MEET CARL

 

Welcome friend,

To tell you a bit about who I am and about my work, I’ll start with a poem from William Stafford:

The Way It Is

There’s a thread you follow. It goes among

things that change. But it doesn’t change.

People wonder about what you are pursuing.

You have to explain about the thread.

But it is hard for others to see.

While you hold it you can’t get lost.

Tragedies happen; people get hurt

or die; and you suffer and get old.

Nothing you do can stop time’s unfolding.

You don’t ever let go of the thread.

 

The thread that I have followed and the thread that has claimed me has several facets which to me are essential elements of waking up, being embodied, and showing up wholeheartedly in this world in response to these times.

This thread includes the practices of meditation, Feldenkrais, Structural Integration, Embodied Life, Men’s Work, Focusing, Martial Arts, Animism, Writing, Natural Movement, Community Ritual, and more.

 

I am grateful that from a young age, I had my compass tuned toward authentic elders, teachers and mentors, and have been fortunate to study deeply in traditions that support human freedom, waking up, and growing up.

I am also deeply grateful to walk these paths alongside my beloved, Erin Elizabeth. In our very first conversation in 1996 when we met, we discovered our shared passion for practice and that we were both deeply engaged in Tibetan Buddhism, Tai Chi, Yoga, and writing. Practice has always been a central pillar of our connection and how we are in our teaching, our parenting, our business, our community – it sponsors how we show up in our lives.

Like many of my mentors and teachers, I tune toward the fundamentals and principles of the traditions I practice and teach. I am grateful for the opportunity to have practiced deeply in certain lineages and traditions. I am most often drawn to exploring where essential aspects of different traditions overlap and how they evolve to meet the needs of these times.

So what do I do? How do you work with me?

I offer private sessions in-person and online.

I teach live classes  (both solo and with Erin)

We teach our awesome monthly online Embodiment Lab as well as other online classes.

I offer men’s groups and retreats and hold community rituals. 

I teach meditation, and I teach meditators how they can be more in their bodies, and more comfortable when they meditate.

 

Private Sessions:

Two main pillars of my work with clients are The Feldenkrais Method and Structural Integration. I love this work so damn much! I am filled with gratitude to stand on the shoulders of these two somatic giants, Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais and Dr. Ida Rolf.

You can find out more about these methods here. In my experience, they are unparalleled in terms of helping people get out of pain, recover from injury, grow embodied presence, and deepen coordination and skillful movement as they age.

Interestingly, both Dr. Rolf and Dr. Feldenkrais had similar regrets at the end of their lives. Both were concerned their work would become a form of highly effective physiotherapy, helping people move better, and get out of pain, but what each of them held as the heart of their methods was human freedom and transformation. That is at the core of my work as well.

Having had chronic back pain for many years, I don’t want to underestimate how important is it to get out of pain, and these methods provide potent means for that. And yet, so often, pain is an invitation to a different relationship with life; to a different way of listening. I can honestly say, as many clients have also reflected to me, that back pain was one of the great gifts in my life because it got my attention and invited me into an entirely different relationship with life and embodiment.  I am interested in how we learn from pain and exploring how we can hold pain as an ally rather than an enemy to be banished.

I find both Feldenkrais and Structural Integration work support what Michael Meade calls your own unique genius to come more fully into the world. How do you become more yourself? This inquiry must include your body. How you move in the world with centered coherence. How you stand on your own two feet. How you connect to your genius and connect to your deeper self is an essential element of healing. As the Gospel of Thomas says: If you bring forth what is in you it will heal you, if you do not, it will destroy you.

Another strong influence in my private work is the Focusing work of Gene Gendlin and The Embodied Life work of Russell Delman. Learning to listen to what our bodies and inner-lives know about the situations we are experiencing, and growing a more reliable connection with our intuitive gut-knowing, heart-knowing, bone-knowing, is an invaluable skill and one that is learnable - one that I love to share. 

Men’s Work: Ever since I stumbled upon my father’s copy of Robert Bly’s Iron John in 1991, men’s work has been a passion for me. I've been fortunate to work with two potent mentors in this realm: Michael Meade and Francis Weller. Both have been invaluable guides around holding a space where men can come together for genuine, authentic connection and healing. 

Community Ritual:

“The task of a mature human being is to hold grief in one hand and gratitude in the other, and be stretched larger between them.” -Francis Weller

So many of the struggles we experience as modern people are rooted in a lack of a vibrant support network of village, of community. Erin and I are deeply committed to help hold containers for community rituals around grief, gratitude, and other times that call for gathering.


A common denominator of all of the work I do is that it is more about returning to inherent, natural qualities of being than it is about learning new skills. More like a dusting off and a remembering than an adding on.

When people do a Structural Integration series, they feel more naturally themselves. When people get up after doing a Feldenkrais lesson, they move more naturally like children or animals. 

In the way I teach and practice, when we sit in meditation, we are not adding anything, we are learning to discover and relax into our natural mind, our natural body, our naturally open heart.

When we come together in a community ritual, it feels like remembering a language our species has temporarily forgotten.

I am grateful for the Dharma and the lineages carrying the Dzogchen and Lojong teachings. Specifically my teachers, Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche, Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, Keith Dowman, and the influence of Pema Chodron, Reggie Ray, HH the Dalia Lama.

I’m grateful for the guidance of Micheal Meade, Francis Weller, Russell Delman, Deena Metzger, Bayo Akomolafe, Diane Hamilton, Will Johnson, and many others.

All the poets, Mary Oliver, Rilke, Hafiz, Rumi, Tony Hoagland, Ross Gay, Mark Nepo… again, countless others that are a part of my soul lineage.

I’m deeply grateful for all the teachers in the Feldenkrais and Structural Integration world, and the long streams of embodied learning those teachers were following and drawing from.

I deeply care for this world, and the world our children are growing into. As Terry Tempest Williams wrote:

“The eyes of the future are looking back at us and they are praying for us to see beyond our own time. They are kneeling with hands clasped that we might act with restraint, that we might leave room for the life that is destined to come. To protect what is wild is to protect what is gentle. Perhaps the wilderness we fear is the pause between our own heartbeats, the silent space that says we live only by grace. Wilderness lives by this same grace. Wild mercy is in our hands.”

Embodying The Masculine 2016

Thank you to my beloved for taking the photos on this page.