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

Your Lovely Bones

First things first.

As you’re reading this, could you make yourself maybe 10% more comfortable?

Could your eyes soften a bit to include peripheral vision?

(And doesn’t your neck like that?)

Could you release unnecessary effort in your jaw?

Release some effort in your back?

Let your bones hold you a bit more?

Ahh…. there.

Now we can go on. :)

This morning I’m grateful for:

• October’s luminosity. The light! The light, people!
• The sweet smell of leaf litter. I just want to breathe in the whole shebang of these gorgeous days through every cell in my body!
• A steaming cup of pu-erh tea. Yum.
• My work that I love love love. Did I say I love it?! LOVE!
• My bones, your bones, our lovely bones.

(There’s baby Mesa helping us put together our skeleton which he named “Bonesy.”)

I am in love with skeletons.

My own & others.

Bone.

Bone deep.

Close to the bone.

Feel it in your bones.

Think about it:

Your skeleton is the only part of you which is made to bear your weight in gravity, and the more you sense and allow your skeleton to do its job of support, the less overwork you’ll tend to do muscularly.

The ground below offers you unconditional support externally. (Profound! Can you feel this right now? You are supported from below!)

Consider that your skeleton offers unconditional (and effortless!) support internally.

Truly, allowing ourselves to receive these supports can make life SO much easier. In my experience, it’s not something you just “get” and then you “got it.”

It’s an ongoing relationship.

You and the ground.

You and your bones.

You with yourself, you with the world.

It’s alive!

Can you imagine what it might be like to have an ongoing experience of something inside of you on which you can always rely and which takes no effort?

And I don’t mean for you to read this and go “yeah yeah. Nice words.” This is something you can feel. Right now.

(Look how easy it is for Bonesy to sit. No muscle required. Your skeleton can do that too!)

In sitting, sense your sit bones. (It can sometimes be helpful to sit with a hand under your sit-bone and roll your pelvis a little back and forth to clarify your experience of skeletal support.) Sitting toward the front edge of your chair, rather than shlumping in the back of it can help you to feel this.

In standing, sense your feet (and in particular your heel bones), up through your long leg bones, into your pelvis and up your spine.

Today I invite you to playfully inquire, as often as you like, with sensing your skeleton and allowing it to do its job of supporting you in a field of gravity.

Can you find a way to let your skeleton support you so your muscles can return to neutral?

That way they’ll be ready to move you, rather than exhausting themselves in gripping and holding you.

Relief!

Please remember – there is no “right way” you’re trying to discover.

In my experience, aiming toward more “skeletal organization” increases ease across a wide spectrum of activities, from sitting at the computer to walking to more strenuous actions like lifting something heavy.

Aim toward more ease and pleasure and let go of “right.”

In the Feldenkrais Method – “skeletal neutrality” is one of the central teachings.

As Russell Delman writes, “This organization forms the basis, both physically and in metaphor, for what we can call “organismic neutrality.” In this state our physical, emotional, and mental patterns are sufficiently conscious that we can respond to life from freedom rather than react out of compulsion or exaggerated self-protection.

This freedom is NOT an illusory, unattainable ideal; it is actually the predictable product of our evolving capacity for embodied awareness.”

Perhaps as you see skeletons during this Halloween season, it could be a reminder to pause and sense into your own lovely bones.

I can’t emphasize enough the profundity of what happens when you discover within yourself an effortless source of reliable support.

Can you imagine living with an ongoing sense of something deep inside you, utterly reliable, and effortless?

A part of you on which you can deeply rely?

That is NOT your thinking mind?

Then the question becomes “How willing am I to receive the support that is here?”

Our bones are also the part of us that is deepest, most hidden, yet gives structure to everything else.

Could sensing your lovely bones bring you in touch with your deepest self somehow? Would you be up for experimenting to find out?

I would.

I am. :)

So let’s appreciate our bones this month.

Our lovely bones.

I found this gorgeous poem from Jane Hirshfield on the topic, and I simply love it.

Savor it. I bet you will too.

My Skeleton

by Jane Hirshfield

My skeleton,
you who once ached
with your own growing larger

are now,
each year
imperceptibly smaller,
lighter,
absorbed by your own
concentration.

When I danced,
you danced.
When you broke,
I.

And so it was lying down,
walking,
climbing the tiring stairs.
Your jaws. My bread.

Someday you,
what is left of you,
will be flensed of this marriage.

Angular wristbone,
cracked harp of ribcage,
blunt of heel,
opened bowl of the skull,
twin platters of pelvis-
each of you will leave me behind,
at last serene.

What did I know of your days,
your nights,
I who held you all my life
inside my hands
and thought they were empty?

You who held me all my life
inside your hands
as a new mother holds
her own unblanketed child,
not thinking at all.

Jane writes about this poem:

Where the self begins and ends, what it is and isn’t, is a question that’s long been with me. There’s no objective measuring stick for metaphysical ponderings, but I’ve come to prefer thoughts that calibrate toward both realism and tenderness toward life’s bite but also its dearness. I’ve also come to like poems with facts in them. Bone does, quite factually, reabsorb into the body as the growing pains of childhood turn into the diminishing bone mass that marks its other end. Self returns to non-self. But in between, neither quite one or the other, the skeleton is there, almost always ignored and invisible, every step and breath of the way.”

Don’t you just love that?!? (bold added by me :) )

Sending warmest wishes,

and awe for your lovely bones. . .

Erin

P.S. We still have room for you in our Begin Again Retreat in Costa Rica in January.

It’s going to be sooooo wonderful! Please let us know if you’d like to join us or if you have any questions about the details. We’re getting very excited as we map our plan. Winter feels so much more workable with a trip to the Cloud Forest to look forward to!

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