Mindfulness, Poetry

Sunday Contemplation

Water ImageAnother week has gone by — and I was searching for a beacon of hope, something to soothe my soul and bring a smile to my face. A reprieve from the tragedy, the nastiness and the grimness that is so prevalent around us these days.

I am always uplifted by heartwarming stories about the kindness of strangers, the courage of ordinary people and the many acts of gratitude that circulate around the globe. Stories about the beauty of humankind, simple acts of love and everyday heroes fill me up. Luckily, there are many such anecdotes around, easy to find with a quick search.

Here are some examples I found this week — I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

Song is Poetry

Angel City Chorale is a Los Angeles choir that boasts over 160 singers with an expansive repertoire that includes music from classical to pop and everything in between. The choir was started in 1993 and is known not only for its music but also for its good works. Their motto is “Building Community One Song at a Time.” Find out more about this group.

Watch this YouTube video of their performance of Africa. Oh, how I wish I could sing like this!

Poetry in Motion

I love flashmobs and a few years back it seemed as if people were gathering every week to put on a mass dance or sing-along. These days, flashmobs aren’t as news worthy, but I love watching them and would LOVE to be in one. In the video below, watch these amazing students as they perform a group dance at a mall in Liverpool.

Comic Relief

In this last video, members of the New York City Ballet perform an excerpt from The Concert, a lighthearted comic ballet by Jerome Robbins. These talented dancers prove that even missteps can be beautiful, poetic movement.


Mindfulness Thought:

Mindfulness isn’t difficult. We just need to remember to do it. ~ Sharon Saltzberg


Words To Live By

Blog Post #341

There is a lot of advice, quotes and articles about finding happiness — but I think finding joy is simple.

As simple as a smile,  a laugh or an act of kindness. Below are a few words and phrases that help me experience a little more happiness every day.


Dance. Laugh. Sing. Breathe. Dream. Practice Kindness. Smile. Learn. Play. Read. Love. Be Generous.

Hope. Feel. Listen. Eat. Walk. Cherish. Be Mindful. Express Gratitude.

Do you have any words, sayings or quotations that help you feel joyous?


And Now For Something Good…

Blog Post #321

I have been struggling writing these daily posts and I have finally figured out the reason. I am disheartened with mankind — from the devastating war in Syria, the horrible hot mess that is the United States of America, the nastiness that is bubbling to the surface everywhere in the world, yes, even here in Canada. I feel heavy-hearted, afraid, and worried every day.

And these feelings go against my basic nature. I am generally an optimistic, hopeful person willing to believe that people in general are essentially kind, loving and generous. But these days, this belief is sorely tested.

To ease my anxiety, I went in search of some feel-good stories that would restore my faith in humanity.

This is not to say that I am closing my eyes to the reality of events transpiring around the globe, instead I mean to try to focus on the many positive acts that are happening everywhere — to help spread positive messages in the hopes that they will reverberate in the hearts of people everywhere and affect a ripple of benevolent change.

Therefore, with the aim of spreading a little joy, optimism and happiness, here are two unrelated examples of positive and reassuring events that I read about this past week. May you find a little comfort and joy in them.

Ballet Slippers

Be Bold For Change

On International Women’s Day, the government of Iceland announced that it will eliminate the gender pay gap by 2022. Companies with more than 25 employees will be required to become certified as equal pay employers. Resistance is working.  Read more 

Ballerina Dreams

This wonderful, loving example of inclusion and acceptance made me ecstatic!

The New York City Ballet stepped up when the mother of a little girl with cerebral palsy asked them if they would consider holding a workshop for special needs children. Watch this (and have tissues at the ready). The video is from one of my favourite sites: Upworthy. Visit them for a dose of positivity. Find out more.


Dancing With Ted

Blog Post #184

I love dance and I love TED talks — so when I saw these talks centering on dance in different themes, I was excited and wanted to share them with you.

In this first session, science writer, John Bohannon proposes that companies and organizations use dancers instead of PowerPoint when making presentations. In this captivating talk, he illustrates how science and art can combine to educate and inform us in ways that simple slide shows cannot. Seriously, who wouldn’t want to watch a seminar where the points were presented as a choreographed dance?


Watch this beautiful and powerful, improvised performance by choreographer, Bill T. Jones and TED Fellows cellist, Joshua Roman and singer, Somi. This mesmerizing creative collaboration, entitled The Red Circle and the Blue Curtain, was performed at the TED conference in Vancouver in 2015.


I’m not a huge fan of ballroom dancing — I don’t watch shows such as Dancing With the Stars or So You Think You Can Dance?, — but I have seen some stunning examples of paired dancing on stage a few times and I can appreciate the training, talent and choreography that comprises this entertaining art form. However, I haven’t thought much about the stereotypes that this type of dancing perpetuates. Until I watched this TED talk video. This presentation by Trevor Copp and Jeff Fox, inventors of the Liquid Lead dance form, are breaking down gender roles and binaries by adapting traditional partner dancing.


These compelling videos are inspiring and compelling in their beauty and their explorations of dance. They also raise the point of the importance of the arts in all it its forms to our world. What do you think? Do you believe that the arts are integral to the well-being of our society?


Let’s Dance

Blog Post #168

I probably never told you that I LOVE to dance. In fact, when I’m alone in the house, I usually dance up a storm — chores get done a lot faster when there’s singing and dancing involved. Growing up, I dreamed of being a professional dancer — but it didn’t work out because I am severely rhythmically challenged. I know… so sad.

But I still love to dance, and I can’t resist watching other people tripping the light fantastic.

One of my favourite dance songs lately is Uptown Funk from the studio album, Uptown Special, by Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars. Everytime I hear it, I just want to jump up and start moving.

Uptown Funk is popular with a lot of other people, too,  as I discovered from a search on YouTube. From graduating ceremonies to wedding flash mobs, this song is a big hit with dancers everywhere.

The single’s debut was in November of 2014, when Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars were the musical guests on SNL. Read this to find out more about the song.  Learn the lyrics.

To show you what I mean, here are a few versions of this choreographed song — starting with the original by Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars then followed by three of my favourites.

Michelle Obama and Ellen do the Uptown Funk to promote the #gimmefive  challenge to encourage people to exercise more.

This amazing flashmob was performed by dozens of dancers in Sydney, Australia.

This amazing production was created by students at a high school in Texas. They asked their teacher to participate in the video which was shot in one take. Dozens of students worked on the project and the result went viral on YouTube with more than 3 million views.

This last version is my top pick (I previously posted it on A Few of My Favourite Things — A Short List)

It’s a movie mashup that was compiled by Nerd Fest UK who put together 66 clips of movies from the Golden Age and paired it with the electro-funk sound of Uptown Funk. It is fascinating to watch all those stars dancing to this song — the compilation is flawless and so much fun to watch!

You’ll want to get up and dance if you check out even one of these videos. Don’t believe me? Just watch (come on)!