Mindfulness Bloopers and Playmind

A note from Carl:

Good morning!
Ok, I need to jump right into a Mary poem, as this line just called out to me this morning:
Listen, everyone has a chance.
Is it spring, is it morning?

Are there trees near you,
and does your own soul need comforting?
Quick, then––open the door and fly on your heavy feet; the song
may already be drifting away.

Such Singing in the Wild Branches

It was spring
and I finally heard him
among the first leaves––
then I saw him clutching the limb

in an island of shade
with his red-brown feathers
all trim and neat for the new year.
First, I stood still

and thought of nothing.
Then I began to listen.
Then I was filled with gladness––
and that’s when it happened,

when I seemed to float,
to be, myself, a wing or a tree––
and I began to understand
what the bird was saying,

and the sands in the glass
for a pure white moment
while gravity sprinkled upward

like rain, rising,
and in fact
it became difficult to tell just what it was that was singing––
it was the thrush for sure, but it seemed

not a single thrush, but himself, and all his brothers,
and also the trees around them,
as well as the gliding, long-tailed clouds
in the perfect blue sky–––all of them

were singing.
And, of course, so it seemed,
so was I.
Such soft and solemn and perfect music doesn’t last

For more than a few moments.
It’s one of those magical places wise people
like to talk about.
One of the things they say about it, that is true,

is that, once you’ve been there,
you’re there forever.

-Mary Oliver

Ahhh. Now, after following Mary’s advice, and taking in the starling, crow, sparrow and finch symphony from the porch, I’m ready to sit back at the computer.

Last week, I had a great mindfulness blooper. Erin and I love to bring humor to these moments, as a central dedication of our lives is to growing and deepening our embodied presence, and sometimes… it just ain’t there!

So it was beautiful Spring morning like this one, and I was excited to make a fresh juice. As I was feeding all the veggies and fruit into the juicer, I was thinking about how good it will feel to start my morning like this, how happy Erin will be to come home and find a fresh juice, and then I noticed, after a few minutes of juicing, that the catch bin in the back had fallen, and all of the fragments were spraying freely all over the counter, the cookbooks, the wall….

Ha! That is some serious mindfulness and presence there!

Another moment we often laugh about was once, Erin was cooking a pizza for Mesa in the toaster oven, and after a little while upstairs, she came back downstairs and smelled something delicious, and thought to herself: “Someone is cooking something gooood in the neighborhood, I wish we were cooking that!”And then she realized, with gratitude, humor and humilty, that the smell was her own delicious pizza she had forgotten about!

When I noticed I was spraying veggie confetti all over the counter, I did not curse myself for my lack of presence – I brought playmind to it. As I cleaned up my elaborate mess, I chuckled with curiosity at how I possibly could not have noticed spraying vegetables inches from my hands.

As Feldenkrais once said, “This work is far too important to be taken seriously.

Recently, I was doing some work on a project with someone for whom I have great affection. At one point, he recognized he had not counted something correctly, and we didn’t have enough material to complete the project. And he did what many of us learned to do with our mistakes, he intensely berated himself, and his lack of presence. Later, I told him, “I would take great issue if another human was talking to you like that.” As the great line from Cheri Huber goes: “If your friends spoke to you the way you speak to yourself, you would have left them a long time ago.

Playmind is so essential to our learning, and particularly learning from our mistakes.

The Tibetan teacher Thinley Norbu Rinpoche has a wonderful line: “Playmind always has energy. Serious mind is always exhaused.” 

Hopefully, our inevitable lapses in awareness are not happening while driving on the freeway, and don’t cause harm to ourselves and others, and we can bring playmind and the capacity to learn to our many, many daily mistakes.

Any good mindfulness bloopers you want to share with us?

In playmind,

1. Erin’s Month-long Poetry retreat is AWESOME so far! If you want to have Erin read you a poem every day in the month of May, and invite powerful contemplations and appreciations of beauty, you can still sign up. (description and registration below. And it’s just $50! You’re welcome to jump in.)

2.We’ll be hosting a gathering at our home offices on Sunday, May, 6, starting at8 a.m. for a morning of Embodied Meditation. Want to join us? No experience required. We’re not fancy – no matching cushions and unfortunately, no giant Buddha statues. :) You’ll walk in through our yard which will likely be strewn with toys. Yet you’ll be warmly welcomed and supported in a quiet and peaceful place to connect with your most sane, grounded, spacious, embodied, kind, authentic self. Email us if you want to come and we’ll send specific details. Offered, as always, by donation. You are warmly welcomed to join us from 8-9:30 am.

3. Tai Chi In The Park 2018 is open for registration! There is a reason tai chi practitioners are called “players,” rather than serious, disciplined practitoners:) I love this class so much- kind of an essential toolkit for being embodied in the world, and a great group of people moving, learning and playing together in the park on Monday evenings…(details and registration below)

4. The next Tending the River of Grief Ritual will happen early on Sunday, May 27th, of Memorial Day weekend. Mark your calendar if you’d like to join Erin. More details coming soon.

5. You’ll find even more updates at the very bottom of this email. Please check out our upcoming offerings.

Our dear friend and mentor, Russell Delman, is returning to SLC! He’ll be offering a free talk at the downtown library on Friday, May 11th at 7 pm, sponsored by the Jung Society of Utah.  He’ll then be offering a workshop, Embodying Gratitude and Perseverance in Challenging TimesSaturdayand Sunday, May 12-13th at Vitalize Studio. Generously, Russell is offering members of the Jung Society 1/2 price tuition! You can read more about it and register https://www.russelldelman.com/180512_embodied-life-seminar.html here. He’s a kind, grounded, clear presence, and such a gift, especially during these challenging times.

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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.