Re: Embodied Presence Can Be the River Under the River of Our Lives

A note from Erin, October 20 2023
Embodied Presence, grown in stillness and movement,
can be the river under the river of our lives,
generously hydrating our deepest, wisest, and most vital selves through both challenging and beautiful times.

Hello, beautiful human.

Before I share about my new course, I want to send a little bird of kindness and warm greetings on a quick migration from my heart to yours. Thank goodness we don’t have to hold the heartbreak of these times alone. Thanks for reading. I’m so grateful we’re connected.
These days continue to be full of great grief and abundant beauty, heavy with both loss and possibility. May we remember our hearts are as vast as the sky. That vast and wise heart has the space and capacity to hold life in all its diverse expressions, and to say with greatest kindness, inside and outside ourselves, “You are welcome here. I care about your suffering.” Let us pour our compassion and prayers for peace into the wounded places we can see.  As Rilke wrote, “Ah, the knowledge of impermanence that haunts our days is their very fragrance.” How true. How could we live through times like these without the poets? I recommend this beautiful piece written by a beloved poet elder this week – such timely soulful words to bolster our living into that vast heart. Read A Poet in Times of War here. 
When the world is in turmoil, or even when it’s not – is it worth taking the time to slow down and learn from what the poet Hafiz called “the most insignificant movements of your own holy body?” I believe it is.
Loving-kindness is a lovely ideal and one the world needs more of. It’s even more potent when it’s embodied. In the Why Feldenkrais series starting in November, we are not aiming to tune out the wider world but rather resourcing ourselves to meet it in sustainable, creative, and life-giving ways. We need times of unburdened intimacy with our own lives to refresh and regroup. To find simple joys and greater ease.
In the Why Feldenkrais class I’m offering we are practicing to bring something radical to our lives and to the world. Embodied presence. Less aggression. More compassion. Less domination. More listening. Greater presence.
It really makes a difference and it really matters. 
As we reduce unnecessary and often unconscious aggression in our own movement and postural habits, we’re reducing the amount of aggression in the world. As we embody more lovingkindness in both how we move and how we pay attention, we’re creating a more warm-hearted, accepting presence in the world – both inner and outer. We can explore the gifts inside pain, and discover for ourselves the truth in the statement that boldly says “Genius hides behind the wound.” As we steep in this practice, we find ourselves, quite spontaneously, being more creative in our responses to life situations. Embodied practices like these offer ballast for challenging times. And holy wow, do we need ballast. As one teacher of mine said, “Increasing complexity requires deeper roots.” Why not root more deeply into your own embodied presence to navigate the increasing complexity of our times? I’d love to practice with you.
I think of one client who, after we worked together for a year, said to me, “I am SO grateful for my back pain! It led me to you, and then to changing my life in such amazing ways.” She has not only greatly reduced her pain, she has blossomed in such an inspiring way and her life is so much bigger and more creative than when I met her.
I’m thinking of another client whose chronic neck troubles evaporated when he accepted his body’s message that he needed to break up with a partner who wasn’t a fit for him. It’s not always easy to delve into our pain as a creative learning process. Healing doesn’t always look healthy. But through the kind of curious, slowed-down, and infinitely kind investigation of ourselves that we learn to do through Awareness Through Movement explorations, we can uncover treasure hiding in this very body, in this very moment. I’m using this approach as I navigate a significant injury and I’m so grateful to know how to work with myself in such gentle and potent ways!
As Michael Meade wrote, “Healing is a revolutionary act and we are here to awaken to the true nature of our own souls and the gifts we have to give to the world.” How amazing that we can step onto this path again and again when we come to the floor with reverent curiosity to engage in a Feldy lesson. My course is a series of 20 30-minute lessons exploring themes of deep importance to me through movement. The first 4 lessons are free and you’re welcome to sample them, as well as join for the next two free classes coming up soon. All details on the themes and the dates are here. 
There are many ways we can practice to grow qualities we’d like to nurture. In this course I’m unpacking why, after decades of working with people through so many modalities (yoga, tai chi, meditation, embodied inquiry, Focusing, soul work, grief tending, deep ecology, etc.) I think Feldenkrais offers some unique and powerful learning opportunities I’ve not found elsewhere. I’m so deeply grateful for this learning in my own life. I’d love to see you in the class. I hope you’ll consider joining me. 
Finally, I’d love to remind you that Carl and I host an online embodied sitting meditation practice every weekday morning open to all levels of experience. If you can’t attend at 6 am MT on weekdays, feel free to join our Patreon to receive recordings of the meditations. Meditation is another potent practice that offers powerful ballast for growing a life of sanity during insane times. You’re warmly invited to join us anytime for as little as $3/month. Donations of any amount are received with deep gratitude. I’m so grateful for the kind-hearted and deeply human sangha that gathers with us. You are welcome too.
May your own embodied presence be an ever-open doorway to feeling at home, to experiencing deep belonging and the felt beauty of this precious, temporary aliveness.
From my heart,
p.s. The photo above is from my friend Tiffany Sankary who is hosting Why Feldenkrais through her beautiful online classroom at Movement & Creativity. (Thanks Tiffany!)
p.p.s. A blessing and a vision:
For All Beings
by  Zenju Earthlyn Manuel
May all beings be cared for and loved,
Be listened to, understood and acknowledged despite different views,
Be accepted for who they are in this moment,
Be afforded patience,
Be allowed to live without fear of having their lives taken away or their bodies violated.
May all beings,
Be well in its broadest sense,
Be fed,
Be clothed,
Be treated as if their life is precious,
Be held in the eyes of each other as family.
May all beings,
Be appreciated,
Feel welcomed anywhere on the planet,
Be freed from acts of hatred and desperation including war, poverty, slavery, and street crimes,
Live on the planet, housed and protected from harm,
Be given what is needed to live fully, without scarcity,
Enjoy life, living without fear of one another,
Be able to speak freely in a voice and mind of undeniable love.
May all beings,
Receive and share the gifts of life,
Be given time to rest, be still, and experience silence.
May all beings,
Be awake.
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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.