Finding A Life-Giving Relationship & A Sunday Gathering

A note from Carl:

Several people that I had contact with yesterday compared their experience to how it felt on 9/11. A shock, a stripping away, deep fear, a crumbling…and under all of it, a profound love, a return to what is most important. While social media has been maddening for me during the election, yesterday I felt so deeply nourished and inspired by the care, the grief, the humanity, the reflection that I witnessed in the circles of community on Facebook.

A line from our friend and mentor, Russell Delman, that has been such a central practice for me is:

Bowing to what is, and having the most life-giving relationship with it.

I bow to this election- I don’t like it- I’m fucking devastated. I’m crying, I’m nauseous, I hate what the results indicate for our country, for our planet, yet I bow to it. It happened. I don’t know the larger forces at work in all of this, but it is now our situation, this is our life.  Where my freedom, where my happiness, where my capacity to be of benefit comes in is in how I choose to relate with it. How do I respond in the most life giving-way? I wanted to share a few gems that gave me life yesterday.

The first was our friend, Nan Seymour, posting Maya Angelou reading, “And Still I Rise.” It was one of the first things I saw in the morning, and I encourage to you watch the video– to hear her voice, see her face… I’ve watched it ten times in the last day. It speaks so directly to where we are as a country right now. Still we rise.

Next, a beloved writer and being, Erin Geesaman Rabke, shared this nugget:

I keep reminding myself what Brene Brown said about understanding blame as a strategy to discharge pain. (Actually I kept reminding myself of this as I woke so many times in the night, crafting articulate versions of nastiness which some part of me wants to lash out in various directions. I bet you could guess.) Lashing out won’t help. Then I keep reminding myself of our amazing First Lady’s wise words. “When they go low, we go high.” Let’s keep reminding each other. Let’s keep loving each other up. When I want to lash out, may I recognize that my heart is in pain. (Tears are streaming as I write.) I’m putting my hand on my heart, and sending love to that pain. Sending love to you too. The human heart is big enough to hold it all. And just so you know, you are loved. As I’m sending love to my own broken heart, I’m sending it out big time in all directions. Let’s stay on the high road and hold each other close.

It is so easy, so reflexive to blame and discharge and intense fear and tenderness that so many of us are feeling. To open to and stay with the pain in our heart, and not cast out and blame the other is one of the highest forms of warrior-courage we can embody. Its is hard work, and we need it as a country, we need it as a planet.  So much of challenge we face as a culture is a lack of ability to take the view of the other. Who do we cast out of our hearts? Where do we have a strong inner-sense of that’s not me!! ? That is where the hard work ahead lies. As Brene Brown wrote:“Today is about finding connection with the people who share our joy, relief, and optimism, OR our grief, rage, and heartbreak. In the midst of such division, we desperately need to know we’re not alone and that we will continue to fight together for what we believe in. However, if this democracy is going to work, tomorrow or the next day must be about finding the strength and courage to turn toward the friends, family, and strangers who do not share our beliefs and emotions about this election outcome. Finding connection with people that we perceive as “the other” is our collective mandate. Maybe the conversation will be about something other than politics – something small that we share in common. I don’t think it will be easy, but I believe it is the only way forward. Martin Buber wrote, “When two people relate to each other authentically and humanly, God is the electricity that surges between them.” We are often susceptible to the worst stereotypes and myths about groups, but people are hard to hate close up. My hope is that we can turn toward each other and find even the smallest bit of grace surging between us.”

During our class on Monday evening, Erin read this beautiful poem from psychotherapist and teacher, Matt Licata:”When your emotional world is on fire,
when you become lost in the story of the suffering one,
touch your heart, feel the aliveness in your body,
practice kindness, and ignite a revolution.

As a little one it was wildly creative
to turn from your embodied reality,
to protect yourself from overwhelming experience.
But love is calling you home now:
Come closer.

Will you see how much intelligence is here,
even in your confusion and in your pain?
Your sadness is a doorway into the infinite,
if you will hold it near.
Your despair is a gateway into wholeness,
if you will offer it sanctuary.
Even your anxiety is a portal into love’s world
if you will stay close.

Everything here is path, friends,
nothing is out of place.
You are not broken
and are not in need of fixing.

Stop. Just one sacred pause;
touch the ground. Look up into the sky.
Give yourself the gift of your own presence,
for this is no ordinary moment.

As you sink into the core of what you are,
notice that you can breathe in and out of your heart.
It is not air which moves in and out, though.
It is love.”

Matt Licata

This Sunday we are doing our monthly sit for peace at our house from 8-9:30am. (Please rsvp if you plan to attend.) We decided to follow the community sit with a gathering at 10am in Lindsay Gardens Park where we will will do a few minutes of embodied practice, but mostly have a chance to connect, hug, talk, and remind ourselves that though we have major challenges ahead, we are not alone, and that love wins. Always.


Much gratitude for you,

(And please continue below for Erin’s reflections)


A note from Erin:

I’ve been on fire with writing and posting on Facebook and there’s so much I want to say. I want to join Carl in reaching out today with a wish to connect and a heartfelt wish to be of some benefit.


I hope you can feel the ground supporting you right in this moment. For so many of us feeling a certain groundlessness post election, I hope you’ll remember to feel the ground, under you, right in this moment, supporting you. Feel your weight. Let it anchor you to this spot, this moment. This is where we begin. As Kabir said, “Wherever you are is the entry point.” It’s been really helpful to me these last days to amp up my practice of pausing to feel the ground, my breath, and the space of the sky.


We are here for you. I am more committed than ever to embodying the Bodhisattva Vow I took 21 years ago with Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche. I am for you. I am with you. Do you need to connect? Please reach out. Whether you need support or ARE support, reach out to people. We are hosting a long-planned community sitting meditation dedicated to world peace on Sunday morning at 8am. At 10am, we are convening a gathering in Lindsey Gardens, 7th ave and N street, to sit and stand together, to get embodied, to feel the ground and remember the sky, to hug each other. And perhaps, to manifest some meaningful action. Please feel free to come and to invite heartful others who are interested in embodying love and care in the world. While we request an RSVP for the sit, you’re welcome to simply show up for the gathering at the park. Let’s call it an embodied LOVE FEST.


I am committed to fiercely protecting the rights of those who need it now. If you or someone you love are LGBTQ, are Muslim, are a person of color, are a Native person, if you are a minority I haven’t mentioned, if you are feeling vulnerable? Please know that I am committed to using the tools and resources I have to stand and fight for you. And so are many, many others. For many years, I’ve trained in love and compassion and grounded embodied presence through my own inner work. For those of us who have done similarly, it’s time for me, for us, to turn outward and be of active support. This is why we practice. I’m ready. I’m resourced. And I’m in it for the long haul. I’m hearing many good people around the country and world sharing similar impassioned statements. Together we rise.

Fourth, this:

A powerful perspective and one I’m aspiring to live more fully than ever before. It’s as useful now as ever.

Want to wake up and be of service to the world?
Here are the five instructions given by Machig Labdron, a Tibetan woman, in the 12th century:

1) Confess your hidden faults.
2) Approach what you find repulsive.
3) Help those you think you cannot help (sometimes translated as “those you do not want to help.”)
4) Anything you are attached to, give that.
5) Go to the places that scare you.

Yes. On this topic, here’s a helpful podcast done by our friend Diane Hamilton and other Integral teachers about opening to other’s perspectives. I respect the hell out of Diane’s commitment to “not make the others wrong.” In each moment, we can turn from fear to love. Again and again.


I’ve been explaining the election to our 6-year old son in terms of the Harry Potter stories, and oh, it’s helping my heart a lot. I have a whole post I’m writing about this and will share soon. As Dumbledore said, “Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” Let’s turn on the light and let’s also be the light.

Michael Meade, in his excellent book, The Genius Myth, speaks of how each of us has our unique inherent genius. And how at this time, we cannot expect one person (or even a few “geniuses”) to solve this situation for us. It will take a multitude, and requires each of us contributing in our unique way. We cannot hide. We must be willing to be uncomfortable to stand for what is right. We are called. I love the saying that a teacher’s job is to comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable. I’m comfortable enough that I’m willing to be disturbed. And when I’m not comfortable, I’m fortunate to be resourced with tools and practices to get grounded and filled up again to go back out there and work. As Clarissa Pinkola Estes writes in her lovely missive, “Do not lose heart. We are made for these times.” I know in my bones it’s true.


Caring for others will soothe our souls. A friend in Texas is making care packages for her Muslim neighbors. What concrete action might you take to reach out to those who need it more than ever right now? I’d love to hear. No act of kindness is too small. It’s all worthy. Together it adds up. Let’s share our version of meaningful actions and inspire and encourage one another. Staying silent and hidden is not a viable option anymore. As Buddha said, “Make of yourself a light.” How will you do that? I’m planning to reach out to the Utah Islamic Center today for starters. Contacting some of my LGBTQ friends to offer my fierce commitment to supporting them. I’m on the mailing list for SURJ Utah’s chapter and hoping to attend a meeting soon. I’d love to hear your ideas.


Please consider reading this piece. It’s all about the role of staying embodied. So important! I couldn’t have said it better myself. (In fact a friend said if she saw the piece without an author listed, she’d have thought I wrote it.) It’s important. It’s called “Stay,” by Rachel Cole.


Here is a list of organizations that could really use our support. If you have money to donate, please do. If you don’t, consider finding other ways you might be of support. Perhaps you’ve already seen the stories, as I have, of the full-on blossoming of racist bullying, homophobic agression, and more. It’s horrifying. Here’s a short piece on how NOT to be a bystander if you are witness to someone being bullied. I keep asking myself, “How would it feel to be ____ right now?” (Filling in the blank with “mother of a queer kid,” “a person of color,” “a Muslim-American,” a Latino/a child or parent.) I intend to actively keep expanding my circle of care.


It’s a great time to amp up the hygge. It’s a great time to dance. As Gloria Steinem said when she spoke here last month, “If you want poetry and dancing in the world you’re envisioning, you must read poetry and you must dance now.” Let’s not forget that. It’s a great time to prioritize those things that orient and steady you. Yoga, walking, meditation, time with friends, a long hot shower, lots of laughter. Fill your well so you can serve. You are needed.

I don’t usually open my practice for single sessions, but prefer to work with people in a series because there’s such a cumulative power in that. However, right now, if you’d like to have a single session with me (60-90 minutes) of Feldenkrais and Embodied Life work, to help you stay in your body, release and heal the effects of trauma, and have the compassionate support of a dedicated listener, between now and the holidays I am open. As part of the work, I will also send one or more audio lessons as a resource for you to work with on your own. We have really good tools for times like this and they work. Email me if you’re interested and we can talk about scheduling. Sessions are $130.


we hope you’ll consider joining us for this community gathering Sunday at 10 at Lindsey Gardens. We’ve never done this before, but I trust we’ll find our way. Coming together in the spirit of love, humility, and determination to be of benefit in this new world, even if we don’t quite know what we’re doing, sounds like just the thing for now. 7th ave and N street, 10am. Sunday the 13th.  See you there.

And here’s a poem my dear friend Vicki Overfelt shared which I’d love to pass along. It says so much. As ever, I’m grateful for the poets.

by Mark Nepo

Everything is beautiful and I am so sad.
This is how the heart makes a duet of
wonder and grief. The light spraying
through the lace of the fern is as delicate
as the fibers of memory forming their web
around the knot in my throat. The breeze
makes the birds move from branch to branch
as this ache makes me look for those I’ve lost
in the next room, in the next song, in the laugh
of the next stranger. In the very center, under
it all, what we have that no one can take
away and all that we’ve lost face each other.
It is there that I’m adrift, feeling punctured
by a holiness that exists inside everything.
I am so sad and everything is beautiful.

Free yourself, Free Others, Serve Everyday. – Nelson Mandela
With fierce love and hope,

1. Registration for Women Embodied Live 2017 will be opening in the next 2 weeks. If you’d like to get on an early notice list, please send me an email! (If you’ve been in the class before, you’re already on the early notice list.) This class has filled with a waiting list for the past 3 years. I am so excited to offer this course again!!!

2. You can now reserve your spot for our upcoming retreat day in early December, Nourishing Inner Being. We’d love to have you join us! It’s going to be powerful, deep, and gooooood. Spots are filling up. We’d love for you to reserve yours. Details and registration link here. Commit now to having a sane, relaxed, embodied December that includes self-care. I bet your loved ones will thank you for it.

3.  Our next monthly sitting practice will be on Sunday, November 13th. 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.) As always, this is offered free or by donation. You are most welcome to join us on this island of sanity. Several people have already signed up – please let us know if you’d like to join.

Our best estimate of the schedule is:
8-8:10 Welcome and invitations for the 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.

4. We’re currently making plans for our September 2017 retreat in New Mexico. I’m thrilled to report that this one will likely be happening at Ghost Ranch. Details are being firmed up. Many people shared they want to join us next year. I have a feeling this will sell out. Please let me know if you’d like to be on an early notice list for New Mexico next September!

5. Sadly, we’re not going to offer a retreat in Costa Rica this January. Instead, we’ll be visiting family in Southeast Asia for the month. And we might just be scoping out some retreat venues for future years. Vietnam? Thailand? Laos? Beaches? Elephant Sanctuaries? We can hardly wait! If you have recommendations in the area, we’d love to hear!

6. If you haven’t yet seen it, our friend Ilona Fried wrote what we think is an excellent explanation of the Feldenkrais Method as “The Wine Tasting of Movement.” Click here to read her article on Huffington Post.

Lastly – Thank you for reading!! We are so grateful for you.

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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.