New Energy in 15, HOOOOLA HOOP it up!

I’ve discovered in my study of energy that our hopes, dreams and creativity literally get trapped in our bodies, so anything you can do to free up your energy will help you move closer to your authentic self. HOOOOOLA HOOP is a fantastic way to free up the spine’s energy and it’s fun too! xx

What is Nia Dance?

Sometimes I burst out in tears when I think about my mom, and I’m occasionally surprised at how close I feel to the sadness, but I don’t question it, as grief is what it is. This usually happens when I am doing the dishes or sweeping the floor or some other mundane task, but not always; sometimes it happens when I am out in public and I find creative ways to work the tears into whatever it is I am doing. I get a pang in my heart and find the most comforting thing to do is to put my forearm over my eyes and let it all hang out, even if in silence. It is usually short-lived, but bellows from deep down.

Last night I threw a ribeye on the hot iron skillet and it hit me just as the sizzle splashed up; the sorrow of my mother’s death. The sorrow of her unlived life; dreams never seen, love never felt. It is not that I wish she were here, because we did not spend much time together and when we did it was strained — or something. I cry for her sadness and how our entire lives together were summarized in those few short days or minutes before she could not speak anymore. I cry for not having a daughter; who will hold my hand when I die? But still, my mom and I made our peace. She loved me. She was sorry. I was sorry. I loved her.

I often see it as my mother slipping into a black, fiery hole, on a board that is angled at a fairly steep 45-degree angle, leading into the black, murky hole. It is a big hole and I am kneeling on one knee on the edge, with my arm extended towards her, leaning farther in as I am physically begging her to grab my hand. There are angels standing along the edge of the hole, probably about ten of them — I just counted them for the first time in my mind, because I have not paid much attention to them. My mom is slipping feet first into this hole and she is looking back up at me, reaching towards me and trying to say something to me as if its the first time she is speaking to me and obviously, it is the last time. Always in this scene, I am reaching towards her with my right arm as I have my left forearm over my eyes, as I hang my head low in deep sorrow. She is leaving me for the final time. The sadness goes deep.

“Don’t be scared, Mom”, as she slips in deeper.
What do I know? Nothing. It’s hard to know what to say when someone is dying.
I miss her. I think she’s okay. What do I know?

When I am hit with this moving picture show in my mind, and once I compose myself, I think about how much my life has changed since my mom’s death. In many ways, maybe I too was sliding into a big black hole, because I certainly didn’t feel all that alive 18 months ago. I was trapped in my own fears, imprisoned by my own thoughts and completely out of touch with my heart. I had accepted that I was getting old and that there would be no more real moments of joy nor carefree silliness in life; only perhaps drunken silliness, and this is not really all that silly, except that it is pretty silly.

I clutched my heart a lot after my mom’s death; I thought I was having a heart attack. I couldn’t breathe and I was terrified. I reached for the walls when I walked in case I fell down. I was so afraid I was dying. Nooooooo, please not like this. I found a doctor, made an appointment. Then fell asleep for two weeks.

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My first trip after crumbling was to Lake Tahoe

After I changed everything in my life, I actually started to have real fun again. My spirit came back after I left Chicago and moved to my mom’s empty place in Woodstock, where I began to pursue the things that mattered most to me. People fell out of my life, good ones and bad, as did a number of jobs — money too; oh the money went tumbling out. I started taking long walks around Lake Geneva, because I simply had to move about outside, as well as doing lots of yoga. I quit drinking and drank kale juice every morning and soon felt amazingly strong and ready for new adventures. I was breaking free of the shackles of my life, which in hindsight felt a lot like walking through a long dark hallway while being striped of every thread I wore. It was beautiful and terrifying time, and the fears of the future were loud, but my faith grew louder each day as I awoke to a new ability to see and feel…. energy. Twirling Figure 8’s are what I see, everywhere. They make me hopeful.

I am certain I will spend the rest of my life learning about energy, even though I hear those sarcastic Irish voices in my head that say, “you do WHAT Meag??! You see Figure 8’s???? Should you be driving? Are you in the paint again Meag???” I boot those needling leprechauns aside and forge ahead — they cannot stop me now because they are all dead and I am alive and roam the earth with my trusty energy balls.

I initially thought I would be an energy healer in my next career, but as I dig deeper, I am not so sure. To work with people’s energy is to associate with them on such an intimate level, which presents all sorts of ethical issues that I’m not interested in, quite frankly. I have always been a bit of a loner, so I looked to other ways of working it. Which is why I am super-glad I have jumped into the arena by returning to my first love, DANCING.

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I am now a Nia Technique teacher, although for years I studied and taught Gabrielle Roth’s 5 Rhythm’s. I loved my time in the 5 Rhythms but my life fits so much better with Nia now. However, no one is coming to my classes just yet, but gosh it’s great practice! I suspect this dance may be a bit too progressive for Dripping Springs. Change is in the air here and people are moving here in droves, but the majority of people here are young, church-going families, who I suspect are not looking to take a dance class that combines the best of modern dance, martial arts and the healing arts. I keep my heart and my eyes open for new horizons, as usual, as I look outside of Texas.

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When I taught dance in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

What is Nia dance, you ask? When founders Debbie and Carlos Rosas created NIA in the early 80’s as an alternative to the high-impact aerobics craze, they called it “non-impact aerobics”. Over time they determined the acronym was negative, so research took them in a new direction. It was then renamed “Neuromuscular Integrated Action”, but how lame is that? About 15 years ago, a truth revealed itself: in Swahili, Nia means ‘purpose;’ in Hebrew, it means ‘to create subtle movements.’ Ah, the metaphysical truth.

In Nia, we use nine classic movement forms: three from the martial arts (t’ai chi, aikido, tae kwon do), three from the dance arts (jazz, modern, Duncan), and three from the healing arts (yoga, Alexander Technique, Feldenkrais). There are also 52 fundamental steps and patterns. When the custom choreographed music starts up, I move the moves by adding my own personality and style of dance, so that it becomes my dance — and I encourage you to discover your dance. This is why I really love Nia, it honors the skill level and development of the individual spirit with these age-old practices. There is no wrong way to do Nia, unless you are hurting yourself; you move in your body’s way. I learn something new each time I dance the dance and I anticipate future learning pangs.

I incorporate tools to improve my body’s energy during my class that I have learned over the past several months, and I also share them on Instagram, called #newenergyin15 . I’ve learned these tips from Lee Holden, Sonia Choquette, Lydia Wong, Donna Eden at Eden Energy Medicine ( I LOVE Donna’s energy!) and from my own inspiration, so it really is becoming my style and maybe someday I will have students!

When the tears for my mom appear, I let them hang out, because they keep me grateful and in tune with why I pursue the things I pursue. My mom’s dreams were cut short many years ago while she sat around waiting to die and then she fought like hell in the final hours. I’m attempting to mow down my regrets before they have a chance to fester; having sat with three people as they laid dying revealed some crushing views on life and I am thanking my stars above that I have an opportunity to turn my life around. Once again. 😀

My mission statement: “I want the rest of my life to be the best of my life.”
My quest to understand energy has only just begun, so do you care to dance with me?
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Friends from Sweden

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Today my friends from Sweden arrived in the Texas Hill Country. They flew into Dallas and spent the first two days dining on America’s culinary delights from Taco Bell, Outback Steakhouse, In & Out Burger and McDonalds before heading on over to Driftwood for dinner at the Salt Lick. When I saw Marie-Therese, it was as if we had known each other for a very long time and hugged and squealed like long-separated friends who were finally being reunited. They are staying in our guest house, Marie-Therese, her husband Hakken, her 17-year old step son Viktor and her four year old son, Alfred. They could not be more thrilled to be here in the heart of Texas, eating barbeque, swimming in the swimming hole and riding in the back of the pickup truck.

They were in love with Texas before they arrived here; now they want to marry it and bring it home to Sweden to meet the parents!

Truth is, Marie-Therese and I met through Instagram and had never set eyes on each other before today, but there was a certain familiarity, how can you explain? Except to say that Instagram can be a window into someone’s soul and you can sometimes feel really comfortable meeting someone who you follow on Instagram. You could even fall in love through Instagram, but that is a story for another day.

My new friends from Sweden LOVE Texas and their plans for the next day involve cowboy boots, shooting off guns and liquor, but not necessarily in that order. It was so fun to meet a friend from Instagram; I just hugged and kissed each of them as I left them to collapse in their air conditioned house on the river for the night.

Such an adventure!

When Irish Eyes Are Smiling

Laughing all the way home!
Laughing all the way home!

I believe in the afterlife and I believe I we are visited by those whom have passed before us. I take comfort in knowing that I receive visitors; not often, not every day, but I know it when it happens. And yesterday’s visit made me laugh and cry and I’m *still* laughing.

Tom McGovern was a very crabby man and was proud of the fact that he didn’t like people. Tom was my uncle, twin to my other uncle, Tim McGovern. Tim was quite possibly the happiest McGovern out there, and that’s saying something, because the McGoverns loved to be the antagonists, the pot-stirrers, the rabble-rousers, the I’ll-speak-my-mind-and-probably-never-apologize-later type of people. I grew up around some wicked-biting sarcasm, and admit I have enjoyed many of the tongue lashings I have been witness to over the years.

The Twins fit together, like peas and carrots; Nice Twin, Evil Twin and together they balanced each other out.

They were 12 years older than me, so when I appeared on the farm back in the day, they were right there and were like brothers to me. Tim was my favorite and I adored him from the moment I met him. We were great friends our entire lives until he left this earth in 2010, struck down by cancer and a terrible fear of doctor visits.

My heart; officially broken.

Tom did not like being in this world without Tim, I don’t think he had a peaceful day after Tim’s funeral. His heart was not only broken; it was now half missing. He became even angrier and although we attempted to remain civil towards each other, eventually we stopped talking. Even as I received news that Tom was not well, I said nothing to him. He was mean and hurt my feelings boo-freakin’-hoo.

In January of 2013, my brother Sean called to say Tom was in Cook Country Hospital and that it didn’t look good. Then a call from my mom, “Don’t go see him Meagan, he doesn’t want to see you.” I lived blocks away from Cook County Hospital and I said to my mom, “If he wants to go to his grave hanging on to some stupid outrageous resentment, that’s his choice — that seems to be everyone’s choice in this family, but it’s NOT how I live and I am GOING to go see him!!” Even my Aunt Nancy called to say not to visit, that he was still mad at me. I said nothing, then hung up. I went to Cook County Hospital to see my Uncle Tom.

We had a lively talk; he talked about who he wanted to say goodbye to and what he will miss. We laughed about eating hot dogs and skittles. He asked me to bring him an Italian sub from Bari on Grand, I agreed. He talked of the Board of Trade and how he missed Tim. He told me to go see my mother. I hugged him through the masks and tubes. We both had tears in our eyes.

“Do you know what’s going on here, Tom?” “Yeah of course, Mommie Dearest is standing in the doorway, waving at me.” “Anyone else standing there?” “No.” “Are you okay with this?” “Yes.”

Tom died three days later. Refused his last rites, take THAT Catholics.

So yesterday I was in Zumba class and it was packed to the gills with the ladies from Dripping Springs. The energy was high and the music was pumping and everyone was in a great mood. You could feel it! I really do love starting my day with this class, it’s a kick to the heart and there are so many women in this class who are enjoying the hell out of it — I am one of those gals.

About ten minutes into class, I said to myself, “oh my there’s a lot of young nursing mothers in this class, obviously!!” The amount of jiggling, bouncy, brightly covered boobs were more remarkable this day than on any other day, and the hips were in full gyration as well! I glanced at the instructor Anna, and in a flash, her smiling face became my Uncle Tom’s face. I quickly looked away and said to myself, “WHAAAAAAAAAAAAT, TOM?????!?!?!”

I couldn’t look at her yet, my eyes darted around the room; I continued to zumba away and I fired out the questions…. “Tom hates health clubs, why would he show up here? Plus Tom hates me, what is he doing here?” Then I looked up and around at the women in the room and saw again that the room was full of voluptuous, dancing breasts, bouncing from one side of the room to the other and it made me smile. I was ready to look at Anna and sure enough, there was Tom’s smiling face looking at me, looking around the room, laughing, laughing, LAUGHING! He was beaming!

I started laughing too, and then tears streamed down my face. I didn’t stop dancing, I kept zumbaing, as I looked at all the wonderful bouncing boobs and I was hysterical in my head! I laughed all the way home and was so very happy to see my Uncle Tom, and to see his Irish eyes were a’smiling, xoxo.

Tom & I, that one time we posed together 😀

Keep on Drippin’ in Dripping Springs

So I find myself back in Dripping Springs, Texas; a town I honestly never thought I’d return to — nor wanted to because I never felt I was on the “same page” as this town or its people. It was full of bugs, critters, snakes, Republicans and I was bored to tears.  I never looked back when I left it years ago, so it was a complete surprise to me when I had no resistance to moving back to this Texas town earlier this year.

Downtown Dripping Springs:
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It’s a hum-dinger of a tiny town and now there are things to do! Places to go, people to see! There was nothing here in 2005 except a tiny (gross) grocery store, and a newly minted liquor store because Hays County had been the “dry county” for…. well I think forever and it had recently been declared NOT DRY, so yes, there was a liquor store too.  The feed store was about the only business that had wifi and people would line up their trucks out front with their laptops to steal the internet.  It has only been very recently that we’ve been able to get internet service out on the ranch; and even so it’s satellite service, which means we have to pay for each and every little kilobyte of internets.

Where to start?! There is great, local coffee (no Starbucks hooray!!), a big ol’H-E-B, a Home Depot, Mercer Street Dance Hall, a weekly farmer’s market, a gorgeous YMCA, restaurants WITH full bars and not just wine and beer, and even some food that is NOT barbeque! There are festivals with more to come… big news is that the Songwriters’ festival is going to be here this October; I think this could bring some even more awesome talent to the neighborhood.

I do believe, however, that Dripping Springs is just an idea, as there is not much to it (yet), but it’s a place where people want to escape to. It’s motto is the “Gateway to the Hill Country” and many people trapped in Austin and other cities, dream of getting away to the Hill Country and enjoying the Texas countryside, but few have access to it because there are so few parks and wildlife areas.  I am totally grateful for the land that I am living on, with my ex-husband, because it is essentially our own National Park.  I’m know this will change in the coming years, as there’s a mad dash to conquer the Hill Country. For now, I love the small town feel to it, I hear the schools are the best in Texas and aside from the sweltering heat and fiery fireant bites, it sure is purdy.

There is a libation renaissance going on here as well; the laws have been changed recently and now you can find craft beer makers, wineries and spirit makers.  You can schedule a bus or limo to take you on a winery tour that includes sampling Texas olive oil or listen to live groovy music out on the ranch while eating wood-burning-oven-roasted pizza and drinking locally made beer, gin, this vodka or that vodka.

The booze-hounds have CRUSHED Hays County! And I concur it is all very interesting indeed.

This is my slice of Dripping, although I should probably mention that I live in Driftwood, an unincorporated community and even smaller than Dripping with nothing but a wonderful Italian restaurant, a legendary bbq joynt, a post office, a church and a few wineries.  I am totally thrilled and grateful to call this funky part of the world my home for now.

Y’all come back now, and be sure to keep Drippin’ Dripping! (conserve that water dagnabbit!)

Photo Essay; Texas Hill Country

I have a new Sony NEX-3n camera and I took it for a spin on our mini-road trip through the Texas Hill Country to see the wild flowers; which ironically were not out, but they are out in full force in our front yard. Still a fun two nights cruising the countryside. Texas LOVES Texas. xoxo

Start: Dripping Springs, TX
–  Enchanted Rock State Natural Area, Fredericksburg, TX (the park has free wifi!)
–  Vaudeville Bistro, Frederickbrug, TX
–  Carol Hicks Bolton Antiqueties, Fredericksburg, TX
–   The Woerner Warehouse, Frederickburg, TX
–  Fredericksburg Jewelers, Fredericksburg, TX
–  (Reed gifted me a few Calvin Begay pieces! )
–  Fredericksburg Brewing Company, Fredericksburg, TX
–  Otto’s German Bistro, Fredericksburg, TX
–  Luckenbach, Texas!

The song here —–> Where Everybody Is Someone! 

–  Blanco State Park, TX

My first runaway Steer!

Cows at the Fence!

Recently I was driving out of Charro Ranch on a pleasant warm day, when I saw one of the workers standing out on the road waving his arms — and then I saw a cow close to the road.  One of the cows had somehow hopped a fence or discovered a broken fence line, and was now out there close to the highway.  People drive crazy fast down the Texas highways, so there’s no need to discuss the possibilities of a sad outcome here; there was no time, I jumped into action!

I had to get this cow on the other side of the fence NOW!

I obviously had never rounded up a cow before and especially using my jeep as my lasso to get him back home.  But after I cut left in front of the cow, he quickly turned around and started to run towards the main gate. “WOW THAT WAS EASY”, I said to myself. But wait, no…. there’s a cow gate at the main gate, and cows won’t walk over nor jump a cow gate to get out, let alone get back in. So as I leisurely drove back to the front gate, this cow, whom I shall call RALPH, looked at the main gate and then kept right on running. WHOAAAA NELLIE RALPH!

I ran with Ralph for about 3 miles down the road, trying to get him to turn around and stay out of traffic.  Ralph did not care if a semi trailor was hauling ass up the highway, he would dart out into the road and I would lay on the horn.  I had no fear of getting creamed on the highway; I was all about saving Ralph and getting him back home. But Ralph kept running the wrong way. I yelled at him, “Are we going to see a show in Austin??!!” He didn’t respond. Yikes!!! When I would cut right in front of him, he would back up and cross the road.  I called Reed and got voicemail; who does one call in a situation like this? Cowbusters?

Ralph & I kept running like Forrest Gump down the Texas highway.

And then a pickup truck pulled up alongside me; a woman yelled out, “GET HIM TO THE NEXT RANCH GATE, I’LL OPEN IT UP FOR HIM!” And off she blasted.

Ralph and I ran up the highway and like the friendly cowgirl said, the gate was open and Ralph ran in, without bothering to say thanks or bye or THAT WAS HILARIOUS or anything!

I got out to talk to the woman; she was the horse caretaker at a neighboring ranch and ony wanted to help — which she did so tremendously. No one was hurt, no accidents were caused and Ralph was safe inside our neighbor’s ranch! I was now so relieved and estatic about what just happened and that nothing happened except that Ralph was safe!!!!!!!!!

I made a FLIPAGRAM of the adventure! Just click this photo:

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That was an awesome freakin’ day, thank you RALPH!!