Ways to Create Spaciousness

Lots of us tend to rush headlong into what’s next.  But what would it be like to create a kind of intentional spaciousness?  This is not a squishy place, but rather a place filled with air and light and breath.  What might happen if you intentionally slow everything down and ask yourself, “What do I want to do or be next?”  A different quality comes alive with this question—one that contains desire, yes, but also trust and a belief that something will arise if I just quiet myself and let it.  

If you say to yourself, “What do I want to do or be next?” invariably there will be other voices vying for attention.  Some of these are likely to be critical in nature, “shoulds” or judgmental in some way, or  diversions. Some of these objections or diversions might be necessary or true to some degree.  You might hear: “I need the money, so I

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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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Somatic Learning in Action: Centering, Declaring, Entering

momentum, flow

Through practice, we build our capacity to move toward what we deeply care about. Richard Strozzi-Heckler says: “We are what we practice, and we’re always practicing something.” So, why not have conscious practices that create change in us? Building awareness about what we are practicing and how this affects how we live our lives helps us to make choices that are more generative. We practice to become more alive to what pulses in us as the heart of what matters.

When we practice with others, in community, the learning takes place in what I have often called a cauldron. There’s a bubbling to the surface that can occur when practicing in the presence of others — a way into seeing ourselves that is otherwise invisible. By learning in community and taking the time to tease apart the practices, participants can deepen in their understanding of the practices themselves and, more importantly, the relevance of practice

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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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