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  • 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.

  • Landing... again

    Sitting this morning after breckfast I began my awareness practice.  

    As I sat I could feel my right foot scrunched and almost hovering on the ground. When I checked in with my pelvis, I noticed this pattern in my sitting bone, along my right 'bicycle bone' (ramus) and into my inside thigh. I tried to correct by finding weight in my bones and clarity between the landing and moving part of my foot. No matter how hard I tried (or maybe because I was TRYING so hard) I couldn't find my desired coorination.  I felt a familiar old frustration.

    As a Rolfer I am often teaching a new coordination or movement sequence.  Its something I am very familiar with.  However sometimes new coordination is not what is needed.  Sometimes fresh perceiving and trusting in the intellengence of our body is far more helpful.

    So this morning I changed tact. I invited myself to stop trying to fix anything and to meet solely with presense and allowing. I brought my attention to the sensations of my body with no attempt to correct. I felt less space and more gripping on my right foot and pelvis.  I wanted it to go away and I needed perserverence to not start correcting.

    I tried to notice the feeling of contact with the surface of chair and floor.  I couldn't feel much contact. I sat a little longer.  Then I remembered the vocal sounds used in Continuum Montage.  I made the bussing sound "zzz jjj" and imagined my bones receiving the vibration.  All the way down my body into my seat and then all the way down my leg to my foot.  

    After a number of minutes I stopped.  In Continuum we are invited to offer these sounds into the body and then to allow the body time to receive and respond.  I opened my attention and imagined my body free to bathe in the sound.  I felt a slow dawning.  I felt a fluid feeling.  I was aware of tiny flowing movements. Like the feeling of water moving inside my body,

    I tried another sound.  This time a 'blown "ooooo"' where you make the "o" sound with closed mouth at the same time as puffing out your cheeks.  Its a very round feeling vibration.  I imagined this roundness and the roundness of my sit bones and heels being in concert.  I did this for a few more minutes.

    Again I stopped and waited in open attention.  Waiting to feel the fluid effects of the sounds.  Again I felt flow and my body started to reorganise. I imagine its the instrinsic intellegence of my body that is awakened. So I allow. Ny body weight shifts, muscles lengthen and awaken.  Finally I realised all this tension where my collar bones rest on my ribs.  As this tension softened I felt sadness tinged with relief.

    Slowly the emotions passed and my body gently landed a little more into the chair and floor.  Halleluja I could feel my body weight again! Here I ended the practice and went for a walk by the creek to harvest my new sensations.  

    I felt such a big change in my awareness of the space of the earth.  I was aware of much more space at ankle height in a blissful panorama all around me. I experiemented comparing the new feeling with the old more held up feeling until I got a clear sense of them both. I didn't realise how held up I had become until I landed once again. I didn't realise how decreased my awareness of space was until it had returned. I am smiling as I continue my day.

  • Heading to the US in June

    I am excited to be returning to the US for a Rolf Movement Workshop.

    My final day in the clinic is Friday 16 June and I will return to work on Monday 3 July.  

    I will be studying with Kevin Frank and Caryn McHose the authurs of How Life Moves: Explorations in Meaning and Body Awareness.  Its a residential retreat at the beautiful Resources in Movement studio situated on the shore of White Oak Pond in New Hampshire.

    I'm looking forward to connecting with my community, meeting new friends and engaging in lots of new learning and discovery.  As well as expanding and deepening my knowledge, these trips are of profound importance to my own practice.  Being the student again is essential to the health of any practitioner or teacher.

    I look forward to sharing with you new perspectives and skills I develop on the trip.

    Love

    Meran

  • Courting the Unknown

    In our sessions, just like in life, there are times of 'knowing' and times of 'not-knowing'. When I discover a new awareness of my body or my movement, when I know myself more, it is often a good feeling. However when I meet the unknown, when something is unclear or still forming, I can feel afraid, confused and vulnerable.

    This not-knowing space is furtile ground.  It is like the soil before the seed has sprouted.  It is like the womb where the baby is growing.  Just like winter is an important phase in the seasons, so to is the not-knowing place.  If we can develop the willingness, the support and resources to hang out here, to court the unknown (so to speak), then we are ready for the sprout of new awareness, new life, new ways of being to come forth.

    Culturally we have a bias towards 'knowing'. From early in our school life we are taught that 'knowing' is good and 'not-knowing' is bad. Given this history, its no wonder that we are challenged to be here.  

    To support our capactiy to 'not-know' we need our body.  We can bring attention to our orientation.  To our awareness of our physical weight and the earth that holds us.  To the wide open space of possibility that is our environment.  We can feel our spine like a cobra snake anchoring our soft organs from behind. Backing not only our organs, but our feelings and our heart.

    We can remind ourselves that this place that rests 'in between' is a natural part of the rhythm of our being, its our winter season.  We might like to image a snow covered mountain in Tibet, the awe, the wildness, the vastness of nature.  We can be supported by this image. Just as the natural world can hold the cold and the dark of winter, so can we.

    I have created the following video as a practice to share with you.  We can journey together in this creative, somatic meditation where we rest in the space before the full stop, where we court the unknown. 

    Finally I would like to acknowledge and mention my teacher and mentor Susan Harper. It is through her that I have discovered much of what I offer to you. You can listen to her on this podcast talking about courting the unknown.

  • Understanding the Freedom of the Ankle

    The ankle is the place where the foot connects to the body.  The foots contacts with the ground to provide us with stability and movement.  In order for this stability and movement to support and propel the ankle must be free.

    The ankle joint consists of the two bones of the lower leg (tibia and fibular) and the talus.  The talus is the point of connection between the leg and the foot.  Make a fist and then place your other open palm over the fist with fingers on one side and thumb on the other (like a saddle on a horse) you are demonstrating the shape of the ankle joint.  Now slide forward and backward, you are now showing the movement of the ankle.

    If I am free to glide here my balance will be good and I will feel stable.  I will both be able to land safely and strongly on the ground and if my body moves (and my centre of gravity changes) my ankle will be able to adapt so that my foot can remain stable on the ground. The following video shows the wonderful function of the ankle and foot. 

    Permission for my ankle to glide comes from two places. The first is from below - the contact of my foot on the ground.  My foot must be taking in rich sensory information - touch, pressure, temporature, texture to give confidence that there is something stable under me that will support me. Sit with you feet flat on the floor.  Imagine being alive in your soles.  Imagine the flesh receiving the pressure of the earth, soaking and opening like you're in mud.  Between your toes, between your bones, soaking and squelshing.  Stand and notice what you feel.

    The second is the freedom from above - the tibia and fibula. These lower leg bones must be free to allow the ankle to move.  Stand up and bend your knees forward a few inchs whilst keeping your heels on the ground.  That's your ankle gliding.  Now sit and with your finger pads touch and feel the two boney bumps on the sides of your ankle.  The inside one is part of your tibia (shin bone) and the outside one is part of your fibular. Take a few moments to soak in the sensation of the bone as you trace it.

    Now stand again and notice these two ankle bones shaping the inside and outside of your ankle. Now squeeze these two bones together and see if you can bend your knees.  Probably near impossible.  Now imagine these two bones spreading and softening and gently try the knee bend again.  What do you notice? Can you allow them to spread on the way down and the way up? Try this a couple of times and then take a walk and observe.  If you tighten the ankle bones just a little bit see how this feels for your feet and your balance.  Now relax them and notice your feet again, balance again.  I notice my whole body feels tighter when my ankles are tightening.

    This exercise illustrates the wonderful balance system that exists in our ankles.  It is however a system sensitive to injury. Many people have sprained an ankle at some point in the life and if you've have ever had an injury where landing was painful and had to limp (like a sore knee, toe or back), then the ankle may have learnt to hold on to protect against the danger of landing and feeling pain.  Later, even when the injury is long gone, the ankle may continue protecting and holding on.  Then my foot can't no longer land properly and my balance will become impaired. This will be the topic for my next blog.  Stay tuned.

  • Restoring Natural Movement: Flight of the Eagle

    I began the Restoring Natural Movement series last year.  In the first video we played with ways of Receiving Sensation.  We continued in the second video with a way of Moving from Sensation.  I invite you to revew these videos.

    We continue the theme by beginning Hubert Godard's practice Flight of the Eagle.  Inspired by the yoga practice Salute to the Sun, Flight of the Eagle adapts the emphasis from stretching and strength to sensation triggering movement.  This is movement with the least amount of effort.  It is about getting out of the way and creating the conditions for movement to occur.

    Flight of the Eagle is an invitation for our hands and feet to make full contact with the world of sensation.  This triggers our antigravity muscles to coordinate our movement.  This is the best type of movement - graceful, effortless, beautiful.  But its also movement that requires the most patience, trust and peace - not a simple task!

    It is such a different way to think; non-doing rather than doing.  Here we bring attention to that which orients us - space, weight, pressure etc and we wait....  In this sense it is in equal measure a movement practice and a practice in mindfulness.

    I've been contemplating different ways to teach this online.  This video is one way.  You get a glimpse into a movement session with my dear collegue and friend Katie.  She learns a snippet of the full practice (which you can watch here).  This is my first effort doing video editing.  I hope its clear, I'm still developing this skill!

    I would love to hear what is helpful and what could be explained further.  Your feedback will assist me in creating the next video.  I will continue to play with different ways of teaching the Flight of the Eagle practice over the coming months.

    I hope you enjoy it.

  • Happy New Year

    Happy New Year

    I'm smelling the sweet gardenia in my garden and looking out on the sunny day. I'm remembering you with affection. The injuries and upsets that call you to visit me. We share the hope for ease and balance and freedom from pain and suffering. I'm wishing from the skin of my heart to the tips of my toes a year where we are all backed well, suffer less and are touched by the sweet smells of life. Where grace holds us when we suffer and when we laugh we do so from deep in our belly.

    Love Meran

    PS I'm back in the clinic today and every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.