Originally posted on Inside the Brain:

Neuroscientist Vilayanur Ramachandran outlines the fascinating functions of mirror neurons. Only recently discovered, these neurons allow us to learn complex social behaviors, some of which formed the foundations of human civilization as we know it.

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February 9, 2013

Dear Deirdre,

Thank you so much for sending week three.  I’ve been practicing it, but I’m clearly getting behind.  I’m just looking at it now and delighted to see the material that I’ve already seen.

I don’t  have anything to report after doing each of the exercises of weeks two and three, but there has been a big shift in my being.  I don’t feel a column if from of my spinal cord, but what I do feel is an opening in my the space inside my rib cage and pelvis.  It feels like some deeper space has opened up.  And I feel a peace and connected to something bigger than I am.

So things are working, just not the way I was expecting, which is of course nothing new.

Thanks to you,


One of the things I love the most is when people find themselves instead of what they think they’re supposed to find.  That you are finding your own space inside means everything to me. 

Reading your note I feel a big sign inside of me: to feel peace and to be connected to something larger “than I am.”   Well, that’s perfect.




I did all four audios for week 2 at the beginning of the week.  The fourth audio made me feel more connected to having a body – I noticed I had a front and a back!

Today I  practiced the audio – calming and grounding the body – two times.   The part that makes me feel the best at the moment is putting my hand on my belly and feeling the breath inside and my hands on the outside.  Realizing for a moment that I have an inside and an outside.

This is a magnificent awareness: to know there is an inside and an outside.  I am sitting in that space and wondering what it is like to sit there for the first time. 

I have been having a really difficult day today – my body feels held; frozen; there is sadness when I move (a long-standing issue) – and after doing the practice I think I am a little better so I can try now to do some yoga.

 The difficult part when I am in deep distress is feeling kindness and gentleness towards myself.   It’s so sad that it’s hard to feel kindness towards myself.  I just feel kind of hard inside.   And I wish for someone else to be with me and show me kindness.  But I know part of the practice is to find a way to be with myself.

 When you suggest practicing the first audio a couple times a day, do you mean the entire process or just the process of breathing in, holding the breath, moving the energy lower down etc?

The most incredible part of healing is realizing that what we long for from the outside is something that we can give ourselves inside.  When the inside and outside is aligned that it’s rather amazing, it seems to show up on our outsdie without effort.  So hard to believe when we are caught in the longing for it on the outsdie.  I hope this makes sense….. so hard to describe.

I love the clarificiation you are asking.  Do the practice multiple times a day — moving the energy lower into the belly.  see what happens.  Report back to us.  Help me/me guide all of us in the journey.



Thank you so very much Deirdre.

I greatly appreciate all the work you have put into this practice and your kindness and ability to understand deep difficult places and moments.





February 9, 2013

Hello again Deirdre!

I just wanted to tell you something.  After my last email to you (about an hour ago) I started to do Yoga.  As I did I thought about what I wrote to you, about wanting someone outside myself to show kindness to me and about how difficult it is for me to be kind to myself.  Writing that to you made me aware of that wish which is always with me I think because of how critical and judgmental I am to myself.  So it’s difficult to be alone with myself because I am always wanting an “other” with me.

 We all want that “other” to be with us.  It’s an native and natural longing. 

Well – I realized – I actually felt – that there are lots of people outside of me who have shown kindness to me  – been kind to me and my body – and I was able to feel some kindness for myself – on the inside!  This is really new.  Usually, when I try to be kind and gentle to myself, I say the words “kind”  “gentle” and try to apply the words to myself, but they are just words and coming from my head.  Today, I guess maybe I had a small experience of what it is to remember/feel the kindness of others and I was able to feel kinder to myself from the inside.  What a different experience that is from the way I always live.


  I guess I am always in such a judgmental harsh place inside I haven’t been able to feel I have an inside because it’s so painful.  This shifted some today.


thank you so very very much Deirdre



Moved me to tears to read this, M.  Thank you for every step you take, for your thoughtfulness, for your commitment to exploring.  I am utterly grateful.





If you’re looking for a vacation, a retreat, a way to get in touch with your heart I’d encourage you to explore going on a trip to western Ireland with Kimberly Schneider.   I’ve known Kimberly for a number of years and always known her to guide me gently and kindly back to myself.   She has a magic connection to the soul which helps illuminate any of those who are lucky enough to be with her.  

Here’s a video she put together which I’m sure you’ll enjoy being with even if a retreat or vacation isn’t in the cards this year for you.   Here’s the link for more information



We Love You, Iran

March 27, 2012

Here’s to a world of love and peace and acceptance, inside our inner world and in the external world of our neighbors and friends and colleagues and nations.

Michelle Rieff is a clinical social work in the Chicago, Illinois area.  Having done the Becoming Safely Embodied Skills Training a couple years ago Michelle has found the skills helpful for a number of her clients.


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