Poet, Master Somatic Coach & Writing Coach
A long-time poet and aikido practitioner who loves the place where language and the body speak to each other, Renée works with people who want to claim new territory in their lives, to step up and into their truest, most powerful expression. This could manifest as writing poems, a book, a blog, or as taking on new work in the world, new conversations, or living more fully their range of expression and emotion.
My personal practice is…
I have several personal practices. The one that is most consistent is writing. The other practices are usually more linked to what I am declaring as my growth edge and are related to moving into that new space of being.
How did you discover your practice?
I’ve written for most of my adult life–it is a place of exploration and discovery as much as a place of working with language and finding ways to create a powerful expression of what I am feeling and wanting to know and communicate. It was born out of necessity and continues out of desire and persistence.
Why do you practice?
My body-based practices have included aikido, tennis, swimming, a sitting practice and jo (the staff used in aikido) practice. Many of these may sound like sports activities, which they are, but when I say these are my practices I mean that when I am engaged in these practices I bring an intention to the practice, a “for-the-sake-of-what”. For example, I have become a swimmer in the past few months. Not that I’m a very good one, but that is not the point. I swim for physical fitness, yes, but also to develop my fluidity, my ability to “fully immerse”, to keep moving forward towards what I want to create, and to use both sides of my body-mind. As I swim, I let myself feel all of my “for-the-sake-of-what”.
How frequently and for how long do you practice?
In my current life, which has a full-time job in it and a part-time coaching practice, I write on Saturdays and on one morning a week before work. Saturday writing is for several hours; morning writing is in my journal and is for a shorter period, under an hour. I swim three times a week for a half-hour each time, which is increasing as I adjust to the activity.
What’s something that gets in the way of your practice and how do you move through it?
I find that the commitment for change linked to the practice certainly helps this, but still it is sometimes challenging to keep practicing. Writing is such a strong part of my life that even if I don’t write so much for a while, I tend to get uncomfortable and find ways back to the page because I know the release, relief and spiritedness writing provides for me. There’s an urgency to it, a knocking at my psyche that cannot be ignored.
What supports you in staying committed to your practice?
To keep up with other practices, I have to pick a time in the day and stick to that, make it part of my day without question, and much like walking across the threshold of a dojo to train, so much of sticking to it is just showing up.
What role does your practice play in your work?
I see practice as twofold in my work: the role it plays in my own life and the role it plays in my coaching work with others. First, I practice as a writer because it is so basic to who I am and how I see the world. Writing is my way of seeing and being; it’s a deepening. Other practices, such as my sitting practice and jo or bokken practice are essential to refining my attention and my ability to step into the next phase of the “doing” part of my life. Practice helps me to keep developing and to embrace more.
In my coaching work, practice plays a similar role for the people I work with–to help them develop an aspect of themselves that has been a struggle in the past or has been dormant. As Richard Strozzi-Heckler says: “you are what you practice and you’re always practicing something.” I like to bring intention to practice.
Describe someone you know whose practice inspires you.
I’m inspired by anyone’s persistent practice that yields brilliance! I recently heard the jazz singer, Cecile McLorin Savante in New York City and am always moved by the presence and spirit and clarity of a well-practiced voice revealing itself fully.
A practice I’d like to explore is….
At present I want to explore a bokken (wooden sword used in the martial art aikido) practice that is linked to my desire to keep extending into the offers I make that integrate writing, coaching and teaching into a powerful body of work in the world. The bokken practice would help me to keep extended toward what I am creating as well as help to increase my ability to feel urgency and drive toward what I am enthusiastic about.
Anything else you’d like to share about your practice.
I have seen over and over how committed practice can literally reshape who we are and help us to feel and see openings and possibility in our lives.
For more on Renée and her coaching, writing and somatics, go here.