The Longing To Belong & An Invitation

A note from Erin:

What I most want to write about this morning is the gift and the calling of community, and our deep longing to belong.


A photo of the amazing community of people who attended our Ghost Ranch Retreat last year. You can still register for September!

I keep realizing what an extraordinary gift it is to be rich in community.

Today I am fortunate to be a part of several wonderful communities. They’ve often been born of being centered around learning together. Some communities are born from my own classes, some are born of retreats and trainings I’ve attended, some are international gatherings of beings who meet online, some have come together to tend the River of Grief, some are my own beloved friends – friendships which have often emerged out of our deep learning together.

I  keep hearing how not-common it is: this sense of being well woven into beautiful community tapestries. Communities where I can be 100% myself – no performance necessary, no fracturing to keep parts of myself out of the room. It wasn’t always true – but I’m deeply grateful now that it is.

I’ve heard from so many people over the last few weeks of their hunger for community. Their loneliness. Their attempts to connect, but never quite finding a place they feel they belong. They speak of their longing for a community that is life-giving, non-hierarchal, and where they can be seen and known and appreciated as their authentic self. Where their “performance” of self is not wanted,  but where their true, unique self is what is valued and called forth, and deeply respected.

What I want to say is that Carl and I aspire to make a space in our community for you.
Whether you read our writings, listen to our podcast, come to local or online classes or workshops, tend the River of Grief with us, meditate with us, we value your unique thread in the tapestry of our community more than you know.

As my friend Laurie Wagner says, “Belonging is implicit. You only have to show up to experience it.”
Thank you for showing up in whatever ways you do.

Can I share with you some lovely words from Toko-pa Turner? I can’t say it any better than this:

For the rebels and the misfits, the black sheep and the outsiders.
For the refugees, the orphans, the scapegoats, and the weirdos.
For the uprooted, the abandoned, the shunned and invisible ones.
May you recognize with increasing vividness that you know what you know.
May you give up your allegiances to self-doubt, meekness, and hesitation.
May you be willing to be unlikeable, and in the process be utterly loved.
May you be impervious to the wrongful projections of others, and may you deliver your disagreements with precision and grace.
May you see, with the consummate clarity of nature moving through you, that your voice is not only necessary, but desperately needed to sing us out of this muddle.
May you feel shored up, supported, entwined, and reassured as you offer yourself and your gifts to the world.
May you know for certain that even as you stand by yourself, you are not alone. 


more Ghost Ranch community goodness!

Friends, we are so thrilled to share our podcast conversations with you on the next new moon, April 15-16.

What we’re especially thrilled about with this offering straight from our hearts is the opportunity to weave threads of community. We want to share some amazing people with you, and thanks to the marvels of technology, there are so many ways we can weave community across the globe! We’ve got half a dozen episodes recorded, and at least that many more extraordinary people lined up for future episodes in the next few months. We can’t wait to share it with you!!!

This morning, I want to make a heartfelt invitation for those of you nearby to consider joining me for this upcoming community gathering and workshop.
It’s an invitation to what Michael Meade calls “a sudden village.” I’d so love you to be a part of it. It’s truly a calling from my heart. And you’re most welcome to join. Your presence matters. It’s through coming together like this that we create the community we’re all longing for. I promise that you’ll be welcomed with vast kindness and profound respect. That’s how I roll. :) 

I’m especially looking forward to this upcoming weekend in community, as after 25 years of somatic practices and teaching – this particular workshop is an exciting way to put this work into application in the world. It’s not only about self-improvement or our personal well-being, but offers a way to get connected and take our inspiration into the world. I believe we are needed.

Here are details:

Have you been feeling overwhelmed with concern about the state of the world, not sure how best to respond?
Me too.
Please join me for this powerful community gathering, seeded with the intention to aid in healing ourselves, our culture, and nature, guided by the principles of Embodied Life, inspired by the Healing Spiral outlined by Joanna Macy.
I believe we see more clearly when we come together.
In a sense, this workshop wasn’t my idea. It came to me and wants to come through me.
All I can do is cooperate, and give it my best. :) I hope you’ll join me!

We are called to come together. 
We need to slow down. Way down.
We need to listen deeply. To take time to sense into our deep heart and gut wisdom as well as our struggles and confusion.
We need to listen each other, and to Life.
We need to speak in courageous ways that don’t diminish our deepest knowing.
We need to call each other out of our habits of amnesia and anesthesia and into awake, embodied presence.
We are called to be courageous. To be wholehearted. To show up.
We are called to be faithful witnesses to the beauty and tragedies of our times.
We are called to share our gratitude for the beauty of the world, to praise life.
We are called to courageously share our deep grief for what ails us and for what ails our world.
We are called to think outside the box of “that’s just the way it is” and to vision a bright and life-giving future for ourselves and for the generations who come after us.
We need to learn and revive harmonious ways of being on the earth and with each other.
We are called to share our stories and our deep dreams.
I believe we need the support of a warm-hearted community to do this deep work of witnessing, of honoring our gratitude and grief, of daring to vision a life-giving future, of daring to speak our visions aloud, and going forth to act on our wisest impulses with the full support of our community.
As Francis Weller writes, “This is the solitary work we cannot do alone.”
We need each other.
We are called.
I’m honored to facilitate this gathering which is inspired by the spiral of Joanna Macy’s Work That Reconnects and my 25 years experience as an Embodiment Mentor. To get a taste of the spiral, please read Joanna’s beautiful reflections (below) on Gratitude, Grief, Visioning, Getting Involved, and “Acting Your Age.”

Over the weekend of Earth Day, we’ll gather to make our way through this healing spiral with embodied practices and community support.

Our time together will include:

  • embodied practices, including gentle movement and guided relaxation
  • quiet time for inner reflection/embodied listening
  • community circle sharing
  • lots of inspiring poetry
  • time for writing
  • guided sitting meditation
  • a community gratitude and grief ritual
  • and more
  • No experience is necessary.
  • All genders are welcome.

“Personal Guidelines for the Great Turning – by Joanna Macy

Come from Gratitude
To be alive in this beautiful, self-organizing universe–to participate in the dance of life with senses to perceive it, lungs that breathe it, organs that draw nourishment from it–is a wonder beyond words. Gratitude for the gift of life is the primary wellspring of all religions, the hallmark of the mystic, the source of all true art. Furthermore, it is a privilege to be alive in this time when we can choose to take part in the self-healing of our world.

Don’t be Afraid of the Dark
This is a dark time, filled with suffering and uncertainty. Like living cells in a larger body, it is natural that we feel the trauma of our world. So don’t be afraid of the anguish you feel, or the anger or fear, for these responses arise from the depth of your caring and the truth of your interconnectedness with all beings. To suffer with is the literal meaning of compassion.

Dare to Vision
Out of this darkness a new world can arise, not to be constructed by our minds so much as to emerge from our dreams. Even though we cannot see clearly how it’s going to turn out, we are still called to let the future into our imagination. We will never be able to build what we have not first cherished in our hearts.
Roll up your Sleeves
Many people don’t get involved in the Great Turning because there are so many different issues, which seem to compete with each other. Shall I save the whales or help battered children? The truth is that all aspects of the current crisis reflect the same mistake, setting ourselves apart and using others for our gain. So to heal one aspect helps the others to heal as well. Just find what you love to work on and take joy in that. Never try to do it alone. Link up with others; you’ll spark each others’ ideas and sustain each others’ energy.
Act your Age
Since every particle in your body goes back to the first flaring forth of space and time, you’re really as old as the universe. So when you are lobbying at your congressperson’s office, or visiting your local utility, or testifying at a hearing on nuclear waste, or standing up to protect an old grove of redwoods, you are doing that not out of some personal whim, but in the full authority of your 15 billion years.”

Clearing by Martha Postlewaite

Do not try to save
the whole world
or do anything grandiose.
Instead, create
a clearing
in the dense forest
of your life
and wait there
patiently,
until the song
that is your life
falls into your own cupped hands
and you recognize and greet it.
Only then will you know
how to give yourself
to this world
so worthy of rescue.

 

Please join me to create a clearing in the dense forests of our lives, and to allow the blessings and benefits of our powerful time together to ripple out into our world. 

Schedule:

Friday, April 20 6:30-9pm

Saturday, April 21 10am-12pm, 2-6pm

Sunday, April 22 10am-12pm, 2-6pm

We’ll gather at Vitalize from 6:30-9pm on Friday the 20th.

On Saturday, we’ll meet at an outdoor location in a local canyon (to be disclosed once you register) from 10-12. We’ll take a 2-hour lunch break, and reconvene at Vitalize from 2-6pm on Saturday. Sunday, Earth Day, we’ll again gather in our outdoor location from 10-12, take a 2-hour lunch break, and reconvene at Vitalize for our final session from 2-6pm.

 

No partial attendance is allowed. To support the coherence of the weekend, we need you there for the whole spiral.

Tuition is $175 for the 3-day weekend workshop.  I am offering two 1/2 price scholarship spots. If you need a payment plan, please let me know. If you are strongly drawn to come and cannot afford the tuition, please be in touch – I’d love to find a creative way to make it work if I’m able.

(Please read my cancellation policy before you register.) 

You can register right here.

 

 

To Glow – by Mark Nepo

Like light in the sun

spilling out of the sun,

the spirit within

beams its way

through all our cracks

till our most treasured

walls come down.

The coming down

of those walls is the

blessing we crave

and resist.

The coming down of

those walls – so the light

of the soul like the light

of the sun can help the

world grow – this is

the call of calls.

 

 

As Deena Metzger writes,

“Therefore, we are called to restore and piece together the broken, burned shards of once vital histories, to dare to know what we know, to see and understand with our hands and feet what is irrefutable, to listen to the ancestors and the future, to the dreams and the signs, old syllables and unborn orations, birdsong, whale song and howl, the glorious and tormented recitations of wind, water, light and earth, to bring together a luminous grammar of connection so that through such shared conversations and our own emergent literature and culture, we make ourselves places to live that can survive these times.” 

From my heart,
Erin

p.s.

  • Many people have asked me about the Online Poetry Retreat which I was aiming to offer for April. I’m going to postpone the start date until May. Would you like to join me? Details here. Being determined to read enough poetry to give me balance while reading the news of late has been a life-changer! I have a knack for discovering fantastic poetry and would love to share it with you! 
  • Want to join us for a morning of Embodied Meditation? We’ll be hosting such a gathering at our home offices on Sunday, May, 6, starting at 8am. No experience required. We’re not fancy – no matching cushions and giant Buddha statues. You’ll walk in through our yard which will likely be strewn with toys. Yet you’ll be warmly welcomed and supported to connect with your most sane, grounded, spacious, embodied, kind self. Email us if you want to come and we’ll send specific details. Offered, as always, by donation. 
  • The next Tending the River of Grief Ritual will happen on Sunday of Memorial Day weekend. Mark your calendar if you’d like to join Erin. More details coming soon.
  • A day of Embodied Sitting Meditation at Two Arrows Zen Center with Erin & Carl on Saturday, June 2. Details forthcoming.
  • We’re so excited that we’ve got many episodes recorded and our new podcast will be coming on the new moon, April 15-16!! Squeeee! :) We can hardly wait to share it with you!!!
  • You’ll find even more updates at the very bottom of this email. Please check out our upcoming offerings!!! 

Thanks so much for reading. We’re grateful to be connected. 

 

 

There are many ways to work with us. Here are a few you may be interested in.

Click here to read about working with us one-on-one. We currently have a few open spaces for new clients!

 

 

 

 

 

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Erin

By training and profession, I am a somatic educator. Over the past 25+ years I have trained in and taught modern dance, tai chi, Indian and Tibetan yoga, yoga therapy (specializing in back pain). I completed a 4-year professional Feldenkrais training in 2007 and a 3-year Embodied Life training in 2014. I also study and work with somatic meditation and the profound practice of embodied inner listening known as Focusing.

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