Heart Songs – on “being a boomer”

my voice

my voice



sing my soul.

I want to share. I want to express.

choke. swallow. stop. how? with who? where? in what language!? gulp! gosh darn!

So. I have been loving a new special time in my life: Thursday afternoons I take a voice lesson.

Its been amazing to feel my voice move inside me, feel it soar or crack, push it up or down, coo softly, or wail with delight. To feel the many sides of singing, the many tones and colors of my voice.

My dad, well he is a boomer.

And I am not talking about a baby boomer. I always say I can pick him out of a crowd just by his voice. If we ever arrived late to church with mom, all we would have to do is wait for the hymn sing, and I could find dad in seconds. His voice is definitive, operatic, confident, strong, goosebump worthy, and… well, LOUD.

One thing my voice teacher has been working with me on is singing softer. I always tend to go to the loud parts, to go to the fullest feeling of the singing. I think it is because I want to FEEL myself singing – feel like Im really doing it! Maybe singing loudly comes from a need to feel the limits, to know its there… my voice. To feel that I exist, that I can shout, that I can shake a room or vibrate in my body.

my first voice lesson

my first voice lesson

So in my Thursday afternoon lessons, among many other things that I am learning, I am being taught to sing softly. And isn’t it nice. Yes it is.

Its a new feeling. ….I do have to be reminded again and again. “Softer Ashley.”

So here on this blog, my heart whispers. I listen, I speak, I write …not too loudly.

Sometimes i feel it isn’t enough. I feel limited. “I should be writing in spanish,” I think. But up until now, it is flowing in english. So I might as well not force too much, and just let it out how it comes.

Flow. Sing. Coo. Oh, I am so happy for my dad and his booming ways. He is the best boomer I know! And how my heart longs to boom onto my tongue and be able to fill a room with eager listeners, to make a difference, to shout from the rooftops.

but then I realize something.

something big…

maybe I can’t be a boomer to do what my heart is calling for.

maybe its more the gentle whispers that will touch hearts,

that will land in the ears of the sleeping dreamer

that will pull out the desires of radiant ladies

that will bring the mind back to the body

that will guide

that will open

that will support

that will enfuse

that will wait

that will nourish

Softly Ashley.  Softly.

So friends…What is something this weekend, that you can do softly? Do share, I would love to hear your songs.

Much love,


p.s. Thank you Jen for all your loving teachings!


a love letter, to you

A love letter, to you from me:

You are powerful beyond measure.
listen to your heart
become a portal for your desires,
a channel for your true voice
a pathway, for your own feet
Feel your way.
Feel your beauty.
You are wiser than you know. Brighter than you think.
Keep going. Keep searching. Keep pursuing.
With breath. With ease. With flow. With faith you will find.
Beautiful heart dreamer, beautiful listener, beautiful friend, partner, sister, brother…
There is no one like you on this earth.
There is no one with the same story, the same gifts, the same uniqueness, the same journey that you have.
You are powerful beyond measure…
when you believe in yourself.
You can do it.
You can do it with love.
with love in your heart,
and gratitude for this exact moment where you are now.
Whether it is at the top of the mountain, or in a dark room looking at this glowing screen.
Because where you are is perfect.
Just start where you are.  And nothing more.
One baby step.  One phone call.  One post.  One connection.  One prayer.  One moment at a time.
You are.  I see you.  I see you so brightly.  I see your heart.
Thank you for being you.
with all my love.
your friend,
I recently found this amazing artwork, and it moved me so much, it lead me to write the above love letter to you.     Powerful blessings, love Ashley.

I recently found this amazing artwork, and it moved me so much, it lead me to write the above love letter to you. Powerful blessings, love Ashley.

I'm so thankful to learn about the artwork of huebucket.
If you want to see more magical artwork you 
can visit their page here:

Meditation & Movement – Shaking the Etch-a-Sketch

I recently was asked to contribute an article for a Magazine here in Guadalajara, Mexico called “Dancers Voice”

I’m really happy about this opportunity and although the magazine is in spanish,

I thought I would share the translated version of the article with you here.

spread 1


–       exploring the power of moving meditation for dancers  by guest writer Ashley Meeder for DANCERS VOICE, GUADALAJARA

photo 3


Meditation has been practiced for thousands of years.  Many religions and cultures throughout time have cultivated meditation techniques, the Buddhist Traditions of Meditation date back to over 2,500 years ago.

Meditation is a practice that cultivates consciousness. The idea behind meditation is to observe the mind, to allow your thoughts to settle. The benefits of meditation are many – working with the mind and our thoughts can be very powerful.  They often affect our emotional health, relationships, productivity, focus, wellbeing etc.

I often say that for me, meditating is like getting rid of the monkeys in my brain. Sometimes the mind feels like a fast moving train, everything is a blur. One benefit of meditation is not exactly that our thoughts go away, but that we are able to see the SPACES between the train cars, the SPACES between our thoughts.  Meditation helps us to CHOOSE our thoughts, or even allow NEW ideas to enter the mind. When we create space and stillness in the mind, we can cultivate enhanced creativity, spiritual growth, true presence, emotional healing, understanding, focus, deep relaxation, peace and clarity.

Begin by…


The easiest way to begin, is to sit in a quiet place and close your eyes.  Try doing this right when you get up in the morning before the world starts zooming around you. Just focus on your breath for 5 minutes, perhaps pausing between each inhale and each exhale.  Observe your mind, your breath and your body.  Allow yourself to be present.  As Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh reminds us how to become truly present, he says breath, and “allow your mind to come home to your body.”

If you are a dancer, you probably practice some kind of meditation without even realizing it.  When you focus inward, concentrate on your breathing, or become present in your body before entering onstage, these are ways to enter into a meditative state.

So what is a moving meditation and WHAT does it have to do with DANCE?

I have developed moving meditations in my work for a number of reasons.  Many choreographers and teachers use them as a tool to bring the body and the mind into a connected state.

Research has found that the ideal state for learning is when the brain is in a relaxed, but aware state.  When we meditate, we transition our brain into an Alpha- wave state, where our brain is relaxed, calm, focused, receptive and aware. This is the most ideal state a student can have in their learning process.  Dancers cultivate how to remain in this relaxed, connected, deeply conscious state, while still moving and maintaining an active body.  Allowing for some of the most beautiful, creative and productive learning comes forth from the body.

Images, colors, ideas, music and guided processes can be used in movement meditations.  They often start in a lying down or standing position with the eyes closed.  A guided meditation in stillness can begin the process, and then slowly change to incorporate movement and dance explorations into the process.

One of the most interesting techniques of where I see this process being used is in the Isreali Dance Technique GAGA, where dancers are guided through sometimes hours of images to get the body and mind into a present and creative state.  What is unique about GAGA is that the students are asked to keep their eyes open, and try to still deeply connect from within.  This technique is useful because it is what we as dancers are asked of onstage: to become deeply connected, feel our bodies, to translate internal ideas into an outward performance.

Through cultivating work with Movement Meditations we can simultaneously process information in a relaxed state, actively respond, and make subtle shifts and changes while maintaining a deep connection to oneself.


This work doesn’t always come easily. I know when I am teaching beginners when I start to lead a meditation and, as I change the theme or ask the dancers to move, open their eyes or change their movement, some students will stop completely what they are doing and look up and stare at me, disconnecting from their experience.  I sometimes laugh and say “Keep going!” “Don’t stop!”  “Try to process the information I am giving you while you continue to move.”  Many students haven’t yet explored this unique Alpha-state in motion.  As the dancer develops this ability she, develops an invaluable tool, becoming more agile, present, responsive, receptive, quickly able to shift and react, more connected.

Letting go of Judgement: the BODYMIND.

Another benefit of Moving Mediations is that they can help us to let go of judgement.  Many times movement activities and exercises in classes are built around the students “wanting to please the teacher” or “doing what is correct” or “looking for an example, shape or movement to copy or follow.”   Through movement meditations we encounter the bodymind, where we transcend the fear of judgement or the need of approval from a teacher, and begin to dance from within.

The idea of the bodymind comes from techniques based in Somatic principles, recognizing the body of the student as the primary source of knowledge and growth.  Somatic education and movement techniques focus on creating greater consciousness and awareness in the body.  It puts the power in the body AND the mind of the student to make their own discoveries. It is what Dr. Sondra Fraleigh, founder of the Eastwest Somatics Institute calls, SHIN.  SHIN is a ZEN word meaning: center, core, heart, body, mind, sprit, and tree trunk, bringing attention to that which is already one. Dr Fraleigh teaches that the body and the mind can truly work in harmony. Its our own culture that puts a separation between the two.  The miracle of dance as an art form is that it reminds us the bodymind endlessly united.  This is what I call grace.

When we give attention and connect to the bodymind, to the shin, we no longer need to worry about what is correct or what our teacher wants.  We move from within.  We are creativity in motion.  We invent.  We discover.  We play.  We dance from the heart.



“But if I just ‘dance from within’, won’t I lose my technique? I wont do well in auditions!”

As dancers we have many ideas and training styles in our bodies. From a performance perspective you can think of it like having a canvas that is already full of paint.  As a choreographer when I see dancers that already have their canvas “full of paint”, well, it is hard to create something new on top of it.

Meditation and Movement Meditations, help to clear the canvas, clear the mind and also the body to be in a present, neutral state.  From there we often have more options and more possibilities in our body.  Neutral doesn´t mean that you forget everything you know and have ever learned.  Dr. George Russell, movement coach and chiropractor for dancers and actors in New York City explains it as a ¨cultivated neutrality¨ in which the we bring ourselves into the present moment and let go of any postural patterns or tensions.  Dr. Russell describes it as “shaking the etch-a-sketch…” Our potential for all expression is there, but we return to neutrality to remember.  Then move from there.

In any audition, class or performance, I think most of us can agree that it’s the people that are truly connected, who dance from within, that we don’t want to take our eyes off of.  Movement mediations allow us to reorganize ourselves, our bodies, let go of old patterns, discover new ones, let go of judgement, trust the bodymind, deeply connect, playfully discover, be in the moment and dance from the heart.


Uncle Ramon lives in the mountains in Mexico.  He has traveled all over the world working hundreds of trades in literally dozens of countries.  He is an artesian and now dedicates his time to metal works, ceramics etc.  I admire Ramon´s amazing work ethic, renaissance skills and general curiosity about the world.  He (like myself) could be identified as multipassionate.  Incredibly skilled in many disciplines, he built his house from the ground up, starting with a small square structure that has slowly been added on to over the years. He has a true appreciation for resourcefulness, creativity, and handmade crafts.  An avid reader, Ramon has cultivated a deep sense of tolerance for different cultures, religions and ideas.  He is more reflective than judgmental, more curious than critical.

Recently at a dinner conversation, the topic of technology came up. 

Some were criticizing how much new technology there is, or how technology, mechanizes people and makes us inhuman. 

And I loved what he said: He likened technology to a hammer.  You can use a hammer to build a house, but you can also use the same hammer to kill a man.  Would you blame the hammer for the fault of killing someone?  No of course not.  You would blame the person using it.  Or rather their choice in how they used it.

ramon looks on_7

This I think is one of the best metaphors for thinking about our new technological world and also our beloved new line of communication: the internet, web, the cyber sea… whatever you want to call it.

It is a tool.  What makes our moral, ethical and personal choices about using it so difficult is that, unlike a hammer (that has perhaps a dozen uses)  the INTERNET has thousands, perhaps infinite uses.  The challenge we face now, is how to use it.  How we want to use this tool and for what.

There are futurists in our world (Jean Houston) who comment on the radical advancement of our society in over the last 10 years.  If you think about how much growth, change, advancement and technological OPTIONS we have acquired over the last 10 or even 5 years, the list is massive.   Jean Houson believes we are on a fast-track evolution:  she explains that all the international intelligence and information of all world nations combined in 1950, is now accessible to a 10 year old via the laptop he carries in his backpack today when connected to the internet.

THATS a LOT OF CHOICE.  A LOT OF OPTIONS.  I lot of tools from just one source.

If you are like me, you love the internet.  You might call it a passion that hinges on addiction.


I looked up cyber monkey on google images and got this! Love it!Not what you can do on the internet, but really how to use it.  Even per-say, what is our relationship to it.

It is a deeply personal choice, and I dislike when people make blanket judgements about use of the internet, computers, technology, social media etc.  For me I live in Mexico, and feel so deeply blessed to have tools like Skype, Facebook, Email to connect to my friends and family that I otherwise wouldn´t see.  Its my choice to use lots of social media, but I know I also run the risk of addaddaddddddiction to the ever so sucky-inny Face of Book.  When I get sucked in, I need to remind myself to connect to my REAL world and also creating balance in my choices.  I have to create ways to maintain that essential groundedness so I don’t turn into a robot or my own precious hard drive (my brain) doesn’t fry.

The internet as a whole entity is a phenomenon with millions of choices.  Tools, applications, games, programs, websites.  Youtube for example, its own entity inside the internet with another thousand choices of its own of HOW it can be used.  You can use it to watch ridiculous videos of cats, or you can use it to learn Photoshop.  The options and the choices are just un-ending.


I think that because there are so many choices, is just so easy for us to get lost in a cyber sea of options.  All the sudden we look up from our laptop, or our tablet, or our cell phone and we realize that hours have gone by.  Or worse yet, that a dear friend is sitting across from us at a cafe, and for the 6th time in the last 15 minutes you glanced down at your phone.

This is the heartbreak of the addictiveness, when we forget (as zen master That Nit Khan so graciously reminds us) that our presense is the best gift we can give anyone.  It is so true.  Our presence, our undivided attention, our most valuable comity and the best gift we can give another.  When the Internet begins to get in the way of our focus, our ability to sit with someone, our ability to concentrate or connect with another.  When it becomes a mask for our self, or a way to avoid difficult reality, we can liken the internet to any other addictive substance or habit.


¨Our Un-divided Attention.¨ It is so rare that we can give that.  Our lives demand so much and the choices and things around us so easily pull us away from focusing or connecting with others.  Its such a gift to give another your presence, your attention.  It reminds others ¨you matter¨ ¨you are worth it¨ and how desperately so many of us need to feel that kind of attention.

On a more logistical level, the wonders of our cyber lifestyle has also lowered our ability to give un-divided attention to a specific task.  Our focus at work is limited, sometimes we sit down to do something and after two hours we feel we have got nothing accomplished.  Our ability to focus or have a productive hour of work sometimes leaves us feeling also ¨worthless.¨  Our disks get fried by too many windows, glowing screens, opt-ins and double clicks.



Thinking of the wonder of growth that has happened in the last 5 or 10 years, I can only wonder what the next 50 will hold.  I hope more innovation, more advancement, more magical cyber weavings.  But it is our decision how to use it.  How to encourage others to use it and to maintain connection in our interconnected world where ironically so often, we disconnect.

So, before you go GOOGLE something, Ive laid out a little list here that I like to call…


  1. FAST. Take a technology and internet fast for a few days every once an awhile.  Longer than 2 days!  Find a window of time where you can do it.  Notice how you feel.  Write about it, or reflect to a friend.
  1. Avoid the YUWK: “Youareina Unconscious Webhead Kunundrum.”  Have you ever found yourself wandering around the internet with no true direction? Imagine that each time you use your computer, you need to “log in.”  Imagine you need to answer to a troll at a tollbridge groggling: “WHAT IS YOUR PURPOSE HERE.”  Try writing down your purpose and give yourself a window of time to do it in.  You know you are YUWK -ing if…You consume but never share.  You share but never listen.  You stalk or meander.  You “overspill” for attention, or scrounge for “likes.”  You window jump. You can’t get anything done. You eat at your computer or your eyes look like traffic lights.  “YUWK! MOMENT!”  DEFINE your purpose when you walk into web terrain.  And if you are “YUWK-ing” – see step happy habit #1.
  1. Lonely Linda’s Beware.  Lonely Lindas of the world feel sad and check their phone, look for messages and constantly make sure there isn’t something more important on their phone screen than whatever is in front of them.  If you have a lonely Linda moment, just breath for a second.  Connect to your own self, your surroundings and give yourself the attention YOU NEED!  No text message, facebook status, email or chat will be able to really fill you up, better than you can fill yourself up!  Take yourself out on a date and LEAVE YOUR PHONE BEHIND!  (Stay tuned for my next post with more about LONELY LINDAS)
  2. Resourceful like Ramon.  May we be more like Uncle Ramon.  Tolerant, practical, well-read, resourceful, and curious. Because most of all Happy Cyber Monkeys enjoy the wonders of the www and find the joys and positivity and the miraculous interconnectivity it all brings.  We use it as an inspiration station – to better our mind and better our world.  (For resources on Happy Cyber Monkey wesites please see below!)
ramon view_5

Look up from your screen dear friends, you might just be missing a great view.

What do YOU think?

What is your relationship to the internet and what choices do you make in your life to create balance when using this great tool?

These days, this Happy Cyber Monkey likes to frequent these websites:
THANKS FOR READING!  – love,  Ashley 

Cybermonkey Illustration by goopymart

Undies in a Bundie? GET FUZZY about your dense problem.


(you can listen to an audio version of the blogpost above!)

When I was in elementary school my mom (the lovely and talented Mrs. Meeder) was in her puppeteering stage.  She did these great productions that were usually two person shows with various wigs, costume changes, puppets of all shapes and sizes.  Many shows were musical acts with talking toilets and goofy kings performed to packed audiences of children.  I remember these shows as colorful worlds of delight, where my mom would often pop out from backstage while her counterpart Rob, would stay behind the scenes acting in 4 different voices simultaneously with 4 different puppets.

Mom and Rob were a great act.  I have such clear memories of mom in these times, usually caked in sweat and exhausted after the show, I would wait while they packed up.  I got to observe a lot, go behind the scenes, and of course hear Rob’s one-liners… in all his charm, he has the best lines.

“Ahh Annie, Don’t get your Undies in a Bundie.”  That was my favorite… when my mom was all stressed about something, Rob’s voice in all its expressive theatrical charm would shout these type of colorful expressions from the dressing room. And his expresseions have had a lasting impression on me.


I thought I’d spare you a visual image of this saying and instead refer to the Urban Dictionary.

I refered to the Urban Dictionary to look up the roots of this word.  The original saying, “Undies in a Bundle” refers to being:  agitated, annoyed, PISSY or uptight.  

For us ladies, this is something that we deal with daily, to varying levels and degrees.  We have our days where we go…SNAP!  Im not talking about PMS.  Im talking about something else.

OUR reaction…to Stress.  When a stressor gets the best of us, and our emotions lead to our misery and our unhappiness.  AND if we are powerful, influential women (which of course we are) it leads to the unhappiness of oh, so many people around us.   Like dad says:  “If momma ain’t happy, ain’t NOBODY happy.”

ITS NOT THAT THE STRESS isn’t real.  Usually its totally legit.  But here is what I think:

I think its a habit.  That we have learned.  

To react “in stress” to a stressor or difficulty.  


I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately and I’m trying something new.

I just try to stop and observe it.  The Stressor or Difficulty. Like as an outsider.  

And not react for a moment.

I’ve had major stressors about getting visa’s for my fiancés family member for our upcoming wedding.  Its a very stressful process.  Sometimes it seems very overwhelming and I feel very alone and angry in all of it.  But I realize that its my own stress and tension.

The process is going to be EXACTLY the same whether or not I am content and happy during the process or sad, angry and stressed.  Nothing is going to change the physical process.  Its only me that can change.  That I can choose to be miserable during it, pissy or agitated…or just choose to be…(maybe not happy) but at least neutral.  From there I can choose.

From neutrality we have a choice.

The word RELAX  has been working for me.  Not to relax myself or my stress… but to relax the tension I feel around a particular thought or process or problem.

Ive been using the image of a rubber ball.  A rubber ball is dense, hard and solid.  When I put tension around a problem or an idea like “the visa process is impossible.”   The thought or the problem hardens.  It be comes like a rubber ball.  My brain and my energy puts all this tension around it.  Worse yet when there are several “rubber ball thoughts” –  my brain starts to feel like there are all these blocks in its way.  Bouncing hard, dense, problems inside my head. There is no creativity, no freedom, and no choice.

my rubber ball.  Ive been caught talking to it.  :)

my rubber ball. Ive been caught talking to it. 🙂

But if I can just breath in to it.  Breath into that rubber ball of a problem, it might start to look a little fuzzier, the denseness starts to break open.  The particles of tense energy start to relax.  Maybe it starts to change shape or color, it can become a fuzzy tennis ball, into a loose ball of yarn,  and things start to unravel or shift.  Inside the center of it, the seed, there is usually an emotion.  If I can just sit with it.  That sense of powerlessness, or loneliness. and start to breath into that little seed.  So it starts to get softer.

What is really wierd and quite miraculous is that when I do this, when I relax the tension around a problem, it begins magically to almost take care of itself.  I had all this tension around the visa issues and felt so alone. I started to breath around it. I sent an email to my fiance’s mom asking for help.  In 1 day she had a list of all the things we needed, had read all the websites I sent her and had already begun to get her own papers in order.

A little miracle.

I came back from the holiday break so convinced that in Mexico I could never find the quality and quanity of friends I have in the states.  “My rubber ball thought was: “I have no friends here in Mexico.”  Which isn’t true.  But my rubber ball thought wouldn’t let me see any other possibility.  So…I started to get fuzzy about that statement, because a statement like that has no room for anything else.   My statements about not having friends was more based on the feeling of loneliness (Ill save that for another blog post) But as Ive gotten more space, less density around the “problem”.  Its like God in her infinite creative wisdom and energy has created a little project to put people in front of me recently that I can share with and create friendship.

So if I feel something STRESSY coming on. Ive been using quiet moments during the day, almost like a meditation to observe how i feel, and ask for spiritual guidance.   Pausing that habit to react right away and just give it a few moments.  This develops trust and faith.  And it starts to get easier each time.

So next time your UNDIES ARE IN A BUNDIE.

Get fuzzy about your dense problem.  Like a chemist or physicist, imagine you can change those dense, hard and solid rubber ball atoms into a fuzzy puffy cloud of possibility.




And, ask for help if you need it.

” Angels fly, because they take themselves lightly.”   –   Tony Robbins

love with my heart,



The secret PDF document

Dear Friends,

it happened just like I imagined…


well, not really.

Chapter TWO started when I woke up one day and realized things just were not working.

Sometimes you just have to turn the page, and start again.  This “turning the page” idea started as a secret pdf document on my computer.  Adding ideas and thoughts of things I’d like to write about, what chapter 2 might hold.  A place for reflexion and growth.  It also meant closing a chapter on what I thought was my biggest passion, a contemporary dance company I started here in Mexico from the ground up.

Chapter two is a sharing of my experiences along this soul-searching path, shared with the loving intention that perhaps my own journey and growth might resonate with others.


sharing aimed for




and getting better

The dare is to share.


A new friend recently shared this verse with me:  psalm 1:1-3

1 Blessed is the one

    who does not walk in step with the wicked

or stand in the way that sinners take

    or sit in the company of mockers,

2 but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,

    and who meditates on his law day and night.

3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,

    which yields its fruit in season

and whose leaf does not wither—

    whatever they do prospers.

I wish I had a better relationship with the Bible, I find a lot of my faith journey through talking to God, doing yoga, journaling, or through meditation ideas inspired by various sources – most recently through Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh.

Im kinda a mixed bag.  But I  so appreciate the verse my friend shared with me because its really where I am at right now.  I like the line about

“which yields its fruit in season”

I feel like I am in a bit of a self -imposed winter season, where no fruit yields but… for the reason that Im in a time of reflection. “Living in the question Mark” as they say.   I can only trust that seeds have been planted.  Maybe by God.  Maybe a long time ago.  And that truly I will rejoice in the moment not even for fruit, but for a bud of outward growth.  I feel I have so many ideas and inspiration of where I can go with my words, or writing or sharing more about the body, anatomy, wellness, self love and personal growth.  But I feel I don’t know where to start or how for that inspiration to have a public life.  It feels so secret right now.  This blog is perhaps one of those outward buds.

They say the 5th chakra is the delicate and beautiful balance between our heart and our head.  Its our VOICE, our public identity, how people see us, our word, the color blue, our expressivity outward.  

Perhaps at one moment I felt my dance company Ashley Meeder Movement Project was my calling, but Im beginning to believe it was something that had to be let go, so something else could come to light.  Or to be transformed into another form.

I pray that my heart will fly onto my tongue, and my intellect will kindly support it all. Welcome to Chapter Two.

this post is dedicated to leah fox who is daring me to share!  thank you leah for an amazing visit to mexico!

me and leah