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by Renée Tillotson


Our two sons and daughter would probably agree that I have a fourth child. Her nature is deep and caring, yet light and playful. She’s quite the world traveler, yet she’s never left the home of her birth almost 12 years ago. She has probably experienced more world renown than our other kids, even though they are all a couple decades older than she is. She lives in a building rather than in a body. 

We named her “Still & Moving Center”.

This is a little story of a very proud mama – me – who celebrates all the amazing accomplishments of her wonderful child. And the story’s about the big task that lies ahead. You see, the mother is – unbelievably – still spoon-feeding this beautiful, accomplished, radiant 12-year-old. She is not yet able to feed herself, financially speaking. 

Yet she has done so much good for so many.

She’s had at least 17,000 visitors. Probably a lot more. So many of them talk and write to us about how she has changed their lives for the better. People who’ve been in pain have been able to overcome it and get back to work and back to play, after taking classes and receiving bodywork at Still & Moving. People who thought they had two left feet have danced in front of large, applauding audiences! People who’ve been lonely have made loyal, lifelong friendships. People who used to feel stiff or crooked, now feel looser and more aligned. People who were depressed have found joy. People who have suffered extreme PTSD have received the support and then the inner guidance to find their way out of victimhood into self-directing, thriving lives. 

Her motto works: “Move your body. Still your mind. Find center. Find Joy!”

One of the things that never fails to amaze me is what incredibly interesting, caring, and diverse people Still & Moving introduces me to. I always say she’s a magnet for wonderful human beings.

The teachers Still & Moving has drawn to herself have left indelible, beneficial marks on the rest of us. They’re insightful. They sparkle. They teach because they love what they do and they adore their students. Truly. Still & Moving has united students, teachers and teacher trainers from across the globe through trainings and mentorships, providing something of a university of movement practices. And the teachers themselves have honed and cross-pollinated their skills together.

Her Gifts to the Community

Still & Moving Center has given abundantly to the community with fundraisers of all sorts, such as the current sound healing concerts for various charities, or the month-long challenges with proceeds going to help trafficked youth or health centers in impoverished communities. She has put on International Yoga Days and Gandhi for Peace days. She’s done work days at Pearl Haven and at a women’s shelter and contributed to feeding the homeless.

I love her always free meditation sessions, her satsangs and conversation circles, such as Kaiwa and Gems from the Wisdom Traditions. This last weekend a remarkable young woman attended Gems who works with the United Nations, and who is working with Hawaiian youth to see that their dreams, their imagination, figures into the visioning of the future at the highest international level… all this in 2023 when our Still & Moving Center’s almanac theme is “Citizens of the Future”! 

Perhaps her greatest community gift has been her free gatherings and performances that she has given ever since she was born. She always jubilantly celebrates her March 18th birthday with performances and a huge cake. Our dearly departed friend and icon in the community Al Harrington (of the original Hawaii Five-O cast) helped me blow out the candles. 

Quite a few of the keiki in our ‘ohana grew up celebrating Easter at Still & Moving with egg hunts, stories and breakfast. Kumu Mālia features traditional Hawaiian offerings at her May Day is Lei Day program. For Winter Solstice, Still & Moving brings out the good cheer with cookies, cider, and dancing at our Merry & Bright celebration.

Perhaps Still & Moving participants and audiences most look forward to Diwali, the Indian festival of Lights. Here a mythic prince with a flying monkey hero at his side fights a demon king to win back his beautiful, abducted princess. The whole story is studded with international movement performances, from Bollywood dancing, to tai chi battles, to hula dancing when the princess first meets her prince, to tango for their wedding festivities. I feel so overwhelmed with happiness every time Still & Moving puts on this rollicking event, I can’t eat a bite of the delicious Indian food until the whole thing is over!

My Thunderbolt

For a long time, I used to pride myself on the fact that I was raising this child and asking nothing in return, at least not financially. I’ve always appreciated how much joy this child has brought to me and the world, and I thought that was good enough.

Recently though, someone commented that if I really love Still & Moving Center and all that she does for so many people, my best gift to her would be to make her financially self-sufficient – just as the rest of our three children are.

That comment struck me like a thunderbolt. Especially considering that as her parents, Cliff and I are in the second half of our sixties. 

To tell you the truth, this talented youngster has a long way to go to become self-sufficient. The pandemic years hit Still & Moving Center very hard, as you may have experienced with your children. Like many, she struggled on valiantly via Zoom. The boon has been all the stellar teachers and students from off-island who have joined us online. Hooray! The upcoming challenge will be to keep our friends from across the seas while welcoming back old and new friends locally.

Doing Things Differently

If you begin to see changes at Still & Moving Center, please remember this adage: “The definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing and expect a different result.”  

So we are doing some things differently, such as slightly reducing the number of classes so that the rest of the classes will receive more students. Change is seldom without its challenges. I’ve shed many tears while taking wonderful classes off our schedule. Yet our teachers deserve nice, full classes. And a fuller class is more companionable to students, too. 

You’ll also notice us upgrading the building Still & Moving Center lives in. We’re making it more inviting and will be offering more services than we’ve offered before (surprises around the corner). And you’ll notice us changing prices to streamline our options – we used to have 22 different ways to pay for a regular adult class!!! Yikes – confuuuuusing! We’ve now whittled that to just a handful of ways.

As they say, “If you want something you’ve never had, you’ve got to do something you’ve never done.”

What I want for Still & Moving Center – and for the community she serves – is for her to be able to thrive without her parents’ financial support. I want her to be able to stand on her own two feet – like her human siblings do!

The Village

She is going to need to work hard, and she’s going to need all of you to cheer her on! If you want to know what you can do in the way of support, here are a few ideas: 

  1. If you’ve stopped coming to classes or events or massages, we’ve missed you. Let Still & Moving welcome you back!
  2. Keep supporting your teachers – your attendance in class means a lot. And put in a good word or photo on social media.
  3. Bring your friends, family and co-workers to Still & Moving, and let them know that work trade is always available if needed.
  4. When we offer a fantastically discounted membership (as we are at the moment), if you can afford to continue paying your non-discounted membership price, that would be a WONDERFUL gift to Still & Moving Center.
  5. Give yourself – and Still & Moving Center – the benefit of the doubt: if the membership or class pack you are considering is for a bit more classes than you think you might use, give yourself a little push to meet that challenge. Consider taking your classes online if you go on vacation.

Remember that when you support Still & Moving Center by taking classes and bodywork sessions, you are truly blessing yourself as well.

Remind yourself that when you feel better after moving your body, you’re a much more enjoyable person to be around for everyone else in your life. I’m speaking from personal experience, and my husband Cliff will be the first to agree!

They say it takes a village to raise a child, and I believe that is true in the case of Still & Moving Center. This child needs to stand, walk, and run on her own… without her mama. I’m calling on the village to help her out! 

Renée Tillotson

Renée Tillotson, Director, founded Still & Moving Center to share mindful movement arts from around the globe. Her inspiration comes from the Joy and moving meditation she experiences in the practice of Nia, and from the lifelong learning she’s gained at the Institute of World Culture in Santa Barbara, California. Engaged in a life-long spiritual quest, Renée assembles the Still & Moving Center Almanac each year, filled with inspirational quotes by everyone from the Dalai Lama to Dolly Parton. Still & Moving Center aspires to serve the community, support the Earth and its creatures, and always be filled with laughter and friendship!

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This post is also available in: 日本語 (Japanese)