A video and some writing I made this morning 🙂
I have other things to do,
But the music it pulls me in
Like a river….
I have to move.
I feel something in my hydrated heart
That needs to move through me.
And inside my belly,
A babe is growing and
Moving with me.
A babe is listening to
Turning and rolling,
Exploring the vast ocean of
So I move because I must,
Because there is no other way.
And I sing because my heart
Sings within me,
Because there is sound that
Moves as another limb of this movement
Through my body,
Through my whole body.
How else can it be?
In this moment as it
unfolds its way
Music: Jon Hopkins: Immunity
I just listened to this talk while engaging in my creative movement practice.
I feel it sums up a lot of what I am working towards and motivated to share through Integrated Embodiment in terms of articulating the link between somatic movement, somatic psychotherapy, wisdom teachings and the arts.
I still have a breadth of learning to experience within these fields but listening to this talk makes me excited about what I feel I am moving towards birthing into the world in a more integrated way at some point.
For the time being, I share what I can where I’m at.
As I moved this morning, this was born …
This body, the Earth.
I begin with a dance,
A more upbeat one my music
shuffle list comes up with.
I have no idea what will come.
This track emerges,
slower, the sounds of daily life
perhaps in a village far away.
I do not know what will come.
I stretch and move and soon…
The images arise.
I am there in that village.
I am those sounds.
They move through my body.
I touch the Earth.
I touch the Earth.
I find a great tenderness.
So great it touches my heart
Something about the children singing.
Something about the everydayness of it.
Something about the birdsong,
The buffaloes, the rain.
I touch the Earth.
I touch my body.
I am made of it.
I feel such tenderness
Tears of a mixture of awe,
Of longing, of sadness,
I am made of it.
At once in my living room,
And another in this far off place,
Where these things happen every day.
Where my bare feet touch the Earth,
Where children sing.
My movement is slow.
I move my hand up my body,
As I pass my throat the tears lift to
I am made of it.
Hayley 16th May 2016
Music: African Dream by Shaman’s Dream
Summer Solstice Celebration!
June 25th 10:30am-5:30pm
June 26th 10:30am-5:30pm
Investment: £65 if one day,
£140 (£125 if booked before May 18th) if two days (TBC)
Cost does not include accommodation, which must be arranged individually.
I hope this finds you all very well! I am settling into our new place down south, slowly making a house a home. We don’t have the internet set up at home yet so please do bear with my slow responses. I do love to hear from you!!
Below is information about what I envision for our June workshop.
Those of you who are interested in coming, please let me know the day you can make, or both days so that I can organise this and start to take bookings.
Please only respond if you are committed to coming on one or both of the days.
That way I can assess if it will work for me too. I will need a minimum of 12 people to run this workshop and will take a maximum of 16. I will run either a one day or a two day workshop depending on numbers. The workshop will be in, or accessible, to Edinburgh.
Would you like to attend this workshop in exchange for your time?
I am looking for someone to help me to find a venue for either one of the days or both days, depending on what people can commit to. Your task would be to secure a beautiful venue, preferably close to nature in return for a space on the workshop with no fee.
I will offer this place on a first come first serve basis.
Again, please only apply if you are committed and you realistically have the time to search for a venue, which will need to be secured asap.
To apply, please write to me letting me know if you do have the time and why you would like to attend the workshop. I will send you more details about what I have in mind for a venue once you have applied.
Summer Solstice Celebration!
Join us to celebrate the Summer Solstice! This weekend will offer a chance to connect with like minded people in a nourishing space focused on presence and creative inquiry!
We will nourish and resource our beings by calling into our awareness all that we feel grateful for in our lives – the celebrations and the challenges – as we reflect upon how they have helped us to evolve into who we are today!
We will share and sculpt our dreams, visions and desires, calling them into presence and contemplating the ways in which they are already birthing through us.
We will cultivate useful resources through exploring creative movement, vocal play, time for reflective presence and connecting with each other in a safe and held space.
We will share time and space with each other, bare witness to each other and, perhaps, allow ourselves to be seen. We will meet new people, make new friends and connect more deeply with ourselves.
I hope to open for bookings within the next couple of weeks, provided I enough people are committed to attending and we have a venue!
Very much looking forward to reconnecting in June!
A letter to those of you I know in Scotland as, tomorrow, I will be moving on xxx
Above is a photo of Ross and I as we arrived in Scotland in June last year (yes, that’s me peaking out at the bottom! 😉 ). We were full of hope, excitement and vision about starting our journey up here together and had the intention to stay.
I have returned to Edinburgh many times over the many years of travels and time spent living abroad. Every time I have returned I have felt held, supported and a sense of ease. This time was a bit different for me. A valuable time no doubt but one where doors seemed to close for me and I could feel a strong sense of ‘not right now’ as if the city were speaking to me. I tried to conveniently ignore this for a while but, as we all know, these voices only get louder…
I swallow the medicine of this time and allow it to connect me deeper with my truth so that I may find the words and actions to speak and live more fully what is real for me. This time has shown me that old habits of keeping quiet so as not to ‘rock the boat’ still exist within me. And yet, when I did eventually give voice to what was true for me, I was mostly met with support, understanding and compassion. It has also been really interesting being with the resistance, the longing and all that has arisen over these wintery months. There is so much juice for me in this that I think it will take me a while to digest!
I would like to add that I do not see these “old habits” as anything particularly to get rid of. Rather, I intend to work with them and see them more as grist for the mill, valuable information about where my limitations lie, aspects of myself to befriend and develop a relationship with that serves my being and our world somehow. Juice!
Doors have opened too and for those I am immensely grateful. I have felt a strong sense of growth during this time, both in my inner world and in the world in which I share my ever evolving body of work.
It became clear to me a while ago that ‘yoga’ as it can be approached in both the East and the West has felt limiting to me. I have long been called by something deeper than patriarchal systems and the fixation of ancient texts (as valuable as these can be, no disrespect meant), to dive into a world that is beyond my control, that reveals itself to me moment to moment with each step, that is ever evolving and present in the living cells of this body. I have so much enjoyed stretching through the space of my mind, body and spirit and exploring new landscapes that I integrate now into my work and living being.
I truly want to thank those of you who have come on that journey with me in these last months. Your presence has given me a sense of trust in what I share as I navigate my way through these ever unknown terrains. I totally understand that this work is not for everyone, yet it is the path I must walk for now because the other would no longer be true or satisfying for me.
I would like to wish all of you the very very best, those of you who I have seen and those I have not. I will be back towards the end of June to share a workshop then so please do stay tuned and remember you can always check here for what’s going on!
And, for those of you who are interested in delving deeper into somatics and presence in between, I have compiled a ‘resources’ page on my website with lots of great talks, practices, videos, articles and links… do check it out! Click here.
So, farewell for now and I will leave you with this quote by Rilke that I read at the ‘Curiosity’ workshop a couple of weeks ago. ( I had a lot of fun by the way, thank you all for coming and for all you contributed to the day!)…
may it be for you all 🙂
“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”
But by the inner rhythm of my breath
And the resonance of the sound within my body.
The song of the sea
Of Gentle waves
And a swelling tide
Moves me into a stillness inside
Upon the waves
And, when I open my eyes
And I see you sea
The beach is disappearing
The rain is softly falling
And you have almost taken me.
And I let your gentle waves
Lap up to the boundary of my skin
As I meet your be-holding of me.
I feel safe,
I feel at a wondrous ease.
I can feel the sea
Beholding from the inside
Why do I resist this?
But that is another story….
We have passed the threshold and entered into a “New Year” by means of modern calendar. Personally, I would offer that a different type of calendar, aligned with the phases of the moon and the turn of the seasons would offer a more accurate turning point for the year. However, as our culture stands, this is the turning point we recognise and, truly, every point in time and space is a turning point in which we can choose to consciously enter something new.
So, Happy New Year to you all! Here we stand in 2016, facing forward in each of our own unique ways. Perhaps you celebrated with family, with friends. Perhaps you were in bed before the bells and awoke on New Years Day to your own kind of ritual. Perhaps you ignored the passing of the year as ‘just another day, like any other day.’ Whatever way you acknowledged it, it was sure to be in your awareness in some way. (Often in trying to avoid something, we actually bring it closer to ourselves).
The concept of New Year can be such a time of hope and resolution. It inspires us to look at ourselves and question what of our habits are serving us and what of our habits could be gently released and allowed to transform. It offers to us a fresh start, a chance to reflect and contemplate the passing of the previous year and all it entailed alongside an opportunity to resolve to continue the things that worked for us and to lay to rest those that did not.
Our culture, fantastic and intelligent in many ways, can tend to be a culture of high expectation, pressure and speed. It may be worth digging a little deeper than the resolve you have made and inquiring into what motivates the resolve.
Is it realistic? Is there a subtle aggression towards yourself that underlies it? Is it, perhaps, the attitude that drives the motivation that needs attention and that, in giving it that, will be more likely to bring about more long lasting and sustainable transformation? Is it driven by love and compassion or by a part of you that feels you are fundamentally flawed?
What are the tiny, baby, minuscule day-by-day steps that you may need to take in order to achieve your resolve? What would happen right now if you turned toward yourself with absolute acceptance for all that you are and just felt what was present? What would it be to make a commitment to yourself and let change happen in its own timing through the gradual path of really getting to the root of what is going on?
Very often, we expend so much energy in trying to change something about ourselves with a motivation that believes we are fundamentally flawed, that we actually create more tension and an unsustainable environment for growth. We can build structure upon structure on top of the root of our issue, only to find, later on that the foundations will collapse again and again until they are addressed. In seeking a quick fix, the journey actually extends longer than the slow road of integration.
So, I have an invitation for you, and for me because I know I forget this too! The invitation is to make 2016 the year of being willing to return over and over again to what is present, to explore the underlying motivations for your actions and be willing address them within a compassionate and loving holding.
Along the way, things that will be helpful will be to cultivate a good inner support system as well as an outer support system.
Inner supports can be to remain playful – a sense of humour is so important. There are two sides to life, the dark and the light. Both contain gifts and it’s important to remember each side without becoming too caught up in one over the other; to practice self-forgiveness again and again because we are human and we will make mistakes; to be willing, just be willing to be with whatever is there and to know what your resources are, it is no use digging deep if you will drown; Make sure to develop tools that help you to find your ground so you can develop your foundations in the midst of challenging times; Believe in yourself; learn to work with and communicate healthy boundaries.
Outer supports can be to make sure you spend enough time in nature as well as respecting it; surround yourself with enough of a community that supports your growth and lets you be you (there will be times, for instance with family, that this is not so possible and this is why the inner support system is so important – to know who you are in the face of those who do not affirm it); nourish and develop your passions; learn to communicate healthy boundaries and develop healthy relationships.
These are just a few invitations and supports that will be helpful along the way. Remember that everything has its own timing and the most important thing is to be where you are, not to try to live what you think you ‘should’ be. When you allow yourself to be as you are, the flow of life opens up within and before you and life can happen from a place of authenticity, integrity and joy!
Sending you all much love for this New Year and I look forward to seeing you in class!
‘ON THIS DAY ..
May you fall madly in love this year .. in love with someone who unhinges your tired trajectory, in love with a spouse of several years who might be aching for lightning, in love with demanding children and crazy relatives .. in love with the particular pedigree of genius insanity that has perhaps claimed you in spite of your reluctance .. and certainly in love with an animal, a cloud, a redwood, the wild .. these at least once a day. May you fall in love with this fragile jewel of a world, with hard work, real learning, just causes, petitioning and prayers. May you fall in love with wonder itself, with the grand mystery, with all that feeds you in order that you may live .. and with the responsibility that that confers. May you fall in love with heartbreak and seeing how it’s stitched into everything. May you fall in love with the natural order of things and with tears, tenderness and humility. May this be a magnificent year for you. May you fall deeply, madly, hopelessly, inextinguishably in love.’
I would like to share this poem that I read out in Meditation & Deep Rest. It was written by a 13 year old boy following the destruction of the Twin Towers on September 11th 2001. I was in hospital that day having my tonsils checked and I remember sitting in the waiting room with the TV on and watching the towers fall to the ground.
Since then, “terrorism” seems to have been thrust to the forefront of our cultural awareness as we are taught to fear more and trust less. Personally, I believe there is still a vast amount of goodness in this world and that, if we can only come to embrace the ‘dark’ half of our psyche in loving respect, that even that can be used for clarity, purpose and fruitful evolution. It is a matter of healthy relationship with these energies we deny and push aside, only to burst out later in explosive ways, internally, locally and globally….
This Poem is a moving piece from someone so young.
For Our World
We need to stop.
Stop for a moment…
Says or does anything
That may hurt anyone else.
We need to be silent.
Silent for a moment…
Before we forever lose
The blessing of songs
That grow in our hearts.
We need to notice.
Notice for a moment…
Before the future slips away
Into ashes and dust of humility.
Stop, be silent, and notice…
In so many ways, we are the same.
Our differences are unique treasures.
We have, we are, a mosaic of gifts
To nurture, to offer, to accept.
We need to be.
Be for a moment…
Kind and gentle, innocent and trusting,
Like children and lambs,
Never judging or vengeful
Like the judging and vengeful.
And now, let us pray,
Differently, yet together,
Before there is no earth, no life,
No chance for peace.
by Mattie Stepanek
I’d love to say if we all made a commitment to lay down our weapons – inner and outer – (and recycle the materials used to make them for good somehow) then war would take a lot more effort to fight in the first place. If planes were only used for necessity, we’d have much further to travel to fight in the first place and less reason to. I have written something about this that I will share at some point, a pondering into how it would be if war could not be so instantaneously fought.
I’d love there to be a box we could tick on our tax forms to “opt out’ of our tax money fuelling the military and to ‘opt in’ on it going towards education, environment, the arts and sustainability.
I’d love humanity to stop looking for quick fixes and to fully commit to the time it can take for resolution to unfold, holding ourselves accountable for our own actions and cultivating a deep sense of care for ourselves, others, animals, nature and the world we live in.
I’m quite an idealist, I know. I wonder if there will come a time when we lay out weapons down and pump less money into the military.
Until then, I am, at least, committed to this work in myself. How can I recycle the materials of my own inner weapons? How can I stop supporting the industries that fuel war inside and out? How can I deepen my commitment to accountability, care and the time it can take to reach resolution?
It’s true, there are times when we need to unleash our fight! A victim of rape, for instance, has every right to unleash her fight and push, literally, for her life.
But I wonder, if the fight that we see in the world today, with regards to war & terrorism, is more about greed, abuse of power and control. It doesn’t seem to come from a place of necessity or even survival, rather it seems calculated and driven by and rooted in an unhealthy relationship with fear – which can escalate into control, abuse of power and greed, to name a few.
The actions of our government don’t seem to come from a place that serves or represents the voice of the people, but from a place that seems to represent our cultural shadow and the voice of those who will not look at it and who continue to try to keep it pushed down by means of annihilating it with bombs and guns that, time and time again, has been shown not to work…
Time for a rethink? For a commitment to the time it takes to reach into the root, to find alternative means that are driven by an entirely more healthy and integrated intention. In ourselves, and with those around us… It starts within.
“To let go does not mean to get rid of.
To let go means to let be.
When we let be with compassion, things come and go on their own.”
Last week, during the ‘Meditation & Deep Rest’ session, we talked a little about ‘letting go.’ I shared the quote above by Jack Kornfield.
What Jack Kornfield says here really speaks to me about a mature and healthy relationship with letting go.
We can become consciously aware of something that no longer serves us and, yet, it has formed itself into a habitual pattern that we have become identified with as being part of who we are.
In truth, there is nothing we can hold on to, just moments after moments, after moments. These moments join together as the story of our lives, unique unto each of us. Our story is an important one. It is our story and it is a story to be told. Part of what makes this story beautiful is its texture; the way that it ebbs and flows, is coloured by shades of light and dark and tinted with life’s lessons that appear in a myriad of forms along the way, some ecstatic and joyful and others that see us journey to the depths of grief, sorrow and despair. The story beautiful because it shifts and changes and dances with life.
To stay fluid in this dance can be quite a challenge. For many of us, the mere thought of letting go of something that is so habitual we believe it to be a part of ourselves can throw up all sorts of uncomfortable emotions and feelings as well as a lot of fear about what will fill that space. We can know that it has to shift and change as life is calling it to, and yet how?
So often we logically understand that this habit has to go so we move immediately from being immersed in the habit to dropping it immediately and trying to fill the space with its opposite.
For example, say I am immersed in the habit of self punishing thoughts and behaviour when ever I make simple mistakes. One day I make a simple mistake, say I spill a cup of tea. My habit may be to turn towards myself with thoughts such as ‘you are so stupid, you can’t even drink a cup of tea properly!! Look what you have done!’ This may be my habit.
So, now that I am aware of it, I want to let it go, right?
So, the same situation happens and, this time because I am aware of the habit that I want to stop, instead of the self punishing thoughts I fill my head with ‘No, No, No… I am a good person! I am not stupid! I will clear this up and it is OK… everything is FINE!.’
There are a few reasons why this doesn’t work.
The first is that I haven’t acknowledged the part of myself that is self punishing. It’s a bit like lighting an incense stick to cover up a bad smell. As soon as the incense stops burning and the smoke fades, the smell is still there. So it’s important to actually deal with the smell itself.
Unless I actually believe the self affirming, positive thoughts I replace the negative ones with, they tend not work. In fact, they can be counter productive. They act like a subtle aggression towards the part of myself that I am trying to ‘let go of,’ therefore affirming the belief that I am not a good person after all.
To immediately cover a habitual pattern over with its opposite also sends a very confusing signal to the body and being. Using the example above, if I am not grounded in a true sense that I am a ‘good person’ then I am training myself to live in denial. I am whipping the carpet from under my own feet and replacing it with something I don’t fundamentally believe, under which is a large hole that I will at some point inevitably fall through. So part of me learns to switch off to what is real for me and rely on what is not. This can create all sorts of problems later on when the issue, that has been so far pushed down and covered over, rears its head again and I have no resources to deal with it because I have been so focused on keeping it down. I am likely to go down with it.
So, how do I ‘let go’ of this habitual way of being in a way that honours my body and being? Well, the answer will be different for us all in each moment but Jack Kornfield points to a wonderful place to begin: to ‘let it be.’
Over and over again in my own experience, I have found that unless I turn towards myself and allow whatever is there to be seen, I mean really seen, then it will raise it’s head over and over again until I do.
So, taking the example above again. When I spill the tea and the habitual thoughts start flowing through my mind about what a failure of a human being I am, instead of trying to cover them over, instead of trying to fill the void with thoughts of the opposite nature, I pause for a moment to remember my breath.
Then I do what needs done to clear up the spill (taking responsibility is important) and all the while, I may place a hand on my heart or wherever I feel drawn and offer an compassionate and unconditional witness to this voice of self punishment, along with a willingness to really feel the feelings that are underneath these thoughts.
It may seem counter intuitive to begin with, in fact it can often take a little help from an outer witness to begin with – such as a body intelligent psychotherapist or a psychotherapeutically intelligent body worker / movement practitioner.
I would highly recommend this kind of outer witness as we are not alone on our journey. We are all human and are all subject to the wild array of thought, feeling and emotion that colour our lives with life itself. This kind of therapeutic relationship can be especially helpful if the habitual pattern is highly destructive physically, mentally or emotionally to yourself or others.
It is important to seek an ally on the path who can hold you through this part of your journey and kindly reflect to you the areas you may not be able to hold yourself quite yet. This can be part of taking responsibility. This can be part of the willingness to ‘let be.’ Sometimes trying to do this alone can be too overwhelming and the support of another can be highly beneficial in bearing witness to the gentle letting go of whatever the habitual pattern may be.
When I start to truly ‘let be,’ which includes a willingness to feel all my resistance to letting be and all that arises around the habitual pattern I have recognised, then I have more access to the root of the habitual pattern itself. It reveals itself to me. If I try to hunt it down with a subtle view to ‘get rid of’ it, then it will likely hide away from me, much like an animal would. If I offer space to it and wait patiently then it will likely reveal itself to me, as an animal would be more likely to come to me if I waited kindly.
Then, when I have seen it, I can enter into relationship with it. A relationship of curiosity and interest. I can say to this part of myself, ‘Hello, I would like to get to know me if you will let me?’ And so it unfolds from there. In this way, as Jack Kornfield has stated, ‘when we let be with compassion, things come and go on their own.’
This takes time, inner commitment and a lot of willingness. Nature has its own timing. Nature is like an outer reflection of our inner world and, we too, have our own timing and, as all flowers emit different fragrances and blossom in different shapes and colours, we each have unique ways of unfolding and letting be.
When we learn to understand a habitual pattern, we may come to see that it initially formed for a very good reason, a survival mechanism perhaps. In this way, we can see that it is not there because there is something fundamentally wrong with us. The shame that may be around it can be worked with and a deep compassion, respect, love and even gratitude can form, all as part of the ‘letting go’ process. One day we may even come to bow to this part of ourselves that we once saw as a burden in the deepest gratitude and humility as it, too, has brought us to where we are in this moment, right now.
Grief, Sadness, Anger and Fear are all human emotions that we will all feel at some point in our lives and that contain great medicine. Equally are Joy, Happiness, Curiosity and Interest. Letting them be as they flow through us, dancing with them as they make music in our bodies and bring colour to the stories of our lives.
With thanks and a deep willingness to ‘let be.’
Here I am.
“Yes, it is all an invitation to presence. An invitation to be here. To love more deeply, let go more willingly. To appreciate what you have, not focus on what you lost. To feel the preciousness in every breath, every moment of contact with a friend, every experience of joy or sorrow, every shock that leads to an even deeper healing.
It is all yours. And it is a song. And you may not like some of the notes. But a song cannot go wrong. It can only move in unexpected ways, teach you unexpected things, drive you towards unexpected insights and forgiveness, invoke a willingness to open your heart…..
Allow yourself to break and you cannot be broken. Accept that you cannot accept – that is the portal.”
~ Jeff Foster
A great talk: http://www.tarabrach.com/letting-go-of-judgment/