The Texture of Soul

Some Questions You Might Ask

Is the soul solid, like iron?
Or is it tender and breakable, like
the wings of a moth in the beak of the owl?
Who has it, and who doesn’t?

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One question leads to another.

Does it have a shape? Like an iceberg?
Like the eye of a hummingbird?
Does it have one lung, like the snake and the scallop?
Why should I have it, and not the anteater
who loves her children?
Why should I have it, and not the camel?
Come to think of it, what about the maple trees?
What about the blue iris?
What about all the little stones, sitting alone in the moonlight?
What about roses, and lemons, and their shining leaves?
What about the grass? – Mary Oliver

And what about the stones, sitting alone in the moonlight, glistening in the morning sunlight? The stones are speaking to me of late on my daily walks on the beach. They are calling to me and I am curious. I am entering more deeply into the mind of stones, who, without arms or legs choose to stay in one pace, abandoning themselves to the love and mercy of the Elements all their lives. Wherever they are, they are always surrendering without apology and with admirable humility to Gravity – their one and only God. I study their devotion.

Study the ground Lala, as a sign of attainment. – Lala

If matter is ensouled as some poets, mystics, philosophers and depth psychologists say, then can this numen of matter be lived? For me, the answer is Yes.

The Discipline of Authentic Movement is one path of access. As the Inner Witness strengthens and grows, a heightened listening and tracking of the rhythms and flutterings of luminous matter are possible, and the mover feels the truth of their union. First, it’s the matter of the body, then the entire world is ensouled. Nothing is dead. All is alive in various states of transformation. . . moving toward the Mystery.

Friday Morning

vast silence

opens space.

Inside, I know remembrance

touching each mover’s stone,

witnessing ritual

of loving

and letting go.

One of the benefits of practicing the Discipline of Authentic Movement over time is to experience directly this ensoulment of the body, of all matter.

The infinite nature of the outer world is exactly the same as the infinite nature of the inner world. – Janet Adler

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Writing from the Bodyvoice

Mapping and Tracking Bodily Experience through Writing and Remembering

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The primary text of a mystic. . .is his human body.    – Antonio de Nicholas

Embodied writing seeks to reveal the lived experience of the body by portraying in words the finely textured experience of the body and evoking sympathetic resonance. [E]mbodied writing is itself an act of embodiment, entwining in words our senses with the senses of the world.  – Rosemarie Anderson

Since beginning this practice, I was encouraged by my teachers to write down what happens in Authentic Movement. Writing is one way of developing the Inner Witness.

As a mover closes her eyes and steps into the empty space, questions may arise: Which inner impulse or prompting do I listen to and follow? What am I doing now. . .and now? How am I feeling? Do images appear? Sounds? Sensations? What of my witness – am I aware of her and how do I feel moving in her presence? Will I remember all that’s happening?

In addition to the speaking practice that accompanies Authentic Movement, writing can help to expand our conscious awareness of the bodysoul and strengthen the Inner Witness. Writing regularly is a practice, one that helps to reflect our journey with the discipline over time, tracking our bodies, our questions and their answers.

Moving and speaking are ephemeral; writing is tangible and can be returned to later. I have journals that span over two decades of moving and witnessing and I periodically revisit them. Reading, I am pulled in again to the living story of my body. . . into the experiences, images, postures, gestures, energetic phenomena, emotions and memories that have moved and continue to move my flesh and bodily tissues. Reading, I recognize a hidden order, patterns which have unfolded over time in postures and gestures, at once unique to me and universal. I am certain of the brilliance of my body, of all bodies. I return to remember. Writing is an entry point and a destination.

And as imagination bodies forth
The forms of things unknown, the poet’s pen
Turns them to shapes and gives to airy nothing
A local habitation and a name. – William Shakespeare

How to Write

I like to write before speaking about my movement, while the experience is still freshly reverberating. Writing first offers an opportunity to continue steeping in the movement, to become even more intimately acquainted with it. Inviting the postures, gestures, sensations, and sequences to imprint themselves in my bodysoul, my pen serves as the conduit from body to page.

I choose journals with spines that open easily and lay flat. I like pages without lines. . . pens that glide easily on the paper. I write in present tense, as though movements are still happening. I name the movements: postures, gestures, sensations, where I am in the room – what am I doing? What is happening NOW. . . and NOW? I start at the beginning and track what happens, in sequence. Feeling, seeing, sensing into words  – waiting for them to climb the long ladder of the body into conscious awareness – they slowly or quickly find their way onto the page. Naming body movements first honors the body, privileges its voice over thought and idea.

Embodied consciousness requires a study of articulation not only of body but of word. – Janet Adler

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Solo Authentic Movement Retreats on Whidbey Island

Disconnect to Reconnect: Moving Closer to the Self

Drink from the well of yourself and begin again. – Charles Bukowski

A solo retreat focused around the Discipline of Authentic Movement offers a mover the opportunity to dive deeply into the ground form of the practice of Authentic Movement and the journey toward Self, guided by a dedicated and experienced Witness . . .held and contained in the arms of Nature in one of the most beautiful locations in the Pacific Northwest.

Why a Solo Retreat

~ Distractions and interruptions are minimized and the freedom of greater time is welcomed.

~ Silence and access to Nature are emphasized.

~ Ritual space is created through safe container, mindful intention, deep listening, the right balance of structure/freedom and beauty.

~ Opportunity to sink into the body through listening, moving, 1:1 witnessing, writing, artwork, walking, reflection, silence, and mindful eating.

~ Deepen in the one to one relationship between mover and witness, often referred to as the ground form of Authentic Movement.

~ Increase access to body, felt sense, imaginal realm and energetic phenomena.

What It’s Like

Retreats center around the needs of each individual. Typically, there are two sessions per day (morning and afternoon) each 2 -3 hours in length. Each session may include talking, moving and witnessing, and (if desired) Jungian sandplay. Between sessions there is ample time for writing, artwork and walking in Nature. Time spent in silence and in Nature as a Solitary is encouraged, serving to deepen the concentrated session practice time.

Who Can Benefit

Beginners and long-time practitioners of Authentic Movement seek the containment, focus and silence of a solo retreat to deepen their connection to Self through the practice of this form in the presence of a dedicated, experienced Witness (guide).

A guide is someone who himself or herself has been guided, who has been shown the way, who has walked through a certain terrain, certain landscapes within, and has learned to know the stations along the way…what to expect on the path, what may be found at each station and what leads from stations to station. A guide should be one who himself or herself has the blessing of a lineage…   – Pir Zia Inayat-Khan

I’m Interested!

Further contact by email and phone followed by an application process will help fine-tune your needs and focus your retreat.

Learners in Circles of Four may choose this way of meeting for individual, retreat or supervision work.

Contact me below to express interest and for further information.

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