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  • New Year Wishes

    I’m sitting here quietly, listening to the silence of summer holidays.  The streets are quiet, birds singing and bees buzzing.  Outside I smell warm nectar and cut grass.  I love the way Melbourne slows down after Christmas.  People are walking without hurrying; smiling, enjoying this moment in the season.  It is fleeting.  The population and energy grow again through January as people return from beach holidays.  The pace returns. 

    My wish for us as we begin the new year is to hold dear in our hearts a piece of this silence and carry it with us through the year. That we can access slowness.  That we can dwell between activities in moments of summer flavoured ease. That we can value an unhurried way of being. That this quietude can be a balm to overactive lives.  That doing nothing can provide an antidote to all the times we are doing too much. 

    For our worth is not only bound up in our activities and achievements.  Our worth is also in our awareness; spacious, open, here and now.  There is something wonderful about summer which gives us permission to let go and do nothing and dwell in this mindful state of being 

    I’m imagining a year filled with nature baths, long strolls, silences and wonderings.  Contemplation and slow tempo.  Languid meals and belly laughs. 

    For movement instead of exercise, for bird watching instead of screen watching.  For holding hands with the unseen, poetic, unexplainable beauty of life. 

    Here is a poem by David Whyte that speaks to me at this time. 

    Your great mistake is to act the drama 
    as if you were alone. As if life 
    were a progressive and cunning crime 
    with no witness to the tiny hidden 
    transgressions. To feel abandoned is to deny 
    the intimacy of your surroundings. Surely, 
    even you, at times, have felt the grand array; 
    the swelling presence, and the chorus, crowding 
    out your solo voice You must note 
    the way the soap dish enables you, 
    or the window latch grants you freedom. 
    Alertness is the hidden discipline of familiarity. 
    The stairs are your mentor of things 
    to come, the doors have always been there 
    to frighten you and invite you, 
    and the tiny speaker in the phone 
    is your dream-ladder to divinity. 

    Put down the weight of your aloneness and ease into 
    the conversation. The kettle is singing 
    even as it pours you a drink, the cooking pots 
    have left their arrogant aloofness and 
    seen the good in you at last. All the birds 
    and creatures of the world are unutterably 
    themselves. Everything is waiting for you. 

      -- David Whyte 
      from Everything is Waiting for You  
      ©2003 Many Rivers Press

  • Bare feet

    On a recent walk by the Merri Creek one of my sandals broke. I walked the rest of the way in bare feet.  Sometimes on concrete, sometimes on grass and sometimes on sandy paths. In this experience of different surfaces my attention was brought freshly to my feet. 

    I felt the density of concrete, the soft and springy nature of the grass.  I felt cold and damp at times and warm and hard at others. I felt pebbles, sticks and cracks. I had to walk more carefully; I was aware of my footfall and my bodies shock absorption system.  This occurred particularly when walking on the unforgiving concrete.  I needed to land precisely to avoid jarring my knees and hips. 

    At the end of the walk I felt brightly awakened through my core system and my fascial web. I felt so alive, my mood elevated, my senses awakened, my embodiment. “How delightful” I thought, “I should do this all the time!”. 

    Later however I felt my old sacroiliac instability triggered and my hip overcompensating and tight. Both these feelings passed in a few days, but my initial excitement was tempered.  

    This experience got me thinking about our time barefoot. There is so much that is beneficial about barefoot time.  We awaken the sensitive receptors and tiny muscles located in the soles of our feet.  We need these structures awake and functioning in order to balance well, have good earth support and core activity. 

    However modern landscapes include so many hard, flat concrete surfaces that without the cushioning of our shoes we we are likely to jar our joints on these surfaces. It’s a catch 22.  We need our shoes for protection but our shoes deprive our feet of good sensory stimulation which depletes their functioning even more. 

    So yes, we need times barefoot to keep our feet awake and supple but we need to use caution around hard surfaces. Especially if we aren't used to barefoot time or have any injuries. Furthermore, many people reply on shoes and innersoles for some additional arch support. So we must be pragmatic and work within the confines of our individual needs.

    If we can choose soft and uneven surfaces like beaches and parks for our barefoot time we get the benefits for our feet and a nature bath at the same time. Even walking around the house barefoot can be good for some of us. 

    We can also think about the shoes we walk in. Aside from aesthetic I look for a balance between the following when choosing new shoes. 

    • Support vs flexibility 

    • Cushioning vs palpatory capacity (ability to feel the ground) 

    • Space for toes 

    When trying on new shoes put one on and walk with one foot bare.  Try to feel the difference, asking the question “what is the shoe providing for me?”. Try the same comparison but this time wear the new shoe and a familiar shoe. Ask questions like; is the toe box allowing full spread of my toes or are they being squished?  Do I feel comfortable? Stable? Can I feel the ground? Can my feet move as I walk?

    Hold the shoe in your hands. Check if the shoe sole flex at the toes and can it twist along the arch (think ringing out a wet towel).  

    Each person has unique requirements that will change over time.  When in doubt go gently and listen to your feet. 

    Happy walking!

  • The Art and Act of Perceiving

    Click here to read Part 1: The Sky and Earth of Orienting.  

    What is Perception? 

    Perception occurs moment to moment as we notice our environment (exteroception), how we feel (interoception) and where we are (proprioception). 

    We perceive using our 5 senses, and our inner ear and nerve receptors that are located in our fascial web. We could say we have 7 senses. 

    • Seeing – through our eyes 

    • Hearing – through our ears 

    • Touching – through our skin 

    • Smelling – through our nose 

    • Tasting – through our tongue 

    • Balancing – through our inner ear 

    • Body sensing – through our fascial web

    The Three Modes of Perception 

    Exteroception  

    Occurs when we perceive the outside world. 

    It is an active engagement with the world through the senses and it is the most familiar style of perceiving for most western people.  

    • Yang (masculine) 

    • Outer 

    • Space orienting 

    • Expression capacity 

    • “I actively see, touch, smell the world and I penetrate the space” 

    Embodiment: Can I consciously notice myself as I actively smell, touch, hear, taste and see the world? Can I penetrate the space with my gesture or voice. 

    Imagine a person shooting with bow and arrow. I am the arrow.

    Interoception 

    Occurs when we are aware of our internal experience.  We know our internal space through body sensations. These body sensations are registered by nerve receptors in the fascial web. We feel physical needs like hunger, thirst, need to urinate, sleepiness etc. We also register our emotional experience through these body sensations. 

    This is a receptive mode and tends to be less familliar than exteroperception. 

    • Yin (feminine)

    • Inner 

    • Ground orienting 

    • Impression capacity 

    • “I receive the sight, touch and smell of the world, I feel my internal space. 

    Embodiment: Can I open to allow myself to be touched by the world.  Can I consciously feel the ‘impressions’; the sounds, touches, sights, smells and tastes of the world.  I feel the impressions as body sensations. For example, the vibrations of the music touching my bones. 

    Imagine a person shooting a bow and arrow, I am the bow. 

    Proprioception 

    Occurs when I perceive my body in space.  Proprioception utilises the eyes, the inner ear and the nerve receptors located in the fascial web. 

    • I can feel where my body is,
    • I can judge distance,
    • I can feel where I am in relation to others. 
    • I am graceful, efficient and stable.   

    Embodiment: I am alive in my fascial web, I feel myself from my toes to my nose, from my fingers to my sit bones, my eyes perceive the landscape and my feet feel the gravity.  When I move I am whole like a martial artist.  

    Imagine a person shooting a bow and arrow.  I am the person.  

    Perception is not static.  Perception is an ongoing participatory event.  The way I perceive the world depends on my history and my expectations.  It depends on my mood and my beliefs.  We can perceive in narrow familiar ways, where we expect what has come before.  Or we can perceive freshly each moment, each day, taking in our experience as it is right here right now. This way is a creative way, it is more vulnerable, and it allows us to continue updating our beliefs, our expectations and our life narrative.  Living ieverchanging, flowing like a stream, rather than a safe but restrictive fish bowl. 

    Embodiment: Imagine seeing the world for the first time.  Imagine you have the eyes of wonder like a baby.  Every new smell, colour and sound is unique and deserving of attention, of interest.  How does this affect what you see, how you feel and the way you are in your body? Does it change your fascial expression? Does it change the way you move?

  • The Sky and Earth of Orienting

    As living beings on planet earth, we have a lot in common with the other creatures.  We all are held here by gravity - we all need the support of roots (be they literal or perceptual).  We all rise up towards the sun, to the nourishment coming from the environment (water, air, food etc). 

    But in a technological age, we can lose touch to these fundamentals. Most of us know intrinsically that we suffer with too much screen time, with too much time spend in our heads.  This suffering is not abstract, real physical changes are occurring.  When we are not feeling and moving our body and when we are narrowing our senses to a small frame in front of us, our fundamental orienting and sensing capacities are diminished. 

    Luckily, just as easily as we lose them, we can reclaim these capacities.  But we have to do a challenging thing.  We have to stay more present, slow down, feel, smell and see freshly our physical selves in our environment.  As we begin to learn some language of sensation we begin to learn the language of the body. 

    I’d like to spend two blogs inquiring into this.  In this blog we will consider the question "What is orienting?".  The topic of the next blog will be ask "How do we sense?"  Finally we will learn about the fundament ways we perceive ourselves and our flow of life.

    Orienting 

    As creatures of this planet we orient through two poles.  Earth and Space (sky).   

    Earth orienting 

    • Sensing the earth through our feet (or any body part touching the ground) 

    • Feeling our weight (gravity) 

    • Receiving support 

    • Like the roots of the tree 

    • More related to the back line of the body 

    • The arrow head is pointing down 

    Space orienting 

    • Perceiving the environment through our senses 

    • Feeling our buoyancy 

    • Relating to the world 

    • Like the leaves of the tree 

    • More related to the front line of the body 

    • The arrow head is pointing up 

    Each of us will naturally tend to a preference to one pole.  A balance between poles will provide the safety to engage creatively with life.  

    Embodiment

    Earth orienting: Where ever you are (sitting, standing, walking, laying) take a few moments to feel the ground beneath you. What sensations do you feel?  Is it pressure, touch, temperature?  Do you feel the hardness or softness of the surface you are on?  Do you feel stable?  Is there anything you can do to feel more stable? Perhaps shifting your weight slightly.  Perhaps connecting to the bones or the waters of the body. How is this?  Can you name the sensations you associate with gravity? eg heaviness, solidity, anchoring, safety.

    Space orienting: now as you feel the qualities of weight with you can you also notice the environment.  Can you soften your gaze to include yourself in the landscape?  Can you feel the space behind you from the skin on your back?  Can you imagine the horizon omnidirectionally in the landscape around you?  Can you imagine your own equator? How is that? Can you name sensations here? Perhaps you feel volume, spacious, soft, light, or vulnerable. 

    Now slowly let go of the practice and return to your usual self.  Can you notice any changes in your body shape as you return to the familiar?  Get up and walk around.  Observe for a few moments any sensations you feel.  You could try transitioning back and forth a couple of times to feel the contrast.  You might notice the overall body shape or postion of your body parts, or notice the internal sensations of your body.  A third option is to notice how you experience the space – perhaps it feels wider or narrrower, perhaps volumous or flat...

    A final way for this inquiry to land is to take a walk outside.  Try walking feeling weight in your body, feeling contact of earth in each footstep and observe how it feels.  Add the awareness of landscape, eyes including a wide view and even imagine the space behind you.  Again check how it feels and how it compares to how you normally walk.

    In part 2 we will cover the act and art of perceiving. Until then, thanks for reading and do pop your comments or questions in the bottom of this page should you have any. I'd love to hear your experience.

  • Price Increase

    Hey folks

    Just letting you know that as of 1 August 2018 my prices will increase by $10.

    New prices:

    Initial Consult $160 full ($140 conc)

    Standard Consult $140 full ($120 conc)

    I really appreciate your understanding in this.  It allows me to not only pay all my ongoing costs but also to attend regular Professional Development overseas. These trainings are essential to keep my skills growing and to keep me connected to my community.

    If you do have a concern please do get in touch.

    Best wishes

    Meran

  • My Practice is Moving!

    I am delighted to announce that I am moving my practice. I have a beautiful, big room in my home that is becoming my new Studio space. It is lovely and light and located upstairs which means no more closed blinds. We will be able to tune all the more to our space orientation as we view the surrounding trees and sky. 

    I am located just near Ceres (environmental park) in Brunswick East. I feel the location is far more harmonious with my practice than noisy High St. You can stroll around Ceres before or after your session or take a walk by Merri creek to integrate. 

    I'm in the process of organising Hicaps/Eftpos and a split system hearing/cooling system so we will be comfortable all year round. I am also happy be able to offer more timslots for sessions as well.

    Address:199 Stewart St Brunswick East 3057
    First day: Monday 19 February 2018.
    New hours:
    Monday 530-830pm
    Tuesday 1-830pm
    Wednesday 1-830pm
    Thursday 10am-230pm

    I look forward to sharing my new Studio with you.

    Cheers

    Meran

  • Holiday Blessings

    Dear clients and visitors to my site,

    I have had a wonderful year this year.  I am been lucky enough to share in the healing and discovery journey's of many dedicated and courageous folk.  I was also blessed by another visit to the US to study.  I'm happy also this year to have built my first Eagle Bench which has been enabling me and many clients to play with Hubert Godard's movement practice Flight of the Eagle.

    I am wishing for you and for me and all of us, blessings over the coming holiday period.  For celebrating, seeing loved ones, resting, playing and drinking in sun and sand.  Wishing us fortitude for meeting any challenging relationships that come our way. 

    May our presence be a gift to ourselves and those lucky enough to call us loved ones.  May we remember to see the world, feel the world and be touched by the world.  The beauty and the tragedy.  May be we find love and compassion as well as silliness and play as we take time off and bask in the flow of this precious life.

    Friday 22nd is my last day and I'll be back on Monday 15 January.

    Merry Christmas!

    Love Meran

  • Fate and Destiny

    I love listening to podcasts and recently heard Michael Meade's podcast entilled 'Unlocking Destiny'. This inspired me to reconnect with his book  Fate and Destiny: The Two Agreements of the Soul. He speaks about two inherent aspect within human life.

    "Fate is an old word which suggests limits and even hints of fatality, and yet fate is also the doorway to destiny.  In the very old ideas of this world, it is the limitations that create the openings for growth.  The refusal to accept limitations keeps people stuck where they are."

    It is the limitations that create the openings for growth.  I am deeply touched by this statement. Often times limitations feel like failure or even punishment.  We think "what have I done wrong?" or "what have I done to deserve this?". Michael turns this idea on its head.

    Some of the ways we might embody times of limitation are feeling contracting, narrowing, stiffening, gripping, collapsing, depressing, resisting and hiding.  Some emotions are frustration, anger, hopelessness, despair, distress, lack... Each one of us will have a unique constellations of sensations, feelings and narrative for our experience of limiting times.

    Michael offers us a radical shift in perceptive; to include our limitations.  Not only that, but to also see these as required on the path to growth.

    "Fate is exactly that which limits us and destiny is that great thing to which we are called. And we have to struggle with the fate in order to get closer to the destiny."

    When we are right in the middle of difficulty, stuckness and limitation we are also at the doorway to growth, to destiny.  I find this extremely helpful to remember as I traverse difficult times.  To keep my balance when the winds of life are blowing a gale and I fear I may be blown over.

    Another way to keep balance is in our body. As I write this I am sitting on a stool that I can raise up high so my thighs are slanting downwards towards my knees.  I am sitting so that 25% of my weight is in my buttocks and 75% in my thighs.

    From this position I imagine my inner ear - left and right inside the ear and behind the eye.  I tune to this location and notice if both sides are feeling equally boyant.  Imagine rolling a marble back and forth your open palm. These marbles are in your inner ear and when you roll them back and forth your inner ear awakens into boyancy. Its a tiny movement.  So small that your head only moves a milimetre or two.

    As your inner year marbles dance the weight of your body hangs down into your seat - 25% buttocks and 75% thighs.  It feels like ongoing organising movements as your body balances in gravity. Hang out here for a few minutes and then take a walk and observe how you feel. How are your feet feeling? Your space? How about your head? Your pelvis?

    Here is Michael's again

    "We enter the world threaded in a certain way, aimed in a certain direction... gifted in certain ways, marked in certain ways, styled in certain ways.  And the struggles of life are not there to defeat us but to push us into a deeper place of self revelation in which we find out who we already are."

    Perhaps I can imagine in my body the location or feeling or movement associated with my inner gift. Perhaps it feels like warmth in my heart, maybe a silver thread that is weaving through me, maybe it is a golden glow deep in my belly or a pearl in the centre of my being.

    I'll leave you to wonder in your own imagination.  I'd love to hear what you notice.

    May we all be blessed by enough security to hold us and enough radical possibility for our inner gift to shine into the world.

    * All quotes are taken from Michael Meade's Living Myth podcast Episode 36, 14/09/17

  • Spring... Beginning?

    As I sit here hoping for inspiration for this blog post I can hear the wind gusting outside.  It is officially spring though these last couple of weeks have been particularly cold and winter like.  Its hard at the best of times for our systems to navigate the season change, but this season change feel particularly challenging.

    Many clients are coming into the clinic feeling tired and low and lacking their usual energy and vigor.  I must admit that I am feeling the same.

    One of the things that I love most about this time of year are the flowers.  The wattle in particular - its fragrence is everywhere around where I live and I am so thankful to this smell to help awaken my senses to the present moment.

    I associate spring with new growth.  I look at the garden and landscape around me and I see some little green buds but still a lot of winter stillness and hibernation.  Nature shows what I feel - the 'nearly but not yet' feeling.  No wonder so many of us are feeling out of sorts.  Ready but not ready.

    At this time I invite myself to be gentle.  To remain in the uncertainty and know that the time for bursting forth will come in its perfect rhythm.  We can't hurry mother nature and we can't hurry our inner nature.

    I love essential oils.  I have been finding sweet orange, peppermint and geranium all helpful to keep my spirits up.  For me they are sweet smells that make me smile.

    I am looking forward to the energy of spring giving support to my upcoming practice.  I am continuing my self learning that began during my US trip and I'll be offering more of the Flight of the Eagle practice.

  • I'm Back

    I have just returned from the US.  I have been studying with Kevin Frank and Caryn McHose at their Resources in Movement Studio in New Hampshire.  The setting was idilic.  A rainy spring had given birth to an emerald green landscape.  The water of the pond was cool and the fire powered hot tub warm.  

    We were supported and nurtured by the landscape and by the Rolf Movement class.  I enjoyed getting to know a new group of dedicated Rolfers as we lived and learnt together for 7 days.

    Each afternoon we moved out onto the deck and learned the Flight of the Eagle sequence.  It was wonderful for me working with Caryn on the sequence which has facinated me for years.  Kevin had built enough benches for each participant and it was a beautiful sight as the class took flight.

    I am inspired to build my own bench for the clinic to offer this practice more.  Stay tuned.

    We also learnt some fun alternatives to the seated 'hands on the wall' practice.  Again Kevin had built a structure which allowed the client to grip a verticle 'grab rail' rather than push with flat hands against the wall.  This makes the practice much easier on wrists and hands and again I will be building and implementing some changes for my practice.

    I'm feeling well fed and inspired after my trip and look forward to integrating the new pieces with you. This last photo is on the final day, fun with my new friends.