A note from Erin:
Thank you, from my heart, for being a part of our community!
There’s a line in a song by Rising Appalachia that I love: “Good people all around me, acting kindly, acting wisely… open your eyes, what do you see?” I’m grateful to see, in addition to heartbreaking news, that there are good people all around me acting kindly and wisely. I’m grateful you’re one of them.
This is my first writing from the heart for a few months and in addition to my sharing – it includes a big update on our schedule and the future directions of our work. If you’re interested in what we’re up to and ways you can work with us, you may want to save this one.
Can I share a story with you?
Years ago I was listening to a talk by psychologist and meditation teacher, Tara Brach. Yet another innocent black person had been shot and killed by police, and yet again, no significant consequences came to the officer. How heartbreaking that I can’t even remember WHICH time it was when that happened. Anyway, she shared a letter from an African American woman who was part of her meditation community. In their group, similar to my experience being in Buddhist groups and spiritual communities over 25 years, the activism stuff is left out. Sometimes even looked down upon.
Anyway, when Tara read aloud the letter from this black woman to her meditation community, I was bracing for that woman’s rage. I was expecting her to say, “Why aren’t you out here protesting with us? You hypocritical jerks!”
Instead, she said with heartbreaking gentleness to her white community, “Your voice is missed.”
I was listening to the podcast while washing dishes and tears slipped down my face as I stood there in the kitchen. I knew it was true. That gentle reflection rocked me to my core more than any shaming, should-ing, or call-out kind of situation ever could have. “Your voice is missed.”
She was right. My voice was missed. Perhaps your voice too?
So many of us have been conditioned to believe our voices don’t matter. We’re not smart enough. Someone knows more than we do. It’s just “little old me.” And yet – our voices truly matter.
Immediately I dove into the ongoing project of educating myself about racial issues and untold histories and learning how to be an imperfect antiracist ally.
Flash forward to today.
Over the past several monthsI’ve been on a deep journey. To be honest, it’s felt like the underworld. Or a bog. Maybe it was the waking up syndrome.
I’ve been opening my heart to the reality of the climate emergency and many other issues plaguing our world.
I cannot ignore it and so fail my son and the future generations by simply taking care of my own feeling good. It’s true, as Al Gore said long ago, that it IS a rather inconvenient truth. But it’s one that begs our attention.
I went deep into wondering, given the intense realities and challenges of this time, does this work I’m doing matter? Or is it simply a way for me and other people to just self-soothe and go numb while ignoring the hard realities?
A central question I live with is this: What do I need to do to deepen my self-respect?
Over the summer, the answer became clear. I need to adjust my work and my way of being in the world to truly honor the situation we’re in. To engage, what one of my mentors, Deena Metzger, describes this way: Consciously ceasing our involvement with those forms and values that we, individually, believe do harm to human and non-human beings, the earth and the future. Entering the long and exacting practice of bringing our lives into alignment with our beliefs and understanding.
It is indeed a long and exacting process.
After much soul-searching, I’ve come to the recognition that embodiment really does matter. It matters a lot. The profound set of tools and practices that we carry and teach can be incredibly potent support for meeting these times with heart and integrity – not only for our own wellbeing, which is, of course, important, but to support the wellbeing of life itself.
I’m inspired to extend a hand to you, my community.
To say, as was said to me, “Your voice is missed.”
To say, “We can do this together.”
To say, “You matter. Don’t give up. Rise up. We can help each other.”
I want to invite you to wade into the muck together and to look at the truth of things.
Life is full of so much beauty and so much grief and so many miracles and so much ruin.
And how we live matters.
I want to invite us to bring the shimmering intelligence of our fully embodied presence to this task.
I want to invite you to join me in a learning state.
We can ground, center, feel our breathing bodies, and remember.
We can do hard things with less effort and more pleasure.
We can wake up and dedicate ourselves to supporting life.
We can heal ourselves as we commit to healing our world.
We can honor our inner authority and lead with love.
Embodiment does matter. It really really matters. More than ever.
We want to create potent contexts to share what helps – not only for our personal healing but for world healing.
We are called.
And the time is now.
And as Dogen said, It’s too late to be ready.
Here’s a quote I think about frequently.
“Vitally, the human race is dying. It is like a great uprooted tree, with its roots in the air.
We must plant ourselves again in the universe.” – D.H.Lawrence
Let’s plant ourselves again in the universe, shall we?
For us, this is at the core of what it means to be embodied. It’s about so much more than optimizing your posture and helping your hip joints and your breathing – each of which is super important as well. They are ways of sliding your roots back into the universe.
We dearly hope and believe that becoming embodied, reconnected, and getting our roots back in the ground can support the healing not only of we humans individually, but support the healing of the living world.
In the Work That Reconnects, a profoundly beautiful body of work developed by one of my sheroes, Joanna Macy, we practice with a healing spiral.
It begins with reflecting on Gratitude.
What do you love most about being alive today?
Then we move into Honoring Our Pain.
What is breaking your heart? We honor the deep intelligence in your particular grief, heartache, and outrage. It offers its own particular intelligence.
Then we go into Seeing With New Eyes. This is a beautiful step that both includes having new perspectives on reality, and also creatively visioning the world we wish to see come into being.
What is your unique vision for the more beautiful world your heart knows is possible?
The last step is Going Forth – moving into your day and your life, acting in ways that are inspired by the first three steps.
Considering the responses to the questions above, how then shall I live?
by Dori Midnight
I’d love to share with you some of the ways that Carl and I are going forth…
This morning I made a video for you – a medley of four poems which are such good soul food for these times. They’re helping my heart. May they help yours too.
I call it Bells & Seeds.
Click here to watch or listen to me read these beautiful poems.
With gratitude and deepest bows to the poets, Rainer Maria Rilke, Denise Levertov, Brooke McNamara, and Fred LaMotte.
What would we do without the poets?!?!
Carl and I are so excited to be opening the doors to The Embodiment Lab – a monthly online learning adventure that combines movement practices, somatic meditation, and all kinds of resources for living a more embodied life for the benefit of all life. You can sign up for the free intro course here. The official first month of the Embodiment Lab begins on October 1st as we enter into our favorite season of fall with all kinds of inspiration and practical tools to support your embodied life. We hope you’ll join us. We’re offering this as a reasonably priced way for people to work with us from anywhere in the world. We’ll have an invitation for you to join us for the first official month of the Lab – working with Inner Authority & Sovereignty in an embodied way – very soon.
I’m offering a workshop straight from my heart: Root and Rise is coming right up August 23-25th. I’d LOVE to have you join me in SLC for this heartening journey into practices that will welcome you just as you are and help you move from despair to active hope.
I still have space for you and there are multiple price options.
Joanna Macy, one of my sheroes and the creator of this work says, “The central purpose of the Work that Reconnects is to help people uncover and experience their innate connections with each other and with the systemic, self-healing powers of the web of life, so that they may be enlivened and motivated to play their part in creating a sustainable civilization.” Doing this along with embodiment practices is so powerful and nourishing. I hope you’ll join me not only for your own healing but to support the healing of our world.
We need your active hope:
“Active Hope is not wishful thinking.
Active Hope is not waiting to be rescued by some savior.
Active Hope is waking up to the beauty of life on whose behalf we can act.
We belong to this world.
The web of life is calling us forth at this time.
We’ve come a long way and are here to play our part.
With Active Hope we realize that there are adventures in store,
strengths to discover, and comrades to link arms with.
Active Hope is a readiness to discover the strengths
in ourselves and in others;
a readiness to discover the reasons for hope
and the occasions for love.
A readiness to discover the size and strength of our hearts,
our quickness of mind, our steadiness of purpose,
our own authority, our love for life,
the liveliness of our curiosity,
the unsuspected deep well of patience and diligence,
the keenness of our senses, and our capacity to lead.
None of these can be discovered in an armchair or without risk.”
– Joanna Macy
I’ve created a new fall course, The Great Turning: Introducing Evolutionary Embodiment. We’ll be applying our powerful embodiment tools to healing ourselves while we commit to healing the world. This class meets locally in SLC, UT.
Having been engaged in my own grieving and reorienting process as I really let my heart take in the realities of the climate crisis and the many challenges facing us in the world right now, I feel strongly called to create a learning context and a community gathering place where we can use and deepen our embodiment skills and aim them toward the healing of our world. A context where we can admit how much we care and how much our hearts are aching. A place where we can listen within our own wise body-mind and to each other for the wisdom we need at this time. A place where we are welcomed exactly as we are, and where we can root into support to live a life aligned with our values.
Your voice and heart and unique way of responding have never been more needed.
I want to take your hand and invite you to do this work with me – together – with respect, kindness, and room for it all.
I’m offering an Embodied Listening Class live online this winter. I’ll be offering an evening time (Monday evenings, 6:30-8:30pm, Mountain Time) and a daytime option (Tuesdays from 10am-12pm Mountain time.)
This class offers guidance in a profoundly helpful and easily learnable skill. My life has improved a thousand times having learned how to listen better to my own inner life and how to listen well to others. The course includes a supportive context in which to practice regularly. Rooted in my many years of studying Focusing, Embodied Inquiry, and Somatic Descent, I promise I’ll do my best to make it simple for you to access this super-helpful skill with ease. We’ll be meeting on Zoom, an easy online video platform. Plan to spend one extra hour each week practicing with an assigned partner. Registration and details are coming very soon! This course will run through December & January.
We’ve got many rich podcast conversations to educate, inspire, and support your life – and we’ve got many more to come.
We are truly grateful to offer this rich resource as a gift to our community!
We are also deeply grateful for our monthly supporters! You too can support this effort too for just $2/month.
Once we gather enough monthly support, we hope to be able to offer transcripts of these beautiful, life-giving conversations.
In the meantime, listen, share, enjoy!
On September 8th, we’ll be hosting a one-day Art of Walking Immersion. We’re so excited! One of our favorite applications of Feldy learning. Join us in SLC for this movement and learning adventure that can change the quality of your walking in ways you can harvest for the rest of your life. Read more and register here.
September 25-28, I’ll be teaching The Way of Tenderness with Nan Seymour at Ghost Ranch, NM. Join us for an Integrative Embodiment & Writing retreat in one of the most beautiful and inspiring landscapes in the world. We still have a few spaces left! https://embodimentmatters.com/the-way-of-tenderness/ We’re thrilled to be bringing our own private chef this year for extra yum.
Mark your calendar because on October 25-27th I’ll be offering another Root and Rise workshop in SLC. I can’t express how powerful and necessary this coming together to meet our times with open questions, wise and potent practices and kind-hearted community is. Please join me! Registration coming soon.
One of our joys is helping to bring amazing beings to our local community. November’s a full month of goodness in Salt Lake City.
We begin with Francis Weller’s Grief Ritual workshop which Carl and I will be assisting and are grateful to be co-hosting with our friends from the Jung Society of Utah.
We’re also honored to host Stephen Jenkinson and The Nights of Grief and Mystery Tour on November 16h. This is such an amazing event. So excited! Check out the video for a taste of this musical, soulful evening.
Mark your calendar because on December 14th, we’ve got a retreat day planned. Join us for Embody Presence. Registration is coming soon for this annual dose of embodied slowness, presence, and deep rest to nourish your inner being.
In February, we’re thrilled to be returning to Finca Mia in Costa Rica to offer the first Evolutionary Embodiment retreat. Not at a fancy resort (those make me so uncomfortable), we’re staying at a gorgeous permaculture farm and retreat center with goodhearted folks who are walking their talk. We’ll be doing daily meditation, movement, and explorations in Embodiment, Work that Reconnects, Deep Ecology, Embodied Listening, and more. It’s going to be sooooo awesome! The food is fantastic and the place is beautiful. We strive to create a great balance between structured learning time and free time. We hope you’ll join us! Registration and lots more details are coming soon.
And a big announcement:
I’m in the midst of creating my new multi-year training program called Evolutionary Embodiment. We’ll be meeting in person twice a year over 3 years for a week(ish) at a time. We’ll also have monthly training classes online via zoom and Ruzuku in between our live meetings. I’m working out details with some beautiful retreat centers and will have more info and begin taking applications this fall. I can hardly wait to tell you more!
I’ve also been in contact with many beautiful retreat centers and am intending to offer many more residential retreats and opportunities for people to experience this work in person around the country and the world. More details coming soon. 2020 is going to be a big year!
I’m also at work on my book and have so much excitement for it.
We’ve got even more beautiful things in the works which we look forward to sharing about when the time comes.
As you probably can tell, while I’ve been grieving the state of the world, I am powerfully motivated to do what I can to help. I’m super passionate about all of it! It’s fueled by a wholehearted love. And… I’m also a working mom and wife and friend and like most of us, I am usually juggling many balls. Sometimes gracefully, sometimes not so much. :) With all these new sprouts emerging, this fall is the last season that I will be accepting new clients into my private practice. As of the new year, I’ll only be working 1:1 with people who are already established private clients or who are students in my training program. Carl is still seeing lucky people for hands-on work, and oh, is it amazing. Contact him to get on his schedule.
Please remember this:
“The world is churning all around us, overheating with climate change and intensifying conflicts, but also awash with profound problems and rising seas. We live in critical times, amidst a worldwide shaking up and breaking down, surrounded by radical changes that severely affect both nature and culture.
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. The idea of a genius self already present and trying to awaken within each of us may serve us better than more common notions of a heroic solution.
The question becomes not whether or not you are a genius, but in what way does genius appear in you and how might it contribute to your own wellbeing and benefit the world around you.”
Excerpted from Michael Meade’s excellent book, The Genius Myth.
With so much love,
and a deep bow to your native genius and the possibilities that remain,