Your Way of Looking at Things

A note from Carl:
In 2005, when we were in the midst of our Feldenkrais training in Santa Fe, New Mexico, we had the opportunity one evening to see Robert Bly and Martin Prechtel together. Each of these men had a strong influence on us, and we were delighted to see these two wise, coyote mischief makers together in an intimate setting. At one point, before Robert Bly read a poem by William Stafford, he asked the audience for a show of hands: Who knew of William Stafford’s poetry? Only a few hands went up, and Robert positively yelled at us all to go and read his work. Best scolding ever.
Willam Stafford is one of my favorite poets. One poem that I come back to over and over again is this:
When I Met My Muse
I glanced at her and took my glasses
off–they were still singing. They buzzed
like a locust on the coffee table and then
ceased. Her voice belled forth, and the
sunlight bent. I felt the ceiling arch, and
knew that nails up there took a new grip
on whatever they touched. “I am your own
way of looking at things,” she said. “When
you allow me to live with you, every
glance at the world around you will be
a sort of salvation.” And I took her hand.
~ William Stafford
“I am your own way of looking at things,” she said. “When you allow me to live with you, every glance at the world around you will be a sort of salvation.”
Can you take that in? Could you see your own unique way of perceiving, your own way of looking at things as a kind of salvation? To truly honor your quirks, your style, your voice, the way you move, the way you laugh, the things you pay attention to.
This notion of what Michael Meade calls your unique genius has been a central element of the paths that Erin and I have been following for many years. How do you follow a path or learn something new in a way that supports you unfolding unabashedly into who you are? Your unique, irreplaceable genius? How do teachers teach in a way that supports their students in becoming more themselves, rather than becoming more like the teacher or the tradition? These are inquiries we hold dearly.
The more we can tune to our unique genius, the one-of-a-kind way we see the world, love the world, are heartbroken by the world, the ways we have been wounded, and the ways that our gifts are woven into those wounds; the more we can discover what our unique and necessary soul-medicine might be in response to the deep challenges we face on this Earth.
May we each follow our muse and relax more completely into our own way of looking at things.
Wishing you well,
p.s. Last week, we lost a beautiful genius, Stephen Harrod Buhner. Stephen was the author of beloved books Ensouling Language, Earth Grief, and many books on plant medicine and plant intelligence. He was a brilliant writer on your unique genius and what it means to find and inhabit your own voice. We are deeply grateful for the impact his work has had on us and if you’re not already familiar, invite you to dive down this beautiful rabbit hole.
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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.