A note from Erin:
How about a little Rumi?
(I’ll never say no to that…)
One night a man was crying,
His lips grew sweet with the praising,
until a cynic said,
“So! I have heard you
calling out, but have you ever
gotten any response?”
The man had no answer to that.
He quit praying and fell into a confused sleep.
He dreamed he saw Khidr, the guide of souls,
in a thick, green foliage.
“Why did you stop praising?”
“Because I’ve never heard anything back.”
you express is the return message.
The grief you cry out from
draws you toward union.
Your pure sadness
that wants help
is the secret cup.
Listen to the moan of a dog for its master.
That whining is the connection.
There are love dogs
no one knows the names of.
Give your life
to be one of them.”
– Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks
- Today, as I write, it’s a new moon. It’s also the beginning of a partial solar eclipse. In the Tibetan tradition, it’s said that the karmic effects of our actions are multiplied on days like today by something like ten thousand or a hundred thousand times. A good day (as is any day) to be intentional. This morning, I got to begin my day sitting with a few friends in a lovely canyon, flowers scattered as offerings to the land. Visited by a hummingbird, buoyed by the music of the flowing creek and the singing birds, supported by Mother Earth and held by (and as) the spaciousness of sky and the changeless awareness in which it all happens. Breathing in and out, heart vast enough to welcome it all. Breathing in the rampant fear, breathing out love. Breathing in the lives of children everywhere, breathing out blessings and protective love into the future. Breathing in self-criticism and hatred, breathing out maitri: that brave, unconditional friendliness. It’s not an act of spiritual bypassing to pause the frenetic pace. It’s not a betrayal of the issues that need our care. For me, it’s an utterly necessary pause to ground and root into deeper sanity, wisdom, and love. In our podcast episode with Diane Hamilton, exploring how to navigate life during challenging times like these, I was particularly touched by her emphasis on being clear about our intentions. How do we want to show up? How much can we keep that intention as a North Star? Even if, like the first spacecraft to land on the moon, we are off course much of the time, correcting and course correcting again, as we inevitably lose our way. Losing our way is the way. Let’s not stop praising or praying. (By the way, if you’d like to join me for no-cost Full Moon & New Moon sitting meditation in the canyons, shoot me an email!)
Here are a few questions you might find helpful, as I do:
Who and how do I want to be?
How do I want to feel?
What is most important to me?
What do I need to do to deepen my self-respect?
One of my favorite sayings is this: Why ruin a good question with an answer? I also love Rilke’s invitation to live the questions – so we might some distant day, live our way into the answer. So this is not an invitation to land on some correct idea, but rather to let ourselves marinate in the inquiry. With all that is in flux, these questions for me are like a steadying oar I need to row.
What if our longing IS the return message?
What if our angst and wish to see a better world is some kind of holiness itself?
Perhaps it’s one way to become a whining love dog….
Friends, won’t you put your hands on this oar with me??
Good things will unfold….
Click here to listen to me read this poem to you.
If you put your hands on this oar with me,
they will never harm another, and they will come to find
they hold everything you want.
If you put your hands on this oar with me, they would no longer
lift anything to your
mouth that might wound your precious land-
that sacred earth that is
If you put your soul against this oar with me,
the power that made the universe will enter your sinew
from a source not outside your limbs, but from a holy realm
that lives in us.
Exuberant is existence, time a husk.
When the moment cracks open, ecstasy leaps out and devours space;
love goes mad with the blessings, like my words give.
Why lay yourself on the torturer’s rack of the past and future?
The mind that tries to shape tomorrow beyond its capacities
will find no rest.
Be kind to yourself, dear- to our innocent follies.
Forget any sounds or touch you knew that did not help you dance.
You will come to see that all evolves us.
If you put your heart against the earth with me, in serving
every creature, our Beloved will enter you from our sacred realm
and we will be, we will be
– Rumi, From ‘Love Poems From God’ by Daniel Ladinsky.
As Margaret Mead said so beautifully, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world: indeed it’s the only thing that ever has.”Won’t you join me in coming together as a small group of committed, thoughtful citizens willing to explore Answering the Call of our Times?? Here’s what a participant in this workshop wrote about her experience in April:
‘I spent most of the day on Friday feeling irritated and burdensome and anxious. I left work and was on the shuttle, scrolling through Instagram and I saw a post from Erin. It said that there were still spots left in her weekend retreat, Answering the Call of Our Times, that started that night, and to contact her if we felt called to attend. I had known for several weeks that the retreat was happening, but because of the time commitment –Friday night and all day Saturday and Sunday – I didn’t really have any interest in going. I didn’t want to “give up” my weekend. It was all happening locally, so I imagined it would just feel like a busy weekend with no break and then straight back to work on Monday morning. And yet, when I saw the post on Friday, I texted Erin immediately. “I feel called-ish,” I said, not knowing what I meant and not knowing what to expect in response. But the longer I waited for a reply from Erin, the more urgent it felt. I needed to be there. There was this rising in my chest, this pressure. She texted back at 5:45 and said “there’s a spot and it’s yours!” I ran home, threw some stuff together, and 45 minutes later, was in a brilliant circle of women. The universe knew. She absolutely knew. This weekend was full of grief and gratitude and joy and tears and time in canyons and time in silence and full-bellied laughter and rattles and poetry and writing and group reading and wholehearted support and ideas and passion and all the emotions and more than anything else, more than I really know how to describe, it was full of love. I was sitting in the sun during our lunch break today, eyes welling up, realizing that I don’t think I’ve ever known love like this before. It is so deep and so steady and so full. I’m sitting in that beauty tonight. I can feel it with every cell. Nan, Nini, Becky, Janine, Cordelia, LuAnn, and Erin — oh my goodness, Erin — thank you, thank you, thank you.”
I’d be sooooo grateful for your presence in the circle. Details if you click below.
- Embodiment Summer Camp is happening August 25-26th, held between Vitalize Movement Studio and a local canyon, we’ll be exploring movement lessons, embodied meditation and more. Give yourself the gift of a weekend immersion nourishing your embodied presence and movement skills. Registration now open!
- We’re planning a course in Embodied Meditation to be held both as an online course and also offered in person in a local canyon. Can you imagine practicing befriending your body and mind, growing your embodied presence while sitting still, right next to a creek, under a grove of trees? We can!! Details and registration coming soon. We’ve also rescheduled our day of The Art of Sitting at Two Arrows Zen Center for the fall. Mark your calendars for Saturday, September 29th for a day-long retreat including mindful movement lessons & embodied sitting meditation.
- Empelvised, Embellied, Empowered: A powerful course for women with Erin is coming this fall, Mondays from October 1- December 3, plus a retreat day on October 27th. Registration opening soon!
- Don’t miss our annual retreat in New Mexico! Registration now open and filling for Embody Your Genius with Erin & Nan Seymour!
- We can’t imagine a better start to the new year than stepping away from regular busy life (not to mention cold, gray WINTER) to pause, disconnect from the internet, luxuriate in long, warm days full of time for nourishing movement, meditation and inner listening, swinging in a hammock, wandering in stunningly beautiful nature, enjoying the amazing organic meals prepared for you, connecting with wonderful people, gathering around a fire, and feeling your way into intentions for the year to come. Join us!!! Our registration page is nearly complete. We’ll open spots next week Our 2019 Begin Again: Embodiment Matters Retreat will be fromJanuary 5-10 at the lovely Finca Mia Retreat Center. Come retreat with us in the cloud forest of Costa Rica!!….
- Befriend Your Back: A 6-week Online Course is coming this fall. We’ve been teaching potent back-care practices in yoga therapy and Feldenkrais for many, many years, and are thrilled to share an easy, do-from-home course with you!!
- A favorite offering, the next online Embody Gratitude Project will be coming this fall fromOct. 15-Nov. 23.
- The next Tending The River of Grief community ritual will happen at a favorite spot in Millcreek Canyon on Saturday, October 27th. Mark your calendar.
- We’re planning our next rounds of Women Embodied: (Foundations & Widening Circles) & Embodying a New Masculine courses. More details coming soon!
Thanks so much for reading. We’re grateful to be connected.