A note from Carl:
Last week, I was doing an Awareness Through Movement lesson guided by a colleague and teacher of ours, Dennis Leri.
At a certain point in the lesson, the movement that was suggested was challenging, and very non-habitual, and I could tell from the recording that the people in the class were kind of cranking on themselves to try to accomplish the proposed movement. Dennis then paused and said: “Can you go slowly enough that your imagination can catch up with what your lack of imagination is doing?”
Erin and I have loved reflecting on the brilliance of this line and how applicable it is to so many contexts in life.
Where is my “lack of imagination” pushing forward with speed and momentum- leaving other imagined possibilities, far behind? Part of the great benefit of Feldenkrais lessons is that we can learn so much about how we are in the world through how we are with ourselves in our movement. Where do we sacrifice our inner quality of movement in favor of some kind of outer goal?
When Gandhi said “The means you use must be an expression of the end you seek,” he was talking about our imagination- how do we not let our speed, our will, our goals, our ambition trump what is most important and valuable to us in the process? Like so many things, it often requires slowing down enough to notice what we are actually doing, and to catch up with the “lack of imagination” that is driving the bus. We can see this clearly in a movement lesson, when we tense the jaw, when we hold our breath, when we use force, but slowing down enough to let our imagination catch up can occur anywhere in life.
For me, some indicators of a lack of imagination can be rushing, multi-tasking, judging, going through the motions, small-talking, feeling victimized, being half-present, drifting aimlessly online, etc. When I slow down enough to recognize what I’m doing with full presence, then I can allow my imagination to come in. Then I can choose a different quality of attention. As David Whyte says,
“When you pay profound attention, profound things can happen.”
Here is a good reminder from poet Danna Faulds:
It only takes a reminder to breathe,
a moment to be still and just like that,
something in me settles, softens,
makes space for imperfection. The harsh
voice of judgment drops to a whisper
and I remember again that life isn’t a relay race;
that we will all cross the finish line;
that waking up to life is what we were born for.
As many times as I forget, catch myself charging forward
without even knowing where I am going,
that many times I can make the choice
to stop, to breathe, to be and walk
slowly into the mystery.
1. There are still a few spaces in the Nourishing Inner-Being workshop this Sunday from 12-4. Details and registration link are below.
2. Registration opens today for Embodying The Masculine 2016! Details below.
3. We will be hosting an all day sit for peace on New Years Day, Jan. 1st, in our office space in the Avenues neighborhood of Salt Lake City. Others around the world from our Embodied Life community will be sitting with us as well. The times will be 7-9, 10-12, 1-3 and 4-6pm. In each session we will sit for 50 minutes, with a soft bell at 25 minutes for those who wish to stretch, then we will have ten minutes walking or movement practice followed by another sit. You are welcome to come for any or all of the meditation periods. Please arrive a few minutes before the session begins. If you plan to attend and want more information and our address, just reply to this email. We’d love to have you join for any or all of the day!
Embodying The Masculine 2016
A 14-week Course for Men
Begins Monday, Feb 21st
Mindful Yoga Collective
For as long as humans have existed, men have gathered in sacred circles to speak, listen and connect together around the great mysteries of life. These circles have become increasingly rare in modern life- and we need them, perhaps more now than at any time in human history.
In this group, we will gather together a group of men with the intention of learning to more fully inhabit our bodies, to connect with our center, and grow our capacity to listen- to each other, and to our inner lives as we explore the rich terrain of what it means to be a man living in these times.
Through the course we will explore a series of movement lessons based in Feldenkrais and The Embodied Life that will have several intentions. First, to unwind and release the areas where men tend to hold tension and have restriction in movement- including the shoulders, chest, hamstrings, hip-joints and low back. The lessons will center around learning to inhabit, and move from the Hara or Dan tien- the vital center of the lower belly (which can be very different from what we have learned about moving from a tightly held core.) These lessons can greatly impact and improve a range of things from low back pain to your golf game, from lovemaking to how you sit or stand at work, or just an overall sense of ease, grace, and vitality in movement with aging, as well as profoundly reducing anxiety and a thinking mind run amok.
We will also explore together the qualities of the positive masculine archetype that we wish to grow or experience more fully. As there has been so much suffering caused in the world by the negative masculine- violence against women, warfare, destruction of natural resources… it can often seem like there are few role models for the positive, life-giving aspects of the masculine. We will explore together how we embody, and how we can deepen these qualities of the positive masculine that are so needed in the world today.
The movement lessons and other practices will also support a central theme of the course which is how to become more embodied in our lives. For most of us in our culture, and particularly for men, we tend to be centered in our heads. For many human cultures, however, particulary pre-agricultural humans, the “center” was experienced in the Hara, the lower belly. For many others cultures, where “I” am was experienced in the heart. What we will explore is this question: Is it possible to inhabit, and have access to the intelligence of our heads, our hearts, our bellies simultaneously? Could our thinking life, our feeling life, our sensing and moving life all be experienced together as an integrated wholeness?
“Simply put, as long as we remain in our heads, we will remain married to the values of our head.
That in a nutshell is our culture’s Achilles’ heel- and by extension, the Achilles’ heel of all of us.”
“The importance of being genuinely seen and heard can’t be overestimated. One of the ways that the soul grows is by being seen and recognized. If a man has never been recognized at the soul level, he won’t know who he is in times of crisis and he will feel inauthentic more often than not. If a man has never been heard, he’ll have great difficulty listening to others.. . . In their responses to the mythic stories and as they tell their personal stories, men say surprising things, but you sometimes have to listen hard to hear them. The first piece of learning in this sudden community of men becomes opening the ears to the stories of others.”
In this course, we will create a safe container to that welcomes us showing up in all of our power and potency, all of our grief, vulnerability and self-doubt, as we explore what it is to man in these times.
Classes will include:
- Movement Lessons (with recordings available)
- Guided inquiries, partner practices and meditations around embodiment.
- Resource Growing Practices (ways of cultivating the states that we most value)
- Readings from Michael Meade, Philip Shepard, David Deida and others.
- Awesome poetry
- Plenty of time for speaking and listening to one another.
Begins Monday Feb 21st 7:15-9pm At The Mindful Yoga Collective 223 S. 700 E. Suite 4
Retreat Day Sat, April 16
Cost: $495 Before Jan 7 click here to register.
$595 after Jan 7.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
A Workshop With Carl Rabke
At Vitalize Studio Sunday, Dec 20 12-4
The holidays can be a time where we feel like what Bilbo Baggins describes: “I feel thin, sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread.” Too much to do, not enough time, too much travel, too much food, sugar and alcohol, a few too many gatherings…
Tara Brach often shares the joke that “Death begins at birth, and accelerates at dinner parties.”
In this time of year, in the darkest days, when many of us have so much on our plates, it can be essential to turn inward and nourish the qualities that support our vitality, presence and ability connect with ourselves and others.
In this workshop, we will explore Feldenkrais movement lessons to help release the places that tend to accumulate stress- the shoulders, jaw, the back, the breathing…And we will grow our capacities for embodied presence- our connection with the ground, vitality in our bellies, length in the spine, freedom in the chest…
There will also be wonderful poetry, and guided practices to help nourish your inner-being on this day before the Solstice.
Sunday December 20th
Vitalize Studio 2154 S Highland Drive (north entrance)
Cost $65 pre-registered Click here to register
Mark Your Calendar for Upcoming Events
- Nourishing Inner Being: A workshop with Carl Sunday, December 20th at Vitalize. Details above.
- 11/19 registration opens for Women Embodied Live 2016. 3 spots left! Class begins in February. Read more here.
- Embodying The Masculine: A Course For Men begins February 2016
- A workshop with Russell Delman! March 19–20, 2016, with a free/by donation public talk on March 18th. Stay tuned for details!
- Laurie Wagner is coming to town! July 2016. Details coming soon!
- Santa Fe Retreat with Erin and Nan, September 15–18, 2016