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 What would the soft animal of your body love right in this moment? A sip of water? A stretch? A deep breath? To stand up and walk out into the beautiful world and unplug for awhile?
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. Over the past 25+ years I have trained in and taught yoga and yoga therapy (specializing in back pain), tai chi, and more. 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, 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 mentoring with Francis Weller in Grief Tending, both personally and communally. I’ve trained 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 Buddhist Practice. I’m developing a powerful body of work that I call Evolutionary Embodiment. It beautifully braids together mindful embodiment and contemplative practices with the profound practices and perspectives of Deep Ecology and The Work That Reconnects. 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, with life and with the world. My work is about listening to life through the ever more finely tuned instrument of the living body and supporting my clients and students to do the same. 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. I believe embodied learning, decolonizing our body-minds, and returning to our intelligent, organic wholeness is intimately connected with the healing of our world. I believe mindfulness and loving-kindness must be embodied practices rather than mental concepts to be of genuine benefit, and I believe contextualizing these practices in light of the current situations of the climate crisis 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 learning about and practicing animism and ancestral healing – both of which feel like remembering something my bones already know. I’m passionate about gardening. I’m passionate about wellness and learning deeply from and about plants. I’m passionate about honoring the natural cycles and re-aligning my life with them.
My work is to grow my 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 allows me to fully welcome the beauty and heartbreak of this precious life, and to support my clients and students to do the same. 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, alone and in community. 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 lineage, I am a white woman of Bohemian Czech, Scottish, German and English descent and am fortunate to live in gorgeous Salt Lake City, Utah, on historically native Shoshone, Paiute, Goshute and Ute land.
By choice and good fortune, I am honored to be mother to an impossibly beautiful and bright 9-year old boy. I am wife and consort to my beloved partner in all things, Carl Rabke. I am a daughter, a sister, an auntie, and a friend. I am a writer, an amateur photographer, a passionate learner and a convener of inspired communities. 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, eight hilarious hens (Gylfie, Fluffy, Honey, Nacho, HeiHei, Sunshine, Eglantine, and Speckles), and an abundant and wild garden. It’s usually a wild and sometimes beautiful mess and I love it!
My work is to honor my good fortune with gratitude of equal measure, and by using 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,
- an awakened heart-mind,
- spacious awareness,
- and freedom in myself and in the world
- all dedicated toward the welfare of all life.
I am called to help my clients and students develop:
- integrated embodied experience and intimacy with life,
- unconditional, brave friendliness within and without,
- spacious, grounded, aware presence,
- courage and wholehearted participation and a deep sense of workability,
- somatic intelligence and physical autonomy,
- a courtship with one’s unique genius and gifts,
- and trust in the indigenous embodied perspective.
I am inspired to help my clients and students uncover:
- a sense of self as vast and open as space,
- a heart as naturally warm as the sun,
- and trust in uncontrived naturalness of body and mind.
I am motivated to help my clients and students develop:
- skills of deep listening,
- unprecedented creativity in many aspects of life,
- and in finding and living from their unique genius (which is often hidden behind a wound.)
I am honored to help my clients and students to develop:
- a sense of play mind,
- authentic, unforced gratefulness,
- less effort and more pleasure, (even in the most challenging situations)
- and potent practices of positive neuroplasticity.
A few more things:
I love poetry. I adore good questions, especially the unanswerable ones. I’m a voracious reader and a lover of books. I believe in going barefoot as often as possible. I love to cook. I love to learn. I love to wander in the wilderness.
Some of my heroes are Maya Angelou, Mary Oliver, Georgia O’Keefe, Pina Bausch, Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Brother David Steindl-Rast, Joanna Macy, Ruthy Alon, Mr. Rogers, Wangari Mathai, Vandana Shiva, Robin Wall Kimmerer, Kathleen Dean Moore, Deena Metzger, Shabkar, and Pema Chodron.
I love travel, and have a special resonance with the high desert beauty in southern Utah 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 am seeking a sane and humane relationship with digital technology. I adore silent retreats and time in wilderness. They fund my life.
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?
Fear is the cheapest room in the house. I would like to see you living in better conditions. – Hafiz
I believe our bodies are a source of intelligence, satisfaction, guidance, insight and many other nameable and unnamable qualities.
I believe that we can easily become disconnected from our embodiment much of the time. When we are disconnected from our embodiment, we seriously limit our experience of life.
If you compare the amount of time you spend in front of your computer today to 10 years ago or 20 years ago — It’s scary.
How many times a day is your attention magnetized to your phone?
Again, this is very different from 10 or 20 years ago, let alone how humans were 1000 years ago.
The speed of life, the technology, and the amount of sensory information we ingest on a daily basis draw us up and out of our bodies. One computer programmer client described his experience of his body as being “an elaborate platform” to carry his brain, thoughts and ideas around in the world.
Embodiment is not a gift that only some of us have — It is a birthright.
Most of us have embodiment “trained” out of us from a very early age when we go to school. Well meaning teachers force us to squeeze our energy, movement and vitality behind small desks, where we are expected to sit still and narrowly focus on subjects outside of ourselves.
Then, through the years, we master the art of ignoring what is happening in our bodies in favor of our ideas, preferences, thoughts, jobs, schedules, our families, and our iPhones.
When we are not in our bodies, we limit ourselves on a number of levels. On an outer level, we do not move well.
When we use more effort than is needed in standing, walking, sitting, etc., these activities become a source of strain and tension.
We believe the grunts and aches that come with activities are just “how it is.” We don’t notice the minor imbalances or tensions that can lead to greater injures and chronic tension. Or, perhaps, we think we constantly need to offer a correction to ourselves, — e.g., pull the shoulders back, or suck in the belly, which can be an exhausting and futile way to be with ourselves.
On an inner level, we miss out on huge amounts of information and intelligence. Life always affects us on a bodily level: Conversations we have, news stories we read, and our successes or failures all create a bodily manifestation. It’s what happens in our breath, our chests, and bellies. We often pay little attention to the changes, and focus, rather, on our ideas or thoughts about a situation.
Would you like to work with me?
Email me at Carl@embodimentmatters.com
or call me at 801-671-4533.
Wondering 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.
May you be BodyHappy. :)
Whether you are young, old or somewhere in between, you can become body happy and keep deepening it through your whole life.
But, don’t simply take our word for it. Read what others have said about working with us here.