What’s not to love when a ton of women get in the room with clothes, wine and chocolate covered pretzels? (Especially the chocolate covered pretzels!).
It’s always so amazing to be a fly on the wall at SomaSpace events and experience the magic that gets created here.
People trickled in with trash bags and woven baskets of what was not physically serving them anymore. They were bright eyed to find something new that reflects their renewed self- shedding the old one from the winter.
As the dance music echoed with the excited chatter, there was a phenomena that happened shortly after everyone became comfortable to walk around the room to begin finding clothes.
These lovely women chatted more, laughed more, and began to browse for clothes for people they barely knew! I heard giggles and chatter of true loving honesty that one item wasn’t quite dazzling on, but to “try this, it would be perfect on you”.
It was amazing to witness how hard we are on ourselves as individuals but how easily we give compassion, praise and honesty to others. Even people we hardly know.
This wasn’t just a clothing swap filled with beautiful ladies and their really great taste…
It was an evening of building each others self-worth up and finding that same confident love for ourselves as individuals.
Everyone left with a brighter smile as they said goodbye to old friends and new friends.
And they each walked out the door with a new fabulous outfit on to boot!
We have these every quarter!! So save up your duffle bag for the next one and we can’t wait to tell you how amazing you look!
The leftover clothing that is not claimed gets donated! This quarter we donated to Dress For Success, a wonderful local organization here in Portland that provides “a network of support, professional attire, and the development tools to help women thrive in work and in life”.
New in our blog rotation is spotlight interviews with our amazing teachers! We wanted to tell you all about how they got started, what amazing work they are doing and inspire you to be a part of it!
This week we interviewed Susan Landa. She has owned and operated retail stores for over 27 years. She founded The Fossil Cartel, a gem, mineral and jewelry store in downtown Portland, in 1989. She also owned and operated Let It Bead, a full-service bead store, for 16 years. Her newest dream is to open permanent brick-and-mortar red tents around the country, to empower women and help shift the negative paradigm around women’s cycles into a positive celebration. She’s calling these modern day red tents Moondays.
What brought you to SomaSpace and what about this space did you find that resonated with you in order to decide to offer your classes here?
I was looking for a wide open space that was located on the Eastside of Portland, beautifully decorated (preferably with reds,) proper lighting, had a music system, chairs, a kitchen and was reasonably priced.
Tell me a little about your experience (what led you to what you’re doing now, how you learned it, etc) and what it is you teach here.
After I read the book, The Red Tent, by Anita Diamant, I was longing for a space to join with women in a similar fashion as depicted in the book. Since one didn’t exist, I came up with a business model to fulfill this yearning and am carrying out plans to create this vision. Meanwhile, I host monthly Red Tents at SomaSpace to build a following so that when I do establish the brick and mortar space, I will have a built in clientele.
What do you find special about the modality you offer? How has it transformed you and what transformations do you often observe in your students/clients?
I believe there is too much masculine energy on the planet and it is creating an unhealthy imbalance. The earth and its inhabitants is crying out for tender loving care, connection and healing- all of which are feminine principles. The more women empower themselves, the better off we all are. I believe having a place for women to come together, nurture and empower themselves and each other, will help towards raising divine feminine energy and ultimately heal the planet.
I myself am empowered for taking a leadership role in facilitating the Red Tents. The women who attend are taught how to tap into their feminine power and use it in their day to day lives.
What is your favorite part about teaching?
Connecting with women and emboldening them to be strong and become their finest selves.
What is the funniest moment you have had as a teacher and what is the most precious?
The most precious moment I’ve had was when I did my first Mother-Daughter Red Tent and performed a menarche ritual (first moon) for my daughter, Jule.
I can’t think of the funniest moment, but I can think of the most awkward! It was the year I was using a different Greek Goddess for each month’s theme. We were on Athena. One of the things Athena was known for was her civic engagement. The activity I came up with for this Red Tent was to write a letter to a representative to let them know how they felt about a particular issue. That didn’t go over very well! The women revolted and didn’t want to have anything to do with that activity! I was able to be flexible (a feminine power!) and by consensus, we changed the activity to simply sharing issues that were important to us.
What do you hope your students take away from your work/classes?
To become strong and in love with being a woman, to form new friendships, to fill a void that many women feel of disconnection with other women, and to know that this matters.
Learn more about Susan on her bio and find out more about her next Red Tent and Moonday’s here !
Thank you Susan for the healing work you do and for being a part of SomaSpace community!
I remember a Women’s Circle I attended during the waning fall and awakening darkness of winter.
The sound of the tea kettle bubbled, blurted, and boiled. All you could hear in the cozy and twinkling welcome area of SomaSpace was the water pouring into my tea cup. On my inhale, the aroma of my chamomile tea comfortingly cradled my tension. On an exhale it was all released. The bells jingled as the door opened and welcoming smiles met mine. Gentle and familiar hugs were exchanged while sweet strangers also became acquainted. In my time at SomaSpace, I have noticed that everyone that enters breaths out a sigh of relief.
There is a softness here that welcomes all, a kind of magic, that embraces you. It is intricately woven into the web of people that have connected and crossed paths here. And I have seen this tapestry of connection forming in Women’s Circle.
With blankets wrapped around our shoulders and tea in hand, we sat in circle each acknowledging each others presence. We began by each briefly explaining what brought us there that evening and saying our individual names one by one. After stating our individual names, everyone in the circle lovingly called our names back to us. Some of us giggled, some of us became tender with tears. What a way to be welcomed- by having everyone fully witnessing your presence and journey to that moment, void of judgement or expectation.
This is what I love about Women’s Circle. There are no expectations. As we live in a world where we rush around trying to meet our own expectations and demands upon us or withhold showing up how we really need to- this space allows us to come however you are. I’ve shown up a mess. Worn out and broken. I’ve shown up excited and triumphant. Distant and tired. Connected and grounded. Or not at all and still welcomed as before.
That evening we all showed up with heavy hearts. The winter brought some of the most challenging experiences to each of our individual lives. Being real, seen, and having a safe space to do so created a vulnerability that was healing. Despite our challenges that we would return home to, our hearts were lifted by remembering that being in community can build bridges between the isolating islands of our minds.
It all began with one person being courageous to speak about where they were at in their life and what support they were seeking by being in women’s circle that night. After that, there was a cascade of open hearts. One beautiful lady brought out her deerskin drum we each held as we spoke and drummed out our hurts. It was freeing. Liberating, with each beat.
We all held the person’s hand next to us after they spoke so honestly. Eventually, as the last person spoke, we all were holding hands in tears and in circle. We lit candles for those who could not be present with us living or passed. Collectively, we breathed out our intentions of peace to those who could not be present as the candles went out.
We stood on the soft wooden floor of the studio- drumming and yelling and howling to end the night.
Everyone danced with joy and power.
Sometimes Women’s Circle is hilarious, high-energy, giddy and goofy. Sometimes it is sad, heart-wrenching, uncomfortable and completely vulnerable. There is magic that happens when a room full of people from all walks of life gather together in a circle with no hierarchy- one that supports the intention that we all equally show up as leaders and teachers to each other.
The circle of people cycles through. Some return and some move on. Personally, I have met some of my best friends there that have certainly been my best friends for lifetimes prior and for lifetimes to come. I will always be grateful to Jacqueline Rubinstein who is the director of SomaSpace, for being the initial person to courageously call for a Women’s Circle to be built in order to offer support and healing community.
As I waited my turn to speak, I could sense a growing unease within my body, in the form of a churning belly, a quickened breath, and racing thoughts. As each person spoke and my turn grew nearer I felt a growing alarm. I wondered why my previous calm had disappeared.
Then, the person before me spoke. Her voice trembled and she could barely get the words out. She choppily worked her way through the story of what brought her to the advanced training and my anxiety fell away as I listened. Any sense of churning and breathlessness and unease were gone, vanished in the few minutes it took her to finish.
I took my turn and shared my hopes for my time at the training with Russell Delman but I had a sense I had already experienced what I came to learn. I sensed the lesson of thinking someone else’s anxiety was my own and would remain with me always.
It was there, among my colleagues and with Russell’s particular way of framing the issues of being present that the issue of embodying my life was brought into such clear focus. It was there I gained the awareness that anxiety was one of the components preventing me from being present to the moment.
This year Russell will again be in Portland, in a session he titled, A Safe Harbor in the Storm: Cultivating Grounded Presence, Warm-Heartedness and Joy in Challenging Times. He will bring his current thoughts of living within a tumultuous and challenging environment. He will share stories of others who’ve struggled and ask us to sit with him in practicing presence.
The combination of activities in the weekend workshop with Russell includes meditation, Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement, and focused inquiry. These methodologies might be familiar to you. What is unique is the frame Russell puts around our ability to discover our patterns of disembodying ourselves. We will practice interrupting the compulsion to let go of the present moment. We will deepen our understanding of old stories and loosen their hold on our actions.
Russell frames the intentions of the workshop in this way
– to be the best friend of all our inner voices
– to meet divisiveness and conflict with authentic confidence and care
– to experience the shower of beauty and goodness that surrounds us
I don’t know about you, but as a practitioner of the Feldenkrais Method for over twenty years, I find I still benefit from a weekend guided by an elder in the practice of staying in curiosity, remaining present to the moment, and reframing the stories that lead me to my most genuine actions. I find it inspiring to sit among so many of my peers, my students, and other community leaders. We open our awareness to this moment of time, while in community, in a way that doesn’t involve getting bogged down in a particular perspective on current events.
The sessions with Russell lay the groundwork for going into the community and listening to one whose view differs from my own. I find the weekend to be a restorative salve for my weather-beaten spirit. And, at the end of the weekend, my jangled thoughts have smoothed and my inner angst has calmed. I recognize more of myself, the me I know, that creates room to know more options and possibilities.
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Russell will give a free talk on Friday evening, May 19, at 7:00pm. This is open to the public, anyone may attend. Any donations you feel moved to offer will be shared with the City of Joy in the Congo and The Blanchett House in Portland. Please arrive early enough to find parking and settle so we can be present in welcoming Russell’s offering.
A Safe Harbor, the weekend workshop, will be Saturday and Sunday, May 20 & 21, 10:00am – 5:00pm. The workshop is at SomaSpace, an urban retreat. $225, early registration $195 before April 29. For more information on this event find it here. To learn more about Russell and register for the event, click here.
To reach Kim Cottrell for questions and more information, call 503.890.6865 or email email@example.com.
Marliese Franklin, CHt, is one of our newest practitioners here at SomaSpace!
Marliese has been effectively working with people to help them change their non-useful habits for close to a decade now. She has created and facilitated local and national workshops in mindful eating, worry release, self-hypnosis and tapping for stress relief. Marliese has facilitated mindfulness meditation classes at the high school level for Portland Public and taught pain relief using self-hypnosis at several area senior centers
Marliese’s one-on-one sessions are client-directed and results-oriented. They can range from worry and anxiety relief to restful sleep or smoking cessation. Marliese’s specialty is to help you strengthen you very own resolve to transform those habits you want to let go of and replace them with your personal brand of vibrant, long lasting and life affirming habits of your choosing.
Nowadays there are so many flavors of yoga its hard to keep them all straight!
Where does one begin!?
I’ve been dabbling in yoga for a year now, trying to find a flavor that suits my palate if you will, but have not been very successful in finding the right style or teacher for me.
Some classes were too “hot”, some were too bendy, some were to fast, and some were incomprehensible and way over my head. It took time but I finally found one that is just right: Release Yoga with Breana DePriest here at SomaSpace.
Bre is so sweet, kind, authentic and strong in her style of yoga. She slows things down, doesn’t ask you to do more than what your body allows, reminds you to breathe, and encourages you to listen to what your body is telling you, where it needs a little more TLC.
It’s the first yoga class I’ve been too that from the very start had no sense of competition, expectation, or rigidity. Bre is soft and open in her teaching style, allowing each student to move into the poses at their pace and to the degree that their bodies allow.
She’s real, loving, funny and down-to-earth. Her class is all about releasing tension built up from the craziness of life and work, taking an hour out of our day to honor our bodies, focus on the present moment and just chill out. The poses are fluid and varied but never too much or too hard. And if they are too much for someone, she reminds us that we have permission to not do them, that we are in control of our bodies.
But beyond the yoga, my favorite part of Bre’s class is her visualization at the end during shavasana. Bre’s visualizations are THE BEST! Her soft, flowing voice coos the soul into a place of peace as we imagine ourselves floating in a warm sea under the stars being held by the water or as a seed planted way deep into the earth, being nurtured by the soil and growing into a strong healthy plant bathing in the sun. It’s a magical end to a wonderful movement practice that leaves you feeling peaceful, rested, rejuvenated, and full of gratitude.
And it’s all donation-based. Bre does this from her heart. So if you check it out and like her style, slip her a few bucks.
Thank you to all who attended our Spring Open House on March 21, 2017! It was a great success and we’re so grateful you decided to share your Sunday with us! We hope you enjoyed our mini-classes and that you are inspired to join us for any number of our wonderful class and event offerings. Check out all of our class and event offerings!
We’ve all seen it – the small group of older folks moving in what seems like pointless and ridiculously slow ways in public parks, like a marital arts movie played in super slow motion, but with less drama. We pass by partially judging them, thinking “What a waste of time!” – and yet are also left a tad curious… “What are they doing?”
Qigong. That’s what they are doing. And it’s magical.
When Ben Rosen joined that teaching faculty here at SomaSpace, it was the universe’s way of telling me “Stop judging it and try it out. You may learn something.” And so I tried it. And I fell in love with it. And you will too.
These slow, meditative movements in Ben’s Gift of the Tao Qigong are backed by honest intention and induce a natural confidence of their power. It’s bizarre really…but when I’m moving in the way Ben explains, keeping a soft awareness of my body’s center and an open mind that I am cultivating and moving qi energy, a calm washes over me. A calm that feels safe, natural, and peaceful – like I’m coming home to a state of being that is my birthright. After his one-hour class I feel high – no joke. It’s like this deep knowing that everything is just as it is meant to be and that worrying won’t do me any good. It’s glorious.
I’ve done yoga, meditation, Kirtan chanting, and a handful of other practices to cultivate mindfulness and presence awareness, but nothing has impacted me so profoundly and so quickly like Qigong.
In all honesty, it’s hard to explain – you just have to try it. I did, and I now know why those older folks are moving in ridiculously slow ways in the park. They are taking care of themselves in a profound way. So next time you pass them by, don’t judge but give thanks – for the only way we will heal this world is if we heal ourselves first…and Ben’s Qigong is a beautiful place to start.
In addition to being a Qigong teacher, Ben is a Clinical Qigong practitioner here in Portland, trained by a one of the most respected clinical masters in the world of Qigong. I had the privilege of receiving a clinical session from Ben and went in not knowing what to expect. I came out with that same state of calm, but with the dial turned all the way up! His intention, care, passion and respect for his energy healing modality were so present during the treatment it’s like they oozed out of his being into the room and into my body. Energy is a sacred living entity that needs to be nurtured and cared for, and Ben’s understanding of that truth is so clear and honest. His authenticity is inspiring.
I highly recommend you attend Ben’s Gift of the Tao Qigong class at SomaSpace on Wednesday nights at 6pm-7pm (your first class is free!) and schedule a clinical Qigong appointment with him soon. Come with an open mind, open heart and present moment awareness and you will feel the magic.