Skip to content
October 7, 2015 / Amberly

Fully Represent Yourself

This class permeates all aspects of my life. Especially right now when I am feeling an aversion to vulnerability. It is helping to break through the walls up around my heart. Movement has a way of doing that, whether it is exercise or dance, moving the body connects the body.

Kpanlogo

Kpanlogo is a recreational dance from Ghana. There are specific drums that accompany this dance. In class we talk about how when you play one drum, this is not Kpanlogo. If you play two drums, this is not Kpanlogo. When all parts are played together this is Kpanlogo. I know this to be true in myself, if I am thinking, walking but not feeling, then I am not fully representing myself. I have to be me, which is difficult when I don’t want one part of myself to work.

We started on jumps… I LOVE JUMPS. I always have. My favorite part of high school was not the class work (go figure) but the hours I would spend in cheerleading practice, being tossed in the air or jumping as high as I could. There is something freeing about being in the air. It is liberating to let go of the constraints of the world and just jump.

I feel uncomfortable with the class, because sometimes I am not ready to be free. I tightly grasp on to the anxiety of my daily life afraid of what might not get done should I become less anxious. It is a driver and motivator in my life, especially at times of struggle.

Letting go is scary, so alas this is what I must do. I must jump with all my heart.

Advertisements
September 2, 2015 / Amberly

Don’t Hide

Don’t Hide

This semester I am partaking in an African Dance class. As part of our lessons we have to keep a weekly journal. In our syllabus there is not a requirement for where this journal should be, so I have decided to explore this class with whoever wants to read.

Here is the criteria: Students must keep personal weekly journals. Entries must include new lessons learned. Journal entries may also include student’s observations, challenges, questions, self-evaluation and response to the course. Journals will be checked from time to time, so be sure to bring your journal to every class. 

The man who plays drums in our class, yelled, “Don’t hide” to us. A room full of primarily white females, most non-dance majors who were trying to incorporate what my teacher calls “African DNA” into our movement. This statement had me pondering for the rest of the day. My first day of class reminded me of the importance of community and connection. Hiding in this environment isn’t possible. Everyone knows who you are, you can’t fake it. The characteristics of African dance is: Earth Bound, Bounce, Reverb, Expression, Connection to all. (I will update this when I remember the proper terms). I could feel myself hiding in the beginning, not sure how fully I wanted to partake in this experience, cautious. After hearing that, I felt myself opening up more to the movements. Knowing that if I let go, I could have the bounce move through me better.

What did I have to lose?

As I tried to move with African DNA, I got stuck, I could not bounce when I walked, it seemed counter intuitive. I could feel myself wanting to get it right. I am reminded that not everything can be understood right away, that this was going to take more than the 14weeks allotted for the course, but in this timeframe, I would make progress.

Our instructor Nii Armah Sowah was very encouraging. He kept reminding us to bounce. He exhibits all the characteristics that he kept reminding us to embrace. He moved in a way that made me feel included with what he is doing, the community aspect.

What we learned this lesson #3: Since it was my first lesson, but day three of the class there was a lot for me to learn. Ending chants, honoring the drummers, the five aspects of African DNA, and the four movements we learned. At this moment I still have no idea what I am saying when I am responding to the chants, I don’t know what the movements are, but I am understanding the need to embrace the culture around the dance.

Obviously, (or not obviously) I am not an expert and so my statements should be taken with a grain of salt and a bit of empathy. I should also clarify that this all pertains to Ghana and West African culture.

Here is a video I found of the ending celebrations of the class.

October 21, 2014 / Amberly

Little Dreams

Flashback:

When I lived in Tucson Az, my roommate and I would often find ourselves in Las Vegas. A seven hour drive, discounted hotel and getting out of the city was something we could not pass up. The cost was never a deterrent. Packing was difficult for me, always forgetting a crucial item to get me through the dance filled weekend.

The one thing I never forgot was my passport. I wouldn’t need it to get into a bar, a club or on the drive. I would have it in hand for the possibilities.

Having this small item meant the world was at my fingertips.

On the drive up she and I would dream up scenarios of gorgeous foreign men asking us to join them on their yacht in the south of France. Being whisked away to Italy. Spending the rest of our winter in Rome, sight-seeing. We could always oblige these men since we had our passports with us. I must say these scenarios were definitely fueled by our love of the movie Hors de Prix with Audrey Tautou.

Although many exciting things would happen during our vacations we would never make use of those passports.

Still, when I travel I always bring a passport. My life has changed since then, the scenarios that play out in my head are different, yet the dreams are still there. Life is full of little dreams. These day dreams may change daily or stay the same for a lifetime.

It’s the little dreams and stories we create that keep us going in this topsy-turvy world. So dream on my friends :)

July 8, 2014 / Amberly

Take me back

 Take me back to the days when responsibility was a word I would deal with when I turned 25.

Amberly Grant Thailand Boat Mekong River

February 6, 2014 / Amberly

Testing Testing

Have you ever felt like you are being tested.

I don’t mean when clearly everything is going wrong and you are on your knees just praying for something to go your way. (That was early last year for me)

No, this is more like a feeling of being constantly overwhelmed and a little emotionally fragile. That things aren’t necessarily bad, but you are just trying to fake it until you make it.

I am not sure if it’s just the exorbitant amount reading I have to do for all my classes. Or maybe this feeling is from spending hours re-teaching myself everything there is to know about college algebra. Whatever the cause, it’s taking it’s tole.

This could be one of those how bad do you want it tests. How badly do I want that diploma in 3.5 years. How hard am I going to work each semester, how many hours am I willing to put into it.

It is funny, because if I look at it from a non-emotional standpoint, I received a 92% on my first math quiz. Class was canceled for my history quiz and my world mythology quiz got postponed until Monday. Clearly someone or something is on my side.

I just still can’t shake this feeling that I have no idea what I am doing. That I am treading water, and I might not be cut out for this. It is affecting my relationships, I just don’t have anything to give right now.

All I can do is remember that there are only 4 months to a semester, I am almost a 1/4 of the way done. That this is a new experience, of course I am overwhelmed. I can hazily remember to utter the words that bring me up, I am strong, I am confident. I am intelligent.

I got this.

October 14, 2013 / Amberly

I am Grateful #2

Canadian Thanksgiving

Being in the United States, most people don’t realize I am missing out on Turkey, stuffing and my absolute favorite, mashed potatoes. Tonight would normally consist of gathering around a table at my aunts house, with tons of laughter and conversation. The food is always fantastic and my aunts yorkshire pudding always turn into hockey pucks.

For the past 7 years I have missed Canadian Thanksgiving, but it doesn’t mean I forget to be grateful.

I am grateful for…

My family, each and every person in it represents something beautiful to me. My mother and father did so much to help me become the person I am today. My little sister, an ally in this big crazy world. My older sisters, teachers and support. My extended family has shown me so much support and love.

Family

Family

My friends, no matter where I am in the world, they are there. Some drive from Boulder to have dinner, for those that accept me as I am. Grateful for those that are always around to pick up the phone and others who host me when I am having a quarter life crisis and need to escape. Each one of my friends have a place in my heart, and I hope they know and can feel it.

Friends

Friends

My house and roommates, man I lucked out here. I have the best roommates, who have similar views, garden and aren’t afraid of a little strep throat. We have the greatest house and pay a fantastic price for the  location.

Work, I love that I get to let my personality shine. That what I do comes from my strengths, and I enjoy and love it. I work with amazing and ambitious people.

For alone time, to be able to sit with just me, feel out what is going on inside. I love listening to myself, to the words and phrases that go through my head. For the loving and unloving thoughts. For working through the ups and downs.

 

Life in general, it is amazing that what you put into life you get out. I feel so lucky that I get to have this life and live it the way I do.

Tour Guide turned friend in Beijing

Tour Guide turned friend in Beijing

For dancing and moving my body, grateful for my body in general. It moves, it looks good, it does what I want it on a daily basis without complaint. I love the way I can express myself through it, can test my limits and can relax.

Dancing in Melbourne

Dancing in Melbourne

Other cultures, places and random people, there is so much to learn from others. This life is full of those opportunities. I am grateful for the time I spend on planes taking me to the places that change my inner world. For experiences that show me life is a vastly different place depending on where you live in both the physical world and in your mind.

Beijing, China

Beijing, China

There is so much more that I am grateful for, but for now these are the things I love today. What are you grateful for?

Smile, Life is Beautiful

Go out there and be amazing :)

 

Read It, Live It, Share it.

October 10, 2013 / Amberly

I am Grateful

I have a tempurpedic bed!

I didn’t realize the significance of this bed purchase. I knew it felt weird and different, it was something that to me, only people who were accomplished should and could do. Buy a new bed. You gotta be kidding me!

Text messaging with my little sister I invited her to Denver to come sleep on my new comfy amazing bed. Sounds creepy, but it is something you can get away with with siblings. :P

She then told me how cool it was that I had this bed, when half our life we slept on cots. Our father couldn’t afford to buy beds so this was the alternative. Army cots that doubled as beds while we weren’t camping. How far had I come in my life where I could sleep comfortably in my very own bed.  I remember sleeping in a one bedroom apartment for many years, my sister, my dad and I. All in one room. All on cots. It was crowded, but it was nice. I remember staying up and writing poetry while my dad would be writing his books, or playing Command and Conquer. We used the free pool every weekend.

This led me to the memories of not having a fridge for a year. Every morning opening up the window sill in the kitchen to get the milk, it stayed there in the winter to keep cold, along with our other perishables. It was always way too cold and half frozen. We would let it thaw out on the counter for a minute or two, but in the end my cheerios would be swimming in icy milk.

What I remember is not being concerned all that much with this way of life. It was just what was. Something that would eventually end and we would have a fridge and how cool it would be when that happened.

I think people are so concerned about what they have, they forget the most important thing is how you treat others, how you make experiences positive. The worst memories of childhood don’t come from lacking certain necessities. The worst memories come from bursts of uncontrolled anger, the releasing of emotions in an unhealthy way. Those are the memories I dwell on.

So remember that maybe you can’t provide everything for your family, but if you can provide love. It is all that matters. It is lasting and it will make anything seem like an adventure and not a curse.

Read It, Live It, Share It.

September 17, 2013 / Amberly

Quote of the Day

One of my co-workers said something that really struck me.

We were talking about settling in life, and how a lot of people use their circumstances to make excuses on why they are not living life to the best of their abilities. We thought about people who use their children as reasons to not pursue their own dreams. How some will use the lack of money as a reason to push what they want aside, because it is easier than changing their lifestyle to get what they want. Others use alcohol, and the “good times with friends” to stay stuck in a lifestyle that inhibits them from pursuing their deepest desires, all the while not realizing those nights cost a lot more than just a bar tab.

We discussed that sometimes there are legitimate reasons to put things on hold, that sometimes, your kids do come first, or that four year degree will inhibit the short term goals, but will enable you to achieve greater things.

“Do what you gotta do, but don’t be content with where you are”

It is a great summary of the above. Sometimes life happens, but when it stops throwing punches, get up and get after it.

You are in this life, with this body and mind once. There are dreams you have, things you need to accomplish, don’t let anything or anyone stop you from getting them done.

Write down three things that you need to do, that you wouldn’t feel complete without accomplishing.

Now do them.

Embrace the Day

Rocky Mountain National Park

Jumping for Joy in Australia

Read It, Live It, Share It.

September 16, 2013 / Amberly

Life Purpose

Today, I was having a conversation with a friend, and the whole, “do you know what your life purpose is” question came up.

I can now look back, to a time when I was younger, so confused, anxious and had no direction for what I would accomplish in this life. What I did know is that everyone serves a purpose here on earth. Some purposes seem smaller and others more impactful. I can remember sitting in bed, spending hours, days, weeks pondering over the question “Who am I, and what is my purpose here”

It wasn’t until I let it go, stopped trying so hard to get an answer and continued to live my life did the answer come. It was a gradual over time answer. Kinda like that game where you hide something and then tell the person looking for the hidden object “hot” or “cold” depending how close or far away they are from finding it. Life had been a series of “hot” and “colds” answers.

The day life answered “HOT HOT HOT” wasn’t all too long ago, maybe April of this year, I realized I had been living it all along. Lucky me, I had been pursuing my life’s purpose almost day to day for as long as I lived.

My life’s purpose is to spread happiness and love, to show those around me that we always have a choice to lead the best life and I will always lead by example.

I can’t say that these are the perfect words to describe it, but when you meet me, my actions will speak louder than my words.

It is amazing the feeling you have when you figured what your contribution to this earth is. Maybe for some it is a specific task, event but for me it is a way of life. I apply this to my work, my friendships and relationships.

For some it isn’t as easy a task to figure it out, but with the intention to seek the answer, I do believe it will come and hopefully you will like the answer, I know I did.

Read It, Live It, Share It.

August 27, 2013 / Amberly

Goodbye my Friend

I thought so highly of you, you were my idol and I didn’t even know you. Over the years I formed an identity of who I thought you were. Finally getting to know you, I thought it was accurate. I was wrong. Finding out slowly over the years, my image of you is nothing like the person you are.  I love you, but I don’t like you.

Goodbye.

Read It, Live It, Share It.