A note from Erin:
I’m excited to land in your inbox today!! We’ve missed two weeks of newsletters due to my being away on a meditation retreat, then Carl and our boy traveling to visit friends. We’re back, and I’m so excited to connect! I’ve done something new today – I recorded a short video for the newsletter. We’ve got several new offerings, including a Weekend Movement Immersion, Community Grief Tending and more. In the video, I also ask for your support with a new endeavor. I also share a poem. (Of course.) You’ll find more details on all of it below as well as on our website. I hope you’ll watch my lil’ video! :)
Simply type in the password ” embodiment matters ” (no quotes.)
Here is the beautiful poem from Ross Gay I shared at the end of the video.
First – a few updates. Each of these includes links where you can read much more.
Updates are followed by some reflections on boxes and tailors, respect and openness, interspersed with photos from my recent meditation retreat in the magical landscape of Torrey, Utah.
Tonight, Carl begins his Embodying Your Soulful Masculine course (which is full.) I just finished a wonderful Embodied Listening course with amazing human beings, and weekly classes for Women Embodied: Widening Circles starts on Monday. Yippeeee! We love love love what we do and the people we’re blessed do it with.
Below is a piece I wrote a while back that still speaks to my heart.
I hope it does yours too.
With much love,
On Boxes & Being Like Thoreau’s Tailor
I’ve been thinking about a line I heard one of my mentors say a few years ago.
It was something like this:
“Letting ourselves and each other out of the boxes we’ve created is a great act of love.”
What are the boxes?
Old self-images. “I’m this kind of a person. I could never do that.”
Old images of others. “He’ll never change. She’s always going to be like that.”
What if it’s not true?
Tara Mohr asked this great question in one of her newsletters:
What have you always believed about yourself that life is showing you might not be true?
Have you ever had that frustrating experience of someone you’ve known for awhile keeping you in a box that just doesn’t fit?
When that happens to me, some part of me feels like shouting – “Hey, that’s not true. I’m not like that. You’re not seeing me!”
How often do we do this to ourselves and each other?
And how easy might it be to just “poof” – and let the boxes dissolve with a willingness to be present, innocent, and set aside preconceptions?
I wrote a few years back about “Being like Thoreau’s tailor.” Here’s an excerpt of that piece:
“I was reflecting recently on something an old teacher of mine used to say. He quoted Thoreau as writing that the smartest man in Concord, Massachusetts, was his tailor – precisely because he was the only one who took his measurements every time they met.
The deep meaning of the word respect is just this – to re-spect, as in look again.
Take life in anew.
How often do I “take the measurements?”
Do I truly respect myself?
As the saying goes, you can never enter the same river twice.
And equally true – YOU are never the same self twice. Nor is anyone else.
How often do I remember this?
How often do I suspend judgments and preconceived notions and just really see what’s true in THIS moment?
What happens when I do?
And equally important for me to notice, what happens when I don’t?
Taking the measurements.
Life, as in that which is truly alive in this moment…
I love the opportunity to do just this when I lie on the floor as we begin an Awareness Through Movement lesson. Who and how am I now?
I love the opportunity to do just this when I see a client in my office. Who are they in this moment?
I love the opportunity to do this when I remember to PAUSE in the middle of the day and listen to my inner life. How is it in there?
I love the opportunity to do this when I have a precious moment alone with my sweetie. Who is he today?
I love the opportunity to do this when I hang out with my sweet boy. He’s an articulate, smart, sweet, beautiful, bright-eyed and rapidly-evolving being. Who is he now?
I loved recognizing the opportunity to do this recently when I was walking through the park and saw a person whom, the last time I saw her, was gossipy and complaining and critical in a way that left a bad taste in my mouth. I had that flash of, “Oh maybe I should just quickly walk the other way so I don’t have to talk to her.” And then it hit me. I don’t have to avoid what’s unfolding in my life. I can look again. And I did. And I said hello. And you know what? She was different. (duh.) I was left with great warmth and affection and stunned by the fact that I could’ve kept her in that box of how she was once upon a time. What a shame that would’ve been.
How often do I do this with others?
How often do I do this with myself?”
Here’s a poem called Hokusai Says by Roger Keyes.
I think Thoreau’s tailor, Hokusai, and Ross Gay and Roger Keyes might have a great time hanging out together. :) I’d love to join them.
Hokusai says look carefully.
He says pay attention, notice.
He says keep looking, stay curious.
He says there is no end to seeing.
He says look forward to getting old.
He says keep changing,
you just get more who you really are.
He says get stuck, accept it, repeat
yourself as long as it is interesting.
He says keep doing what you love.
He says keep praying.
He says every one of us is a child,
every one of us is ancient
every one of us has a body.
He says every one of us is frightened.
He says every one of us has to find
a way to live with fear.
He says everything is alive —
shells, buildings, people, fish,
mountains, trees, wood is alive.
Water is alive.
Everything has its own life.
Everything lives inside us.
He says live with the world inside you.
He says it doesn’t matter if you draw
or write books. It doesn’t matter
if you saw wood, or catch fish.
It doesn’t matter if you sit at home
and stare at the ants on your veranda
or the shadows of the trees
and grasses in your garden.
It matters that you care.
It matters that you feel.
It matters that you notice.
It matters that life lives through you.
Contentment is life living through you.
Joy is life living through you.
Satisfaction and strength
is life living through you.
He says don’t be afraid.
Don’t be afraid.
Love, feel, let life take you by the hand.
Let life live through you.
– Roger Keyes
May we have the curiosity and willingness to notice the boxes we’ve created, and the courage and heart to let them go.
Wishing you freshness, respect, and a beautiful weekend, free of boxes.