A note from Erin:
How’s the strange new world going for you??
Personally, I’ve been feeling rather disoriented – not quite sure how to make plans when everything is so uncertain. Will my son go to school? Stay home for who-knows-how-long? How can I plan my work schedule not knowing what kind (or if any) personal/work time I’ll have? We’ve waited to write to you until we know what we’re doing, and we keep not-knowing. Today, I’m writing anyway.
(Updated to add: We’ve decided to start the school year at home, and having this little bit of footing in all the ambiguity, Carl & I will be having a date-meeting with the calendar this weekend to map out some new offerings we’re excited to share with you very soon!)
Truly, I’m just fumbling my way along, feeling into the next right thing, with as much compassion and good humor as possible. I keep imagining the voice of my smartphone when I don’t follow the driving directions: “Rerouting. Rerouting.” I just keep rerouting every day, as I imagine you do too. Relishing the garden, sauntering in the mountains, reading poetry, cooking up a storm, and leaning into my practices have offered reliable ballast. Also, Netflix and wine have been nice. : ) A part of me is so tired of this liminal space. Another part of me is relishing the grand slow-down. I’m grateful to know there’s plenty of room for welcoming all of these inner states, even those that seem to be contradictory.
A practice I’ve relished and shared in classes over the years is one I call, “Hello, sweetheart.” I find it so helpful always, but especially during these times. May I share?
Take a moment to feel the support of the ground beneath you, really feeling through your body the offering of unconditional support.
While generously giving your weight over to this support, follow 3 breaths with presence from beginning to end.
Feel the spaciousness of the moment as you let your awareness relax open all around you, as well as through your body.
Remind yourself of your most spacious, compassionate, magnanimous self.
If needed, adjust your body to help you find more ease and dignity and spaciousness in your posture.
From that place, ask, “How is it in there?”
Here, I often pause with a hand on my heart to sense into and welcome my own inner life.
As in Rumi’s famous guest house, the invitation is to simply welcome whatever comes.
“I notice a part of me that is stressed out about money.” When something like this comes to the fore, I pause with a hand on my heart and simply say, “Hello, sweetheart. I know you’re there.”
No fixing, no banishing, simple acknowledging.
“There’s a sense of being so damn sick of this soupy, liminal space where I feel like I can’t get purchase or move forward.” Oh, hello sweetheart. I see you. That must be so hard. I’m with you.
“I actually enjoy how slowed down my schedule has become.” Hello, sweetheart. I see you too. Welcome.
Another guest comes, “What are we going to do about school? How will I work? Will online schooling go better this fall than it did last spring? I really really don’t want us to get this virus.”
And I pause, hand to heart, not fighting nor advising, just welcoming, with courageous kindness, even if I don’t like it. “I see you. I hear you. I’m with you.”
I relish this line from Thich Nhat Hanh, a balm for the inner life. So simple, so profound: “Darling, I care about your suffering.”
If your inner life doesn’t like to be called sweetheart or darling, what might it like instead?
One of the most potent healing sentiments we can offer ourselves is this: “You don’t have to be any different to receive my warmth and my compassion.”
Maybe another part bubbles up that does want us to be different. “But I shouldn’t be angry.” “I don’t want to be in pain!” The invitation in this approach is to turn toward that one and welcome it too.
“Hello, sweetheart. I see you. And you too can be here for as long as you need to be.”
There really is room for it all.
The lap of compassion is vast.
It’s not about fixing or getting rid of anything.
It’s about inner disarmament and instead of going to war with what is, courageously befriending what is here.
I love this poem by Tara Mohr:
You can learn to keep yourself company,
but only by keeping yourself company —
Do you ask “how are you?” and listen
like a deer deciphering a rustling in the leaves?
Do you say “take a walk with me, and let me show you the woods?”
Do you sing yourself a song?
Now you are the one: the one to care for all the whispers inside
the one to listen to all the children,
to take them to see beautiful places and new sights.
That’s you: the woman leading the field trip,
the woman making hot chocolate for all of them,
the woman saying, “now, now, that’s enough.”
If you feel like an incomplete circle, or a wilted form
go home to silence and listen to yourself.
Give your words a hearing.
Shine each pebble and dagger to the light.
Meet each with lilac compassion.
Then feel: as your own sweet song
overtakes your life and blazes
so loud you need an earth
this listening to hold it.
Contentment springs up,
again and again, from the well
where you least expected to discover it.
– Tara Mohr
Here are a few updates on working with us:
The Embodiment Lab: We’re in the midst of the August Embodiment Lab and we have such a great group! Our theme for this month is Liberate your Hips – a potent topic for so many of us. You can still join us for just $50/month. Soon we’ll have past labs available, but the best price (and live support) is available when you subscribe. We looooove the Lab! We’d love the wonderful group of folks there and warmly invite you to join us.
A special offering for school teachers:
We see you and we deeply honor the important and undervalued work you do. With the added pressures of the pandemic, we are thinking of you often and sending love and encouragement and so much gratitude for your important work. We’d love to offer school teachers free access to the Embodiment Lab we taught in April: Essential Practices for Troubling Times. If you’re interested in taking us up on the offer, just email me back and let me know. One small offering of gratitude and respect with wishes for your well being. We’re grateful for you.
We’ll have registration details soon for our fall online Art of Sitting: Embodied Movement and Meditation Retreat. We were so looking forward to teaching at the Crestone Mountain Zen Center this fall, but are pivoting to offer this potent and nourishing work online. Following the retreat, we’ll be offering a regular Embodied Meditation practice weekly. We’re so excited! Details coming soon.
We are thrilled to be interviewing Cynthia Jurs next week and look forward to sharing our conversation soon. We’ll also be recording podcasts with me and Carl which we haven’t done enough of. If you’d like to lean into wisdom and support, dive into our podcast archives. We often re-listen to these life-giving conversations multiple times and find so much nourishment there.
We’ll have details in our next newsletter about ways you can work with us 1:1. Coming soon…
More online offerings coming soon including Feldy Workshops, Grief Tending Rituals, a Poetry Party, an Embodied Listening class, and a Work That Reconnects Course.
Do you like internet rabbit holes?? Here are some:
(None of these are affiliate links, I’m just sharing for fun.)
Lately I’ve loved:
- doing online Gaga dance classes,
- sipping this excellent iced matcha, our family’s favorite summertime beverage
- spending Friday date nights with Carl and Michael Meade. After our recent powerful podcast with him, he offered a discount to our listeners and readers. Michael is teaching a new 3-week course that starts this week. He’s teaching on one of our very favorite topics: Genius!!! Join us for 3 evenings of mythology, poetry, and soulful explorations of genius in your life. REGISTER AT https://www.mosaicvoices.org/events/the-soul-of-genius DISCOUNT CODE: EMGENIUS– apply this code at checkout to Save 20% on the full series.
- I just reread this piece that moved me so deeply a few years ago when I dove into the deep end of the world of anti-racist education and felt neurotically compelled to learn and do everything all at once and then proceeded to burn myself out. It’s a piece by a social activist and meditation teacher called I Vow Not To Burn Out.
- I’ve fallen in love with the process of making spirit dolls! I asked my mom in January if she’d take an online class with me with the wonderful Julia Inglis after following her on Instagram for years and we’ve both loved it!!! Check out Julia’s beautiful world and work. Here’s one doll I made for a friend.
A few favorite books I’ve read lately:
- I also loved reading this good news.
- Here’s a poem that’s saved me more than once recently.
- I just ordered the comfiest shoes for fall walking.
- I’m loving being a part of this beautiful class as a participant and guest teacher.
- I’ve also adored taking a big fat social media hiatus over the late spring and summer. I’ll be back in the fall with fresh inspiration (and healthier boundaries on my own attention.)
Friends, in all of the strangeness and challenge of these times, I’m so grateful to be connected to goodhearted humans like you.
Thanks for making the world a bit more rich in embodied presence and courageous kindness.
p.s. As a reminder, we have some free offerings for you which you can dive into anytime:
Some Things to Do When You Can’t Sleep (instead of stressing out about not sleeping.)
7 guided practices by Erin
Root & Rise: An Introduction to Embodiment and The Healing Spiral of The Work That Reconnects