I offer a moment-to-moment description of a grounded presence experience that I had with a deer as we both walked through the woods. This example highlights an important Wholebody Focusing practice–holding a “we” space for partners. It also shows how we can have a “we” space with any other sentient being and how both of us are impacted by the relational space they create together.
There he was, Mr. Deer, quietly but unexpectedly just over there. In fact, he was just beyond the clearing of the forest as I began my own walk. I was taking a break from a training that wasn’t going well for me. I wanted to enjoy a walk in the forest to find a grounded sense of myself again.
That is when it happened, that encounter with Mr. Deer. It seemed to startle both of us so unexpectedly. It was a surprise, yes, and startling? Maybe for a split second we both knew that something felt different here and so we seemed to pause and take in the moment with curiosity. It was that pause that seemed to change everything because we both took some space to take in what might be happening that felt so different from what we were used to. What was that? What made us stop and take a moment to become aware of the something that felt new here?
I can’t speak for Mr. Deer. He has his own sense of what was happening in him. For me, as a reflective human creature that I am, I realized I was in a good place. Usually I walk through a forest without really taking much in. But this time I felt differently. I was enjoying this moment of peace and enjoying myself in this wooded environment.
That was the beginning of something, the beginning of a relationship that felt very different to Mr. Deer and to me. I sensed that we both seemed to pause, do a double take and wonder, what is next? For me, and of course I can only speak for me, I came back to a grounded sense of me, that place in me that I enjoy, feeling centered and at peace with myself. So I just wanted to pause for a moment, be silent and just be still, making space for Mr. Deer, and give him an opportunity to assess what was going on. I was aware I wanted to consciously just hold the space and allow Mr. Deer to find himself too. This is something I can do, pause and become aware of what is happening.
I continued to watch him in grounded presence as he fed himself, more relaxed and at ease with what he was doing. He seemed to be enjoying himself, feeding himself, nurturing himself, feeling safe enough to do so even though I was just over there. It would seem that I was no longer a threat to his well-being so that he could continue doing what he needed to do for himself. That seems to be the nature of his consciousness, a way of taking care of his well-being to live a healthy life. It is a different kind of consciousness to mine, but similar in many ways, because he too was looking for a safe moment to take care of himself and to do what he needs to do for himself.
And then suddenly the moment ended. Perhaps there was a distraction from something that caught his attention. He stopped grazing, maybe wondering what was happening over there, some kind of movement, or another sighting. He suddenly became alert to something new and a new understanding emerged of what he must do to take care of himself. So off he went to check that out!
I had just had a heartfelt connection with another creature like myself. It felt so good to feel that connection with him and it also felt so good to know that he too was enjoying this moment with me. We were both rewarded in the experience of connection. What more could I ask for? What an gifted experience!