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“It’s not happiness that makes us grateful but gratefulness that makes us happy.” – Br. David Steindl Rast

Hello, Sweetheart.

A note from Erin:

I snuck out of the house early this morning and headed to one of my favorite trails for a hike. Glad I had a scarf in my car as it was blessedly chilly in the canyon! I’m back home now, deeply refreshed after an early morning hike and a meditation practice on the mountain side. I saw no one else on the trail. It was one of those extraordinary simple mornings, rich with blessings. I love when I am awake enough to notice that. :)

I collect heart-shaped rocks I find in nature.

It was an extraordinary morning where I saw probably a few dozen heart rocks on this trail I’ve walked many times.

Wild synchronicity!

I always take them as a sign that I’m in the right place, all is well, keep my heart open and carry on.

I just love life.

I’ve heard a few of my teachers this year speak to the importance of having a body-based practice which can raise our capacity to “stand it so good.”

To actually be able to let ourselves feel happy, touched, delighted, without quickly damping it down.

Do you find yourself damping down your well-being?

You know, things are great and some part of you is just waiting for the disaster to happen, or the mind creates some unsolvable problem for you that has nothing to do with the moment at hand?

Here was my experience this morning:

I’m having a moment of deep delight in MillCreek Canyon, alone on a gorgeous trail, sunlight just striking the pine-covered mountain across the way, drinking in the fresh air, the blue sky, the feeling of “Oh, it is so good to be alive! To have a body that can do this!”

And then some part of my mind starts with, “What’s your problem? Why don’t you do this every day? You should have been doing this every day all summer!”

You know the voice?

I say “Oh, hello, sweetheart” to that inner voice. “You’re feeling critical this morning, aren’t you? Maybe you’d like to hike more. I hear you.”

And she quiets down, and my chest softens with a sense of that part feeling acknowledged.

Next comes another attempt to squelch this abundant well-being, “Other people are suffering. Do you really think you should be enjoying yourself so much?”

Truthfully, I struggle with that one a lot.

I’ve had my own dark nights of the soul, my own struggles and difficult moments. For sure.

But this morning, I’m just so happy to be where I am in life.

And some part of me feels guilty about that.

Again, I offer, “Hello sweetheart. You’re wondering if it’s ok for me to be happy. You’re worried, aren’t you? I hear you.” And she settles down.

The use of “Hello sweetheart” has been such a gift in my inner life. I‘m gratefully growing an inner capacity to be friendly toward anything in my inner experience.

I’m often amazed at how powerful it is to simply meet my inner experience with warmth, kindness, and “Yes, I hear you. That must be hard.”

Those inner contractions melt when met with such warmth!

Pretty different than my old tactic, “You’re a freakin’ Buddhist! You should be compassionate! You shouldn’t feel angry! What’s your problem?!”

(You can imagine how well that works… Not so much.)

Russell Delman has used a phrase which is very touching for me about practices we do in the Embodied Life work.

“We aim to dissolve the infrastructure of the historical self, while bowing to its unique gifts.”

Dissolving the infrastructure of my historical self includes seeing those critical voices as just that – voices, part of my historical conditioning.
Not the essence of who I am.

And then not damning them, suppressing them, nor letting them run the show.

Nothing denied, nothing identified with.

A tool that does absolute wonders for me is this simple phrase: “Hello, sweetheart.”

To elaborate a teeny bit more, I might say, “You don’t have to be different to receive my warmth.”

Saying that to my uptightness, my judgmental mind, my anger, my fretting, my sadness?

Wow.

I’m grateful to Russell for supporting me in growing this capacity more than I ever had before.

In Embodied Life work we also work at the level of the body. (obviously…)

The ways I’ve historically protected myself by say, stiffening my back, hardening against a difficult moment, sucking in my belly while “posturing”…. All those patterns can become habitual, and end up causing limitation, discomfort and pain.

At the same time that “Hello sweetheart” can allow a crotchety inner experience to relax, working with movement lessons to unwind the historical holding patterns I’ve carried in my body frees me at another level.

My chest is softer, my back more supple, I don’t harden against life so often.

And doing both of these practices together? It’s like a super-charged, super-friendly re-fresh button for the human being.

And I just love the perspective that our historical stuff is not just garbage to be thrown out – for each of us it has gifts. How liberating.

Oh how I love this work!

Personally and professionally I just love it so very very much.

I think it’s sooo worth investing in – my time and money. And Carl and I do…. we find it so extremely valuable to our whole lives – our relationships, our parenting, our aging, our bodies and health, our quality of life.

So we are passionate about making time and money to attend trainings and retreats. We practice, we read, we teach, we roll around on the floor, we talk about it um, well, all the time. :)

We’re so excited to be sharing this work with our community.

In just one month, our dear friend and mentor, Russell Delman will be in Salt Lake offering a weekend workshop in Embodied Life work.

Can we humbly say “Don’t miss it!!” ?

It’s not because we’re selling anything, or that we make a commission if you go (we don’t) –

It’s because we are so passionate about how this work can transform lives!

We see it doing this in our own lives, and in the many others we witness blossoming through Embodied Life.

Russell’s workshops are deeply impactful, while sprinkled with lots of laughter and lightheartedness. He’s a kind and skillful teacher who will put you right at ease.

The early bird-deadline is coming in a few weeks. We encourage you to grab the opportunity of having this incredible teacher in town and register for the workshop. People have already registered from surrounding states to attend while Russell is here. Don’t miss it! Click here for more information.

And, as you’ve seen we have other offerings coming up as well. We’re super excited about My Women Embodied Equinox Retreat at Snowbird’s Cliff Spa
 and our Begin Again Retreat in January in Costa Rica.

We would LOVE to share this work we’re so passionate about with you.

Wishing you a most wonderful day,

Erin

p.s. I just returned from Elizabethtown, Kentucky, where I got to visit my radiant 85 year old grandparents, and let Mesa fall as in love with them as I am, and them with him.

Such a special trip.

My heart is bursting with gratitude and love.

p.p.s. I almost forgot this poem I wanted to share with you today! This one’s from Em Claire. Enjoy.

May it be a day of being not in the way….

NOT IN THE WAY

I opened the soft-boiled egg:
ordinary
extraordinary
yolk more yellow
than a dandelion

and it entered
the field of
white plate

as quietly as a chaperone

while I

lips parted
body poised
thoughts hovering

was struck

by this innocent display
and for one single solitary
moment

was surprisingly

not

in the way

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