In the Presence of Women

A Zoom Gathering for Women Focusers
November 15, 2020, 10:00 – 12:00 MT

You are warmly invited to a Focusing gathering just for women. This will be a single event for now − an experiment really – to see what happens when we take time to focus together as women and allow space for whatever wants to emerge during this time of things falling apart and new paradigms wanting to emerge.

The plan:
10:00 – 10:45 Intro, Attunement & Check-in
10:45 – 11:30 Focusing Partnerships
11:30 – 12:00 Sharing as a Group

The inspiration:

Recently I reflected on the fact that many of the traumas I’ve experienced have had to do with being a woman. I also noticed a cloud of silence around them. When I focused on these events, I realized there was generally a larger situation or narrative around the event and someone or something I felt I should protect − whether a child, a parent or a partner – over valuing my own needs or expecting them to be looked after. Speaking about my own harm always seemed less important than taking care of others.

So the theme that came to me as a possible starting point was “Things We Don’t Talk About.” A phrase that may might feel more fitting to you is “Fulfilling the Needs of Others.” These are just ideas to spark something we share as women or something you would like to explore in a focusing way with other women.

If you’d like to participate on Nov. 15 (or have questions) just email me at dranyen@yahoo.com and I will confirm as soon as the gathering is a “go.”

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Stop, Wait for More!

By Kevin McEvenue

These preambles are all about inviting a direct experience—in words, as they are sounded out, then explored, as you listen to me. This is a mutual, bodily-felt event happening as an experience of me and then a sense of you.

It starts with feeling something inside myself. I pause and I wait for the words to come. For your part, you hear the sound of them. Maybe notice that.

This is an opportunity to create a mutual experiencing with each other in this kind of direct experience. Direct—you and me—two different worlds awaken to one another each in our own way as we speak and listen together.

So, let’s see what comes in this next podcast. It came suddenly in the early morning. I wrote it down immediately, because it needed to be precise: “I know something before I know what it is.”

Those were the very words that excited me. I knew I wanted to spend time with it, companion it as I share this experience with you. Speaking out—aware you are there too. To include another beyond myself seems to benefit the whole experience in its possibilities of revelations.

Again, the podcast speaks for itself. It offers surprises, twists and turns that happen. Full stop!……. it brought me right back to an earliest moment of life. Freshly remembered now; perhaps the first experience of awakening to human consciousness, noticing, something is not right! Followed by an instantaneous response, a loud scream that seems to say, get the fuck off me. That is what it felt like then and now—right now—I feel the force of it!

I was in a baby crib—a few months old—left outside in the early spring. A cat jumped on me, sat on my mouth to feel the warmth from my breath. My response was instantaneous, I can still smell it, its fur on my face. Maybe I felt my breathing blocked. I reacted with force. Get the fuck off me! It got the message and fled. I felt it gone. I felt empowered, it brought relief. In other words, it felt good. It worked and it taught me, I can do it! And I still feel that same powerful reaction inside: Something is not right here!

What was your first reaction to something like that in your life? A moment when it felt life-threatening. What did you perceive? What was your reaction?

For me, I acted with anger and yelled like hell. It was over in a second. But the pattern stuck, maybe because I felt I could! It worked! And I liked it, it felt empowering. I got noticed!

And that is what I want to explore now. It is a pattern that is still there, feels good, but it also causes trouble; it feels conflicted with other parts of me. I seem to react too quickly before taking action! For example, to type a message: so much confusion happens right there as I type. As though I am too much in a hurry. Almost like a panic; I have to do something—do something now!

Back to those opening words that excited me; “I know something before I know what it is.” This time, I pause; I wait for the feel of it to come again. Suddenly I hear Gene’s words—Gene Gendlin saying, with a tone of gentle curiosity: “Oh, so you don’t know! (pause) You don’t know yet!” This feels like heartfelt listening at its best.

Something shifts right now, as I put words to it! A new clarity comes now, not the panicked hurried feeling I know so well. And it feels new, I can feel space inside. I have some room, room to pause, to breath, wait and see with a kind of curiosity…to see what wants to come here. What wants to come next. The pull to act quickly is also here, but the desire to wait and see is even more compelling!

The Olympic diver comes to mind again. How he practices that perfect dive, enjoying the whole event slowly in his wonderful imagining, feeling it all, the whole of it. Waiting for the right moment to happen and then it does. Effortlessly it just flows.

The crowd cheers and so do I. I can do this too. And I want to…….

Photo Credit: McEvenue Archives

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We Want to Dance with One Another

by Kevin McEvenue

We Want to Dance with One Another!

There is a pattern in these podcasts; they end with a question as though there is something more to be added and yet I don’t know what that is. And there is a sense that this is enough for now. Just accepting that; it is as though it seems to want time and space to fulfill itself in its own wisdom.

In this podcast entitled: We Want to Dance with One Another, I awaken to a sense of myself; me, and then you, coming from that sense in the warmth in each other. This podcast explores this question with some surprises that speak from themselves better than I could if I tried to! And then they open a door to something else that wants my attention. What stops me?

Once again, I am using my own exploration of giving voice to my own direct experience of an issue that is dear to my heart and perhaps to yours too—how to feel connected to myself and to life outside in ways that satisfies us and brings so much more to life around us when we can.

Guiding Suggestions: Please remember to become grounded in yourself first before you listen to make room another person’s experience.

What comes to me is appreciating that Gene Gendlin spent his whole life exploring what is already there from the get-go. What is already implied—the whole of it, being felt in our body, waiting for it to be more fully realized. It becomes the story of our life and how that is acted out—and its possibilities.

As Gendlin said, “Although basic to living, implicit knowing is often overlooked precisely because it is implicit.”

That is what I am doing here, right now: having a sense of what is there, being felt in my body, pausing, allowing what is being felt in me the space it needs to find the words to form, and then words come in speech. For me this is a demonstration of ‘felt sensing’ in action.

 

Photo Credit: Michael Lux

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The Fulfillment of Desire

By Kevin McEvenue

The theme that is presented here flows from the theme just before this, Perception. At the end of Perception, the next piece seems to go directly to The Fulfillment of Desire—that sense of wanting from the get-go.

I have suggested that this is a new series of Thinking in Experiencing, of something emerging directly from the experience itself, rather than trying to describe what that experience might be.

I realize now that this new series began in a podcast, namely: A very Persistent Love at the Heart of all Creation, followed by So Stuck and then it is Not, which was the first time that I spoke up and out with such passion! It not only shook up a very familiar stuck place, it was also followed by a flow of thoughts that arose directly from that physical awakening, associated memories that seemed to find their words too! Next came an exploration of the sense of Perception.

In this series of themes, I am attempting to express this process of saying out loud what is being felt from inside, pausing, and then allowing the vibration of such thoughts to flow from there. It may sound strange and unfamiliar, not smooth flowing. It is coming from a more vulnerable place as I wait for the words to form themselves from inside. They may sound unsure, hesitant, and yet just right. Some words come as a complete surprise.

In this theme called The Fulfillment of my Heart’s Desire, I go back to my first   awakening, so very young, innocent, vulnerable. A consciousness that awakens a sense of me here. And yet, they all have one thing in common. These come as a surprise, a kind of discovery, a growing self-awareness of knowing me more in some way. What is also significant is that these moments are never forgotten; they are as present right now as they were then, nothing added or subtracted. They seem to be a direct experience of life itself.

Of course, there are many, many other kinds of experiences throughout my lifetime, but they will not have that kind of impression of everlasting and alive in the same way. They come from a different place. They are essential, another kind of knowing, useful to my growth and well-being. But the experience is qualitatively different, a kind of a learning process, maybe something I have to struggle with.

Finally, I am sharing something that I realize is a daily practice that seems to fit the kind of life that comes naturally to me, perhaps more reflective and internalized rather than socially outer-directed. They seemed the very opposite of what I was trained to do and think, how I must learn to be this other way in order to be loved and accepted. For example, my father was a natural athlete—I didn’t have that kind of spirit of competition. I was more curious about how things work together, how they fit in a way that seems complementary—that adds more to the situation because they are different. That felt more satisfying than being a winner!

Over time, what has emerged gradually is this bodily awareness that I experience now. When someone is true to themselves in some way, I can feel it in me. It is palpable! I suddenly feel alive in me too! It feels mutual—like a shared experiencing that feels good for all of us.

Listening suggestion: In these podcasts, you might feel the words first, letting your body experience the words, taking them in, and then letting the meaning flow spontaneously from there.

Photo Credit: Michael Lux Yosemite, 2015

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An Invitation to Pause ….

Out beyond ideas of wrong-doing and right-doing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there. And when our souls lie down in that grass, the world is too full to talk about” – Rumi

It is becoming quite obvious that the world as we know it is rapidly changing and that we are facing an uncertain future.  In challenging times like these, it feels increasingly important to take time to experience a dimension in us that is not touched and affected by what is going on around and within us.  This inner dimension does not disconnect us emotionally from what is happening but it allows us to rest and resource ourselves so that we can stay open and be more fully present to Life in the midst of so much contraction into anxiety.

Rumi’s poem above is an invitation to rest in this dimension – sometimes called “the underlying field of living Presence” – a sense of the aliveness felt within the body and around us as a nourishing Presence that holds and constantly resources us.  The more often you make time and space to felt sense this energy field of Presence or Being, the more you activate it and the more it can begin to emerge as a resource in your Focusing and daily life.

To “lie down in that grass” together with other people is what our monthly on-line Pause for Presence gatherings are all about.  It creates a palpable energy field of group Presence which allows you to experience Presence in a much deeper way than if you were on your own. Opening up to Life together in this way can also be “an oasis amidst all the world chaos of this present time”, as a recent participant described it.

The format of our 75-minute gatherings is simple.  After a brief guidance into Presence (for those who need it), we silently come to rest in “this underlying field of Presence”, letting ourselves “just be” – “beyond ideas of wrong-doing and right-doing”.  There is also space for any sharing that wants to happen.  Our next on-line Pause for Presence gathering will be on October 17th and if you feel a “yes” to join, you are warmly welcome!

The details:

  • Time and date: Saturday 17th October from 4 pm to 5.15 pm BST (British Summer Time).
  • Venue: Zoom video conferencing platform. If you have no experience with Zoom, please let Cecelia know for necessary guidance.
  • Fee: £10 (by bank transfer) or £11 (by Paypal which includes £1 Paypal fee). It includes a free audio-recording of the guided sessions.
  • Email Cecelia Clegg at ceceliaclegg44@gmail.com to register.
  • If you are unable to attend, you can still register to receive an audio-recording of the guided sessions for a £5 fee.

See you soon!

UK Wholebody Focusing trainers Addie van der Kooy and Cecelia Clegg.

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The Doors of Perception

By Kevin McEvenue

September 28, 2020

The doors of perception, a direct experience of something that keeps knocking on my door for attention.

This is the beginning of a new series I am proposing, something that has become a daily practice in my life that perhaps might be useful in other people’s lives too?

In the spirit of Wholebody Focusing and Heartfelt connecting, I want to give voice to something as an experience of a mind-body expression as it pauses to give space for words and thoughts to come together to form what is happening inside me right now. It seemed to come from a different place of thinking; thinking directly from a felt sense of an experience, rather than thinking about an experience that engages into a thought about what, why or how, etc. It really is a very different activity and seems to come from a very different location in the body, and very difficult to describe in words. Do you appreciate that there can be a difference between the two?

These are themes that come in me from time to time that seem to want my attention. They just want to be noticed and for me to make space for them to do so. To being felt, giving it some breathing room for it to inform me in some new way for my own well-being.

Today’s theme is on the nature of perception and how it seems to be a first response, a reaction coming from outside my world. What happens in me when I sense that or look for that? What do I do?

Do I image it first? Do I sense it first? Do I look for a right action? Or do I just act because I must?

This is what I am exploring today as my natural process in coming to know something freshly. Maybe you would like to join me here, something happening there in you too? Perhaps just the sound of a voice that points to something familiar?

Photo Credit: Michael Lux – Naples 2012

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An Early Morning Awakening and Sitting-With

By Elizabeth Morana

I awoke suddenly and looked at the clock. It was 6:10am.
I realized:
This is just the time she left her body. Four years ago this moment.
I waited and watched.

First, this came:
“Melt into the Arms of God”
I wanted to.
I got only a tiny hint
of It.

Then, this came:
“I make space for Your Glory”

Much later, after restlessness–and then grief, words came:

It’s like striking a match when I let the grief come. Before I allowed it to be felt, it was like hardened material on a little stick. I struck the match against the scratchy surface and the deep sadness ignited into a brief, intense flame. Then, suddenly, my body stretches, toes wiggle, back muscles awaken and warm themselves through stretching. That’s the flame. It flows through me. Then all is still and there’s a glowing light in me.

 From stuckness,
to ignition,
 to flaring grief,
to transforming into
something awakening,
richly Alive,
and finally
to tranquil clarity. 

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Painting by Elizabeth Morana

WBF and Yoga Nidra

Are we only Wholebody Focusers when we are in partnership with other Wholebody Focusers, or is it a way of life? For me, it is a way of life, a theoretical structure that holds my experiences. The most important concepts are:

Body Wisdom knows what our bodies need.

We hold space for everything we find within us with equal positive regard.

Our bodies only need our awareness to begin and support the healing process.

What happens when we are living our lives? How do these concepts come into play? Do we ignore them? Do we fully enter other worlds and adapt to other ideas? Or do we integrate what we know supports life within us? These are questions I ask myself when I want to participate in other energetic practices.

Yoga Nidra

I became very fond of Yoga Nidra when I worked in NYC public schools. My days were always long and full of demands and challenges. To relax, I would use an audio guide to help me get into the Yoga Nidra state when I returned home from work. I would take 20 minutes to allow my body to recover while my dear husband cooked our dinner. I am not an expert in Yoga nor a scholar of its history. I am approaching this discussion as a student in a yoga class.

Yoga Nidra is the part of a Yoga class when you lay on you back with your arms spread out and palms facing up and legs hip-width apart. The goal is to enter a state somewhere between awareness and sleep. This state is profoundly relaxing and acts like a tonic that recharges your body.

As one listens to the teacher’s guiding words, you notice different body parts. Some teachers might say something like “ask your toes to relax” and proceed through the body from bottom to top asking all areas to relax. I began to wonder if even this small demand on the body was out of step with my Wholebody Focusing practice?

Can I find this place of deep relaxation and apply what I know about WBF? In other words, how can any energetic practice become a Wholebody experience?

I changed this practice to make it more in line with my Wholebody practice by setting a different intention for the Nidra state. Instead of asking my body to do something, I want to give my body a chance to do what it needs to do. By observing a particular body part, it activates in some way. I feel energy churning. I stay with this felt sense until it seems to have found its rhythm. Then, another part becomes activated. I do not move on to another part of my body in a predetermined order but by what appears next. I stay with that new part until it recognizes my awareness.

I find my body seems joyful in that it has a chance to be observed in its natural state. It has become so used to being observed that I often do not have to speak or think the process but just let it know that I am taking time to notice it part by part. I set the intention at the beginning that I am giving my body time to be with itself and it just happens.

I tried to create an audio file to help you experience this, but anything I would say might limit your experience of WBF Nidra.

For me, as my different parts churn away (my energetic experience), I feel a great relief from the need to “be in charge.” My body knows I support its need to create this energetic movement and is happy to have a chance to have the time, space, and support to do what comes naturally.

I have learned something significant over time.  When I first started this practice and felt the energy, I would imagine that I had some illness that needed attention. Once I had a diagnosis, I would begin to create an action plan to treat it. My plans were so detailed on a particular occasion, I was able to observe the nonsense of it and just laughed out loud.

At first I would remind myself that I needed to let go of any ill health diagnosis that might come to mind. Without a diagnosis, there was no need for an action plan. My mantra became, “No diagnosis, No Action Plan.”

In fact, our bodies are constantly seeking stasis, an equilibrium of two opposing forces.  By holding these energy patterns with equal, positive regard, our bodies have a chance to use their innate wisdom to help themselves be the best they can be. I go deeper into my Nidra state and allow my body to have its own time to heal and come back refreshed and anxiety free.

Please try this and see what it feels like. Let us know what your experience is in the comments.
Namaste!

Photo Credit: Swamp Rose Mallow Hibiscus on the East River, Manhattan. Diana Scalera 2009

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