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

What Shapes Us , Good Questions + An Invitation to Join us for Sitting Meditation Sunday

A note from Erin:
I was rereading my journal this morning, reviewing some notes I took on a conversation I had with a wise elder in my life some months back.

She asked, “So what are you going to believe, live and be shaped by? By the guidance that comes through you and to you? Or by the chatter that comes to you everyday, which has nothing to do with beauty or restoring the world?”

“It’s a critical moment,” she said.

She said, “Healing is about carrying a world so integrated in you that others are affected in your presence.”

So she asks again. “Are you going to step into wisdom? Or choose distraction?”

“Will your life be more actively shaped by the chatter that comes to you everyday, which has nothing to do with beauty or restoring the world?” 
What a wonderfully haunting question.

There are so many forms of chatter.

“Or by the guidance that comes to and through you?” There are some reliable ways to tune into wisdom. I know my ways.  What are your ways?

Do you make as much space and time for them as you make for the chatter? (I’m asking this of myself, deeply.) I’m so grateful when I remember that it’s a choice.

I have a poem for you today. This one’s by Mark Nepo.  Carl read it during our Fall class which began on Mondayand it’s been in me and with me all week. It’s definitely worth reading twice.
I’m so grateful for the poets. As Nietzsche said, “We have art in order not to die of the truth.” Thank goodness.

by Mark Nepo

Everything is beautiful and I am so sad.
This is how the heart makes a duet of
wonder and grief. The light spraying
through the lace of the fern is as delicate
as the fibers of memory forming their web
around the knot in my throat. The breeze
makes the birds move from branch to branch
as this ache makes me look for those I’ve lost

in the next room, in the next song, in the laugh
of the next stranger. In the very center, under
it all, what we have that no one can take
away and all that we’ve lost face each other.
It is there that I’m adrift, feeling punctured
by a holiness that exists inside everything.
I am so sad and everything is beautiful.

Do not lose heart, friends.
We are made for these times.
We need the vision and gifts and beauty which only you can bring.
I’ve been so moved by a line from Francis Weller: “This is the solitary work we cannot do alone.” 
And gratefully, we’re in it together.

Next week I’m so excited to be heading to Ghost Ranch for a retreat with an amazing group of people. I’m looking forward to road tripping through the spacious West, to relishing the New Mexico skies, to immersing myself in the speed of life by unplugging from the matrix for at least 4 days. As I remembered 9/11 this week, one of the most shocking realizations was that when that horrible day unfolded 16 years ago and a friend called to tell me, I didn’t have a cell phone. I want to remember what life felt like before that particular kind of distracting chatter became so common.

We have a few fall events on the calendar and will be adding more soon. Want to join us for a sitting meditation dedicated to peace this Sunday? Please RSVP. It’s free/by donation.

In addition, I’ve almost completed a new free offering for you. I’m calling it “Things to Do When You Can’t Sleep (instead of stressing out about not sleeping.)” It’s a collection of short guided audio practices which offer life-giving ways to be with yourself during the wee hours of the night. I should have it complete for sending to you next week!

From my heart,


Upcoming Events:
  • Join us for a group sitting meditation this Sunday at 8-9:30am. We’ll have 2 sits with some silent walking in between and group connection and dedication of our practice at the end.
  • Join us for an afternoon Feldenkrais Workshop on Dynamic Transitions October 28th. Details below!
  • You’re invited to join me in Tending the River of Grief on October 8th. Details below.
  • We’re cooking up many more offerings. More details coming soon.
Thanks so much for reading! We’re grateful to be connected.
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