A note from Erin:
Dear tenderhearted friends,
Carl and I are sending so much love your way, and as we often say (because it’s true true true) we are so grateful to be in it together. We hope you’re staying safe and well during this wild time.
We have a few humble offerings to share.
The first is a deep bow to your inner authority, your own wise inner compass, which is likely a far better guide than any well-meaning advice from the internet. Truly. As Georgia O’Keeffe reminds us:
We have more offerings below, but please honor your inner compass about what you’re needing above all else. If what we’re offering helps, great! If not, please ignore it and take good care of yourself. (Though we do hope if at all possible you’re staying home and physical distancing!!) We’re also offering deep bows to all the frontline workers. Thank you so very much.
We’ve recently offered several free online classes and gatherings.
I’ve collected recordings of each of these on a webpage as well as added two free Feldenkrais lessons working with self-touch and softening the chest. Here you’ll find recordings of Carl’s Grounded & Spacious class, our shared offering of Essential Practices for Troubled Times, my class called Embodied Support for Trying Times, and a recording of the delightful online Poetry Party (with a list of shared poems.) We hope you enjoy!
We have shifted the theme of the April and May Embodiment Lab to Essential Practices for Trying Times. If our work resonates with you and is something you’d like to lean in to and deepen during this unprecedented time, we offer a warm welcome to join us. We hear from many students and clients how deeply helpful they’re finding these practices. We couldn’t agree more.
You can read more about the Embodiment Lab, watch a short video I made talking about the upcoming theme, and sign up right here.
If your income has disappeared (as much of ours has!) we’re offering a pay-what-you-can rate. The regular price is $50/month. If that’s out of reach and you feel that participating in the Lab would be helpful to you (and something you’d actually use) please reply to this email and let us know. We’re happy to make it work. And on our end, every financial offering of any amount is gratefully received.
I’m thrilled to be a part of an upcoming high-quality free online offering: Move Better, Feel Better: The Feldenkrais Awareness Summit. It begins on the 1st of May. There will be countless free movement lessons, inspiring presentations, panel discussions and much more. My presentation is on something dear to my heart – Embodiment, Ecology & Compassion: An Integrated Spiritual Approach To Our Times. I’ll also be offering an invitation to a free online course, Root & Rise, to participants in this free online gathering. You can sign up right here. I hope you’ll join me!!
We have a few other online offerings coming soon.
Shall we have another online Poetry Party??
Hell yes, we should!!
The last one was such nourishing soul food. We had about 60 folks from all over the world joining on Zoom to share favorite poems. It was amazing.
As David Whyte writes, a few good words are bread for a thousand, and oh, how we need that bread!!!
So let’s do it again!
Come to listen or come to share a favorite poem.
If you’re inspired to make a donation to support the event, it will be gratefully received. If you’re not in a position to donate, come anyway and donate your presence and/or a poem! All friendly folks are welcome. Feel free to share.
Here’s how to join:
Erin Geesaman Rabke is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
Topic: Poetry Party!
Time: Apr 3, 2020 06:30 PM Mountain Time (US and Canada)
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 200 954 727
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Meeting ID: 200 954 727
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We’re gathering in the afternoon (our timezone) of April 18th from 1-4:30 pm Mountain Time in an online healing community circle to make room for all that we’re carrying in our hearts and to feel how not-alone we are.
We deeply believe in the power of an intentional community coming together to practice being human, including movement and stillness, including quiet and connection, including gratitude, grieving, and visioning how we might bring our unique perspective and gifts to co-create the better version of the world we wish to see manifest.
It is important and necessary work that we cannot do alone.
What we won’t do in this gathering is stand in front of you and talk and talk and feed you a bunch of information as if we’re the expert on what you need.
What we will do is invite your fully embodied presence, the wisdom and confusions, blessings and aches, gratitudes and burdens, hopes, dreads, visions, creativity, and unique gifts to come more clearly into awareness and then be shared in a healing community, so you’re not carrying it all alone.
The potent, buoyant power of a compassionate community circle can’t be overestimated! People are always blown away and tell me this is the thing they miss the most between classes, between grief rituals, between workshops. We feel so lucky and blessed by the quality of humans who come to our classes. In a recent workshop, a new attendee said, “Wow! You have really great students!” We agree. They’re real, authentic, goodhearted human beings. That’s the biggest blessing.
We’re going to make space to come together.
We’ll guide an embodied grounding practice.
We’ll begin with sharing the blessings and gratitude and the beauty that is essential ballast for us right now. We’ll do a wonder-circle and an embodied gratitude practice so we can really feel and receive in our bodies what’s *not* wrong.
We’ll take a little movement break.
Then we’ll have an opportunity to slow down, to feel and name and honor what’s heavy on our hearts, and to share about it in a gentle, respectful, kindhearted community. We’ll do a mini virtual grief-ritual together. Then what felt like “my” grief becomes “our grief” and we hold it and feel held, together.
After another little movement break, we’ll pause to take some fresh perspectives on what’s unfolding in our lives and invite some clarity to come forth to guide us as we return to our life at the end.
We’d love to invite you to join us for this unique community gathering.
We’re inviting you to make a donation of any amount to register for this workshop. The only stipulation is that we ask you to be there the whole time. For this kind of work, it won’t do to have folks popping in and out.
Once you register, we’ll send you all you need to know to show up for this community gathering on the 18th. We’re so deeply looking forward to it.
If you’d like to work with either me or Carl on Zoom privately, shoot us an email. We’re available for 1:1 sessions and there’s much we can do, from guided personalized Feldenkrais lessons, to embodied inner listening, to potent practices of neuroplasticity, to just supporting you to feel more grounded, present, and tuned to your own wealth of inner resources. We are full of potent resources!! Reply to this email or contact us here.
Finally, here’s a little invitation for you today.
There are many levels of the beautiful practice of tonglen (giving and taking, also known as the exchange of self and other) from the Tibetan Buddhist tradition Carl and I have studied and practiced over the past 25+ years. It’s a potent practice for times like these.
Its basic orientation is about doing exactly the opposite of what comes naturally.
The invitation is to courageously open our hearts to suffering rather than battening down the hatches to try to protect ourselves from it.
It’s about making the non-habitual move of moving toward the pain and getting more intimate with it.
It’s about bringing courageous kindness toward our suffering. We can find the sufferings of the world right in our own bodies if we’re open to it.
We often say that it’s not good to start with heart-opening practices until you’ve grown a reliable sense of presence in your lower body, particularly your lower belly and pelvis, as well as the ability to feel your feet in relationship with the support of the ground.
Can you feel the resonance of your breath all the way down at your pelvic floor? Maybe unclench it a bit?
It’s also so important to be aware of our living relationship with the ground itself, the actual ground supporting you right in this moment – through your chair or floor or whatever is supporting you.
Can you feel the support of the ground along with whatever else you’re feeling?
It’s so helpful to start with the foundation of being embodied and grounded, rooted in this body on this spot on the earth – so we’re not trying to hold it all ourselves, but realize that we ourselves are held by mother earth as we open our hearts.
Without these foundations, it can feel just too overwhelming to open the heart.
With this support, we can welcome life.
It takes no small amount of courage and intentional willingness to be touched by life, to be permeable to it, to give up the attempts to wall ourselves off as a “separate self.”
We are woven into the world with every breath. We can feel it. The soft animal of our bodies knows it. We are always feeling along with the world.
This practice makes it conscious and allows us to become something like human air purifiers, but instead of air, we become filters for suffering – breathing in what’s here, breathing out blessings.
You know what’s truly amazing? We can do this!
Shall we do it for ten breaths? Let’s do. Right now. I know you can afford a ten-breath pause.
C’mon… let’s do it.
Feel the ground. Feel your breath. Feel, “I’m right here” with your whole body.
Try welcoming whatever is here to be felt as you inhale. Soften to it, even if it aches.
Try sending out care and blessings and beauty with your exhale. Ahhhh.
Breathe in suffering, whether it’s your own knee pain or money worries or heartache or confusion, or breathe in the suffering of separated families, refugees, species whose land is being decimated, those suffering from Covid-19, the healthcare workers and others on the frontlines.
Breathe out blessings.
Breathe out “I care.”
Breathe out “may you be well.”
Breathe out flowers, beautiful skies, clouds of offerings, an ocean of lovingkindness.
Breathe out your favorite color, the smell of toast, fields of benevolence.
We’re invited to breathe in all that is right here to be felt: the achy heart, the worry, the not knowing what to do, the ever-so-heavy weight of the world – to let ourselves be genuinely touched by it – and then to breathe out kindness, beauty, love, compassion, anything that brings delight, any kind of good wishes at all.
The piece that becomes obvious over time is that your small self can’t do this practice.
Your tiny, separate self? Just can’t hold it all.
But your true heart, your vast-as-the-sky heart-mind, connected with the web of life?
It absolutely has room for it all.
You know what else is amazing? And I’m really feeling this today…
The way that dark times can invite our best selves to come forward.
And like a fountain getting wet, when we send out loving-kindness, both as tangible acts as well as a practice of attention, we can’t help but get it all over ourselves.
Here’s a poem from my inspiring friend, Margo Stebbing, shared with her blessing:
Prayers from the agnostic
may invoke earth, ancestors & ineffable
fields of benevolence.
Jesus may be invoked if praying for those
who love him.
A circle of redwood trees may be the anchor
and when praying for those who love
Disneyland, we welcome cartoon characters
as they dance before our inner sight as her
protectors and bountiful givers of
Candles are optional.
Grace wears many faces,
sometimes as soft as a freshly minted spring petal.
We lean into the field
metered and precious
like an old shoe
that still begs to be laced up,
danced to Santana &
the three directions
of Earth, Wind, & Fire.
The fourth direction of water is asked
to sit it out, far away from
*Margo Stebbing April 2020
The blessings of earth, ancestors & ineffable
fields of benevolence are coming your way.
With so much love,
Erin & Carl