A note from Erin:
Last Fall we traveled to Tucson, AZ, to attend a retreat with clinical psychologist and meditation teacher Tara Brach, whom we adore. We were invited to do a particularly touching practice on the final afternoon of the retreat. We partnered with a stranger and spent 5 minutes each in the following inquiry: The questioner would say to the speaker, “Please tell me, what do you love?” and the speaker would respond, hot off the press, with something like, “I love the smell of the air in the desert on a hot day – pine, sand, sage.” The questioner would ask the same question again. “Please tell me, what do you love?” And the speaker would respond again. “I love the feel of the water at Nolin Lake in Kentucky and the way it envelops my body so softly as I go for a swim.” Again and again and again. After about 5 minutes, we switched roles.
The neurochemistry of joy was so palpable in the room after just 10 minutes of sharing what we love and hearing what lights up another. Powerful, fresh, intimacy with life. I’m so into that. :)
Here we are in the month of February. It’s my most challenging month to love. Today in Salt Lake City the air pollution is so bad I can hardly see a block away. My chest is tight. We’re in that stage of late winter where everything seems gray and mucky and it takes determined optimism to remember that soon we’ll be emerging into a full blown season of blossoming and renewal. And there’s Valentines Day. Some love it and some hate it. Either way, it’s here! As I was contemplating what I wanted to write this week, I found a wish to make space for those who feel lonely or depressed or just disinterested in this holiday of hearts and chocolate. And also for those who adore it. And for those of us in the U.S. who are demoralized and dispirited by the agony of witnessing the presidential electoral process unfold. (I’m raising my hand for that one! Ugh. Ugh.) And there are those of us simply struggling to breathe in this terrible air and make it through the end of winter.
What could I offer that might be of benefit, whatever state you’re in?
Please tell me. What do you love?
You could set a timer for 5 minutes and do this with a coworker, friend, or lover.
You could write for 5 minutes straight and make a list of what you love. 5 minutes won’t be enough, but it’s a great place to start.
You could speak out loud to yourself for 5 minutes.
You’ll be wowed.
Please tell me. What do you love?
It’s a simple and powerful practice.
Want to bathe yourself in the neurochemicals of happiness, naturally?
Want to grow intimacy with yourself, with life, with another? Try it.
Whether you’re single or coupled, having a great day, struggling through a difficult time, or just (as I am) struggling to breathe in a city full of bad air, a simple practice like this can vitalize your body and mind in surprisingly powerful ways.
So, my friend. Please tell me. What do you love?
I invite you to spend at least 5 minutes in this inquiry and to make it even more powerful, stay tuned to how your body resonates with each item your list.
You know, now is a really good time to start. :)
Thanks for reading!
May your cells be flooded with love.
I thought I could do it but I don’t want to. I have to share a Mary Oliver poem! Sometimes I actually think in Mary Oliver poems. So why not?
If you suddenly and unexpectedly feel joy,
don’t hesitate. Give in to it. There are plenty
of lives and whole towns destroyed or about
to be. We are not wise, and not very often
kind. And much can never be redeemed.
Still, life has some possibility left. Perhaps this
is its way of fighting back, that sometimes
something happens better than all the riches
or power in the world. It could be anything,
but very likely you notice it in the instant
when love begins. Anyway, that’s often the
case. Anyway, whatever it is, don’t be afraid
of its plenty. Joy is not made to be a crumb.
–Mary Oliver (Swan)
p.s. We are so fortunate to be hosting our friend and mentor and beloved international teacher, Russell Delman, in Salt Lake City again in March. Registration is now open for his public workshop March 19-20 with an open public talk on March 18. (Find lots more details below. We hope you’ll join us!)
p.p.s. There are still a few spots open for Embodying The Masculine! We’d love it if you’d help spread the word to any wonderful guys you think might appreciate our work. Thanks!
p.p.p.s. We have been reducing the number of public workshops we’re doing lately as we’re focusing on some other exciting projects, but we’ve got a good one coming up at the end of this month. We still have room for you in Intimacy With Your Spine. It’ll be a wonderful afternoon of Feldenkrais lessons and we can’t wait to share. Join us! Details here.
p.p.p.p.s. Here’s part of my love list, hot off the press.
I love my morning coffee after a big mug of hot water with lemon. I love the look of open concentration and wonder on my son’s face when he’s listening intently to a story. I love when he comes downstairs fresh from sleep, and climbs onto the couch, burrowing under a blanket, pretending to be a possum. I love when my beloved holds my gaze and that spark of deep love and attraction sizzles between us. I love when I’m working with a client and I hear Carl’s laugh through the wall from where he’s working in the next room. I love that moment when I’m teaching a class where the people have all let go of the speediness and tightness so many of us carry, and I see a room full of beings present in their softened bodies and relaxed into themselves. I love when I read a book that makes me laugh so hard I have to put it down. I love road trips in the Western US. I love the sound of my Nana’s voice. I love the smell of a bookstore, anywhere in the world. I love Santa Fe, New Mexico. I love the SLC Farmer’s Market. I love reading cookbooks and being inspired anew with creativity about food. I love when humor bubbles up and softens a heavy situation. I love love love a hot shower. I love nice handwriting. I love unlined journals and a good non-ballpoint pen. I love the honeyish smell of beeswax candles in my meditation room in the morning. I love feet. I love the smell of my boy’s head. I love sizzling cumin seeds in ghee. I love a perfect avocado. I love a sharp knife and a good heavy cutting board. I love writing in a cafe with nice light and sturdy wooden tables. I love shopping at ethnic markets and discovering ingredients I’ve never heard of. I love being alone in the wilderness. I could go on and on. :)