Digesting Your Life

A note from Erin:
Hello, brilliant human,

In a conversation with my friend Sunny Rose Healey for our podcast in which we talked all about the wisdom of Ayurveda (India’s ancient system of holistic healing), I was struck by Sunny’s reminder to put attention not only on how we’re digesting our food but also on how we are digesting our life experiences.

When we don’t digest our food well, toxins can accumulate and lead to illness, or at least less-than-optimal wellness. We can feel uncomfortable and grumpy. We might even have bad breath and super stinky farts. (Not you, though, I’m sure! ;)

Something similar can happen when we’re not digesting our life-experiences well. We can feel emotionally bloated, uncomfortable, irritable; we may exude the stink of self-criticism or get snappy and impatient with others.

2020 has given each of us SO much to digest.

A global pandemic, natural disasters, illnesses and deaths, a radical reorganization of plans and possibilities, changing relationships, social transformation, challenging conversations, political mayhem, and more. What a flood of information, emotion, sensory impressions and heavy changes we’re taking in all day long – all this challenging year long.

With such a mass and mess of one thing after another, some of us haven’t been able to take the time to digest what’s been unfolding within us and around us. Quality digestion of our experience is such a potent key to both our personal well being and also makes available our wise responses in the wider world.

To say it plainly – we don’t need more emotionally constipated, irritated, overloaded humans spreading the contagion of a dis-regulated nervous system and the interpersonal mayhem that inevitably follows. We do need more people invested in their own emotional maturity, integrity, and wise action. We need people embodying grounded, spacious presence, clarity and insight, and reliable compassion.

How are you digesting your life? 

We’re offering some learning and practice opportunities this fall which we hope can help!

Here’s the short version: 

Praise! a joy-filled twin to the grief-tending ritual will happen this Sunday, September 27 on zoom.
Community Grief Tending will happen on Saturday, October 3rd on zoom.
(You can register for either of those events by making a donation of any amount.)
My new fall course Bearing Witness: Digesting 2020 with Embodied Listening and Compassion Practice will meet online on Mondays 10/19-12/7. Registration is now open.
We have a free lesson to support you in releasing rigidity with your breath. You’ll feel so good and refreshed! You’ll find the link toward the end of this email. We hope you enjoy it!
We have a weekend retreat coming up October 24-25 online: Grounded & Spacious: A Retreat in Movement & Stillness.  We’re so looking forward to it!
And we would love to invite you to join us in our beloved Embodiment Lab anytime.

Below you can read more about these unique and heartfelt offerings. Though we can’t see each other in person, I hope you can picture us here with open arms and a warm smile, inviting you to join us as you feel called.

On Sunday 9/27/20, Erin is hosting Praise! from 9 am-noon Mountain time. Praise! is a twin to the grief ritual, intended to help us open our eyes and our hearts – to weave us back into an intimate and reciprocal relationship with this beautiful, fragile, precious living world around us, wherever we may be, and we’ll practice lavishing love and praise on all that is not yet ruined. Let us praise what is thriving! The trees that haven’t fallen, the forests that haven’t burned, the birds that are still singing and not falling from the sky. My soul and the spirits keep communicating to me how essential this practice is. Now.  It will be an enlivening and beautiful community gathering and you’re most welcome to join. I’m soooo excited about it. And I hope once we’re done you might be inspired to host such a gathering of your own.

 You can register by making a donation of any amount.

During our time together in Praise!:

  • We will listen to beautiful praise poetry
  • We will write our own praises and share in small groups – not to be fancy-shmancy writers but simply to let our hearts crack open with our unique ways of loving this world.
  • We will share in a virtual circle our own ways of praise so we can be inspired by one another. How do you praise? Do you sing? Talk to the trees? Kiss the mountain trail with your feet or your lips? Do you make altars? Do you speak tender words into the soil? Do you pile flowers and fruit and give them back to the ground from which they came? Do you dance? Make art? Do you whisper sweet nothings and tender thanks into the stream, into the ocean? Do you stroke the herbs and flowers as you walk by? Do you scatter seeds for the birds and the critters? Do you never think about any of this and want to come to be inspired? Please do!
  • We will take a break to wander outside in our own places and enact our own humble or extravagant gestures of praise!
  • We will come back together to share about our place-specific praise practice in a joyful closing circle. Simple. Awesome. Let’s do it.

Carl and I are hosting a community grief-tending practice on Saturday, October 3 from 10:30 am-6 pm MT with a 90-minute lunch break in the middle. We’ll work with gentle movements to soften the bracing in our bodies. We’ll write and speak and listen together from the heart. We’ll conclude with a community grief ritual. Register by making a donation of any amount.  https://embodimentmatters.com/community-grief-tending/ We have a wonderful group already registered. Would you like to join us??

Later in the month, I’ll be teaming up with my local Grief-Tending sister, Kinde Nebeker, to cohost a grief ritual near the full moon to honor this potent time of the thinning of the veil near All Souls Day, The Day of The Dead, Samhain, Halloween. Kinde will be gathering with folks in-person on the shores of the Great Salt Lake, while simultaneously I’ll be gathering folks on Zoom. We’ll share a potent and simple grief ritual. (This gathering will not include the writing practice or movement practice of the gathering I’m hosting with Carl on 10/3, but simply the potent community gathering and grief ritual. Registration will open soon.)
Finally, I’m thrilled to open registration today for my newest course!!!

Can you imagine bearing witness to your anxiety with great compassion?
Can you imagine meeting your inner critic with deep friendliness?
Can you imagine listening to your longing with a spacious, compassionate presence?

Each one of these layers in our inner lives comes bearing gifts. In the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, there’s an understanding that the inner “poisons” (jealousy, greed, anger, etc.) are each in their essence a much-needed wisdom. This practice of bearing witness and Embodied Listening allows us to wade through the weeds of “difficult feelings” and access the inner wisdom directly.

I love love love this practice!! I can hardly imagine my life without it. (Well, I do remember my life without it and let me tell you, I suffered a LOT more.)

It’s a profound practice of self-befriending.
A practice of paying deep attention.
A practice of taking a much-needed pause from all the noise so you can actually hear yourself, without fixing, pathologizing, avoiding, smushing, or advising.
It’s a courageous practice of bearing witness to what is present.

Embodied Listening is done in the company of another who compassionately holds space for you as you listen to yourself. This is a potent practice of embodied self-compassion as well as a practice of embodying compassion for others. It’s a life-changing and learnable skill which once you learn, is yours for life. It’s research-based, it’s deeply respectful, and it’s profoundly liberating.

This Embodied Listening practice has completely changed my relationship with my own thoughts and emotions. I used to find so many things unacceptable about myself, and I had a lifetime of frustration at not being able to simply make those troublesome things about myself go away so I could be the perfect person I thought I needed to be. This inner listening has helped me bring warmth and kindness to things that trouble me, internally and externally. When treated with kindness, these states can relax and loosen their defensive grip, and maybe even grow and transform in helpful ways. I’ve become a better friend to myself and a better friend to my friends. The capacity to just sit and listen with an attitude of friendliness — without the need to comment, analyze, fix or advise — is such a relief. I also love using this practice to really deeply feel the joy of positive experiences. I highly recommend Embodied Listening with Erin!

—MaryBeth Jarvis Clark

 

Wouldn’t it be nice to have dedicated time to:

Clear a quiet space in the midst of your busy life so you can hear your deep self again.

Learn to meet each layer of your life with radical compassion.
Notice that inside your vast heart there’s enough room for seemingly conflicting opinions (You should! You shouldn’t!) to exist side by side, neither needing to be right, both welcomed to share their perspectives as aspects of your wholeness.

Give your heart and gut a good listening.

End the battles within.

My mentor Francis Weller often says that in soul work, we’re not seeking resolution, but rather spaciousness. We need to root ourselves in the embodied experience of spaciousness – knowing in our bones that we are large enough to welcome all the guests in our inner life, and realizing we don’t even have to take sides.

 

If you want to learn how to tune into the most reliable personal source of wisdom you will ever have, sign up for Erin’s Embodied Listening course. It takes practice but it’s foolproof and yours forever.

– Nini Rich

I’m also SUPER excited that we are blessed to have the help of some of my long-time students as wonderful teaching assistants who will be bringing their own unique wisdom to the classes and support you to have the best possible experience.

Embodied Listening helps you liberate yourself from inner conflict and move into inner peace and wholeness.

Embodied Listening helps you to be more compassionate, patient, and present with yourself and others.

Embodied Listening helps you stay rooted in your most adult, spacious, grounded self amidst changing outer circumstances.

Embodied Listening helps free you from the unhelpful habit of fixing or offering unsolicited advice to yourself and others.

Embodied Listening helps you become one of those steady beings who can extend curiosity, compassion, and warmth toward anxiety-producing situations, both within and without.

Embodied Listening helps you to be more tuned into your intuition and inner wisdom.

Embodied Listening helps you to digest your life.

Embodied Listening helps you to find the buried treasure behind your wounds and helps you to harvest more joy from the beauty in your life. 

Embodied Listening makes you more kind.

This class will meet on zoom and size will be limited to support intimate connection.

I’m offering this course at two different times to accommodate our global community and different scheduling preferences:

One class will meet on Mondays from 9-11 am Mountain Time.

One class will meet Mondays from 6-8 pm Mountain Time.

Check your time zone

The course is 8 weeks long and will meet from October 19th – December 7 on Zoom.

Please plan on spending one hour per week outside of class time to practice with an assigned partner.

Recommended tuition is $300 (though you can register for any amount.)

** A NOTE FOR CONTEXT- I’m not offering this class at a pay-what-you-can-rate because I’m rolling in the dough. Pandemic has hit our family’s finances rather hard. I’m offering this pay-what-you-can option so that those of you who are in a state of financial hardship can join the class at an affordable-to-you rate. If you have the means, please pay the full tuition or even consider donating more to support covering scholarship spots. Thank you for your understanding and generosity! **

Please familiarize yourself with my crystal clear cancellation policy

and then sign up here for the 9-11 am MT class

and sign up here for the 6-8 pm MT class

 

Your tuition includes:

  • 8 live 2-hour classes on zoom

  • Access to an online classroom where audio recordings of all classes are posted

  • Supplemental resources (including readings and worksheets) to support your practice

  • An invitation to practice with an assigned partner each week, as well as a particular invitation for each week’s practice

  • A private online forum where you can converse and connect with me and others in the class (and it’s not Facebook!)

  • Plus poetry, an amazing community of kind humans, and my wholehearted support.

I wasn’t sure what I was getting into, but I wanted to be open and try something new, knowing listening is such an important skill.  Wow, wow, wow – I quickly learned that the work was inner listening to the subtle sensations of your body and letting them speak to you.  I was blown away by how powerful the practice is and still return to it as a crucial tool for understanding what is really going on in the inner world underneath the loud mind chatter.  Erin and the circle provided such a lovely, safe space to explore the practice and share.  The time for practice both in class and out of class was extremely beneficial.  I highly recommend the course!

– Megan Brown

Sign up here for the 9-11am MT class

Sign up here for the 6-8pm MT class

Another offering to support your well-being:

We find that the practice of slowing down, moving at the speed of life, and learning from your own moving body’s intelligence is another profound way to digest your life. We’d love to offer you a free lesson and a taste of our beloved online Embodiment Lab.
Click here to experience Carl teaching a lesson that explores softening rigidity through the breath. It’s a good one. Also at this link:
https://soundcloud.com/erin-la/releasing-rigidity-with-the-breath-with-carl-rabke/s-m4tBcYIjJp5

And if you’d like to join us in the lab, we’d be delighted. We offer weekly Feldenkrais lessons along with a weekly video lesson exploring how embodiment practice touches other aspects of our lives in such profound ways. The community of folks in the lab is simply stellar and the learning is so profoundly life-enhancing!! If you’d like to join us anytime, click here. It’s only $50/month. You can sign up anytime and cancel anytime. We’d love to have you in the community! 

Here’s what a few of our Embodiment Lab members have to say: 

“Erin and Carl are two of the kindest teachers and the gentlest, most patient guides I have ever met. In addition to offering wonderful movement lessons, poetry, and food for thought, they’ve fostered a nurturing community in the lab. The Zoom calls each month are so helpful and life-affirming especially during the pandemic. The Embodiment Lab is a unique, precious offering.”

Ilona Fried www.alacartespirit.com
“Joining The Embodiment Lab has changed my life in many ways, big and small, all of them good. The learning goes far beyond the body and the influences have rippled out into every area of my life. Erin & Carl offer an exceptional blend of guided practices, movement lessons, and rich food for reflection. Their compassion and authenticity are unflagging and deeply inspiring.  I’m so grateful to be a part of this open-minded and supportive learning community.”

–Beth Janzen, Tiny Projects of Light

“What has the Embodiment Lab done for me?  I’m not quite sure which aspect has been more transformative – this explorative Feldenkrais work on my body with the loving, knowledgeable SomaWizards Erin and Carl?  the slower, more appreciative way I look at and move in the world – the sense that I am really connected to the above and below?  the sense of acceptance and possibility I feel with my Lab friends in our community calls, where humor and wisdom pour out and fill me?

This work is a daily, nurturing, vital lifeline in all these ways, from my very first guided meditation in April in the first dark days of the shutdown, after which I gushed, “Oh WOW! Being part of this Embodiment Lab is the BEST thing I could do for myself, for my family, for my community, and for the world, right NOW.  I’ve just finished these 24 minutes and feel a warm, loving, hopeful glow of love and of healing and of peace, and even, better, I feel a sense of optimism for the future.”  Every video, every movement lesson, every call has revealed myself – physical, emotional, spiritual – to myself.  Almost every encounter has resulted in a breakthrough of some sort that showed up just in time.”

-Sharon Ellsworth Nelson

 

 

Thanks for reading, friends,
and thanks for making the world more embodied and more kind.
We’re grateful for you!

Blessings on your digestion (of all kinds!)

I’m sending this email along with my deep heart wish for your wellbeing and a fierce wish for a thriving life for all,
Erin

p.s. Here are a few links just for fun. (not affiliate links, just good stuff.) 

  • I’m loving this book so much. And I’m thrilled that one of my writer heroes, editor of this collection, has said YES to being interviewed on our podcast!! Coming in early 2021.
  • I can’t stop singing this song. 
  • How do we create communities in which all of us can belong? I love this question and the insightful responses here. 
  • One of my alltime favorite books is being released in a gorgeous new edition. I’ve ordered mine! I can’t wait to read it again. And again.
  • My favorite seed catalog is available for the next planting season. My garden has been my favorite place to be and it’s full of gorgeous plants from this organic heirloom seed company.
  • This powerful piece made me weep and renewed my determination to organize my life to support Life. Not a small thing. Changes are being asked of us equal to the gravity of these times. May we find our courage and show up wholeheartedly.
  • This film is so gorgeous, heartening, wonderful. Our whole family loved it. (Thanks for the recommendation, Debbie!)
  • We’ve been savoring homemade golden milk for breakfast these days with cinnamon, nutmeg, rose petals, local honey, and mushroom powder. It’s my favorite!
  • And oh, this poem. At this time. I love it.

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Erin

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.