Birthday Musings, Community Sit, + Embodying Gratitude

A note from Carl:

Yesterday I celebrated my 44th birthday. I love having a birthday in October. The natural introspection and self-reflection that comes this time of year, the beauty in letting go that is modeled by the crimson and golden trees in the canyons, and of course, the fact that almost every year Mary Oliver releases a book on or around my birthday. (This year it was the day before.)

doesn’t the cover fit right in with my walk in City Creek Canyon?

Almost the entire first chapter that I read is quotable, but this passage moved me and evoked gratitude and excitement for our adventure in home schooling.

Attention is the beginning of devotion

On the morning of my birthday, I got to participate in the Wild Writing online class I have been taking with Laurie Wagner, who is amazing. During the first write, she read this piece on “speaking about my work” by A. Papaya Bucah as a jump-off for our free write. After I read mine, Laurie said, “Carl, you should publish that in your blog.” So, I tidied it up a bit, and here is what I wrote:

My work is to carry on the line of the praise poets who tune to beauty and wonder in the mundane and ordinary.
My work is to help him soften his chest and shoulders, knowing that at one time their diligence saved him and carried forward into the world with palsied legs, and that often there is a lake of grief underneath the holding.
My work is to turn over the tables in the room where everyone has been told they just need to strengthen their core.
My work is to praise the belly. In its wisdom, in its knowing, in its softness, in its stretch marks, in its strength. My work is always to remember that the belly knows more than all that’s been written in books about movement and embodiment.
My work is to remind people that the way we move ourselves and touch ourselves is our relationship with the world.
My work is to explore how having a body and being a body are vastly different galaxies.
My work is to reclaim a living, intimate relationship with the ground.
My work is to deepen intimacy.
My work is to help shift from a physiology of fear to a physiology of love. Which could also be called a physiology of connection, of learning, of awakening. It’s quite tangible.
My work is to be touched deeply by gratitude and grief, and to be stretched larger between them.
My work is to find a life-giving relationship with technology and information.
My work is to show that between your skeleton and the ground, you always have access to a sense of unconditional support.
My work is to help people get aligned with gravity, which is a valuable alliance on this planet.
My work is to remember that I can greet any aspect of my experience with kindness and warmth.
My work is to show people that it can get easier and easier and easier to get in and out of a chair, up and down from the floor, and in and out of bed as you age if you are open to learning.
My work is to tune toward the inner teacher, and to bow with gratitude to all the outer teachers that support that.
My work is to pull of my first legitimate basketball dunk in my 44th year. (Hopefully– maybe 45.)
My work is to show her that even though she was diagnosed with “miserable misalignment syndrome” as a teenager, she can find freedom, ease and what feels like new legs 20 years later.
My work is to show that diagnoses, x-rays, MRI’s can have valuable information and also can be a very small slice of life and what’s happening.
My work is to listen.
My work is to pause, over and over again.
My work is to open my heart to the suffering in our country and world right now. And to maintain a stubborn gladness for the beauty in our country and world right now.
My work is to learn to embody a positive masculinity that is so needed in this world.
My work is to recognize the our relationships with our bodies, the treatment of women, and the treatment of our planet are intimately connected.
My work is to bring a bit of  swearing and whiskey when things are feeling too holy holy and superficially sacred.
My work is to recognize the sacred in everything.


Wishing you the best,

A few notes:

1. This Saturday, October 15th from 8-9:30am we will be hosting a monthly sitting practice at our home. There is no experience necessary, and we welcome your company. We’d love to request an RSVP if you’re coming (an email is great!) so we can relocate if we need more space. (If there are a certain number of people, we’ll shift to our living room rather than our offices out back.)

Schedule is:
8-8:10 Welcome and invitations for practice
8:10-8:35 sit
8:35-8:55 silent walking or movement
9-9:25 sit
9:25 Dedication and closure
You’re welcome to stay and share with others from 9:30-9:45 if you like.

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By training and profession, I am a somatic educator. Over the past 25+ years I have trained in and taught modern dance, tai chi, Indian and Tibetan yoga, yoga therapy (specializing in back pain). I completed a 4-year professional Feldenkrais training in 2007 and a 3-year Embodied Life training in 2014. I also study and work with somatic meditation and the profound practice of embodied inner listening known as Focusing.