Releasing the Dam

Dec. 10, 2021

Block 4th
A note from Carl:
Greetings Dear Friends,
I hope this finds you well.
I’ll start today’s note with a little poem from Mark Nepo:
The Dive
Brave your way on.
You are a blessing waiting
to be discovered by yourself.
The wisdom waits in your heart
like a buried treasure which
only loving your self can
bring to the surface. And
yes, loving your self is like
diving to the bottom of the
ocean with nothing but who
you are to find your way.
-Mark Nepo
May we brave our way on in these wild times.
I invite you to pause as you are reading this and notice if you can also include awareness of the contact you are making with the ground under you. The direct sensations under your feet, under your butt. Could you generously offer your weight down so as to receive the support that this living connection with the Earth offers?
I know I need to be reminded of this at least 100 times a day –and oh how different the experience of reading something, or writing something, or checking email becomes when I also include the ground’s support, this living breath, and my whole field of body sensations. Easy to forget, but fortunately, easy to remember too – again and again.
Before I share further reflections, I want to let you know I still have space in my Sweet Darkness retreat on Saturday, December 18th. Movement, stillness, poetry and reflection. Yum. Erin also still has some space in her beautiful New Years gathering, Begin Again, on Sunday, January 2nd. You’re also warmly welcome to join Erin live on zoom for a community Praise Practice on Saturday December 11th! Details and registration are here. 
Registration is also open for an upcoming 5-week live Zoom course I’ll be teaching in January:  “Coming Home to Your Animal Body- A Course in Movement, Attention and Naturalness.” I’ll also be opening registration next week for a men’s group called “A Soulful Response to Our Times” which will begin in February.
We’ve shared some new wonderful podcast episodes since our last newsletter: with Pat McCabe (Woman Stands Shining,) Jozef Frucek of Fighting Monkey, mindfulness teacher Kaira Jewel, and beekeeper, teacher, and dreamweaver, Ariella Daly. You can check any or all of those out here.
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We love all of our podcast conversations, and our recent one with Pat McCabe was particularly moving. Several people have written us sharing that they were brought to tears listening, as all three of us were during the conversation.
Erin and I have both followed Pat’s work over the years, and pretty much every piece of writing, or teaching or podcast I hear from her has me in goosebumps and tears. She is a treasure and a healing presence for these times and for this Earth.
At one point, when we were speaking on the topic of money and the climate crisis Pat said:
“As Chief Seattle said, ‘One day they are going to realize that they can’t eat money.‘ Well, that day is coming. All that money that you hoard is going to be worthless. So now is actually the time to consider what should I be doing with this, that is really dammed-up life that has been hoarded and kept apart from the life systems. That’s actually what it is, because it’s all been extracted from life itself. Now that the Earth is going through what she is going through, now is the time to release that dam, and let that life flow, and it looks like money. That has to happen. And I would do it sooner rather than later, because what are you going to do when the Earth is dying, and you have all your zeros in your bank account and you could have done something, and you sat on it, because you couldn’t accept the reality of what was coming? You can’t eat money.”
I have been reflecting on this since our conversation. What would it be like if more humans released the dam. The dam of money, the dam of our heart’s attention, the dam of what feels most important, and let it all flow in the the direction of healing our relationship with the Earth?
In a way, it feels like money could be more valuable now, and have more impact now, than at any other time in human history. Imagine if what you did with your money and your attention today could be a tipping point that could allow your grandchildren to live in a world where there are still thriving fish populations living in the ocean. Or that your great-great grandchildren could look back and know that how you showed up, that how we showed up in these times helped support them in having clean water and air, perhaps helped thousands of species from going extinct and languages from being lost forever?
I think many of us felt disappointment and grief along with not so much surprise with the recent gathering of world leaders at COP26. Or in hearing that the US has committed to be net carbon zero by 2050. (Which reminds me of a meme I saw of an old Irish man who made the commitment to stop drinking by 2050. :)
Clearly, the changes we need are not going to be coming from world leaders or heads of cooperations, but rather will come from individuals, just like you and me, turning toward a different way of life.
I love Micheal Meade’s take on how essential every one of us is to the challenges we face:
“Given the size, scope, and complexity of the problems that currently threaten the world, there can be no single idea, specific political movement, or patented belief system that can save us. All kinds of ingenious solutions are needed; all types of inspiration, invention, and originality are now required. Rather than insisting on a single idea or belief, rather than dedicating to a certain ideology, it might be wiser to learn how to awaken and engage the unique genius waiting to be found in each person regardless of ethnicity, gender orientation or social class.” – Michael Meade
May we each bring our unique genius in response to our world. Each dam that is released will allow a flow unlike any other river. Our dear elder friend and dharma brother, Vaughn, sits every Friday on the steps of Utah’s Capitol, often alone, sometimes with students, in solidarity with Greta Thunberg and the younger generations. My 76-year-old mom gets up at 3 am, sometimes in blizzards, to walk the beach looking for endangered sea-turtles that get caught in Cape Cod Bay, and wash up on the shores barely alive, and who are then rehabilitated and released. Our beloved friend Nan brings people together on the shores of the rapidly shrinking Great Salt Lake to write love letters and to grieve, and to raise awareness to heal this ecosystem that supports the lives of tens of millions of migratory birds among many other beings. In what ways is the river of your heart’s deep care longing to flow?
May we each release the dams.
Sending you much love,
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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.