Could you make yourself 10% more comfortable right now?
You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves. – Mary Oliver
Hi! My name is Erin Elizabeth Geesaman Rabke.
A few perspectives on who I am and what I’m about:
By training and profession, I am a somatic educator. For more than 25 years I have studied and taught many kinds of embodied practice. It started organically with dance, then for many years I studied yoga and yoga therapy (specializing in back pain.) For many reasons, I left teaching yoga in 2006. At age 18 I began to study tai chi and bagua and in 1996 I was certified as a Tai Chi teacher. I completed a 4-year professional Feldenkrais training in 2007 and a 3-year Embodied Life training in 2014. (I am also a nursing school dropout. After working for a semester at the V.A. hospital as a student nurse, I knew the western medical system would kill my spirit. After quitting nursing school I designed my own degree in Integrated Somatics at the U of U.) I also study and work with somatic meditation and the profound practice of embodied inner listening known as Focusing, Embodied Listening, or Somatic Descent. For the past several years, I've been regularly mentored by Francis Weller in Tracking Soul and Grief Tending, both personally and communally. Over the past many years, I have been fortunate to be mentored by wild and wise elder, Deena Metzger in The 19 Ways. I've completed a year-long training as a facilitator in the profound body of work known as The Work That Reconnects pioneered by Joanna Macy, which includes Deep Ecology, Systems Thinking, and Mindful Practices, and I weave it in with somatics, soul, and embodied practice. I'm deeply interested in anti-oppression and somatic abolition and liberation for all beings. I'm continuing to learn from many wonderful teachers in this realm. I'm developing a powerful, living body of work that I call Evolutionary Embodiment. It beautifully braids together mindful embodiment and contemplative practices with the profound practices and anti-oppression perspectives of Deep Ecology and The Work That Reconnects, dedicated to thriving life for all. I feel its deep importance for our times.
My work is about sharing potent practices to not only heal and befriend the body, but to enter into a radically new, non-dual, and liberating relationship with embodiment and through that, with the world and life itself. My work is about listening to Life through the ever more finely tuned instrument of the living body. My work is to support people in learning to move with greater awareness, pleasure, ease, and clarity - a surprisingly powerful and unending education that affects everything else in life in deeply potent ways - and to bring that into the movement of the Great Turning toward a life-sustaining way of being human in the greater Earth community. My work is in helping people soften and befriend themselves such that they become available for deep listening for how to be in a life-giving relationship to land and community and how to bring forth their inherent, unique gifts. I believe embodied learning, decolonizing our body-minds, and returning to our intelligent, organic wholeness are intimately connected with the healing of our world, the ending of harmful systems, and the creation of a more beautiful world. I believe mindfulness and loving-kindness must be lived, embodied practices dedicated to the welfare of all, now and into the future, rather than focused solely on personal evolution in order to be of genuine benefit, and I believe contextualizing these practices in light of the current context of the climate crisis, biodiversity loss and a culture rooted in racism and kyriarchy is essential. Read my piece here about why to do Feldenkrais and how it relates to all these rich topics.
By lineage and inclination, I am a meditator and spiritual practitioner, blessed by many years of study in the Tibetan Buddhist traditions of Dzogchen, Lojong, and Somatic Meditation. In the past decade, I've loved diving into the inevitable return to animism and ancestral reconnection - both of which feel like remembering something my bones already know. I'm passionate about home herbalism, permaculture gardening, sharing beautiful food and poetry with people I love, and parenting our beautiful son. I'm passionate about learning deeply from and about plants, animal kin, and the living Earth. I'm passionate about honoring natural cycles and re-aligning my life with them. I'm passionate about The Great Turning and inviting everyone into taking part. I am profoundly grateful to my teachers.
My work is to grow the capacity for grounded, centered, embodied presence and vast, spacious awareness, dedicated to the welfare of all life. Together, these offer generous room for the broken-open heart that can fully welcome the beauty and heartbreak of this precious life. I also consider it my work to grow brave, unconditional friendliness toward what is - and to support my clients and students to do the same. This kind of brave lovingkindness is an embodied wisdom that can transform all that it touches - body, mind, soul, and world. Additionally, I’ve been powerfully called to Tend the River of Grief. My work is about waking up more and more fully so I can live a life of benefit to the whole web of life. I commit to using all that arises in my life in support of this intention. By blood lineage, I am a white woman of Bohemian Czech, Scottish, German and English descent. I respectfully acknowledge that I live and work on the gorgeous stolen ancestral lands of the Shoshone, Ute, Paiute, and Goshute nations.
By choice and good fortune, I am honored to mother an impossibly beautiful and bright 11-year old boy. I am ever-honored to be partnered with Carl, my beloved companion in all things that matter.
I am a daughter, a sister, an auntie, and a friend. I am a writer, a photographer, a passionate learner, and a convener of inspired communities. I am a naturalist and a lover of wandering in the wilderness. I am a fortunate student of many powerful and profound teachers. I live with my family, our beautiful cat Freya, our gecko Geeky, our python Luna, a million good books, eight hilarious hens (Gylfie, Fluffy, Honey, Nacho, HeiHei, Sunshine, Eglantine, and Speckles), an abundant and wild garden, and countless altars to the sacred in many forms. It's usually a beautiful mess and I love it!
My work is to honor my good fortune with gratitude of equal measure and to use my great good fortune and privilege in working toward the healing of our world. I’m deeply inspired and humbled by Nelson Mandela’s phrase: “Free yourself. Free others. Serve every day.” This is my work.
I am devoted to growing:
- embodied presence,
- intimacy with life,
- an awake, open, listening heart-mind,
- spacious awareness,
- and embodied freedom in myself and in the world
- all dedicated toward the welfare of Life now and into the future,
- deeply rooted in intimacy with the land, ancestors, future beings, community, and the living Earth.
I am called to help my clients and students develop:
- integrated embodied experience and intimacy with life,
- unconditional, brave friendliness within and without,
- embodied compassion
- their unique place in The Great Turning toward a life-sustaining culture
- authentic gratitude and joy
- spacious, grounded, aware presence,
- deep trust in their own capacity for direct knowing and wisdom, (gnosis liberated from guru culture)
- courage and wholehearted participation and a deep sense of workability,
- somatic intelligence and physical autonomy,
- a courtship with their unique genius and gifts,
- dedication toward the welfare of all life, now and in the future
- a good sense of humor
- trust in the indigenous soul and the embodied perspective.
I am inspired to help my clients and students uncover:
- a sense of self as vast and open as the sky,
- a heart as naturally warm as the sun,
- trust in the uncontrived indigenous naturalness of body and mind
- reverence for the holy in nature both within and without
- and dedication toward a life-giving future for the generations we'll never see.
I am motivated to help my clients and students develop:
- skills of deep listening (inner and outer),
- unprecedented creativity in many aspects of life,
- a gorgeous courtship with their unique genius (which is often connected with a soul wound.)
I am honored to help my clients and students to develop:
- a sense of play mind,
- authentic, unforced gratefulness
- a compassionate relationship with grief,
- reduced effort and increased pleasure, (even in the most challenging situations)
- potent practices of positive neuroplasticity
- and to free their inherent love for Life.
A few more things:
I love poetry. I've been weaving the poets' wise voices into my teachings for over 25 years. I've never owned a bathroom scale, a television, or a microwave. I adore good questions, especially the unanswerable ones. I’m a hardcore introvert and small talk drains my life force more than anything else. I'm a voracious reader and a lover of books. I go barefoot as often as possible. I love to cook. I love to learn. I love to wander in the wilderness. I love to have my hands in the soil. I love to hear what's deep and true and emergent in your heart.
Some of my heroes are Joanna Macy, Maya Angelou, Mary Oliver, Georgia O’Keefe, Pina Bausch, Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Brother David Steindl-Rast, Ruthy Alon, Mr. Rogers, Leymah Gbowee, Pat McCabe, Rigoberta Menchu, Wangari Mathai, Cynthia Jurs, Ruthy Alon, Vandana Shiva, Robin Wall Kimmerer, Kathleen Dean Moore, Deena Metzger, Shabkar, and Pema Chodron.
I have a special resonance with the high desert beauty in southern Utah, southern Colorado, and northern New Mexico.
I am in love with my morning coffee and am an unapologetic coffee snob. I also love good whiskey and big red wine and love sharing those with people I love. I try to celebrate every single day I'm lucky enough to be alive.
I am seeking a sane and humane relationship with digital technology. It ain't easy. I adore silent retreats and time in the wilderness. They fund my life.
I am so blessed with incredible friends, mentors, students, community, and natural beauty, and truly, I am nothing without them.
Thanks to the amazing writer, Kathleen Dean Moore, for the framing (training and profession, lineage and inclination, choice and good fortune.) Her self-reflections inspired mine. If you haven’t read her book Great Tide Rising, may I highly recommend it?
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 teach live classes (both solo and with Erin)
We teach our awesome monthly online Embodiment Lab as well as other online classes.
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.
“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 that many modern people had 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, Fabeku Fatunmise, Diane Hamilton Roshi, Will Johnson, Jozef Frucek and Fighting Monkey, Bobby McFerrin and the Circlesong School, and so many others.
I've also been deeply influenced by the work and teachings of Joanna Macy, Bill Plotkin, Dave Abram, Philip Shepherd, Martin Shaw, Rev angel Kyodo williams, Cynthia Jurs, and far too many others to name.
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 Guilds, 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.”
Thank you to my beloved for taking the photos on this page.
Fear is the cheapest room in the house. I would like to see you living in better conditions. – Hafiz
Would you like to work with me?
Email me at Carl@embodimentmatters.com
or call me at 801-671-4533.
Our website was formerly known as Bodyhappy.com Would you like to know where the name Body Happy came from?
While I was staying at Naygi Gompa, the mountain hermitage of Tulku Urgyen and also the home of a nunnery he headed, I made many dear friends, including a young Tibetan nun named Yeshe Wongmo.
Every morning she'd come out in front of the little building where I was staying and she'd follow along as I did my yoga or tai chi practice. We had a lot of laughs, though shared very little language in common as my Tibetan was minimal (or mostly related to words about meditation and prayers) and her English was minimal too.
One morning after a few weeks of her showing up to join me in my morning routine, I did my best to ask, "Yeshe Wongmo, why do you come do this with me in the mornings?"
And she thought silently for a moment about how to say what she felt.
Then her eyes lit up and she said simply, "Body Happy!"
It was so pure, so enthusiastic and so heartfelt, it brought tears to my eyes.
When my tech-savvy mom encouraged me to start a website way back in the 90s, it was the name we chose. And it stuck.