Leah Joy [zenfuldance]
What is your specialty? How do you help people find harmony?
My name is Leah Joy and I'm the Founder of a style of mindful-breathing, moving meditation called Zenful Dance. Zenful Dance teaches how to lead a more awake and happy, balanced life.
Can you provide a link to a web site or blog where we can learn more about you?
What were the circumstances that led you to choose the professional path you have chosen?
I have danced since I was three and taught/performed dance professionally for many years as it was my most passionate form of expression. I discovered Zen meditation 12 years ago which grounded me at a time when I felt very lost (and continues to ground me and offer up tremendous perspective). I knew that the two could be combined for my students that were frustrated with sitting completely still for extensive periods of time. This evolved into Zenful Dance shortly thereafter and was formed in 2006.
What is happiness, and the main obstacle to reaching it?
Happiness is wanting what you have and feeling grateful for the lessons that life brings you now.
In our society, we are trained to want something more or something else which leaves us feeling empty inside or incomplete and never satisfied. I have a hard time with this one myself. Meditation helps me to get clear on what the obstacles are which is the first step to letting go (of things we never really had in the first place). I am at my happiest when I can accept myself as being complete and whole person without having to look outside myself.
Do we think too much? Why is it so difficult to feel here and now?
Being present with all of the distractions and options we have today is challenging to say the least but not impossible. I feel that my meditation practice helps me to get clear on what's "real" and truly important and to let go of the rest. This brings me back to right now.
How do you deal with discouragement, despair, a sense of setback, etc.?
I allow myself to feel pain/sorry/discouragement/fear/anger fully; I do not ignore it (I can't, I've tried!!). Once I've accepted my feelings (whatever feelings those may be), I do my best to see the situation as a lesson. This is much easier said than done but to move through this process can be an incredible gift to myself and others, so I try to practice as much as possible.
Is it necessary to have a teacher to find the way?
I have had many teachers in my life including myself. Whatever the lessons they offer, accept them as a gift. Everyone who crosses your path has something to offer (maybe it's a lesson on what not to do...).
Do creativity and positive thinking slow aging?
I believe that living a passionate life keeps your spirit soaring and your mind/body engaged and sharp. I have lived in more passionate times and less passionate times and I can say with conviction that creativity and positivity have kept me feeling younger than any expensive night cream or aloe juice (although, that stuff probably doesn't hurt either!).
What is your short list of healthy habits?
Gluten Free/Dairy Free diet
Plenty of Zzz's and plenty of water
Love (receiving and giving)
Laughter (the bellyaching kind)
Listening and singing music that inspires me to feel alive!
Help others who cannot help themselves (and even those who can!)
In what ways has your spiritual practice affected your creativity?
Really good question! Meditation and Zenful Dance have completely changed the way I relate to myself and others, and in return, the result has opened my heart and sparked my creativity in ways I never imagined!
New York, NY