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

Are you correcting yourself? Standing tall with ease.

Have you been outside yet? What new smells were there? What birds have made their amazing journey back from the south? I love a story that Martin Prechtel writes about his shamanic studies with his teacher in Guatemala. As the two would walk through the jungle, his teacher, Chiv, would suddenly stop and say “How many birds do you hear? Which types? From which directions?”

Try it in the city – in can be a delightful doorway into presence and wonder.

Last night Erin and I had a long conversation about a topic that is so dear to our hearts, and central to the work we do…Have you ever had the sense that you need to correct or manipulate your posture (your SELF) in some way?

No, me neither ;)

Ha!

This attitude toward correction and manipulation is something that is so deeply rooted in our relationship with embodiment. In fact, for many of us, our sense of being embodied is an elaborate, endless script of self correction. Tuck this, ground this, lift this, free this, if only this part of me were different, maybe I could try to shrink this, strengthen that….

Over the years of studying with various somatic schools, I have seen and practiced countless corrections. They all can be very helpful tools at times – yet as a way of being in the world, self-manipulation can be quite tiresome on many levels.

 

Can you see the naturalness and ease that Mesa embodies in this photo?

Can you see that he is he is not giving himself any instructions on how to sit upright?

We all had that as children.

We all can still have access to that. (Though indeed it can be buried under levels of habit.)

When we feel that we need to continuously manipulate ourselves in some way to be OK, we will inhabit a very limited universe.

So how do we dance with our habits of shortening, slouching, shlumping?

How do we work with the effects of years of sitting at desks and in front of computers that make upright sitting or standing feel like something that requires work, something that requires a “doing?”

Imagine that uprightness is your natural state, a sublime laziness.

Slouching at the computer takes effort.

Muscularly pulling yourself up from slouching takes even more effort.

As Moshe Feldenkrais quipped, “When you know what you are doing, you can do what you want.”

The lift, the length, the uprightness that comes is the effortless side effect of learning to let go of what we are “doing” that is unnecessary.

And lastly on this theme,

a poem from Derek Walcott

Love After Love

The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.

– Derek Walcott

Wishing you a great feast on your life,

Carl

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