Welcome to my blog!

We find ourselves in challenging times. To meet them more easily, I believe involves challenging ourselves to move beyond old, established habits and patterns.

Perhaps I am a bit late fully entering into the 21st century by starting my blog now, in 2010! In that my work and message has so much to do with slowing down and settling into a deeper knowing beyond and prior to our cultural modes, it may be appropriate to step extra slowly into the world of blogging and other cyber realities.

I suspect that, if you are drawn to my blog and the words here, you may also value this slower, deeper state we are all capable of. I invite you to read on and regularly, and hope the words below can support you in enhancing your ability to be, even in the midst of all the doing required in our modern world.

Sunday, 27 April 2014

A Continuum of Being

It has been some time since I have written in this blog. I have been taking time to honor my relationship with my dear mentor, founder of Continuum Movement, Emilie Conrad, who passed away two weeks ago on April 14th.

You may have seen the beautiful tribute to Emile on the Continuum website at www.continuummovement.com or with my own tribute on my Facebook page. If not, please take a look.

Having had some time to be with the waves of grief and gratitude of this sacred time of transition, I find my feelings still arising and passing away but with less intensity. It has been such a rich time for me, and many other teachers and lovers of Continuum. 

Personally, I have been amazed by the sense I have had of Emilie’s ongoing, yet changed, presence. It is as if she need no longer squeeze her brilliance into the small body she had traveled in for almost 80 years. Now, her spirit is free to interact with all of us, no longer bound by the time-space continuum. I am haunted by her question, “If we were not bound in time, would we be susceptible?” Would we be susceptible to the influences of our environment, our history, our mindset, etc. Would we be affected by germs, dis-ease, genes, and such?

It was shocking for many of us that such a vibrant, fluid, flexible, strong and resilient being as Emilie could become ill and die. What does it mean? What does it say about Continuum? Emilie worked so many years to live, and teach others to live, beyond the constraints of time. Yet, in the end, she, too, was susceptible.

It is not so simple, however. Emilie had an illness anyone else would have died of months or maybe years before she did. I am reminded of my own experience with a malignant melanoma several years ago. As my wonderful doctor cut out the melanoma, I wondered aloud why I had gotten it when I had been Macrobiotic for many years. Macrobiotics has been touted as the anti-cancer diet. She responded without hesitation, imploring me to think how it might have been if I hadn’t been macrobiotic all those years. We might have been doing much more complicated surgery, not just limited to this bit of skin.

Similarly, Emilie amazed many by how well she could function with her illness. Until shortly before she passed, Emilie was graciously teaching classes. Her brilliant mind and fluid movement continued to astound her students. How did she do that? What may be a more important question is, can we do that? If I can be half as brilliant as Emilie when I grow up (?), I will be ecstatic!

It is not really about measuring our brilliance. Each of us is magnificent in our own way. I, like many others, was particularly attracted and attached to Emilie’s particular light, and remarkably, I still feel guided by it!

Continuing Wave
As a somatic practitioner, it is my habit to sense my bodily sensations, even as I do other things, like write this blog article. Since Emilie’s passing, I have frequently felt a specific sense of tingling on my skin, into my tissues. I feel it particularly strongly when I practice Continuum, and when talking or writing about Emilie and Continuum. I think of it as the wave of Emilie continuing to move me.

In Continuum, we work with a sense of waves moving through us. We use different breaths, vocalized sounds and movements designed to soften the cultural inhibitors and patterns, allowing our inherent wave motion to resume and flourish where it may have been previously stunted. As Emilie has noted, water moves as waves, pulsations, and spirals. In Continuum, we seek to generate such movement as we slow down, deepen under our cultural, ancestral and historical conditioning, and return to our essential fluid nature.

It seems that Emilie, or the wave of Emilie, is no longer limited by her conditions. Or perhaps the condition of death has freed that wave to do its work in a bigger way.

On Monday, April 14th, I was on a train on my way home from teaching a Continuum workshop in Brighton. I was enjoying the opportunity, in the inspiring wake of the workshop, to work on the book I am writing, inspired primarily by my time with Emilie. I found myself working on the final chapter, which relates to death and dying. I wrote quite a bit and felt pleased with the flow of the writing. A few hours after arriving home, I received the email notice of Emilie’s passing. I realized she must have died while I was on the train. The next day, I returned to the chapter to write more. Reading over what I had written, I was struck by the synchronicity with Emilie’s passing. I found myself writing about the sense that Emilie was still contributing to the book.

It is sad that Emilie has passed. Her wave, however, continues.

Love and Attachment
I first went to study with Emilie pushed by an urgent sense that I would die if I didn’t.  In retrospect, I remember Emilie insisting I get my huge mole checked by a doctor. She literally may have saved my life with that advice. In less obvious ways, however, I believe I was dying, lacking the juiciness I found waiting for me in Continuum. The night after I met her, I had a dream. I was giving birth and Emilie was the midwife.

I attended classes with Emilie regularly, even moving to Santa Monica to dive in deeper with her into the mysteries Continuum revealed. I found myself falling deeply in love with this remarkable woman. My heart opened and opened in ways I could never have imagined possible. I had called my work “Living from the Heart” for years and had taught ways to listen to our hearts, but I had never encountered anything that connected me with the heart the way Continuum did. As part of this opening, I felt completely enamored of my mentor, Emilie.

I had never been one to search for or even desire a guru or teacher. I had always had a strong sense of inner guidance and valued that source. Interestingly, Continuum was designed to provide just enough structure to enable us to listen to and follow our own rhythms. Emilie disliked external direction even more than I did and Continuum was testament to that attitude. I loved it!

I loved what I felt in my body as the tissues dissolved, spirals lifted me off the floor, my arms and legs floating effortlessly in cosmic space. I found something coming alive in me as I listened in every class to Emilie speak. I felt lit up, inspired, my mind eager as my body to embark on new, unfamiliar pathways, making unlikely connections that everyone delighted in.

As I dissolved into the field of Emilie, I found myself wanting to be close to her, like a little child with her mother. In the closeness, I found myself reflected, heard, discovered, seen, and something in me was seeded and grew.

Emilie wouldn’t have liked the mother image. In my work in prenatal and birth therapy, however, I had realized I had missed an important aspect of relationship with my own mother growing up. Around the time I started working with Emilie, I went to a family reunion where my mother and I danced together. It was, according to my mother, the first time she had danced since marrying my father. Hearing her say that, I suddenly understood what had been missing all my life. 

As a very somatic individual, I had never been met and reflected on that body level by my mother until we danced together over half a century later! I felt as if I had never attached to my mother until that moment when we danced, finally gazing into each others’ eyes like mom and babe. Emilie, on the other hand, reminded me of whom I was in body and in mind. I was received, welcomed, celebrated by her eloquent expression of her own somatic experience.

There are many of us who fell in love with Emilie. Her sparkle was enchanting, enticing us to listen. Listen to the depths of our fluid being.

I feel as if I can never thank Emilie enough for the gifts she has imparted. The best I can do is to remain committed to carrying and passing on this powerful work she has brought to the world. I commit to living the love I still sense within the wave that was Emilie. As she would say as the final words to a workshop, “May a thousand kisses fall upon your lips and keep falling and falling and falling.” May the wave continue and continue and continue and may we all be open to receive its glow.