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Lay the Hammer Down

A note from Erin:

Hello, beautiful human,

 

Have you ever played the game “Whack-a-Mole?”

I loved it when I was a kid – to stand there with a giant mallet – every time a mechanical mole stuck its head out of a hole, the aim was to whack it down as quickly as possible. Bam! Bam bam! It’s really fun.

 

Have you ever played whack-a-mole with your inner life?

Inconvenient feelings, hopes so tender you dare not acknowledge them, angers you don’t allow yourself to feel – bam! Bam bam! Get back down there! It’s such an apt image for how many of us have learned to meet our inner lives – with a hammer in hand. It’s really not so fun.

It reminds me of this Bukowski poem:

 

there’s a bluebird in my heart that

wants to get out

but I’m too tough for him,

I say, stay in there, I’m not going

to let anybody see

you.

there’s a bluebird in my heart that

wants to get out

but I pour whiskey on him and inhale

cigarette smoke

and the whores and the bartenders

and the grocery clerks

never know that

he’s

in there.

 

there’s a bluebird in my heart that

wants to get out

but I’m too tough for him,

I say,

stay down, do you want to mess

me up?

you want to screw up the

works?

you want to blow my book sales in

Europe?

there’s a bluebird in my heart that

wants to get out

but I’m too clever, I only let him out

at night sometimes

when everybody’s asleep.

I say, I know that you’re there,

so don’t be

sad.

then I put him back,

but he’s singing a little

in there, I haven’t quite let him

die

and we sleep together like

that

with our

secret pact

and it’s nice enough to

make a man

weep, but I don’t

weep, do

you?

So heartbreaking. And so relatable.
And of course, doing this in our inner lives has huge implications in our bodies as well as in our relationships.

I also love this invitational poem by Em Claire:

 

Lay the Hammer Down

 

God says, “Lay the hammer down.”

Which is really my own voice, make no mistake.

And it is your own voice, too.

So, “Lay the hammer down”

And put your hand to your lips,

Or lay it against your heart, whispering

“Sweet forgiveness,”

Though there is nothing to forgive.

All we do is try to love.

It appears as everything: anger, fear, and

Hurt of every kind.

But all we do is try to love.

There is nothing to forgive

Save

Lifting the Hammer again…

 

Can you imagine laying the hammer down?

This winter I’ll be offering an Embodied Listening class that could be subtitled, “Lay the Hammer Down.” It’s hands-down one of the most important practices I’ve ever learned. The foundation for becoming a better listener to others is becoming a better listener within. It’s absolutely true. This is embodied compassion. We can even listen with compassion to the part of us that wants to wield the hammer. The truth is that our hearts are big enough to hold the whole world, and once we get good at the practice of remembering that and relaxing into that bigger, resilient, spacious, compassionate self, we can welcome even very challenging stuff. When we can do that for ourselves, it becomes a million times easier to listen to others, even those with whom we disagree.

 

I’d love to invite you to join me! I’ll be offering this class in person in Salt Lake City on Monday evenings 5-7:30 pm, and online on Tuesdays, 12-2:30 pm Mountain Time. Registration is now open. Rather than pre-recorded lessons, this will be a live, interactive class, and will include an hour of practice time outside of class each week. Join me and lay the hammer down… put your hand to your heart, and all you have to do is try to love. It’s a practice. A practice of hospitality. Of welcome. Of bowing to what is. It’s an invitation not to a technique – though we’ll explore several – but to find your own unique way into this profoundly healing inner relationship. It’s something the world dearly needs more of.

 

 

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Erin

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.
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