with my girls and showed them all the comments I was receiving. I told them this is real life, and real life is not always kind. What’s most important is knowing who YOU are and being that. NOT for others’ approval.

Then, I made a 15-second counter-video on TikTok addressed to those hundred kids, educating them on 10 different types of push-ups (including a “wide push-up” that I did on the Gummy Bear video), and reminding them to choose kindness. Some of the good kids apologized. Most didn’t. That’s ok, I know they got the point.

Wacko? No, Mama Bear.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Grace

May or May Not

“May you…

May you fall into your own arms.

May you speak the words you need to hear.

May you have gratitude with each breath.

May you build your dreams with faith.

May you embrace your soul with kindness.

May you bring wisdom from your past.

May you choose peace instead of anger.

May you see the light in your darkest night.

May you stumble upon yourself when lost.

May you uncover courage beneath these fears.

May you accept mistakes with humility.

May you practice forgiveness to heal wounds.

May you see the beauty of your imperfections.

May you find love within your own heart.

Dodinsky

Dear Friends,

And… all of a sudden it’s the month of May.

I am sharing a photo of my orchid. This is the FIRST orchid I have ever successfully trimmed and re-grown through the course of winter. I can’t even believe it. It is a miracle to me, because I normally kill plants. But this one is surviving. Now these buds have grown, and I am just waiting. Waiting. Waiting. It may, or may not bloom. I shall patiently wait, and see.

When I stayed home for the first day on Friday, March 13th, I was actually excited for ALL the things on my “to-do list that never gets done.” Finally, I would have time to:

  • Clean the house, re-organize drawers and closets, figure out what to donate.
  • Go through the garage of boxes from my classroom 10 years ago and join Teachers Pay Teachers with all my old classroom lessons.
  • Take pictures of my girls’ schoolwork from the past few years and make a photo book so I can get rid of those giant boxes of projects.
  • Be supermom and super homeschool teacher for my girls. Oh yeah, my curriculum included everything from Mama’s sports camp to Chinese to piano to sewing and cooking.
  • Have time to finally read books, listen to podcasts, and watch something fun on TV – for ME.
  • Eat healthier and take new classes from new teachers around the world.
  • Film a parent-child yoga and meditation course, and a “how to handstand” course, both which I have been brewing over for 5 years.
  • Work on my business and revamp my website, plus learn to teach classes online.

You guys, I don’t know where the time goes. As I look back at these past 7 weeks, a big part of me is so disappointed in myself. 7 weeks and I’ve accomplished… maybe 10%??

But the reality is… I’m doing my best. My absolute best.

Please, if you are feeling the same way as me… WE are doing our best. This isn’t just a sabbatical that we are all on. This is a traumatizing life experience that we are right in the middle of, and hopefully for most of us, it is not physically life-threatening (although it sadly is for many), however, this time IS causing us all sorts of physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional harm. It is.

And we are surviving.

Today, I set a deadline for myself to finish my “A-Z Mantras, Movements, and Meditations for Adults and Children” course. I wanted to launch it for the month of May because of Mother’s Day next week. I failed. I didn’t meet my deadline and part of me isn’t even convinced I should complete it. I may, or may not, complete it. And I have to be ok with that.

I may, or may not, clean the house. I only got through the girls’ bedroom and bathroom so far.

I may, and most likely will not, go through the garage. Let’s be realistic. That’s a massive project.

I may, or may not, take pictures of my girls’ schoolwork.

I may, or may not, be supermom, but I am mom and that’s good enough.

I may, or may not, make time for myself to learn something new. I think learning all about teaching on Zoom and Vimeo should count here…

I may, or may not, eat healthier (definitely am not at the moment, but everyday is a new day…).

I may, or may not, finish my courses, but I am really going to try to.

I AM working on my business and teaching online. Hmmm this is the only one I’ve done.

“May you be safe.

May you be healthy.

May you be happy.

May you live with ease.”

A Loving-Kindness Meditation

Friends, this is not a time to criticize ourselves about all the things we haven’t done. This IS the time to love ourselves more.

May I offer you some online classes?

For the past 7 weeks, the studio where I started teaching Stop Drop And Dance at, Marin Power Yoga, has been offering free online classes. This week, they have begun a new online platform and it is amazing. Everyday there are livestreamed classes in all sorts of yoga and fitness. At any time there are on-demand classes you can take at your convenience. You will find me on there and the schedule evolves every week, but I promise you EVERY INSTRUCTOR is incredible, strong, kind, knowledgeable, and inspirational. You can join for the month of May to get unlimited classes for only $30/month (goes up to $40 in June!). You won’t regret it!

Click here to join Marin Power Yoga!

As for Stop Drop And Dance, since many of you will be paying membership for Marin Power Yoga, we are lowering our prices! For those of you who already paid the original monthly pass, you will get an extra 2 weeks of codes to thank you for your loyalty =)

NEW PRICES

– First class FREE (or anyone who needs it)

– General Admission $10

– Weekly Pass $18 (worth it if you dance at least 2x!)

– Monthly Pass $58 (worth it if you dance at least 6x/month!)

http://www.stopdropanddance.com/classes

May or may not.

That’s the theme of this month. Some things will get done, and other things will not. If this post has resonated with you, maybe set one goal for the month of May, instead of that giant “to-do list.” Start with ONE item on your checklist, and see what happens. I’m right there with you.

Love,

Grace

The Circle of Life (aka Circle of Feelings)

“It’s the circle of life.

And it moves us all.

Thru despair and hope.

Thru faith and love.

Till we find our place.

On the path unwinding.

In the circle, the circle of life.”

The Lion King Soundtrack

Dear Friends,

Last week I was laughing, this week I was crying.

Yes, near the end of Tuesday’s Zoom class, I broke down in tears. We had been dancing for about 30 minutes when I saw the first comment in my chat, “The video is delayed 3-4 seconds.” Unfortunately, in every class, there are always a few people who have delays, but the majority are synchronized or maybe a split second off. So as we continued dancing, I suggested to that student to restart Zoom or try turning off the video. Sometimes that solves the problem. Other times, it’s just that student’s internet connection.

But then someone else said, “Me too.”

Hmm… so I asked everyone else if they had unusual delays as well. I was hoping it was just those 2 students and was praying other people would say that their connection was fine, like usually the majority are. After all, I have been troubleshooting for 6 weeks already and I *thought* I had FINALLY found the best possible pre-class checklist set-up… (it is literally a checklist several post-its long that says: ethernet connection, amazon mic, omni setting, spotify volume 60%, share computer audio, max speaker volume, mac mic volume, auto settings advanced, etc etc etc).

In the middle of dancing the next song, I could see the chat box fill up comment after comment after comment, but I couldn’t read it until the end of the song. Afterwards, I went to the computer and sure enough, it was on MY end. There were probably 40 comments of “delayed” “choppy” “not synced” “off” “4 seconds” “yeah” “me too” … but the problem was, there was nothing I could do.

The song, “I Am Here,” by Pink came on. As we danced, helpless tears started flowing down and I barely cued the movements because I couldn’t stop crying. Thoughts raced in my head that I should just quit teaching online because it will never be good enough. I couldn’t do it. I wanted to give up.

I didn’t want to disappoint people anymore.

In that song, during the chorus there are parts where I high-five my daughters. It just happened that my littlest one looked at me where we would normally high-five, and with her big, curious eyes, I could see her confusion, “Why are you crying?” “Are you ok, Mama?” Oh, that just made it worse.

When the song ended, I had to pause the playlist and face my students. I had to apologize, to say I was so sorry I couldn’t make the experience better. I had to tell them how much dancing with them meant to me and that I wished there was something I could do. But I had to admit I was helpless and unable to fix these technological issues that are simply out of my hands.

I had to cry.

You are all so kind. So compassionate. So supportive. All those dancers on Tuesday were so loving and understanding, but shocked I’m sure. Thank you for constantly reading about my struggles and I am really working on *accepting* what is. Not resisting it. Not changing it. But accepting an imperfect, human, experience.

This is the Circle Of Life.

We watched the Lion King tonight for the first time (the new one), and that opening scene gets me every time when Rafiki holds up Simba. Our circle of life right now represents the circle of feelings and emotions we are going through. The happy, the sad, the scared, the mad, the worried, the hopeful… all these feelings are cycling through in each of us.

Tonight, I go to sleep and remind myself, today…

  • I am grateful the migraine I had last night weaned off into a milder version.
  • I am grateful for sleeping in this morning with no agenda.
  • I am grateful my husband installed the shelves I bought 6 weeks ago for the kids room.
  • I am grateful my girls danced with me during class.
  • I am grateful my husband made us all laugh as he lifted our dog, Miya, to re-enact Simba at the beginning of Lion King.
  • I am grateful you took the time to read this. Thank you so, so much.

Love,

Grace

38 Days In. 38 Lessons Out.

“Your body cannot heal without play. Your mind cannot heal without laughter. Your soul cannot heal without joy.”

Catherine Ripperger Fenwick

Dear Friends,

One of my biggest accomplishments this week was knowing that I made some of you laugh out loud yesterday with my Boyz II Men, “It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye,” tribute in honor of my all-time favorite ice cream brand, Three Twins, who announced they are closing their doors due to the coronoavirus. No, it’s not just about the ice cream. It is about knowing just how devastating the coronavirus has been to small businesses, to families, and to individuals all over the world, and to keep having our “normal” taken away.

Yet, as a result of vulnerably sharing that post… many of you responded and understood exactly how I felt. By sharing that video, I was blessed with community and connection, and the so important reminder that WE ARE NOT ALONE. The comments people left on my post were both hilarious and devastating, but most importantly, comforting. The aftermath of that post was surprise deliveries of ice cream at my doorstep and endless messages from friends willing to buy some and store it for me. Even the founder of Three Twins, Neal Gottlieb, commented on my post and wrote, “Oh wow. This is amazing. Thanks for the love from the guy that signs the back of every pint.” Then he continued to give me a PRO TIP that they sold the final tens of thousands of pints to Grocery Outlet, and it will be sold at a much discounted price!

One silly TikTok video over ice cream… brought me so much community and connection. And I am so grateful.

Our first day of shelter-in-place in Marin, California began on March 13th, 2020, and now it is April 19th, 2020. It’s been 38 days for us at home (some of you even longer!) all *mourning normalcy* together. The waves of emotions are so real. Which is again, why, I keep talking about ice cream, because something “little” like that made me cry. Clearly, I am very fragile these days. But I keep reminding myself to look for the “why.” The why this happened so that I can be a different person. A better person. A more grateful person.

I’d like to share with you 38 lessons I’ve learned so far that have helped me during this time.


Connect By Sharing

  1. 1. You are not alone in your struggles or how you feel.
  2. 2. But you will be alone if you don’t share your feelings.
  3. 3. Zoom or Facetime with friends and family. Talk to someone. Create interactions. Even my mom figured out how to have a “grandma zoom chat” yesterday – cutest thing ever!
  4. 4. Start a coronavirus journal and document something about your day, or make it a family journal -like my sister created for her husband and daughters – where everyone takes turns writing what they want to.
  5. 5. If social media is your thing, be vulnerable, be open, and just share honestly. It will speak to someone and it will be healing for everyone.

Join a Challenge

  1. 6. Choose something that you are genuinely excited about that enhances your life. For me, I chose to figure out how to teach online because dance, fitness, and yoga is how I breathe and it is how I heal.
  2. 7. Recruit some friends to keep you accountable, i.e my girlfriends and I do a sleep challenge to remind each other it is time to go to bed.
  3. 8. Start a book, puzzle, project, or enroll in an online course on a subject you’ve always wanted to learn. Work on your garden. Cook new recipes. Challenge yourself in a new way. Binge watch a show.
  4. 9. Post a photo of your life each day on social media to remember this period of time, like the 10 Day “Photo of Your Life” many of you are doing on Facebook. Or if you have zero desire to join a challenge, don’t. And that’s perfectly fine.

Balance Work

  • 10. If you are working from home, make sure you are drawing boundaries and not over-working.
  • 11. Set times in your day where you put your phone and email completely aside.
  • 12. Say yes when your kids ask you to play with them even if there are consequences, i.e. I sent out this post a day later then planned to play Super Mario Brothers with my girls.
  • 13. If you have a meeting on the phone for work, take it outside and go for a walk at the same time. It’s ok to multitask and get some fresh air.

Teachable Moments

  • 14. This is a great time to give our kids a real chance to build independence.
  • 15. Teach them how to manage their schoolwork and schedules with minimal check-ins by making checklists / setting alarms / writing out their schedule.
  • 16. When they (or you – seriously why can’t I keep track of schedules!) miss a meeting, forgive and try a new strategy to remember next time. Honestly, this is a rare time where missing a class online is forgivable and the consequences are minimal. The upside? A self-sufficient child.
  • 17. Accept screen time can be positive and enriching, and kids should be using technology more.
  • 18. More chores. With the extra time, our kids can help out so much more around the house, and this is the time to integrate chores into their daily routine. We can all use that extra help.

Give Back

  • 19. Donate to something personal to you, a local restaurant, small business, or maybe an individual. Thank you to those of you who danced this past Wednesday and helped to raise $600 for Dine11Marin!
  • 20. Use your creativity to help the world. Helping can be sewing a mask, helping can be using sidewalk chalk to write positive messages, helping can be making someone laugh (i.e. recording embarrassing TikTok videos).
  • 21. Start a conversation with your neighbor. I did, and the next thing I knew, she started sharing paper towels and cookies!
  • 22. Surprise someone with a delivery. It’s so easy now with Amazon, Doordash, Uber Eats, etc. (as I benefitted from this week thanks to Karen, Ann, Lisa, Cindy, and Steve).
  • 23. Read someone’s social media post and leave a comment to know that you thought of them. Seems little but it goes a long way. Another celebrity moment for me? I posted the video of my newest choreography to “Wild Youngster” by Nez & Schoolboy Q on my Instagram @StopDropAndDanceOfficial, and Nez actually commented on the video, then continued to share my post on his own IG story! What an honor!

Marie Kondo Your Life

  • 24. Conquer one small step at a time, i.e. a drawer vs. an entire room. I started with my daughter’s clothes, then their toys, then recently got through their bathroom. Woohoo! 10% of the house done.
  • 25. Keep what “sparks joy” and donate or toss the rest. If you don’t know what that means, this is a great time to watch “Tidying Up” on Netflix.
  • 26. Less is more. LESS IS MORE.
  • 27. Journal and reflect on how this shelter-in-place has changed your life. This is for you. Really, what has improved? What have you learned? What do you do differently?
  • 28. What are the silver linings you want to keep in your life when “normal” is restored? Your life “after” the coronavirus should NOT look the same as it was before. It should be better.

Celebrate Life

  • 29. Celebrate someone’s birthday a little differently, like eating dinner together virtually, organizing a “distance gathering,” or dancing together – like we did for Ann, Ali, Susan, and Steph this week on Zoom!
  • 30. Listen to less sad news, and find more good news, like John Krasinski created on Youtube.
  • 31. Movement is healing. Dance with us! Or try a totally new class/teacher/studio! There are so many great online offerings to take such as Marin Power Yoga’s free classes.
  • 32. Feel the sun. Go on a hike. Let nature recharge you. Take your kids out on their bikes!
  • 33. Hug a tree, like my friend Angela, since we can’t hug people.

Take The Pressure Off

  • 34. Grow your hair out. Or shave your head like my husband is on the verge of doing.
  • 35. Embrace those white or grey hairs. Go au naturel.
  • 36. Give your kids manicures and pedicures when it’s time to trim those nails (don’t forget about yourself). This week my girls even got to put stickers, glitter, and jewels on their nails!
  • 37. Wear your comfy robe all day if you want to. Wear your lounge pants to the grocery store even. Whatever. You’re wearing a face mask.
  • 38. Finally, I am a food-lover, so… bake those cookies and eat them. Or eat those cookies someone else made for you. In my case, I’m eating my Three Twins ice cream. 100%.

We all handle change differently. We all have our strengths and our weaknesses. We all have our tolerances and our tipping points. We all think and work and play differently.

But we are all the same too. We need connection. We need touch. We need hope. We need love.

Continue to stay home, stay healthy, and stay safe. But keep reaching out – if not for yourself, for someone else. We are in this together.

Love,

Grace

Easter At Home

“And now these

three remain:

Faith, Hope, and Love.

But the greatest

of these is LOVE.”

1 Corinthians 13:13

Dear Friends,

The photo above is an Easter bunny that was delivered to my doorstep today by my good friend Seran, and her son, Sai. The note inside read, “Handmade by Sai. Proceeds go to Thailand (my favorite restaurant in Mill Valley) to stay open during this difficult time.”

What a beautiful way to give back.

I’m feeling pretty spoiled today because I also had a surprise Easter cupcake delivery by my bestie, Karen. But this is happening everywhere. People like my triathlon twin Lizzy, are sewing handmade masks to give to family and friends. People like my nieces are leaving positive chalk messages on the sidewalk. People like my childhood friend Jocelyn, thought of leaving hanging heart ornaments on people’s trees. Places that I work at, Marin Power Yoga and Bay Club, have been offering free classes for the entire past month. Kindness and generosity, is happening everywhere.

Will you help me give back to our community?

This Wednesday at 4:30pm PST, I will be teaching a donation-based Stop Drop And Dance class on Zoom. All the money raised will be donated to Dine11Marin.org, an organization that was just started by a few Marin residents, including two of our very own dancers, Jennifer Lefferts and Linley Kaye. Part of the mission of Dine11Marin is to provide delicious free meals to doctors, nurses and crucial hospital staff working tirelessly while also supporting local, independent restaurants to keep the lights on. Please join us to dance for a cause and raise money for the community.

Sign up and donate here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/102504600018

Whether you celebrate Easter or not, I hope that you can take some time today to reflect on your faith, hopes, and loves. Have faith in yourself, in the goodness of others, and in the promises of God or your religious beliefs, express hope in the form of goals, dreams, and what you want life to look like after society returns to normal, and most importantly, give love, receive love, and be love.

With gratitude,

Grace

Aloha and Mahalo

“I intend to not allow

the waves of change

to knock me

off my feet,

but instead learn

how to ride them.”

#StopDropAndDance

Dear Friends,

Today my family and I would have flown to Hawaii for our Spring Break vacation. Like all of you, our plans have changed. Dramatically. Instead, I am sitting in the same “lounge” outfit and robe, eating sweets non-stop, and obsessively working for literally the 150th hour on why it is so hard to sync good audio with visual for a livestream dance class. WHY???

This is the start of Week 4 Shelter-In-Place and let’s be honest…

Have you ever gone into the ocean when the waves were just a little too big? Maybe you were body surfing, or boogie boarding, but the wave came and instead of being on top of the wave, it took you under? For a brief few seconds (which feels like eternity), you get caught underneath the wave and you find yourself tumbling? Do you remember feeling terrified and completely out of control?

Yes, that’s about where I’m at right now. My husband explained it perfectly this morning after I tried my 15th variation of teaching my Zoom dance class and still had problems. He said, quoting perhaps Albert Einstein, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

Is anyone else feeling insane too?

If so, you’re not alone. It’s the Groundhog Day analogy. We’re doing a similar routine each day and we are going a little stir-crazy. We get annoyed, we get frustrated, we feel stuck. We are allowed to feel down. Let me repeat, we are allowed to feel down. I am definitely experiencing that moment tonight, as I re-evaluate Zoom’s effect on my insanity levels and part of me just wants to give up on online teaching. I am full-on tumbling under those waves right now. But you know me and I know you…

Come up for air and breathe.

Yes, change is happening and yes, we are getting knocked down in so many ways. But after you allow yourself to complain and vent and sulk a bit, it’s time to kick those legs and come up for air and breathe. Let the wave settle and prepare yourself for the next one. Try a different technique. Try a different mindset. Try something new so that you can go after the next wave that comes and learn to ride it.

Testing Testing, 1… 2… 3…

Next up for today’s Sunday, 4:30pm PST #StopDropAndDance class? We’re giving VIMEO Live a shot. I’ve been holding on tightly to Zoom the past 3 weeks because I absolutely love the face-to-face connections. However, the trouble with syncing Spotify and the delays in audio/visual are just not acceptable when it comes to a dance class. Tomorrow, if you’re interested in testing out VIMEO, please sign up on https://www.stopdropanddance.com/classes and I’d love your feedback – please please – at info@thepowerwithgrace.com. Depending on tomorrow, I might be going back to ZOOM, or possibly moving to Instagram Live @stopdropanddanceofficial – stay tuned!

General Troubleshooting:

  • Anything streaming will cause more delays, i.e. Airplay. Ideally hook to your source if you can, for example, I am using an ethernet cable now to connect my desktop to the router. Or use an HDMI cable to connect directly to your TV.
  • Dance close to your router and make sure nothing is blocking it. For example, if I am in my living room I am good, but if I go to the master bedroom, my connection is slow.
  • Close all other applications that might take up bandwidth – this also means what other people in your house are using (TV, phones, laptops, etc).
  • Do a speedtest on Google and make sure your download/upload is fast enough.
  • Perhaps consider boosting your WiFi or setup – here is an article for suggestions https://finance.yahoo.com/news/improve-internet-speeds-wifi-connection-183111345.html

Aloha and Mahalo

In the spirit of the Hawaiian Islands, I want to finish by saying a huge, loving, “Thank You” to all of you. I hope you and your families are safe and well. We are riding the waves together.

Love,

Grace

First Zoom Class FREE!

“It wasn’t perfect

and that’s ok!

Now more than ever,

imperfection is just fine.”

Tiffany Singer

Dear Friends,

Perfectly imperfect. Yesterday was March 28th… the day our 2nd Annual Dance-a-thon would have taken place. I thought of all of you who were there last year. I thought of all of you who bought a ticket and had planned to attend this year. It didn’t happen yesterday, but it’s ok. October 24th is our new date, and now we have more time to make it even better =). We already have 7 confirmed tickets! If you are interested in purchasing yours now, click here: Dance-A-Thon Tickets.

Shelter-in-place for sure is drastic and a complete change from what we know.

I would love to visit my parents and have a sleepover with my sister’s family like we do each month. I would love to see my 100-year-old grandmother. I would love to hang out with my girlfriends and chat while eating our favorite desserts. I would love to teach yoga and be able to give hands-on-adjustments. I would love to teach Stop Drop And Dance without worrying about the audio and visual freezing on me. I would love to have gone to our cancelled Hawaii trip next week. I would love to go to the movie theater. I would love to send my girls to school so they could see their friends. I would love to stop reading sad news. I would love to stop having that sickening feeling in my stomach, all the time.

At the same time, the shelter-in-place has brought about many blessings.

I love being home wearing my cozy robe and slippers. I love that extra hour of sleep in the morning that would normally be for commuting. I love the free time my girls and I have everyday to play board games or video games. I love that my husband has a slightly shorter day from work. I love that my dog is totally confused why her long daily naps are gone now. I love that I get to slowly tend to some household chores that were on my to-do list 5 years ago. I love that last night, I had a 2-hour Zoom call with my old dance ministry Eight Count, and today I had a 3-hour Zoom call with my girlfriends and their daughters. I love that among the stories of tragedy, there are stories of hope, laughter, kindness, and gratitude. I love that our world is united for the first time, and that I get messages from old students or friends in different continents checking in. I love that my parents, sister, nieces, and best friend have been dancing with me on Zoom.

I love that I am still connected to all of you.

I appreciate all the feedback from my Stop Drop And Dance Zoom classes. I am trying to listen to your suggestions and keep improving. It’s very much 2 steps forward, 1 step back, each time I teach. I tried a new HD Logitech Webcam today which drastically improved the lighting of the video, but then in the middle of class, it threw off my audio/visual synchronization. The quote at the beginning of this post was a response from one of my students, Tiffany, who took class this morning and was so loving in her email afterwards. Thank you, Tiffany. And thank you Sararose for sharing the picture of your Zoom class on your windowsill =)

Here are some of the changes for this week:

  • Classes will be on Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday 9:30am and I changed Wednesday/Sunday to 4:30pm (vs. 4pm). Classes are still 75 minutes with 60 minutes dance and an optional 15 minutes abs/core.
  • I am lowering the price for a ONE WEEK PASS to $30 which covers THREE classes during the week, and an optional TWO FREE classes (must be used in a 7-day period).
  • Instagram/Facebook Live: Several of you have mentioned that the audio/visual quality is so much better on IG or FB Live. I will try to play with Livestreaming this week, perhaps the first few songs of class, but unfortunately it will not be the whole class as of now due to my fear of copyright issues on those platforms.
  • FIRST CLASS FREE! Many of you expressed that you would like to invite friends to join our Zoom class to try it out… so now they can for free! *Offer for someone who has never taken any Stop Drop And Dance classes*. Please forward this email to them and make it a Zoom Date!

To register for a class, go to www.stopdropanddance.com/classes and select the date you want to take class in the calendar. A box with an eventbrite link will pop up, which is where you can buy General Admission ($10), Weekly Pass ($30), or First Class Free tickets. Any questions, email info@thepowerwithgrace.com.

Perfectly Imperfect.

Sending you so much love during this time. Some of us are struggling with homeschooling our kids. Some of us can’t stop eating junk food from the pantry (me). Some of us are barely making ends meet. Wherever you are. First and foremost, stay-at-home to stay healthy. Secondly, stay connected because you are not alone. Finally, stay grateful and find the perfectly imperfect moments all around you.

Love,

Grace