Arousing the Soul through Movement … an Inspirited Aging session with Kerry-Ann Stanton

“An aged (wo)man is but a paltry thing, A tattered coat upon a stick, unless Soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing For every tatter in its mortal dress … “ From: W. B. Yeats, “Sailing to Byzantium” What a delicious provocation to respond to in session!  InSpirited Aging is a weekly practice of movement, writing, simple art making and conversation for people over 60. Aging can...
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In honour of Marian Barnes, pioneer funeral celebrant

In honour of Marian Barnes (8/4/1929 – 8/4/2017) who paved the way for my work as an independent funeral celebrant. Marian Barnes pioneered the celebrant funeral alternative in New Zealand starting in 1979. She actively led funerals services that were ‘honest and relevant’ to communities in mourning and was encouraging of others to do the same. Her book Down to Earth: The Changing...
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InSpirited Aging by ‘Inspirita’ Kerry-Ann Stanton

I would like to share with you a new programme I have developed that started on 21 April, specifically designed for Over 60’s. InSpirited Aging is a weekly practice of movement, writing, simple art making and conversation; an Open Floor approach led by me, ‘Inspirita’ Kerry-Ann Stanton.  Open Floor is best described as a modern blend of conscious movement, mindfulness and artistry. Each...
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‘Curating my world’ – A Piece for Autumn by Kerry-Ann Stanton

I worked hard to write something before last summer. And all I managed was, in my words; ‘A loose assemblage of self-indulgent drivel that would not reveal coherence to me’. So, I couldn’t and didn’t submit any writing for publishing. However, as life is wont to do, especially encouraged by lots of rest, things have settled somewhat and I have been able to have a laugh at the ferocity and...
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Creative wildness – a project and a way of life … Kerry-Ann Stanton

In my Open Floor dance training I am being encouraged and challenged to ‘embrace wildness’ in my dance practice. I have been questioning how I might do this when feeling so exhausted? How do wild when all I can conceive of is crawling under a duvet, snuggling in with lots of soft pillows and dancing on the inside. Actually this would be a pretty ‘wild’ response from me given I will...
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Dance, Rampant Anxiety and Feeling Vulnerable – Kerry-Ann Stanton

Writing these articles is a life lesson all on its own! As I ruminate, cogitate, prevaricate, let the general themes of pre-occupation float through me, they sometimes resolve and disappear from desire to write about! Other times I find myself reticent to share at the level the contemplations require. Although I do know some of you, in reality I am writing for (or sharing my writing with) a...
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“A Place and Way to Peg Myself” – a pre-spring reflection on an earlier autumnal contemplation – Kerry-Ann Stanton

Back in late summer, ready for the autumn article ‘All_Pegged_Out’, I wrote: “ … A contemplation of all things ‘pegs’ feels somewhat whimsical and indulgent. Yet it is an ordinary task that I take great pleasure from. With the weather so warm, light and breezy I have been washing all the ‘patchwork’ quilts. So lovely to see them flapping on the line, out of the sun, carefully...
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Wash the dishes, dry the dishes, turn the dishes over! Kerry-Ann Stanton Summer 2014

Wash the dishes, dry the dishes, turn the dishes over! Kerry-Ann Stanton Summer 2014 (In couples facing, with hands joined) Wash the dishes (swing hands back and forth) Dry the dishes (swing hands back and forth) Turn the dishes over (Circle under each other’s arms.) Well Spring sprang forth after I last wrote; and brought its regular dose of lusty wild weather, rain...
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“All pegged out” A pre-autumn contemplation by Kerry-Ann Stanton

I am currently ruminating on ‘pegs’; good old ordinary pegs that you hang clothes out on the line with or on the rack inside or use (as a friend of mine has done twice recently) to embellish temporary installation mandala. The last use generated the comment, “gosh you’ve got a thing about pegs haven’t you?” This in turn occasioned a flurry of conversation about how each of us used...
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Dance and ‘loose wires’

Recently, about twenty minutes into our one hour Inspirita_Dance session, after a wobbly song, the PA went dead. No sound at all. It is a credit to the regular Inspirita_Dancers that they all kept dancing while a very temporary fix was put in place. Post-session investigation revealed a loose wire connection to the battery within the PA. Relief at a minor repair and amusement at the...
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Writing on Spring, for Spring, with spring?! Kerry-Ann Stanton 2014

Spring comes after winter – yes, I know blindingly obvious AND it does have its own difficulties for me. When I looked through my writing files back to 2005 I noticed several things. First, spring is the time of year I am most likely not to write a piece for this newsletter; four out of the ten years I didn’t or couldn’t write. Second, my themes have all been connected to coming through...
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What is saving my life right now? An Early Winter Reflection by Kerry-Ann Stanton

I tend to write these newsletter pieces based on what is currently ‘preoccupying’ me. I am reading “An Altar in the World”, by Barbara Brown Taylor and in her introduction she tells the story of being asked to “come tell us what is saving your life now”. She interpreted this as figuring out what her life depended on in that particular moment in time and space. I find this an...
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Body as Pathway: Kerry-Ann Stanton

Reflections on a day … back in February! At 0620 this morning, outside the room I am meditating in, there is a click, click, followed by a building crescendo. Yes, the cicadas of summer are in full tune, most of the day and well into the night; a noisy and audible reminder of the cycles of nature. I feel attuned to the rhythm of the day and the seasons. At 0753 the tide is full down at my...
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Dancing through transitions: Kerry-Ann Stanton, Inspirita_Dance

Over the years of writing I have talked about being in transition, just coming through a transition or sensing that change is just around the corner.  As summer approaches again, so too, change and transition are present in my life and most importantly DANCE is in my life like never before. I have finished my Post Graduate Diploma in Dance Studies and feel thoroughly stimulated and challenged....
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Love and fear – a quick reflection: Kerry-Ann Stanton

Love and fear – small words, great import in our lives!  At least I think so. I led a Master Class at the CANZ (Celebrants Association Aotearoa New Zealand) Conference recently and as part of our learning journey we looked at love and fear in our lives as Celebrants.  I would like to share some of that exploration with you. Entitled “The Pivot Point”, the session aimed to examine that...
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Kahika – the beached Gray’s Beaked Whale

I want to tell you about a very simple ceremony I was part of today but first to set the scene. Yesterday I had an email to say that a dead Gray’s Beaked Whale – a young male, had been towed, by two men in a dinghy, to my local beach at Wood Bay.   So I wandered down to have a look.  This is the third such beaching in recent years according to the Dept. of Conservation rangers who...
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My key note for 2013 is “Gentleness” – Kerry-Ann Stanton

I got to my keynote of gentleness for 2013 in a roundabout way.  Through the tired haze that was the end of 2012 I noticed myself in upset more than seemed necessary.  This took energy and effort to manage so I could still show up as a reasonable human being.  The name I found for the upset was “offence”, in particular taking offence or umbrage, followed by feeling resentment and...
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The Pace of a Good Life 26 February 2012: Kerry-Ann Stanton

I am preoccupied with the pace of life – aware of my life almost bursting at the seams! And is this good?  Oh yes it is!  And can I do this?  Oh yes I can! At this height of summer I am coming into a new and exciting phase of my life – one that I think and feel is a better integration of the woman I am. I have written for a number of years of ‘being a woman in transition’.  A...
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On being medically sound but miserably unwell (29 August 2012): Kerry-Ann Stanton

“I am of the nature to have ill-health. There is no way to escape having ill-health” – The Buddha  I am on Day 12 of a virus that I think is on its second pass through my increasingly fed up body.  Such are the hazards of relief teaching primary aged children, especially when I am prone to respiratory misery.  And while I do understand what The Buddha is on about couldn’t it be someone...
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Pen Pal to My Soul: Kerry-Ann Stanton

“Hopefully, maybe, possibly, in the next article I can share where my wondering has led me.” (Taken from my piece “Inarticulate to Thank you” ) The next quarter came and went; winter morphed into spring and now summer is upon us again.  And for me, the transition continues and I am keeping my ‘wondering’ simple.  If you missed the autumn article, my wondering was and is about what...
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Inarticulate to Thank You – Kerry-Ann Stanton

I am feeling quite inarticulate at present.  So having agreed to write for this issue I am faced with ‘about what”? I wrote myself a list of possible topics based on the trick question, “if I were to write anything at all what would I write about?” All sorts of unrelated words leapt to mind – angst, antelopes, hiccups, synchronicities, friends, flowing, stuck, fruity and fruitless,...
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Dancing through a ‘safe’ earthquake: Kerry-Ann Stanton

Today I joined the 5Rhythms tribe downtown for a Sunday session with Geordie.  And what a session it turned out to be!  ‘Earthquake’ above – invitation to dance deep down into my roots on the floor below. The ‘earthquake’ was Black Grace doing final rehearsals for their UrbanYouthMovement Tour.  They thumped, tapped, clapped through their dances while below we and our floor...
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Autumn dancing through us – Kerry-Ann Stanton

Last week in Inspirita_Dance I put together an autumnal playlist.  My intention was to have the music reflect the changeable nature of autumn – one minute warm and still, the next gusty wind and/or rain. The invitation was to be playful with uncertainty and the variety of rhythms as we danced.  What fun we had and what deep reflection at the end – one dancer reporting feeling like a...
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The theme for 2011 is simple – Inspirita (Kerry-Ann Stanton)

This year is (what’s new?) a complex year. My desire and my challenge are to keep it simple, to come back to that which is mine. So how to keep things simple when mounted on Dr. Dolittle’s Pushmi-pullyu? (A “gazelle-unicorn cross” which has two heads (one of each) at opposite ends of its body. When it tries to move, both heads try to go in opposite directions) Examples in life...
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Lammas and dance

Recently at Blockhouse Bay Boating Club with Christina Demmler and her 5Rhythms group of dancers we ‘danced in’ the Year of the Rabbit aided by a cacao elixir and chocolate heart from Chalice! It was also Lammas that week – the time that is equidistant between Summer Solstice and Autumn Equinox.  This is a mixed time of things coming to harvest and those things not yet ready to...
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Dancing Soles to Soul – Kerry-Ann Stanton

My recent articles have been about ‘backing myself’.   Since May ‘backing myself’ has taken me to America to dance, to Melbourne to dance and I’m still dancing on my return – even more so!  I thought I would share, as simply as I can, my journey over the last six months. Dancing in America, 140 of us closely packed, live drumming throbbing through us, I experienced the miracle of...
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The keynote is to open to myself

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” (Anais Nin) Twice in the last week this quote has been presented to me in quite different forms. You may recall that in February I was reflecting on what I might be avoiding. My commitment at that time was to personal confidence and active expression of my spiritual energy with the...
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What might I be avoiding?

Where possible I stay alert to the ‘little’ signals in my life. Sometimes this means I avert trouble – other times I get to do delicious things just because I was paying attention. At the osteopath the other day, having a very real lower back ‘compression’ released, she casually enquired if there was anything I might be avoiding? Now I am not real keen on this type of question. I...
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Bag Lady: Vessel Of Value

How many bags do you have? What do you use the bags for? What do you think of bags? Have you, in fact, ever given any thought to the bags in your life? What is the purpose of the bags in your life? What is your bag of tricks? I have bags for many aspects of my life – the pink travel suitcase (no one else wants it!), the khaki small back pack, the bag with work stuff, the journal bag(s), the...
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Deep listening or “catching the clues”!

I have had quite a year this year – and so say all of us! I was talking with a friend on the phone the other night and we were comparing notes on our respective years. In passing she said, “Well, for you, this year is about success of the heart.” It was a spot on observation and such a gift to hear the essence of my year described so simply. It is a year of success of the heart: from the...
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Kaleidoscopes and Mothers

I attend a local full moon gathering as I am able once a month. The month of May brought Mother’s day and the following theme for reflection: “The word “Mother” is a powerful one for us all – What is foremost in your thoughts at present? Please bring a symbol for the altar”. My immediate response was a ‘kaleidoscope’. I loved the little toy ones we had as kids and...
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Spiritual leadership

I am struggling to write this article. Tomorrow morning I am flying to visit my brother and his family. My sister-in-law is in need of a miracle as she faces another of the cancer challenges which have come her way over the last 4 – 5 years. I am going to give them all a hug – because it feels the only thing I can do – and remind my brother and my niece and nephews that they have a...
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Matariki – a celebration of New Year in Aotearoa

Kia ora Matariki is the Maori New Year (Tau Hou) – due to be celebrated in New Zealand 05 June – 05 July 2008. This time span reflects that Matariki is celebrated by different tribes at different times. For some, it is when the group of stars known as Matariki or the Pleiades is first seen in the pre-dawn sky, late in May. For others it is the full moon after it rises that is celebrated and...
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“I don’t … because”

One recent Sunday I was dancing around the Blockhouse Bay Boating Club exploring the rhythm of “flow”. It was very wet outside and as I glanced down at the pile of shoes I was amazed to see a pair of jandals amidst the boots and shoes. My mind went, ‘I don’t wear jandals in the rain because they flick up mud and water as I walk onto my trousers.” Well really! How the...
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When there is nothing to understand, nothing to say

Since I last wrote we have had a 10 ½ month friend die and a young man, my daughter’s age, get some potentially devastating news. Each event has challenged me. How to stay present to my friends and not be overwhelmed? What is the best way to help? How to accept that sometimes there simply is nothing to understand? Our baby friend was seriously ill in hospital when we went away for our summer...
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Kerry-Ann in Wonderland

Writing for the Women’s Spirituality Newsletter is an interesting quarterly time of reflection – I can recommend it for any of you out there half tempted! This time last year I wrote about heart sensing, of heart palpitations and questioning how to live heart-fully. In 2005 I was speculating on how to combine Christmas and Summer solstice and stay sane, let alone spiritual, and in 2004 I was...
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The laundry shrine

I was talking with a friend the other day about cat urine and dog faeces. The cats were urinating in her house and leaving an unmistakable odour that was very hard to live with. The dog faeces smell was happening more often as she went to eat her food or when she was in different places – everything smelled like ‘shit’. Yes, my friend has a number of very real pressures in her living and...
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On reaching fifty, the completion of five decades – the beginning of my sixth decade

I have been writing about turning fifty for awhile and now finally made it. The relief is profound – having agonised and speculated about this ‘being fifty’ I’m here and enjoying it. Part of my strategy was to allow time to reflect on the 7 x 7 or 49 years prior and to look at ‘where to from here’. Who did I want to go forward as? Or how did I want to show up to myself and the people...
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Heart Sensing

Each time I sit down to write one of these articles I trust to the intuition of writing on what is present for me or pre-occupying me right now. A major presence for me recently has been heart palpitations and a sense of tiredness around living. At a practical level I have been checked by my Doctor, I have moved to herbal support for early menopause and I continue to benefit from regular...
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I love my resentment

I consider myself a spiritual woman. I consider myself an emotional woman. Over the years I have experienced endless angst as I struggled with encouragements like – “just let life be a deep let go” or “90% attitude 10% reality”. I felt angry or at best ‘yeh right’! All well and good on the days when this was achieved with grace and ease but what about the other ‘many more’ days?...
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Summer Solstice and Christmas – a question

I wonder what Summer Solstice would be like without the potential jinx of Christmas? Christmas is a time of very mixed feelings for me, as it appears to be for many of us. Christmas can be summer, high times and happy family gatherings. It can also be a time that feels relentlessly busy and not at all joyful. In my family of birth we often travelled to family for Christmas and I would arrive...
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On Being at Home – further personal sharing

Well as mentioned last time I’m moved – talk about a literal transition from one age (pre 49) to the next stage (post 49). We moved the day after my birthday and the last month has been tempestuous – weather, humour and day to day! I have always liked the notion that spirituality involves honouring the extraordinary of the ordinary and the ordinariness of the extraordinary. It helps to make...
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Musing on love

When I compose these articles I tend to write from whatever my current preoccupation is. This time I am musing on love, realising that this is an unrealistically ambitious topic for a short piece. Accordingly it is a collection of threads that are part of my living – marriages, children and my spiritual journeying through reflections on Rumi. January to early April sees me in the thick of the...
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Inner & Outer Spring

First Light has just passed and already the light is shifting in the patterns of shadows through the trees and the stunning beauty of magnolias that bloom just as I am feeling fed up with the dark. I marked First Light very simply by myself this year – setting up an altar with ferns, a white candle, a paua inspired small bowl with a simple white rock in it and a green frog symbolizing...
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Autumn – ‘it’s just time’ – threads of thought

Thread One Last year in winter and this year in summer I have been asked “why”? My reply; “it’s just time”. So simple really – each time there has been a list of reasons and yet it was just time. Time last year to leave my salaried work and work for myself. As autumn approaches, yes, I am reaping the benefits of that leap of faith. This year, time to sell the home I have lived in for...
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On Change

Recently I worked with a group who had been experiencing a huge amount of change in their work environment. Changes in physical location, equipment, team membership to name the key ones. Yet when I had the group do a tick box checklist of all the changes they had personally experienced in the last year both in and out of work one man ticked only one box. On being asked how he managed only one...
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Transitions & Healthy Change

In my work I am endeavouring to have people thrive rather than just survive their work and their lives. We talk a lot these days about constant change and somewhat less about how we might view change and live change in healthy ways that encourage good living. The model that I use to have people make sense of what is happening for them is based on William Bridges work around change and transition....
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Reflections on dance, poetry and the sacred

I recently read an article entitled “Show me in movement what you find sacred”. At least I read the heading several times and ended up in tears every reading. Around the same time I was indulging my love of dance by attending a variety of performances as part of the Tempo Auckland Dance Festival. I went on my own to “Angels with Dirty Feet” – a dance theatre production choreographed by...
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On being a woman in transition

On 25 May 2005 I called my own bluff and resigned from my salaried job. Not such a big deal you might think but I have never done such a thing without work to go to. This time I had run out of graciousness to stay and plain and simply had to go. Not to another job but into my own business KTLYST instead of working around it all the time. This decision called my own bluff in several ways. One was...
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Rumi–a spiritual guide

My spiritual journey encompasses mystical Sufism – in particular the writings and teachings of Rumi. I am currently reading and reflecting on a book by Kabir Edmund Helminski – “Living Presence – A Sufi way to mindfulness & the essential self.” One of the chapters is entitled “What we love we will become”. I find that certain sentences leap out for my contemplation; “whatever...
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