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

No Villians and No Victims

Just taking a moment as I sit down at the computer to feel the support of the chair under my butt, the weight of my two feet on the ground. Sounds simple, like some part of my mind could say “Oh, yes, I know that, support of the earth, I learned that years ago…” Yet when I actually do it, it is like magic, so fresh, and it totally transforms the experience of sitting in front of this screen.

Does anything change in your experience if you pause and sense the support of the ground?

I wanted to share a passage from a book that touches on a topic that came up in our Tuesday night class this week, and is very much alive for me this morning. It is from “The Radical Acceptance Of Everything: Living a Focusing Life” by Ann Weiser Cornell.

When the inner world includes harshness, lack of acceptance, judgment (as in being judgmental), it becomes an unsafe place for positive healing and change to happen. Aspects of ourselves that might have bloomed into what they needed to be, instead are crushed and go into hiding. Obviously, this is a sad state of affairs. But there are no villains or victims here. Everyone is doing their best to help us…as we will see.

I just sat here and read through that passage three times. I noticed a shifting in my breath, felt tension releasing in my shoulders at the thought of “no villains or victims here.” Then I noticed an inner voice that said something like “Well, that might be true for most inner aspects, but these two or three really need to get their shit together…”

How easily we can be at war with aspects of ourselves – the fearful parts, the bossy parts, the Facebook addicted parts, the quiet or loud parts, the judgmental and critical parts…

Could it be true that there are no villains or victims here?

Is it possible that the effort to try to fix or control aspects of ourselves is a big part of what keeps us stuck?

I am remembering a line from Russell Delman’s public talk in Salt Lake a couple weeks ago where he said, “Many people who are all about acceptance have a hard time accepting non-acceptance.”

If we are at war with aspects of ourselves, wholeness will be elusive.

We have seen this so clearly in our years of practicing Feldenkrais. The tendencies to be at war with aspects of our embodiment, like “I’d be fine if this damn sciatica would go away,” can so often perpetuate the disconnection.
Much of the “magic” of Feldenkrais, and why it can be so effective on issues that have not responded with other modalities, is that it comes from a model of wholeness and inclusion. A main emphasis of the work is creating a safe space for learning, healing and change to occur. And it does.

Of course, it is always helpful to return to the Persian poets on these matters…

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

— Jelaluddin Rumi,
translation by Coleman Barks

Wishing you a day of radical acceptance

Carl

ps There is still room in our January Costa Rica retreat if your inner life resonates more with this beauty and fresh air:

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