Postures of Authenticity

In the Strozzi Somatics™ centering practice, we experience the dimensions of length, width and depth.  Each dimension has a physical component, but also a psychological one.  For instance, when we center in our length, we are working with how to feel more of the vertical space we occupy.  We can also sense how to allow ourselves to be held by the earth beneath us while also feeling literally uplifted.  We notice what we feel in this new “shape”.  The quality that goes along with feeling our length is dignity.  When we can more fully occupy the physical dimension of length within and without ourselves, our perception of both begins to shift.  

Centering can shift our state of consciousness before we sit down to write.  This reminds me of a writing workshop I led in Telluride. We had completed the centering practice then moved into a writing practice.  The room was alive with the sound

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How the Body Reveals Habit Nature

Basil & The Habit of Effort

I wrote two essays that were published in my book, Water Shed: Aikido Tanka back in 2004.  In re-reading both today, I see how much is still true within that writing.  Often what we’re working on just keeps showing up, doesn’t it?  Maybe in differing guises and in varying strengths, but nevertheless, present.

What brought me to this path of learning through the body, affecting change through the body, and writing with and through the body is meeting a teacher who has an unusual way of seeing and reading the body.  It was through his observations and assessments on the aikido mats that I came to experience aikido as an art of body-centered learning, knowing, and transformation.  I’d always felt it was that way, but none of my teachers had spoken of it in this manner until I met Robert Nadeau Sensei.  A long time ago.

He was teaching an aikido class and I was mirroring

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Tapping Into Hara as a Source of Knowing

ushiro technique

For nearly 20 years I showed up on the aikido mats and practiced. We were practicing a martial art, yes, learning how to pin and throw and be pinned and be thrown. Sometimes I flew through the air and landed hard on the mats. Sometimes I softly blended my energy with my partner’s. I was learning how to move around rather than against, how to extend my energy beyond the limits of my physical body, how to wield a wooden sword or staff, and how to blend with the energy of others. And yet what I was learning most was what it meant to move from the physical center of my body, the hara.

I remember Takashi Tokunaga, my teacher at that time, would tell us to leave the dojo and do everything from this center. I remember practicing driving from center, eating from center, walking from center, playing tennis, cooking, cleaning, making love….all this

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Working With the Habit of Comparing

what's the point of comparing? we're all different sized eggs!

The ways in which we compare ourselves to others often stops us from entering into our own joy.  And when we compare ourselves to others, it’s often a signal of an area of growth that we want for ourselves.  Comparing isn’t very generative, is it?  And yet we do this.

Recently this came up with a client who was moving into some new territory for herself and her business by taking a business development course.  Before the course began we had a session, and she was distinctly in that territory of comparing herself to everyone else on the course.  As it happens when we get into this territory, we often come up short.  Everyone else had more experience in business than her.  Everyone else had a current website.  Everyone else knew just what they wanted and she was still searching.  And she hadn’t even met these others yet!

I utterly understood her struggle, as I’d

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Awareness & the Self-Critical Voice

The Self-Critical Voice

As part of the launch of the Embodied Creative website, I encouraged your questions. The first one I received is a juicy one, so I wanted to spend some writing time on it in the hopes that it speaks to many of you as well. Here it is:

How can one minimize or eliminate the self-critical self?

Such a good question. Such a place of grappling, for both writers and non-writers.

I’ve often found that the self-critical voice appears as I’m expanding my repertoire. Deciding to claim some new territory, new ground. As if the critical voice is saying: Oh no, why don’t you just stay small/safe/inside yourself? And then the litany can begin — if you go there, you’ll be ridiculed/be seen as not smart enough/go broke …, etc. It’s never very pretty, where this voice sends me. Or likely, you.

So, I encourage you to try these three steps in confronting that self-critical

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The Embodied Creative: Voice & Body

As a poet I have always been interested in language’s energetic components, how we can get in the way of the energy of a poem and how when we step aside the poem can sometimes write itself. OK, so that’s rare. But it happens. So what is present in us and in language when grace happens?

In 2006 I began a course of study in somatics at Strozzi Institute that was a natural outgrowth of my many years of training in the martial art aikido and my many years of expressing myself through the language-medium of poetry. I’m fascinated with the relationship between how we live in our bodies and what we bring forward in our voices and our expression in the world. I wanted to understand in a more conscious way that remarkable relationship between body-knowing and intellectual knowing.

I will never forget the day I felt in my own body that my writing

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