Before I dive into today’s writings, I’m so excited to share a few things with you.
- In addition to the “Things to Do When You Can’t Sleep” short free course I offered last week, this week I have a new free offering for the women among us, available for a limited time. It’s my Free Online Women Embodied Taster Course. Check it out here.
- In addition, registration is now, at long last, finally open (!!) for the full live/online version of Women Embodied, which starts in November. Check it out here or below. Space is limited to 24 women.
- We still have a few spaces left in our wonderful Feldenkrais workshop on Dynamic Transitions happening tomorrow. You can read more and sign up below!
And now onto today’s writing:
As you’re reading this, could you make yourself 10% more comfortable?
Could your eyes soften a bit to include peripheral vision? (And doesn’t your neck like that?)
Could you release unnecessary effort in your jaw?
Release some effort through your back?
Let your bones hold you a bit more? And perhaps inhabit your tallness a little more fully?
Let your belly soften with the next breath and follow it with a complete exhale?
Now we can go on.
This morning I’m grateful for:
- October’s luminosity. The light! The light! October light is spectacular. It reminds me everything is a gift and nothing lasts. Golden and fleeting and gorgeous.
- The sweet smell of leaf litter. I just want to breathe in the whole smell of these gorgeous days through every cell in my body.
- This steaming cup of green tea.
- My work that I love love love. Did I say I love it?! LOVE!
- My beloved Carl and our amazing child and the particular hilarity and amazingness of conversations with a 7-year old.
- My rich community of friends, family, clients, teachers, and all the beautiful non-human beings, including the group of shiny starlings playing on the ivy across from where I sit.
- A beautiful family gathering and celebration of my Nana’s life last weekend.
- My current “sit spot” in City Creek Canyon, under the yellow chestnut leaves by the shining creek.
- The living body of this earth, supporting us right this minute.
- My bones, your bones, our lovely bones.
In addition to whatever else is going on – what are you grateful for this morning?
For many years, Carl and I have unofficially declared October to be “Skeletal Awareness Month.”
I’m in love with bones. My own & others.
Close to the bone.
Feel it in your bones.
Think about it: Your skeleton is the only part of you which is made to bear your weight in gravity, and the more you sense and allow your skeleton to do its job of support, the less overwork you’ll tend to do muscularly.
The ground below offers you unconditional support externally. (Can you feel this right now? You are supported from below, no matter what kind of mood you’re in, no matter how long you’ve ignored the support. There it is!)
Consider that your skeleton offers a similar unconditional (and effortless) support internally.
Truly, allowing ourselves to receive these supports can make life SO much easier. In my experience, it’s not something you just “get” and then you “got it.”
It’s an ongoing relationship.
You and the earth.
You and your living bones.
You with your embodied self, you with the world. It’s all alive.
And now I’m thinking of Suzuki Roshi’s beautiful pointing. The breath is a swinging door between the outer world, which is infinite, and the inner world, which is infinite. And here we are.
Can you imagine what it might be like to have an ongoing experience of something inside of you on which you can always rely and which takes no effort? I don’t mean for you to read this and think,, “Yeah yeah. Nice words.” This is something you can feel. Right now.
In sitting, sense your sit bones, your ischial tuberosities at the base of your pelvis. They’ll take your weight if you’ll give it. (It can sometimes be helpful to sit with a hand under your sit-bone and roll your pelvis a little back and forth to clarify your experience of skeletal support.) Sitting toward the front edge of your chair, rather than shlumping in the back of it can also help you to feel this.
In standing, sense your feet (and in particular your heel bones), up through your long leg bones, into your pelvis and up your spine.
Today I invite you to playfully inquire, as often as you like, with sensing your skeleton and generously allowing it to do its job of supporting you in a field of gravity.
Can you find a way to let your skeleton support you so your muscles can be more neutral? That way they’ll be ready to move you, rather than exhausting themselves in gripping and holding you up.
Please remember – there is no “right way” you’re trying to discover.
In my experience, aiming toward a more “skeletal organization” increases ease across a wide spectrum of activities, from sitting at the computer to walking to more strenuous actions like lifting something heavy.
Aim toward more ease and pleasure and let go of “right.”
In the Feldenkrais Method – “skeletal neutrality” is one of the important teachings.
As Russell Delman writes, “This organization forms the basis, both physically and in metaphor, for what we can call “organismic neutrality.” In this state our physical, emotional, and mental patterns are sufficiently conscious that we can respond to life from freedom rather than react out of compulsion or exaggerated self-protection.
This freedom is NOT an illusory, unattainable ideal; it is actually the predictable product of our evolving capacity for embodied awareness.”
Perhaps as you see skeletons during this Halloween season, it could be a reminder to pause and sense into your own lovely bones.
I can’t emphasize enough the profundity of what happens when you discover within yourself an effortless source of reliable support.
Can you imagine living with an ongoing sense of something supportive, deep inside you, that is utterly reliable, and effortless? A part of you on which you can deeply rely? That is NOT your thinking mind?
Then the question becomes, “How willing am I to receive the support that is here?”
Our bones are also the part of us that is deepest, most hidden, yet gives structure to everything else.
Could sensing your lovely bones bring you in touch with your deepest self somehow? Would you be up for experimenting to find out?
I am. :)
Care to join me? Let’s appreciate our bones this week.
I found this gorgeous poem from Jane Hirshfield on the topic, and I simply love it.
I invite you to savor it.
I bet you will too.
a beautiful buffalo skull at Deena Metzger’s home
you who once ached
with your own growing larger
absorbed by your own
When I danced,
When you broke,
And so it was lying down,
climbing the tiring stairs.
Your jaws. My bread.
what is left of you,
will be flensed of this marriage.
cracked harp of ribcage,
blunt of heel,
opened bowl of the skull,
twin platters of pelvis-
each of you will leave me behind,
at last serene.
What did I know of your days,
I who held you all my life
inside my hands
and thought they were empty?
You who held me all my life
inside your hands
as a new mother holds
her own unblanketed child,
not thinking at all.
|Jane writes about this poem:
“Where the self begins and ends, what it is and isn’t, is a question that’s long been with me. There’s no objective measuring stick for metaphysical ponderings, but I’ve come to prefer thoughts that calibrate toward both realism and tenderness toward life’s bite but also its dearness. I’ve also come to like poems with facts in them. Bone does, quite factually, reabsorb into the body as the growing pains of childhood turn into the diminishing bone mass that marks its other end. Self returns to non-self. But in between, neither quite one or the other, the skeleton is there, almost always ignored and invisible, every step and breath of the way.”
Don’t you just love that?!? (bold added by me :) )
Erin’s free offering is ready for you! If you haven’t already, you can click here to access this free resource.