Embodying Kindness & A Question for Your Pocket

A note from Erin:

Hello, beautiful you,

I’m sitting here on my red couch watching a gentle snowfall out the front window as well as some adorable little finches, sparrows, chickadees and juncos bouncing on the bare rosebush branches. And I’m sending you so much love. How are you faring? We’re still very much tucked in, grateful to be healthy, seriously missing our people, planning some beautiful classes and gatherings, getting used to this strange new life and brain state of usually not knowing what day it is, and generally enjoying a huge body-and-soul-exhale with the political change in the US. How about you?

I love to carry a question with me, akin to the way my grandfather used to carry a worry stone, a smooth rock with a thumb-sized groove on one side in his pocket, a stone to rub as soul solace and soothing gesture. For me, it’s a question I rub with my heartmind throughout the day.

The quality of questions I carry has changed so much since giving birth to our son almost eleven years ago. Whether or not there will be the possibility for his generation to have a thriving future on this planet is an acute concern I choose not to ignore. I appreciate being disturbed and reoriented by it. I’ve shared before about the potent experience of walking into the brand new Utah Museum of Natural History ten years ago with my babe strapped onto my chest and seeing our beloved local writer, Terry Tempest Williams’ words stenciled on the wall: “The eyes of the future are looking back and praying for us to see beyond our own time.” My heart was pierced by her words as I stood there with that soft and vulnerable infant snuggled in my arms. Gratefully I’ve never recovered from that moment. I’ve felt those future generations’ eyes on me ever since, urging wisdom, restraint, and care. Can you feel those future generations’ beautiful eyes on you, pleading, “Please, care about my future!”

(that’s our cute kiddo almost 10 years ago! He’s now a long-haired fourth-grader wanna-be Viking with a passion for blacksmithing!)

In recent years I’ve loved weaving studies of deep ecology and social justice into my somatic and soul work, both personally and professionally. And though I love it, it’s often hard. I’ve lain in bed stewing in the wee hours as I reckon with the IPCC report and the sobering predictions about biodiversity loss, all while fossil fuel production is still expanding. I’ve been acutely disturbed by choosing to take off my blinders over the past 5+years and to see and feel and grapple with the recognition that I really do live in a culture based in white supremacy, in white normativity, in profound inequity, violence, and harm – both over our long history and in our present lives. It’s painful to acknowledge, though certainly not as painful as it is for people to experience in daily life. I appreciate somatic psychotherapist, Resmaa Menakem, naming the difference between what he calls “clean pain” and “dirty pain.” Summarized here: “Resmaa defines clean pain as choosing integrity over fear and standing in that fear with integrity while moving towards the unknown. The alternative path is responding from dirty pain. Dirty pain is when we respond to fear and conflict from our most wounded parts. Responding from dirty pain only creates more pain, both for ourselves and for other people.”

Standing in our fear with integrity and moving toward the unknown. With love. Aren’t we being called to this task in so many areas of life? I love the way this invites a simultaneity of personal and world healing.

This is what I hope we’ll do. It’s certainly what I intend to do and to weave into all my professional work with that aim. To stand in these challenging times with integrity, moving toward the unknown with love at the center, honoring the gaze of those future generations, whatever their skin color, in fact whatever their species. Instead of responding from our most wounded parts, we could perhaps love those into liberation as we love this broken world. Embodied practice offers such an important foundation for this task.

migrating arctic tundra swans at Great Salt Lake

In support of this intention, I carry this question with me as a guide:

Do I wish to live this moment with as much presence, love, and affection as possible or am I going to choose something else? 

So many layers can be included in our presence, love, and affection. Lest we get stuck in the trap of binary thinking, here’s a reminder that it’s possible and necessary to understand that love and fear are not opposites. Poet Stanley Kunitz reminds us so beautifully, “Live in the layers, not in the litter.” It’s possible to bring love to meet my own distraction, anger, fear, and suffering, as well as all of that in the “outer world.”  It’s not an either-or choice but a layered one. To summarize Zen teacher Scott Morrison, there’s no point in judging ourselves when we choose something other than love, care, presence, affection – it’s just good to know who’s making that decision.
Always, always – it’s us.

We recently cleared the bulletin board we have in our client waiting room and freshened it up. I took down these quotes I’ve loved to look at for years. They’re just so good! I love weaving these perspectives not only into embodied practice but into anything and everything. When you feel this in your body, you can embody it in the world. I’m so into that! I could write a book unpacking this (and in fact I am!)

When you know what you are doing, you can do what you want. – Moshe Feldenkrais
How much pleasure and satisfaction do you dare to wish for in what you do? – Ruthy Alon, GCFT

The Feldenkrais approach is to learn with ease and grace through ease and grace. (The medium is the message & the pedagogy is the learning.) This is quite a step away from wanting to become better by working on our limitations. – Yvan Joly, GCFT

This courageous kindness, intimate awareness of what is happening in the present moment, and an orientation toward animal-body pleasure in whatever action we’re involved in can include so many facets of life.

  • How comfortable are you right now? Would you like to shift your posture, lengthen your neck, shift your pelvis, unclench your jaw, drop your shoulders, soften your belly, deepen your breath?
  • Would you slow your pace from internet-scrolling speed to the speed of life and maybe l grab a cozy beverage as you read on?
  • How is it in there? Are you bored? Scared? Excited? All at the same time and then some? Can you meet whatever guests show up with lovingkindness, like the most gracious host? Feeling the support of your seat and the earth beneath you in this moment?
  • What needs attention right now?
  • What are you ignoring or excluding?
  • How might you reduce unnecessary effort and increase pleasure – whether you’re chopping vegetables, checking email, growing a business, or engaging in anti-racist action?
  • How could it be easy?

Is it possible for our awareness and our hearts to keep growing ever more courageous and inclusive all our lives long? Here’s some inspiration from Rumi who says unequivocally, yes. It is.

Can we fix all the things? Of course not.
Might what we do make a difference? Inevitably!
We may never know in our lifetime whether it had an effect or not.
I often reflect on the many historical people who lived with courage and heart and who died never knowing the impact of their work, their words, their art, or their actions on so many of us years later.

Can we allow our hearts to break so wide open that we can welcome the world, as it is, with all is gorgeousness and ruin, and root ourselves in a commitment to courageous kindness? And to a radical, beautiful revisioning of what is possible?

That’s the question in my pocket, in my heart. I’m passing it to you like a warm, smooth stone. If you like it, you might carry it in your pocket too.

Next week begins my newest live online course: Embodying The Great Turning and I’m so very excited. If you’d like to explore ways of growing more ease, pleasure, sustainability, and courageous participation in your own embodied life as well in the larger web of life, I hope you’ll consider joining me. You can read more below.

I am wishing you curiosity, courage, and as much beauty and joy as you can stand. As Mary Oliver might remind us – it’s what we were born for – to look, to listen, to lose ourselves inside this soft world – and to instruct ourselves over and over in joy and acclamation. And I’ll add… embodying courageous kindness.
Whether you’re called to join this course or not, let’s aspire to stand with integrity and move into the unknown with love and a life-giving vision for the future. It might make all the difference.


I have often revisited these important words from Dahr Jamal:

Are we not morally obligated to do everything possible to serve and protect the Earth, no matter what, and even against all hope? As Czech dissident, writer, and statesman Václav Havel has said, “Hope is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something is worth doing no matter how it turns out.” I remember my obligations, taught to me by a Native American elder of Cherokee descent, Stan Rushworth: That we are born onto this planet with the obligations of caring for it, and of making decisions based on what will be best for the future generations of all species. So each morning I awake and engage in my morning practice, part of which is pondering what I shall do each day to serve Earth and all her species. When I approach my life from this perspective, no matter how bleak the future appears, I always have work to do and services to perform.”

That last sentence…

In this group learning and practice adventure, we will weave together:

  •  embodied practices of movement rooted in the profound approach of the Feldenkrais Method
  • embodied meditation to support our grounded, spacious presence
  • powerful practices rooted in deep ecology and radical reimagining from the Work that Reconnects
  • gorgeous poetry
  • self-care & self-healing
  • world-care & grief tending
  • many opportunities to connect with an extraordinary community of beautiful humans
  • Choose between Monday evenings 6-9 pm MT 2/1-3/29 or Tuesday mornings 9 am-noon MT 2/2-3/30.

I’m thrilled to be offering this new live online course from the very depths of my heart.

Embodying The Great Turning invites your relaxation and your alert attention, your grounded presence and your spacious awareness, your reduction of extraneous effort, and an invitation to cultivate greater pleasure and joy even as we grapple with the state of the world. It invites us to dive into seeing with new eyes what might be possible for how we live on this planet. It invites our unique perspectives – and we learn SO very much from one another. I am seriously dancing-in-my-chair excited!!

This class is held in a spirit of good-humored learning together as a collective of humble and imperfect humans who are daring to be present in ourselves and present in our world with the most integrity, kindness, and love possible. There will be no heavy shoulds or judgment, no finger-pointing or criticism, no self-righteous advice-giving (thank all the gods!) but rather an invitation to lean into embodying compassion and wisdom in response to our real lives and our actual world – all in our own unique way.

As Angela Davis has said: “You have to act as if it were possible to radically transform the world. And you have to do it all the time.” Let’s do it, in our own unique way, with love at the center of our togetherness. Such wonderful folks have signed up already from many different parts of the world. No experience is necessary and all genders are welcome. Sliding scale pricing is offered. Check it out here.

Please note: one dear friend and student of mine who cannot attend the course has generously paid 1/2 the cost of tuition for one lucky soul who could use a scholarship. If you’d like to be considered to receive that gift, please reply. (Thank you so much, Monica!)

I believe approaching anything – whether it’s returning to more vigorous exercise after months of pandemic-winter-life and not moving enough (ahem); or whether it’s continuing to educate myself and attempting to humbly shift my culture; or continuing the lifelong endeavor to decolonize my mind from the harmful, wasteful habits of this modern industrial growth culture I was born into; or trying to write a book – all of these endeavors are a thousand million billion times better when rooted in courageous lovingkindness. No self-righteousness and judgmentalism. No blame and shame. No fear and scrambling. No right and wrong. Courageous kindness. Amazingly, though I do the dance of forgetting and remembering, again and again, I’ve never yet found a moment where that courageous kindness is not possible.


Join me for a 9-week Journey: Embodying The Great Turning. This is a live-online course weaving embodiment practices and The Work that Reconnects, offered at two times to accommodate many time zones. Choose between Monday evenings 6-9 pm MT 2/1-3/29 or Tuesday mornings 9 am-noon MT 2/2-3/30. Read more about this powerful opportunity right here. Spaces are limited. Sliding scale pricing is offered.

A few good other things to check out:

In the Embodiment Lab in February we’ll be exploring your Hips, Knees, and Ankles. Do yours need some freshness and gentle rejuvenation? Join us. Just $50.

And I am so very excited to share a sneak peek at this: (I’ve got lots more to share on the new Patreon project next time!) While I’ve been thrilled to see more people feeling the call to offer community grief tending (Yay! We so need it!) I’ve personally been feeling the strong nudge and calling to make sure I’m balancing grief-tending practice with full-on, wholehearted praise practice. The world, our dead, our struggles, don’t only want to be seen as wounded, but beautiful and worthy of bigass love. I’m so excited for a year of wholehearted grief & praise. I hope you might join me. I’ll also be posting more writings over there. More soon…



Just for fun:
I love this stuff.
And these.
And I want all of these.
And so love this conversation.
Have you read this book?
Here’s a little courage fodder from me and Brian Doyle.



We had such a fabulous time during our Grounded & Spacious Retreat in the fall. We were amazed how with such a spacious schedule and lots of free time, we could go so deep and really have a retreat experience from our own homes all around the world. During two days we did 10 20-minute sitting practices and 8 powerful embodied movement lessons, all woven with a truly rich community conversation and lots of free time. Powerful stuff! We are thrilled to offer a fresh version of this retreat again. You’re invited to join us from the comfort of your own home – which can offer great support for integrating these mindfulness practices into your real life at home. Mark your calendars for the next Grounded & Spacious Retreat, live online, Feb. 20-21. Register right here.  Offered at sliding scale pricing.

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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.