I pulled up to the drive in pharmacy window at CVS and already knew the drill.  Insert  Qtip an unreasonable distance into each nostril, twirl then hold 15 seconds.  Put nasal sample in sterile tube.  Disinfect and open receptacle to deposit secretions.  Sigh.  Drive away.  Pray.

First two tests were negative, this hopefully my final one.  Necessitated by Covid exposure first at Harbin, then Four Springs and then (as if that were not enough) Esalen.  Eight days at the end of July I’d been anticipating ever since it seemed the world was opening again.  Ever since the CDC said we could go mask-less if immunized.  Ever since I entertained the hope that maybe, maybe, maybe we were moving in a good direction.

Unfortunately these events coincided with the Delta variant explosion.  Despite precautions that seemed logical even the week before—proof of vaccination OR current Covid test for unvaccinated—some people ended up positive and sick.  Even some vaccinated had “breakthrough”, though the illnesses of the unvaccinated were more severe.

This community and so many others are moving through this chapter together.  In my last newsletter I wrote about why I might be able to facilitate a workshop focused on cultivating being.  That perhaps decades of life experience salted with unflagging awareness ripened me for this service.  In the last week I recognized that, along with my incredible partner Majica Alba, I am utterly capable of holding a community moving through an episode of this nature as well.

Why am I writing about this?  Well for 15 years I’ve written about anything and everything arising of import in my life.  Especially when it intersects with your life, our lives. A practice of vulnerability, humility, illumination…often all three.  This is not a moment to hold back.  Do I wish it were different than this?  Well, yes.  Sigh.  It’s been a great deal to hold.  But here’s the gift.  In this deep period of holding I’ve been made utterly aware of the reciprocity in this field.  The mutuality.  The way the community holds me as I hold community.  The way we hold each other. It took this bigness to feel this truth.

And I’m writing for one more reason.  After this front line experience, it would be irresponsible to remain quiet, to not shout out the necessity of vaccination.  We are in another critical moment.  This new Delta variant is an entirely new animal that wants to survive as much as we do.  To that end, in all its biological intelligence, it is more virulent and more contagious. Giving our weary immune systems, vaccination is our own best biological intelligence.

Take a breath in with me here. That breath comes from the air we all share.  Now breathe out.  That breath is your contribution to our shared space.  There are seven billion of us on this ailing planet.  We each have a choice.  We can act from fear about how vaccines may negatively affect our personal health.  Or, we can act on faith in the hope of supporting our families, our communities, our common good.  Clearly those not vaccinating have the right to make their choice.  I am not here to change their minds.

But I am only one person, an elder, capable of only so much. I do not know what the future holds.  In this moment if we are together in person and indoors I feel I can hold the vaccinated.  That has risk I am willing to bear.  Outdoors…not clear.  Things are rapidly changing and I am only capable of speaking to right now.  Stay tuned about Sundays in the garden.  This Sunday, August 8: no dance as we ride out this Delta variant wave.

On line?  A whole different story.   Very grateful for this teaching forum we scrambled to establish March 2020.   It is a functioning piece of beauty.  And I’m really excited to let you know the Video Library, recordings of Friday morning Essentials, is finally available. I love practicing with you in real time and the recording is always available on request with your enrollment. Missed enrolling? I’ll be adding a class each week to the Video Library.

Here are two opportunities to practice in the comfort and safety of your home this week:

  • Release in the Rhythms Saturday August 7, 10:00-1:00 Pacific Time.  A playful 3 hours: 30 minutes dance then 30 minutes of rolling; repeat 3X. All in service to feeling where we hold stress and how to release it. Erik Iversen from Montreal and I have so many combined decades of expertise in bodywork and dance—well I don’t even want to name how many! If you love to move to music, if you appreciate foam roller releasing and want some solid guidance…this is for you.
  • Essentials Fridays August 6, 13 , 20 10:00-11:30.  An embodied exploration of the autonomic nervous system.  Miracle fibers that keep our heartbeat, blood flow, breathing, digestion functioning without conscious effort. First week: sympathetic—fight, flight, freeze. Second week: parasympathetic—rest and digest.  Third week: enteric—did you know you have a “gut brain”?  Pre-enroll for all 3 to commit and save or drop in to any single session.

It is life support when we learn how our amazing body functions. Experiential anatomy allows us to explore each body system or region.  Formatted weekly in a way that repeats with gentle variation: release with rollers and balls; subtle tone deep core; stretch out tightness; a bit of yoga asana. Tender encouragement for your personal practice in the comfort of your home.

If you’re new to Essentials (or old!), check out this new video illuminating how to engage bandhas.  This technique is integrated into each session in a variety of positions to effectively align and deeply tone the core.

Alrighty then.  Let’s take one more breath in together, sharing a moment of gratitude for any way in which you are being held in this moment. Let yourself rest in it and feel the healing power of being held. Then, on the out breath, let that holding float out to someone you love. May we all be held.  ❤️Bella