When I first met Emily I was struck by her steadfast attention and energy. I felt understood and knew I had found a guide for a rough a patch in my life. Things that had seemed impossible to tackle suddenly felt manageable and playful and most of all a challenge I wanted to rise up to. The one-on-one sessions with Emily and her movement class gave me a sense of preparing like a hero for battle. Instead of contracting away from difficulties I learned how to allow them to surge, reveal themselves and give me energy and focus. Like detectives we traced behavioral patterns in body and thought and like clowns we made faces at them. Without ever losing humor, Emily is a fierce mentor and I’m grateful for all the lessons.
During the finalization of my dissertation I had to sit and write a lot. My back was hurting and my head was full of abstract thoughts. Emily’s Grinberg movement classes helped me listen to what my body had to say, to keep my feet on stable ground, to focus, to embody my thoughts in a creative way, and last but not least – to do it all in the realm of fun.
As a person, I am very often “in my head.” My connection to my body is less strong because there is so much thinking. I found the integration of physical manipulation with psychological investigation to be revelatory. The intensity of touch activated me. It brought deeply held hurts to the surface so that I could encounter them and, eventually, let them go. With Emily, I learned that my body had an enormous amount to tell me, and that I could rely on it – and my breath – to lead me in the direction of authenticity and wholeness.
My one-on-one sessions with Emily began a year ago after an acute incident of chronic pain that, for the past 20 years, has led to long, repeated periods in which I could not type or handwrite at all. Addressing this has been an extreme challenge.
Through her attention, humor and solidarity, working with Emily has created a process for learning and changing that has been enormously enriching. In contrast to the old days, I haven’t been counting how many weeks or months it’s been without a flare-up in which I can no longer type. The chronic pain is not gone entirely, but I feel sure that if I pay attention I can almost always stop before it ‘happens’. In stark contrast to only a year ago, I can even see the pain as a choice; one that I no longer take.
What I can take most from working with Emily is the fact that I am much more aware of myself. Now I know how to better focus on what is important for me to stay in balance. And I actually learned for the first time in my life how wonderful it is to breathe, to be aware of breathing and to develop the process of breathing.
And what I took into my life? 20 minutes of daily exercises!
I learned in the process with Emily to handle the stress and variability of my project with infinitely more strength. I also gained much more ability to think creatively about things that had seemed stuck or impossible. Overall after working with Emily for a year I became much more confident in my needs, ideas, and goals and learned to quiet the noise in my head that distracts me from them. I feel the positive impact not only in the way I was able to pursue my original project but in my relationships and other work and pretty much all the time. It was a rare and invaluable experience to work with her.”
I had been feeling exhausted, stressed, and creatively blocked and Emily was recommended to me by a friend, who herself seemed to have undergone a transformation in the preceding months. Though I was wary on the first visit, not knowing exactly what to expect, I was struck by the immediacy with which Emily was able to put her finger on the nub of the problems I had been having. The immediate physical sensation after the first session, of a release of long-held tension that was tied to deeply buried experiences, was striking and was enough to convince me to continue the sessions.
Over the years since I first saw Emily, I have had periods of more intense sessions or sporadic ones, but it has always been useful in reminding me who I am, enabling clarity and working through pain or fear, historical or current. Emily’s highly perceptive, sometimes gentle and sometimes tough approach, has been invaluable in helping me be attentive to how I am living my life and what I want from it.