The true and body centered “mystery” of Nia White Belt Principle #5: Awareness of my self-healing body was a bit of a mentally known and logically dictated process for me. I could do some stretches and feel a change for more space, or I’d shake and shimmy and my mood would change. Movement felt great. I have been doing it all my life, and I am a huge advocate of the whole move, dance, and live world. Nia was my practice, and I walked, danced, and worked it. Somehow I still didn’t quite fully embody the understanding of White Belt Principle #5 until about five years ago when I suddenly felt the most intense spinal pain I had ever experienced in my life. It was beyond the pain of childbirth, which was still relatively fresh in my world at the time. It was truly an adventure in off-the-chart screaming pain. “DO NOT MOVE” was my deep mantra to self.

My husband was leaving town for a long scheduled family event with the children; and I was going to be on my own, in bed, using all my limbs to the best of my ability to secretly shift my body weight without letting my spine know anything was happening. Well, if you have a spine, you may be aware that it runs from top to bottom of the really important parts and is almost impossible to avoid disturbing when mobilizing most parts of the body. I was in pain with each breath I took.

I spent two days infirming over something I knew nothing about. I didn’t even know what to look for online or call about to any doctor for help. Pain killers were no help.

In the evening around 6:00 pm of the third day of this experience, which brought huge compassion into my world for those who experience back pain, I dropped into a new zone. It was like my mind switch went off and body switch flipped on – like a bright room I’d not yet entered or recognized. In this space, I asked, “Body, what can I do?” After about three minutes of waiting, I noticed my pelvis beginning to twist; then my chest began to shift with a type of strength I never expected to be sensing; then my upper spine and head tilted back to their fullest arch. My spine began to pull and arch and push and twist with strength and twisting –wringing out – carving out from the inside. I could sense fibers being stretched and pulled, releasing and unwinding. What was this? I hadn’t a clue. I didn’t care. It was my body in charge. I was on a ride, and the pain was now a new pain, a vital sensation of healing pulls, tugs, extensions, and tears. This went on for what felt like an hour. It was probably a few minutes.

When my body finally settled, there was a change. Tingles everywhere. In my mind’s eye, I could almost see a new light along the channel of my spine where there had been darkness for days. I carefully rolled to one side. I rolled! This was huge! I was mobile! And although the pain was still there, it was a new pain, like tingles. It was one I felt more confident to explore. It was unlike the terrifying layers I’d been hiding under prior to the mysterious body-driven therapeutic tangle session. This was all new. I was able to get up and begin to mobilize vertically with more freedom and energy running up and down my spine. I knew healing was now occurring.

It was a very weird and wonderful experience and was truly the most amazing example, for me, of the mystery of my body and trusting that it knew what to do in a time when my mind was screaming, “DO NOT MOVE!” I allowed my body to show me what it needed, and it did.

Thank you body. Thank you for trusting yourself so that I may trust you to show me the way to the deepest and most beautiful self-healing available to me in this lifetime. I know you know. You are the wisest of all. You are awareness.

Principle #5 of the Nia White Belt: Awareness.

Logic had run its course, and I dove into the mystery for self-healing where my body revealed itself. We all have this wisdom. Listen. Get very good at listening. All the secrets will be revealed. Your body knows. Listen deeply. It may be a whisper. There will be a knock. Sense it and trust the unknown. It may be the most unexpected occurrence of your life.

Enjoy the ride and dance.

With so much love,


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As Confucius wrote more than 4000 years ago in China, “Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”

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