how does change happen?

Dear friends in our yoga circle,

Some of you reported that you felt a change in your toes, legs, hips, or even elsewhere as a result of your experience with Feldenkrais’ toe lesson yesterday.

How did that happen?

Maybe a more helpful question is…where did that change happen?

And if you think about this carefully, you’ll find the big lesson. The massive lesson. The important thing about change.

One cannot change the ‘part.’

In fact, there is no such thing as ‘part’ . . . no matter how much you and I keep trying to think that there is.

Sure, we can say there is a ‘part’ of this. And that’s a ‘part’ of that.

But in fact, these ‘parts’ have never been separate from each other.

Your toes have never been separate from your legs or hips. Unless of course you actually had a toe cut off and re-attached. (And even then...!)

Those things Tonia Smith, through her Neuro Linguistic Programming exploration, had you hold in separate hands — one aspect of yourself and another aspect of yourself — they exist within the same whole as well. You. Your imagination. Your life. There are no ‘parts’ to you.

Indeed, there are no ‘parts’ to the Universe.

This is the deepest teaching of yoga.*

And this is the tricky thing about sequencing things in yoga, in anything. An intelligent sequence or poem or song or whatever invites us to remember what something in us has known all along. (That there is no ‘thing.’)

The deepest neurons of yourself know this, and perhaps the least studied. They are often referred to as the red nucleus, in the deepest areas of your brain. Fascinating in themselves. They know, you know, that change in how we move in our world is possible when we remember where we are in movement on the earth, often in very fine ways. I suppose it’s possible in water or space/air too, but I’m not sure.

The first question of a neuron is ‘where am I?’ The second question is ‘where do I want to go?’

So where does change happen? How do your hips feel better when you play with your toes in a way that makes sense to your brain? How does your neck get relief, how do your eyes get relief...anything within you get relief when you do something ‘far’ away from them?*



There was never a moment when ‘they’ were disconnected. And ‘they’ are held together by the one and same nervous system, lymphatic system, circulatory system, every system.

In fact, even these ‘systems’ are fictions too...ways of speaking about things that are not separate within you. (Same of course goes for the maps we call meridians and chakras and nadis in yoga and other disciplines — all of them simply stories to understand, get a glimpse of the whole.)

You are a whole. You are one. You are. You.

And where does that ‘you’ end? Where are your boundaries?

Especially when that molecule of oxygen you breathe in feeds you, enlivens you for a moment and then is breathed out as carbon dioxide — or even oxygen — and then feeds me, and my neighbor down the street. And that kid who punched me in first grade. And my first love. And that person on the other side of the globe I’ve never met. And that person I detest. And that animal, that fish, that creature without a name or classification yet. And that plant, that fungi.

No matter now much we try to separate things from each other — be they toes from hips, be they molecules of oxygen from each other (especially in a quantum sense...things appear and disappear,’s quite quarky), be they police officer from an innocent person or a guilty person they are arresting or even killing —

the fact of the matter (*matter*) is that ‘they’ ... those ‘things’ you and I thought were separate ... are not and never can be separate.

Perhaps that’s why Dr. King prayed an hour every day...and on busier days prayed for two hours a day. Perhaps that’s why he insisted on loving enemies to awaken them — oppressor and oppressed — to change.

Perhaps that’s why Gautama gave up ‘forceful yoga practices’ and simply sat. ‘Meditated.’ For hours. Perhaps for days, weeks. Even as political regimes crumbled around him and gave birth to better or worse regimes.

Perhaps that’s why Jesus escaped to the desert when things went haywire, even when the greatest political power on the planet (Rome) was conquering and enslaving village after village and extorting their livelihoods from them. In Jesus’ time it had to do with a new tax on fish sales, in a place in the world where people barely scraped by.

Perhaps that’s why all the ‘greats’ we look back upon and revere and find helpful...perhaps that’s why we’re drawn to them. Even a loving grandparent or neighbor or teacher. They knew something. They figured something out. About the mystery that is life.

Play around. And you too will know.

Such a discovery is sitting there for all to know, to uncover, to discover. For anyone who has neurons.

And in *your* knowing, so too will every creature on this planet, in the vast ever-expanding Universe.

The One-Verse.

The One.


The One-Verse.

May the ‘yoga’ we offer one another share the verse...the song of the whole that frees.

(*) unless you did too much 😊

Emily Dickinson reminds...’the truth must dazzle gradually, or every man ** be blind’***

(**) or woman or non-binary or creature with neurons

(***) or deaf or sensitive in any way****

(****) now, do you know the perils of language? language identifies things, tries to differentiate things. when there are no ‘things’ and no separation. even though we are geared to recognize differences — one’s nervous system & senses depend on noticing differences to find our way in the world.


Join the song of the One-Verse. The hum of life. The sound of life finding life, life discovering life, neuron reaching out to neuron, the sizzle of creation.***** OM.

(*****) And thus why perhaps Jesus and Buddha and King and Gandhi and Dorothy Day sat. Did nothing. Sensed themselves. Often. As worlds and worldviews collapsed and gave birth to other worldviews that are collapsing now.



Love to you, with you, around us all,

Brian Shircliff

you are wildly intelligent!

Jon Kabat-Zinn has inspired me for decades — since I discovered him in 1992.

You might know that he began a Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in 1979. He combined a little yoga and simple meditation.

Doctors sent patients who were not responding to the usual medical protocols — the patients with whom they didn’t know what to do.

Soon the doctors began showing up to classes too because their patients were often healed, even cured by the 30-minute experience of gently moving, breathing, resting.

Insurance companies reimbursed him for his work. In the 1990s!

I remember Jon telling a story about how he and a friend rented out a church in Boston awhile back to offer two hours of yoga followed by two hours of seated meditation.

He found it so strange that the people who came to the meditation class often sneered at the people who came to the yoga class, and vice versa.

Only a few participated in both and explored themselves and their habits in new ways.

Wisdom comes when we step outside our usual ways, yes?

I felt something similar when I embarked upon Movement Intelligence / Bones for Life training in 2014. I was a proud yogi & tai chi enthusiast and I was a Healing Touch Certified Practitioner—I thought I knew all there was to know about movement and life.

The first few minutes of Bones for Life training helped me to discover just how much of myself, my world, my understanding of movement I'd been missing. The discovery came gently, easily...because Bones for Life uses the 'wild intelligence' humans cultivate since birth to navigate our gravity-rich world.

Maybe you’d like to explore with us through a free Bones for Life webinar offered by Cynthia Allen of Future Life Now:

tomorrow / Wed, May 27 at 6pm

Monday, June 1 at 12 noon

click here to find out more and to register

So many wonderful VITALITY friends have embarked on this Movement Intelligence / Bones for Life self-discovery through gentle, easy movement — and they report how much their lives have so positively changed!

You too?

Come, see!

The training Cynthia and I will offer together begins soon, and we have 3 work-scholarships available through the Emmaus Fund created by the Maggini, Newman, and Tew families!

Imagine your future as a teacher of this great work!

Brian Shircliff
program director

PS Our usual Wednesday night 6pm class will not meet this week so we can participate in the webinar. Some of us might need to leave the webinar early to attend Mary Duennes’ Capacitar class at 7pm.


tumble down into your dreams

tumble down
into your

find the taproot
of all

and when it’s time
you’ll know when

into the new



-- Brian Shircliff



cocoon with us?

As you can see, we've cocooned ourselves into our new temporary home until we find a permanent location in 2021.

Unpacked the last box just yesterday . . . the things we've discovered together the past 10 years!

It is cozy, an incredible gift to continue to meet so many wonderful people through our online Zoom classes.

Will you gift yourself with health,
glimpse your wholeness...

by joining classes within your own home

by dawdling meditatively in your yard

by reading fellow-journeyers' ideas

by walking with ease and power through your neighborhood using Movement Intelligence's simple ideas (of course, following the CDC's protocols)

by growing your own food on your windowsill or small plot in your yard, as our Glean & Share coordinator Sue Plummer does so well

by discovering every moment the tremendous goodness of life?

We're all leaning into the protection of the cocoon-wall.

Please.  Reach out.  Share with us what you are doing to cocoon this time into beauty, into ease, into delight!

We cocoon with you!

Brian Shircliff
program director

Movement Intelligence & Feldenkrais Method drop-in class with me
Tuesdays at 11am

Capacitar Self-Care with Mary Duennes
Wednesdays at 7pm & Sundays at 11am

Power(ful) Half-Hour with me
Wednesdays at 6pm

Healing Touch Practitioner Chat
2nd & 4th Tuesdays at 6:30pm

respond to this email to receive the Zoom codes for all classes

all classes are pay-what-you-can...
$10 requested if you have income

play with an idea in our free videos

reach out to me for an individual/distance session

please note that while our Zoom classes will be 'private,' nothing online is completely private


it’s nice
to be
like the plants...

to sit and do nothing
and everything happens



Brian Shircliff

In Gratitude For Bright Days . . . And Brighter Days

On Wednesday, April 22, 2020, our Board of Trustees made the difficult and wise decision to permanently move out of our space in Norwood, to expand our current online offerings and book-creation, and to look for a larger, permanent home for VITALITY in 9 - 12 months from now.

With the need for AT LEAST 6 feet of space between participants, it looks like it would be 12 - 18 months before we could fully and safely open our current space.

When Governor Dewine gives us all permission, we will offer some of our programs outside, including our gardening & gleaning opportunities led by Sue Plummer at the Glean & Share Garden in Walnut Hills.

Tonia Smith and I are continuing to offer our 12th Yoga/Healing Touch Internship via Zoom, Stephanie Beck Borden continues to organize our Healing Touch self-care opportunities and training as best we can via Zoom (some great ideas are on the horizon), and CJ Pierce and I continue to share yoga and self-care classes via Zoom.

I see an incredibly bright future for us all, and am inspired that two of our wiser elders -- Richard Bollman SJ and Mary Duennes -- are even busier teaching online these days than ever.

A new world is dawning . . . what a gift to catch a glimpse of it!

How can you help?

  • pray / meditate / set the intention that we find the perfect space for our next move
  • buy a book or three — reduce our inventory so that we need to store as little as possible (there is a new discount when you buy three books, just use the code 10off60 and receive 10% off!)
  • take a Tuesday/Wednesday Zoom class, improve your own health, and then make a donation to VITALITY — reply to this email and I’ll share the Zoom codes
  • please reach out to me if you’d like to participate in our VITAL ACTION to gather funds and ideas for establishing a more permanent home for VITALITY so that all of us at VITALITY can do our part to grow human health & possibility on this amazing planet (we’ll meet via Zoom once a month beginning May 4)
  • please reach out to me if you’d like to help us move (have a moving van? a dolly for large items like desks? are strong and can help me move just a few heavier items we have?)

We made a bold move to begin this little VITALITY project in 2010.  Since we won't be able to gather to thank our space and share memories and thanks together, please check out our video HERE . . . we are all so grateful to so many people.

Please join us in making more bold moves aimed at growing life and love for our planet and one another!

We are grateful to you all, friends!  You are VITAL to us and loved dearly!  Stay well and thrive!

Brian Shircliff
co-founder & program director

with our Board of Trustees:  Richard Bollman SJ, Mary Duennes, Mike Eck, Carol T Yeazell
& Emeritus Board Members:  Joyce & Tom Choquette, Kevin Laskowski, Jack Lennon, Joan Lichtman, Micah Richey, Sue Saylors

our new mailing address: VITALITY Cincinnati, 5902 Kimberly Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45213


know how to unfurl?

know how to unfurl?
like the drawn-touch
of a lover
that uncoils,
comes again and again
the wind inhales
softness surrounded
by bony
know the center
of the star and grow up

press down to unfurl
yes —

the incredible things
you can do
when troubling forces
press down
and all you can do is dance

you say you want a rich(er) life, human?
that life would be better
if you could eat inside your favorite
restaurant, drink deeply from your favorite bar, go to your favorite concert or show, blah-blah-blah

know how to unfurl?
watch me


-- Brian Shircliff


-- Brian Shircliff, first posted on Facebook

...into the new

what do you need to do

to wake up from the old paradigm

and be born into the new?


- Brian Shircliff




most would consider my street simple, ordinary

— it’s a wonderland

the sun comes, spans the sky, sets in wild color

the moon a shy, unset singer

leaves spurt out of dead branches

grass and bugs zambra with the wind,

allowing themselves -- to allow

dancing out their marriage-songs

and all these creatures swarm sidewalks

squirrels, birds, humans, dogs…

creatures of all ages — each a very different creature, like and unlike the rest

breathless, panting, crying this joy

if i miss it, miss the moment, i miss everything — 



Brian Shircliff