Archive | September 2011

Idyllic Tranquility

Yes I read the NY Times online when I can.

That statement might infer that I’m:

– Politically liberal/leftist

– Wealthy or of a decent income

– Educated beyond high school

– Elitist

– Living in a metropolitan area

– Somewhat of a cultural snob

But you could contrast any of those qualities with the fact that I also read articles in: The Wall Street Journal, The Economist, The APA Monitor, People, Psychology Today, Good Housekeeping, Calvin and Hobbes and Charlie Brown comics, as well as a variety of books (sci-fi, fiction, non-fiction, text books, academic articles, relationship/self-help, cook books).

So I guess I say that just to put things in context…I like to read around the spectrum, so to speak.

But anyway, the point of this posting is not to debate my profile based on what I read – or is it?

The NY Times ran this article recently in its Culture section:

And I’ve kept it open in my browser tabs (which is a clear indication that I’m interested and thinking about something) for the last few days.

To me, the article just exuded peace and tranquility. Somehow I feel like Europeans have a knack for this. Folks in Europe generally work less hours per week than their U.S. counterparts, they take off months for maternity leave, they have healthcare, and they take “holiday” in places that seem to offer lots of enrichment across the range of needs (spiritual, emotional, intellectual, physical, etc.).

The Lasnet Tennant family appear to be no exception. Now, it’s true – I’m not a former Calvin Klein model married to a prolific retired Fashion photographer turned Osteopath, but I don’t need to be in order to take in the natural beauty and sort of “classic elegance” if you will, that this article provides both in words and pictures.

I want to integrate aspects of their lifestyle into mine…

I want to be surrounded by nature more often, and I want to interact with it (hiking, campfires, swimming, walks on the beach or through the woods).

I want to eat food that I’ve grown.

I want to feel at peace in the place that I live, and I want the ability to give a dog (or two) the space to roam.

Mostly I just want tranquility and a sense of inner calm. That sort of “holistic wellness”, if you will.

The last on this list is probably one of the most difficult to achieve. Granted I could plan to attend Yoga, start meditation exercises, listen to relaxation CDs…but lately I just feel like I’ve been on an ongoing hamster wheel and I’d like to jump off and go roam free for a bit – rediscover myself, I suppose.

This coming month I’m heading to NYC alone for business, and Dan and I are heading to Chicago for a four-day weekend. I’m hoping both of these trips (while not to a beautiful Scottish farm estate), will provide me with a little space from the rat race and help me recharge internally. I’m really looking forward to reacquainting myself with myself, again.

Thanks for reading,



Private Instruction

Last night we took our first ever (West Coast Swing) private partner dance lesson.

In short, it was AWESOME.

I know this might seem gimmicky, but let me describe the experience with an acrostic:

A-Attentive: Having the instructor all to ourselves meant that we could receive critique targeted towards our movements (or lack of movement), which is very difficult to garner from a group class. Not that teachers pay less attention to students in group classes, there are just more dancers to observe and the finer points tend to get lost in the shuffle (literally and figuratively). I admit that the quality of the instruction matters lots here as well – and fortunately for us Sherry is a very skilled and accomplished teacher with a clear compassion for her students.

W-Welcoming: In a private lesson you can really just be yourself. This might seem strange because suddenly all the instructor’s attention is acutely focused on you (so therefore maybe you’d try harder NOT to mess up?) but actually, if you can “let it all hang out” and just trust your instructor, a private lesson allows you the ability to make a fool of yourself with the person you dance with most often, without worrying about who’s watching (although trust me, I rarely care about who’s watching- I’m gonna dance like it’s 1999 in the supermarket aisle!).

E- Exclusive: This is a little obvious, but the lesson is just you, your partner of choice, and the instructor. So Joe who picks his nose before switching partners, or Mary with the dirty hair, that you find in group class – are not there. Plus, I found our private lesson to be a great way for us to bond as dance partners, because in a group class our time dancing together is very minimal and hardly enough to have any sort of conversation. A private lesson gave us a place where we could hear and be heard by each other, as well as the instructor.

S-Specialized: Just like any other dancer, we’re individually great and not-so-great at certain moves, and together we’re great and not-so-great at certain moves. Our private lesson allowed for tailored insight into exactly how our bodies were moving and suggestions specific to our strengths and weaknesses. For instance, one of the greatest challenges we face together is improving our form and posture. Although any teacher in a group lesson would notice this and possibly point it out, during our private lesson, our instructor gave us tips particular to us and observed and gave further feedback as we tried to institute the suggestions right then and there. That level of detail is actually very helpful.

O- Open: With a private lesson you can work on the elements of your dancing that are most important to you. You can work with the instructor to determine areas to focus on, or you can just come with ideas in mind. This is a unique feature to private lessons because obviously in a group class everyone isn’t able to suggest topics and items to cover – and sometimes the teacher has particular curriculum or a plan to follow. In individualized instruction you’re able to work on what you want to. In our lesson we focused lots on bettering our basic/anchor step, whip turns, and form/posture – things that group classes might cover but not in ways that really fit our needs.

M-Manageable: Private lessons can be scheduled for a time when you and the instructor are free, which means no waking up at the crack of dawn for that the 7 AM Salsa class on Saturday or dragging your tired self to a 9:30PM Tango lesson on a Friday night. Plus, the lesson moves at your pace. Want to do the same turn 20 times? Go for it. Want to do 20 turns 1 time each? Sounds good. What I enjoyed was that we could ask questions and receive feedback as we went along without the pressure of cramming in a predefined number of steps, or having to contend with other students asking lots of questions, etc.

E-Exciting: I can only speak for myself here but I was much more excited about our private lesson than any other group style of lesson we’ve done (and we’ve been taking various group lessons for almost 6 months now). Mostly because it meant 1) uninterrupted time with Dan and our teacher, Sherry; 2) time focused on us and our areas for improvement; and 3) time/space to practice.

My only regret was that we hadn’t taken a private lesson sooner, because it rocked!

Thanks so much Sherry for all your help. 🙂 Can’t wait until our next private lesson!

Other dancers out there (partner, ballroom or individual), have you taken private lessons? How did you find the experience?


Thanks for reading 🙂 – S

Hurts and Good (but not good hurts)

Sometimes I receive chain letters from friends and family, as I’m sure many people do.

As a kid, these were so much fun because they came by postal mail from all sorts of random locales (i.e., when I was a kid, even Boston was a far away land and we lived only an hour away), plus I got to reply using colored ink pens and markers and had the “responsibility” for copying the letter exactly and sending it out to a number of recipients. Some nights I’d wonder if I effectively furthered the chain, or if the letters I sent barely made it beyond the local postman.

Today, I get chain letters via email constantly. And often times they’re sort of silly – I mean, short statements about somebody’s relative with an illness, photos of dancing cats, or old-school 2D animation of flags flying doesn’t particularly excite me. Sometimes though, I come across a meaningful message.

A couple of days ago I received a chain letter from a relative and though there was a bit of a parable that proceeded this quote, I found this particular idea valuable:



Forgiveness is a challenging concept. The act of saying “I’m sorry for hurting you” is sometimes difficult in and of itself, but the act of actually forgiving can be just as difficult (if not moreso). I can recognize when someone unintentionally hurt me, but the issue of course is, how do you move on afterward?

I’ve been really struggling with moving on – especially when I feel that the hurt I endured is unfair (i.e., not per my own fault, and against what I would choose for myself). Since this situation is in the middle of the legal realm right now I can’t describe much detail, but suffice it to say that intellectually I can understand that an accident occurred and that I was unfortunately deeply hurt (both literally and figuratively) – however understanding this on an emotional level is very difficult, as is letting go of the pain and anger.

I’ve heard people say “you forgive but you don’t forget” and the truth is, I wish I could forget, because often times the memories make things all the more painful.

And of course the other, redeeming/lighter, component to the message above relates to that old axiom “accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative.” I have much, MUCH to be thankful for, that I realize. And I am so incredibly fortunate to have wonderfully supportive people in my life (boyfriend, friends, family, health care folks and work colleagues included).

But sand and rocks are not altogether unlike – in fact I feel like rocks can become sand if you allow them to break down. So I guess that’s what I’m trying to do these days…take the hurt done to me that started inscribed on a rock, and begin breaking it down until it can be sand one day – and hopefully blow away in the wind, bringing me some much desired peace and calmness of spirit.

Thanks for reading! – S

Our new blog!

Well, after spending some time toying with the idea of setting up a blog, and then a little bit more time spent considering what blog site to use and what name to pick – here it is, our new blog. 🙂

Just a quick post to say hello. We’ll be writing more soon. 🙂