Thursday, March 31, 2016

Quelling Rumors

“Rumor travels faster, but it don’t stay put as long as truth.” --Will Roger

As I was entering the studio to teach one morning, The ABC’s of Life, a wall plaque hanging in the reception area caught my eye, and one of the sayings jumped out at me; Quell Rumors. I don’t use the word quell very often in my vocabulary, so I looked it up. I assumed it meant to end or stop something, but it also means to calm something such as fear and worry. Recently it was brought to my attention that some rumors regarding the future of Body Grace have been spreading around town, so I’d like to share with you the truth, and calm the situation; quelling the rumors.

The building that Body Grace is in and the long, red brick building next door were sold to new owners in the fall of 2015. Therefore, I have a new landlord who is honoring my existing lease to 2018. The new owners, a development group, do have plans to tear down the buildings, and as is the case with much of Vienna, begin revamping the Mill Street area. It is my understanding, after meeting with my landlord a couple of weeks ago, that they are probably three to five years from doing that. Getting plans drawn, and zoning approved, as many of you know, can be a long, drawn-out process of countless meetings and bureaucracy, so there is no truth to the rumor that the buildings are coming down anytime soon.

Dear friends, Body Grace is open for business, and thanks to you doing just fine! I promise to be transparent, and let you know should any new developments come up. Armed with the truth, is how we quell rumors, so please don’t ever hesitate to contact me if you hear something that you question, or you have a concern. I love Body Grace and our community, so it is important to me that the rumors are put to rest and the truth be shared.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015


Let me address the rumors that are going around, as some of you have seen the sign that is up
in my front yard, that Bob and I are indeed moving; we are relocating to Leesburg. And to put your mind at rest, Body Grace is not closing, and will continue to be part of the Vienna community. I’ll be commuting to the studio a few days per week to keep the studio open,
and to teach.

Almost 35 years ago, Bob Crerie and Jan Gilliam drove up to a little, brick house in Vienna, with an inviting front porch, in a friendly neighborhood, and knew instinctively that this was the
place we had been looking for to start a life together. We rented at first but eventually ended up buying the place, adding on and renovating it.  I addressed our wedding invitations in this
house; we raised two beautiful daughters here, and three German Shepherds, and in the last few years, our grandsons have come to know this house and the town of Vienna. I can honestly say that we have walked in Glyndon Park just about every day for the last 35 years. Saying good-bye to our home is extremely sad, but we are also excited about our move.

A God-incidence is a word Bob, and I use for when circumstances align so perfectly there is no denying that a higher power is at work. It is not happenstance or a fluke, but those times when we feel like something is just meant to be. We felt it 35 years ago with our sweet little house in Vienna, and recently we felt it again with a piece of property outside of Leesburg.

We came to the realization over the summer that our original plan of rebuilding our house here in Vienna to better suit our needs was going to be hard on us financially, especially if Bob wants to retire in a few years. Living in the country, with trees and nature around us, has always been attractive to us, so we changed our plans and started looking for a little piece of country life that was affordable. On a whim, our daughter sent us a listing for a place just outside of Leesburg; and on a whim, Bob and Jan Crerie drove up to a modest rambler, sitting atop a hill, overlooking ten, picturesque acres and a gorgeous pond. We knew instinctively that this is where the next adventure of our life together will begin. A God-incidence.

Right now we are tackling the purging of stuff from our house, which includes scary closets, a particularly frightening room, and a terrifying attic! We are also weeding through a whole bunch of memories. We’ve had fun going through our old junk; we’ve cried and laughed a lot, and we’ve questioned our judgment on why we saved individual items.

I have been trying to practice what I teach during this time of upheaval and stress. Making time to keep up with my workouts and yoga practices has helped me keep my energy level up, and my sanity intact!  But I must admit that I have my melancholy days too. Leaning on my family has been a Godsend, but being at the studio has been a saving grace too. I only have to step into the peace, warmth, and love that resonates at the studio and know that I still have a home in Vienna.

Monday, December 7, 2015


“There's a trick to the Graceful Exit.
It begins with the vision to recognize when a job, a life stage,
a relationship is over - and to let go.
It means leaving what's over without denying its value.”
- Ellen Goodman
 (American journalist)

“You’ve gotta know when it’s time to turn the page.”
Tori Amos
(Music artist)

Change and I have never had an easy relationship. I am a regimented person, any variance from my routine can throw me off kilter, and I do not make spontaneous decisions well.  When I see a big change coming, I’ve been known to run the other way. But change usually finds me, sometimes sweet-talking me out of hiding, sometimes dragging me out, reluctantly!  Intellectually, I know that change can be good, that change is inevitable, that progress does not exist without the transformational power of change, but letting go can be emotionally draining, no matter how spiritually uplifting or life changing it ends up being. And I also know that change can have an ugly side, blindsiding us with hard life circumstances. Maybe that’s the side of change that keeps us humble, letting us know that ultimately we are not in control of the Universe. Change can be our best friend too; when we feel comfortable with a new transition; when we intuitively make the right decision; when it’s time to turn the page. I don’t know about you, but I always feel physically lighter when that happens. Recently, saying good-bye to a place I had been teaching at for twenty-five years was not only a big change, but an emotional one too.

Body Grace was born and raised at Vienna Presbyterian Church, and for that opportunity I will always be grateful. But just like the letting go that happens between a parent and a child, it was time to make a “graceful exit,” moving the final class out of the church, and into the studio. In 1990, I appeared before the church’s Board of Trustees to get approval to start a weekly fitness class. There were some board members and congregants who disapproved. They felt that a fitness class had no business existing in a place of worship. My presentation, based on passages from 1 Corinthians, was that our bodies are temples, that we are connected physically, mentally and spiritually, and what affects one, can affect them all. I’m sure that sounded a little “New Age-y” in 1990, but how exciting it is twenty-five years later to see the scientific evidence backing this up! Permission for a trial session was granted, and that one class eventually led to the birth of Body Grace. I will forever love and appreciate all the people who supported me throughout the years, and who spoke up for me when I needed it the most.

Change can be hard to embrace, particularly when it uproots us with unexpected life experiences: When it messes with our routines; with our health; with our faith; with our emotions.  But change can also help us undergo positive transformations, like a spiritual makeover, enlightening us with a new perspective. Change can help intensify our connection physically, mentally and spiritually, and Body Grace is a manifestation of that belief; a belief that I have not strayed from in twenty-five years. To me Body Grace is a sacred place, within the larger community, where all are welcome to take care of their body, mind and spirit; a place to help deepen our relationships with others, and with our self. 

Monday, April 20, 2015

Dear Spring

“In the spring I have counted one hundred and thirty-six different kinds of weather inside
 of four and twenty hours.”   Mark Twain (1835 – 1910)

Dear Spring,

What a prophetic description of March 2015 written by Mark Twain over a century ago. Spring, you sure can be fickle. Stop teasing us!  We humbly acknowledge that you are in control. We understand that you want to make a dramatic entrance dressed in your fine couture, and honestly, with all your beauty, who can blame you? But you’ve already got us in the palm of your hand, sitting at the edge of our seats; we are a captivated audience.  Spring, we’ve been patient, now show us some mercy, and reward our patience with a steady performance of warmer, brighter days. We are so ready for the cold, gray curtain of winter to lift, and your colorful, spectacular show to begin. Spring, you have a rapt audience, now give us a reason for a standing ovation.

Jan Crerie

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Welcome to my new Grandson

Nash Robert Beech
Jan. 30 at 4:08 am
6 lb. 14 oz.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Another fresh new year is here...
Another year to live!
To banish worry, doubt, and fear,
To love and laugh and give!
This bright new year is given me
To live each day with zest...
To daily grow and try to be
My highest and my best!
I have the opportunity
Once more to right some wrongs,
To pray for peace, to plant a tree,
And sing more joyful songs!
- William Arthur Ward
(American scholar, author, editor, pastor and teacher)

Happy New Year!
I read this poem at the end of last Friday morning's yoga practice. I think it puts into words the way I see the new year, as a fresh new start. To me the new year is like getting a brand new notebook at the beginning of the school year, waiting to be filled with whatever the assignments are for that particular subject. Usually by the end of the year my notebooks would inevitably become an eclectic mix of assignments I was required to do, and lots of doodles, not only in the margins but on the covers too.  To this day I still love to doodle finding it relaxing, and meditative, helping me think.  I would also write expressive letters to myself, or others, filled with my observations about the day, hopes, complaints, whatever the feeling du jour happened to be! Of course, these pages would get torn out leaving behind the telltale ragged pieces of paper.

Here it is again, a fine new notebook, entitled January 2015, and I am just cracking it open to begin the process. Ironically this notebook will look similar to my school ones.  There will be
stuff I have to do, all those responsibilities and obligations that come with day-to-day life, but also making time for relaxation and fun.  I will try my best to be present with whatever life has in store for me this year, accepting the fact that the ragged edges are just as important as the smooth.  And my notebook would not be complete without an abundance of feelings yet to be
felt and expressed.  What I do know about this year is this, Body Grace will continue to be a big part of my life, and I am looking forward to experiencing 2015 with all of you!

With warm gratitude,

Sunday, April 6, 2014

A Fond Memory of Vienna's Mayor Jane Seeman

Mayor Seeman passed away on February 24, 2013.
This piece was printed shortly afterward in the Body Grace's March newsletter.

Miss Jane was Nicole’s, my oldest daughter’s, first preschool teacher at the Vienna Community Center. I had just given birth to my second daughter, Allison, in the fall of 1988 and Nicole started attending shortly before then; she was 2-1/2 years old.

Nicole loved wearing dresses. One hectic morning she picked out a red jumper that my mom had made for her, a white blouse, cute frilly white socks and her black patent leather Mary Jane shoes, and off we went to drop her off at preschool. As always Miss Jane was there to welcome everyone at the door so I dropped Nicole off and came home looking forward to putting Allison and me down for a nap, but as I walked by Nicole’s bedroom door I noticed something sitting on her bed. What I found, after further inspection, was her underpants. Yes, I had just sent my fancy dressed daughter to preschool commando style!

Mortified, I frantically grabbed Nicole’s underpants, placed Allison back into her car seat, and drove back to the community center.  I peeked in the window on the preschool door, caught Miss Jane’s eye and waved for her to come out.  Once she stepped out into the hallway, I told her how embarrassed I was to have sent Nicole to school without the proper undergarments, and in a down-to-earth, non-judgmental way this is what she said to me: “You know Mrs. Crerie, Nicole was really distressed at the beginning of class and when I asked her what the problem was, she told me that her Mommy had forgotten to put underpants on her. I told her I would give you a call to bring some to her, and that sometimes Mommies forget things, especially when there is a new baby in the house, but in the meantime, until you could get here, to just keep her legs together.” I smiled – how could you not – nodded, thanked her for calming Nicole down, and her good advice. When I glanced into the room, sure enough, while all the other kids were sitting crossed-legged in their share circle, Nicole was sitting very calmly with her legs straight out, glued shut. I took Nicole to the restroom, put on her underpants, and I apologized to her for my forgetfulness, as well as for any future issues I may have caused, which at the time she probably did not understand.  To this day Nicole has very fond memories of being in Miss Jane’s preschool class for two years. Yes, she does remember being distaught about not having underpants on, however she did forgive me, and I can attribute that to the sweet way in which Miss Jane handled the situation.

Fast forward twenty something years later and as I am unlocking the studio door one afternoon, Mayor Jane drives up to drop off her granddaughter for a teen yoga class. We chatted for a moment and she asked about my daughters, which I was so impressed by. I told her that Nicole is a mom now, and we both agreed that time flies by too quickly but that being a grandparent is wonderful! Jane asked me how my business was doing. She truly cared about the success of the small businesses in the community, and I for one, appreciated that. I will miss Jane Seeman. She loved Vienna, and it showed. When I think of her, I will not only think of Mayor Jane Seeman, a woman who believed in a strong community, but I will also fondly remember Miss Jane, a caring, kind and compassionate preschool teacher, who helped a little girl and a young mother through an awkward situation.