A New Moon & Some Good Questions

A note from Erin:

How about a little Rumi?
(I’ll never say no to that…)

Love Dogs

One night a man was crying,
Allah! Allah!
His lips grew sweet with the praising,
until a cynic said,
“So! I have heard you
calling out, but have you ever
gotten any response?”

The man had no answer to that.
He quit praying and fell into a confused sleep.

He dreamed he saw Khidr, the guide of souls,
in a thick, green foliage.

“Why did you stop praising?”

“Because I’ve never heard anything back.”

“This longing
you express is the return message.

The grief you cry out from
draws you toward union.

Your pure sadness
that wants help
is the secret cup.

Listen to the moan of a dog for its master.
That whining is the connection.

There are love dogs
no one knows the names of.

Give your life
to be one of them.”

– Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks

  • Today, as I write, it’s a new moon. It’s also the beginning of a partial solar eclipse. In the Tibetan tradition, it’s said that the karmic effects of our actions are multiplied on days like today by something like ten thousand or a hundred thousand times. A good day (as is any day) to be intentional. This morning, I got to begin my day sitting with a few friends in a lovely canyon, flowers scattered as offerings to the land. Visited by a hummingbird, buoyed by the music of the flowing creek and the singing birds, supported by Mother Earth and held by (and as) the spaciousness of sky and the changeless awareness in which it all happens. Breathing in and out, heart vast enough to welcome it all. Breathing in the rampant fear, breathing out love. Breathing in the lives of children everywhere, breathing out blessings and protective love into the future. Breathing in self-criticism and hatred, breathing out maitri: that brave, unconditional friendliness. It’s not an act of spiritual bypassing to pause the frenetic pace. It’s not a betrayal of the issues that need our care. For me, it’s an utterly necessary pause to ground and root into deeper sanity, wisdom, and love. In our podcast episode with Diane Hamilton, exploring how to navigate life during challenging times like these, I was particularly touched by her emphasis on being clear about our intentions. How do we want to show up? How much can we keep that intention as a North Star? Even if, like the first spacecraft to land on the moon, we are off course much of the time, correcting and course correcting again, as we inevitably lose our way. Losing our way is the way. Let’s not stop praising or praying. (By the way, if you’d like to join me for no-cost Full Moon & New Moon sitting meditation in the canyons, shoot me an email!)

    Here are a few questions you might find helpful, as I do:

    Who and how do I want to be? 

    How do I want to feel? 

    What is most important to me? 

    What do I need to do to deepen my self-respect? 

    One of my favorite sayings is this: Why ruin a good question with an answer? I also love Rilke’s invitation to live the questions – so we might some distant day, live our way into the answer.  So this is not an invitation to land on some correct idea, but rather to let ourselves marinate in the inquiry. With all that is in flux, these questions for me are like a steadying oar I need to row.

    What if our longing IS the return message?
    What if our angst and wish to see a better world is some kind of holiness itself?
    Perhaps it’s one way to become a whining love dog….

Friends, won’t you put your hands on this oar with me??

Good things will unfold….

Click here to listen to me read this poem to you.

If you put your hands on this oar with me,
they will never harm another, and they will come to find
they hold everything you want.

 

If you put your hands on this oar with me, they would no longer
lift anything to your
mouth that might wound your precious land-
that sacred earth that is
your body.

 

If you put your soul against this oar with me,
the power that made the universe will enter your sinew
from a source not outside your limbs, but from a holy realm
that lives in us.

 

Exuberant is existence, time a husk.

When the moment cracks open, ecstasy leaps out and devours space;
love goes mad with the blessings, like my words give.

Why lay yourself on the torturer’s rack of the past and future?

The mind that tries to shape tomorrow beyond its capacities
will find no rest.

 

Be kind to yourself, dear- to our innocent follies.

Forget any sounds or touch you knew that did not help you dance.

You will come to see that all evolves us.

 

If you put your heart against the earth with me, in serving
every creature, our Beloved will enter you from our sacred realm
and we will be, we will be
so happy.

 

– Rumi, From ‘Love Poems From God’ by Daniel Ladinsky.

 

As Margaret Mead said so beautifully, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world: indeed it’s the only thing that ever has.”Won’t you join me in coming together as a small group of committed, thoughtful citizens willing to explore Answering the Call of our Times?? Here’s what a participant in this workshop wrote about her experience in April:

‘I spent most of the day on Friday feeling irritated and burdensome and anxious. I left work and was on the shuttle, scrolling through Instagram and I saw a post from Erin. It said that there were still spots left in her weekend retreat, Answering the Call of Our Times, that started that night, and to contact her if we felt called to attend. I had known for several weeks that the retreat was happening, but because of the time commitment –Friday night and all day Saturday and Sunday – I didn’t really have any interest in going. I didn’t want to “give up” my weekend. It was all happening locally, so I imagined it would just feel like a busy weekend with no break and then straight back to work on Monday morning. And yet, when I saw the post on Friday, I texted Erin immediately. “I feel called-ish,” I said, not knowing what I meant and not knowing what to expect in response. But the longer I waited for a reply from Erin, the more urgent it felt. I needed to be there. There was this rising in my chest, this pressure. She texted back at 5:45 and said “there’s a spot and it’s yours!” I ran home, threw some stuff together, and 45 minutes later, was in a brilliant circle of women. The universe knew. She absolutely knew. This weekend was full of grief and gratitude and joy and tears and time in canyons and time in silence and full-bellied laughter and rattles and poetry and writing and group reading and wholehearted support and ideas and passion and all the emotions and more than anything else, more than I really know how to describe, it was full of love. I was sitting in the sun during our lunch break today, eyes welling up, realizing that I don’t think I’ve ever known love like this before. It is so deep and so steady and so full. I’m sitting in that beauty tonight. I can feel it with every cell. Nan, Nini, Becky, Janine, Cordelia, LuAnn, and Erin — oh my goodness, Erin — thank you, thank you, thank you.”

I’d be sooooo grateful for your presence in the circle. Details if you click below.
  •  Embodiment Summer Camp is happening August 25-26th, held between Vitalize Movement Studio and a local canyon, we’ll be exploring movement lessons, embodied meditation and more. Give yourself the gift of a weekend immersion nourishing your embodied presence and movement skills. Registration now open!
  • We’re planning a course in Embodied Meditation to be held both as an online course and also offered in person in a local canyon. Can you imagine practicing befriending your body and mind, growing your embodied presence while sitting still, right next to a creek, under a grove of trees? We can!! Details and registration coming soon. We’ve also rescheduled our day of The Art of Sitting at Two Arrows Zen Center for the fall. Mark your calendars for Saturday, September 29th for a day-long retreat including mindful movement lessons & embodied sitting meditation. 
  • Empelvised, Embellied, Empowered: A powerful course for women with Erin is coming this fall, Mondays from October 1- December 3, plus a retreat day on October 27th. Registration opening soon!
  • Don’t miss our annual retreat in New Mexico! Registration now open and filling for Embody Your Genius with Erin & Nan Seymour!
  • We can’t imagine a better start to the new year than stepping away from regular busy life (not to mention cold, gray WINTER) to pause, disconnect from the internet, luxuriate in long, warm days full of time for nourishing movement, meditation and inner listening, swinging in a hammock, wandering in stunningly beautiful nature, enjoying the amazing organic meals prepared for you, connecting with wonderful people, gathering around a fire, and feeling your way into intentions for the year to come. Join us!!! Our registration page is nearly complete. We’ll open spots next week  Our 2019 Begin Again: Embodiment Matters Retreat will be fromJanuary 5-10 at the lovely Finca Mia Retreat Center. Come retreat with us in the cloud forest of Costa Rica!!….
  • Befriend Your Back: A 6-week Online Course is coming this fall. We’ve been teaching potent back-care practices in yoga therapy and Feldenkrais for many, many years, and are thrilled to share an easy, do-from-home course with you!!
  • A favorite offering, the next online Embody Gratitude Project will be coming this fall fromOct. 15-Nov. 23.
  • The next Tending The River of Grief community ritual will happen at a favorite spot in Millcreek Canyon on Saturday, October 27th. Mark your calendar.
  • We’re planning our next rounds of Women Embodied: (Foundations & Widening Circles) & Embodying a New Masculine courses. More details coming soon!

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

 


With Carl and Erin
August 25-26
We’ll meet @ Millcreek Canyon and Vitalize Studio
Cost $200
Please read our cancellation policy, then register here

Kids get to do the coolest camps in the summertime. There are endless themes for learning and play in camps for kids. We wondered…. why don’t we have awesome summer camps for adults?

This year, we decided to host one!

In this weekend summer camp, we will spend our mornings in glorious Millcreek Canyon, and our afternoons rolling around on the floor at Vitalize Studio, as we delve into a playful immersion around embodiment and movement. You’ll need comfortable clothes, a pair of protective gloves (like gardening gloves for hands-on-the-ground movement play), and a good dose of curiosity and humor.
“Serious mind is always exhausted,  

playmind always has energy.
– Thinley Norbu Rinipoche

Imagine a weekend dedicated:

  • to growing your embodied presence, (taking mindfulness to the next level)
  • to reducing pain and discomfort by changing and updating your movement habits,
  • to deepening your skill and sensitivity in relation to your own wild and precious body,
  • to connecting authentically with other embodied humans,
  • to intentional movement and intentional stillness,
  • to growing brave, unconditional friendliness with your own body, mind, movements and life
  • and to your own rich inner-life
  •  in the nourishing setting of the natural world?
That is the kind of camp we would want to go to! And we’d like to invite you to join us.

 

“Through human movement, we can challenge the non-supportive habits that reside in our subconscious minds. In such a way we can awaken in the nervous system that innate primal wisdom which enables it to correct its own actions. This is a process of re-educating adult neuromotor functioning toward restoring innocent grace, efficiency and ease. The process of updating habits is inherently rejuvanating. Limitations, degenerations and pains give way to an organic knowledge of coordination in an ever progressive path of self-development. 

Ruth Alon on the Feldenkrais Method

“What the soul wants, what it hungers for,
what it is spending time on this earth to achieve,
is a fully conscious, 

bodily experience of the Present.”
-Philip Shepherd


This weekend will include: 

  • nourishing and liberating Feldenkrais movement lessons,
  • guided meditations,
  • mindful sauntering,
  • good chocolate,
  • embodied reflections,
  • sky gazing practice,
  • amazing poetry,
  • good humans,
  • intimacy with the natural world,
  • and a good dose of playmind.

Details:
We’ll meet Saturday and Sunday, August 25-26 10am-6 pm.
Mornings, 10am-12:30 pm will be in Millcreek Canyon (details upon registration)
Afternoons, 2-6 pm will be held at Vitalize Studio.

Cost: $200 register here
Please read our cancellation policy here
Questions? Reply to this email!

A Day Long Retreat with Carl Rabke and Erin Geesaman Rabke
Two Arrows Zen Center
Saturday, September 29th 10-5
Cost: $100 register here

Are you a meditator who would love to sit with more comfort and natural alignment and less struggle and strain? 
Are you someone who’s drawn to begin or deepen an existing meditation practice? 
Are you someone who would love to experience your body as an ally to your mindfulness practice, rather than an obstacle?
Have we got something good for you! 

For many of us who take up the practice of meditation, the physical aspect of the sitting posture can be one of the most challenging elements of the practice. The sore knees, the aching shoulders, the feet falling asleep, the aching back– most often these are just taken as a “given” of sitting practice. For those of us who stick with a practice over a longer period of time, we often just get used to those pains and learn to find as much peace as we can with our discomfort. We are rarely taught that our sitting can become more and more comfortable, easy, natural, aligned, and free.

Whatever the tradition, when people take up a sitting practice, there is often some basic instruction on posture. These instructions vary in details, but essentially we are invited to sit upright with the spine relaxed and long and the breath free, but what is often missing is the howHow do I have a long, relaxed spine without holding myself upright? How do I allow my breath to move when I have so much tension in my back and hips and neck? How do I prevent my head from coming forward or my shoulders from becoming rigid?

When we sit, whether meditating or just sitting at the desk, many of us try to accomplish the posture though our will. We force ourselves to uprightness and we maintain stillness through a heroic endurance of discomfort and pain. When that gets tiring (as it inevitably will) we might collapse into a slouch. When that gets uncomfortable (as it inevitably will) we push ourselves back to forced uprightness. When we are willing ourselves into stillness and uprightness it is very challenging to relax into the posture, rest our minds, ease our breath, and settle naturally into our practice.

Often, when we teach this somatic work at meditation retreats, long-time meditators will come up to us, surprised and delighted by how much their sitting has changed and ask,
Why didn’t I hear this 30 years ago when I started sitting?!

The Feldenkrais and Embodied Life based movement lessons we work with in the Art of Sitting help to re-awaken the capacity that we had to sit with uncontrived ease as children. Young children are never trying hard to be aligned or upright. They have not disconnected from their embodied intelligence, and so they naturally, spontaneously organize themselves with the support of their bones, free to move, free to breathe. We still have this capacity as adults, but it takes some intentional somatic remembering.

We won’t pretend that after doing these lessons you’ll never have aches and pains on the cushion again. As any long-time meditator knows, your body, your state, and your experience are always changing. However, we do know without a doubt that these lessons can make sitting much easier. We know that these lessons can help you develop a new relationship with your body as an ally to your practice, rather than an obstacle. This kind of learning can give you a well-stocked toolbox of somatic resources which you can turn to anytime you want to refresh your uncontrived, upright posture.

Many meditative traditions refer to your “natural mind” or the “natural state.”
What if the posture of meditation could feel have the feeling of you sitting in your most natural, uncontrived body? We share the view of other teachers of embodied mediation like Russell Delman, Tara Brach, Reggie Ray, Will Johnson, and Suzuki Roshi, thatthe posture is not something that just supports the practice of meditation, but the posture is none other than the practice itself. When we are fully inhabiting the posture, we are fully inhabiting our mediation and the expanse of being.

The lessons we will explore help to bring alignment and ease to sitting, but they also support a larger shift, both on and off the cushion; that of learning to more fully inhabit our bodies.
We find ourselves living in a culture that is extraordinarily disembodied. We tend to be very in our heads and for the most part, pretty disconnected from much of what is happening below our neck – unless, of course, it hurts. We are often, as Thich Nhat Hanh described, “lost in thought.” When we shift our relationship with our bodies and our movement, we change our relationship to thought and to life itself. We arrive here, in this body, in this moment, on this spot, available to life. The power of this shift cannot be overestimated. We return to our embodied wholeness.

Details:
Saturday, Sept. 
29th 10-5 (lunch break from 1-2:30)
Two Arrows Zen
230 S 500 W #155, Salt Lake City, UT 84101

Cost: $100 register here 
Please read our cancellation policy here

 

OUR PODCAST IS LIVE!!!

WELCOME TO THE EMBODIMENT MATTERS PODCAST | WAKING UP & BEING EMBODIED

Embodiment Matters

Embodiment Matters is an ongoing, rich conversation about what it really means to be embodied, and why and how embodiment matters so much in our daily lives and in our world. Our guests include wise and insightful teachers from the realms of somatics, Buddhism, meditation, social justice, psychotherapy, movement arts, bodywork, martial arts, neuroscience, environmentalists, indigenous teachers, and more.

In our conversations, we explore a wide range of topics around waking up and being embodied,
and offer guided practices to help return to your embodiment a source of wisdom, guidance, and intimacy with life.

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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.

1 Comment

  1. Margaret Brown on August 17, 2018 at 10:58 pm

    Hello Erin, I’m so happy to be receiving your newsletters. I wish to attend and sign up for the workshop called “Empelvised, Embellied and Empowered.” It was highly recommended. I look forward to being in your classes. Thank you 🙏
    Margaret Brown

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