A note from Erin
Happy New Year, friends!
I’ve been having a great few days, cleaning, clearing, smudging, visioning, dancing, writing, resting. How’s January so far for you?
I love this reminder from John O’Donohue, “When we approach with reverence, great things decide to approach us. Our real life comes to the surface and its light awakens the concealed beauty in things. When we walk on the earth with reverence, beauty will decide to trust us. The rushed heart and arrogant mind lack the gentleness and patience to enter that embrace.”
Ah, the rushed heart and arrogant mind. Yes, her. :) I know that part of myself all too well. You?
A familiar line of Mary Oliver’s comes to mind, a good one for when I’m in that rushed heart and I-know-what-should-happen-let’s-just-get-on-with-it mode….
“I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness, and discernment,
and never hurry through the world
but walk slowly, and bow often.”
Sigh. I like that version of myself better: She who never hurries through the world, but walks slowly and bows often.
Yet it occurs to me, if I weren’t so familiar with the dissatisfying (yet still often-magnetic) effect of my rushing, know-better mind, I might not appreciate the profundity of the way my experience shifts with slow walking or the blessing that is bowing. Perhaps both are important, and perhaps I couldn’t see one without the other.
A year or so ago I heard a musician being interviewed on public radio about his song, “Too Blessed to be Stressed.” At the time, the line made me smile, and I’ve seen it many places since, from t-shirts to memes. At the time, I loved the reminder to notice the ever-present blessings.
But I find I don’t really like that line anymore.
The trap of binary thinking can create such suffering.
Here’s the choice we seem to be given: Either I can be blessed or stressed.
But really? That’s bullshit.
Our hearts and minds are far vaster and more nuanced than narrow, simple, this-or-that possibilities.
Anytime I try to leave something out of my experience, I’ve lost wholeness.
When I teach one of my favorite online courses “The Embody Gratitude Project” – I find that the most helpful thing participants report is not that they learn powerful attentional practices that can deepen their gratitude (though they love those too). What’s most revelatory for people is the vast permission to make room for it all. To listen to and send care to the part of us who feels ungrateful. Not to get rid of it. To hold loving space for the bitchy, sad, grumpy, complaining, stressed parts too. NOT to send these aspects into exile while we’re in search of some shiny bright state of positivity. Blech. To me that sounds rather like cotton candy… kinda pink, totally fluffy, and without much substance. It might even taste sweet for a moment, but then it leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
The line that I keep coming back to again and again when I fall into that dualizing trap is simply this: There is room for it all. I can hold space for the part of me that is stressed and at the same time give thanks for my blessings. If I offer myself anything less than spacious room for the whole range of my experience, I suffer.
I’m wishing that for all of us.
The courage to make room for all of it.
Permission to feel blessed AND stressed if that’s what’s true. Exhausted and excited. Grateful and unsatisfied. Maybe all at once.
We can love our suffering parts into liberation.
And we can water the tender seeds of the good qualities we’d like more of so they grow into the strong trees of our traits.
But we can’t ever leave anything out.
Let’s be the courageous people who make room for it all, shall we?
Only when we do it for ourselves can we have any honest hope of offering such generous kindness to each other.
I’m excited to share with you today a gorgeous poem by an amazing woman I’m both delighted and honored to call my friend. Brooke McNamara is an extraordinary poet, a dancer, a mama, a meditator, a teacher. I highly recommend her new book, Feed Your Vow. It’s my favorite kind of poetry that practically reaches through the screen or the page to grab YOU, YES YOU THERE and wake you right up. You can find her website and her book here. I thought this one was a fantastic January begin-again kind of poem. Enjoy! And thanks so much, Brooke, for letting me share it! :)
Have you forgotten something?
Something about choosing?
Look around: is this the world
you promised yourself?
I want to know who you could become
if the conditions were just right.
I want to know the you that’s possible
with just enough thunder
and just enough sun.
Who taught you the human smile,
and did it ever land
in the living tissues of your human heart
beating miracles for free –
or is your face always onstage?
When you speak do you hear that one
as the oldest friend
since your microcosmic firework of conception,
which made creatures of the earth and sky alike
shudder with jollity and not know why,
or does your own voice
still sound to you like a stranger?
I want to know if you need permission
to arrive home right now
into your body longing to learn you.
Do you know breath
as always a holy door?
Who are you when you breathe
down deep, at last allowed to feel it all,
and your hair bursts into flame, and you remember:
we don’t choose once and it’s over,
but are asked to re-engage every instant.
Look around: this very world
needs your arrival now, like sun
and like thunder, now and now and now.
What’d I tell you? Awesome, no? :)
This very world needs your arrival.
All of you.
1. Today is the last day for early registration discount for Carl’s awesome new class for 2016, Embodying the Masculine. I can’t say enough about how powerful and transformative his class will be. For years as I’ve offered women’s courses, the guys have been asking, “Would you do one for men?” I’m so psyched that he’s doing it! It’s a unique and profound offering, right here in SLC. Details Below. It’s gonna rock. :) Don’t miss it!
2. Women Embodied Live 2016 is now FULL! I’m so excited for the awesome group of women who have gathered. Read more here and contact me if you’d like to be on the waiting list. Look for Women Embodied Online coming this spring!
3. I’ve been having a bit of a tech-hell getting a full page with details up for our Costa Rica Retreat. We are still going! Are you interested in joining us? It’s March 25-April 1. I can send you all kinds of details on location, travel details, cost, housing options, food, etc. My assistant and I are still working with our problematic webserver to fix some issues so we can get a gorgeous page up! But if you’d like info, just shoot me an email. We’re super excited for the trip! The theme will be Walk in Beauty. A retreat including movement lessons, meditation, and of course, walking in amazing beauty. Organic food, a powerful healing river, vibrant green everywhere you turn, and more!
4. We’re working on crafting our SLC teaching schedule for 2016 and have some excellent stuff in the works! Let us know if you have requests! We’ll have an update for you soon.
5. Thanks to all of you who joined us, in person or from afar, for the New Year’s Day all-day sit for peace. We hope to host more of those throughout the year. Of course, we’ll keep you posted.