Illustration of a Neanderthal Woman: John Sibbick (with permission from the artist)
Ellen Korman Mains came up with this title as she reflected on her week and how she’d been relating with a disturbing part of herself. Diana Scalera and Ellen engaged in a conversation about being with difficult experiences of ourselves with the help of our spiritual and focusing practices.
Diana Scalera went to Catholic school until the 8th grade when she gave up on Catholicism and organized religion in general as a spiritual practice because most of what she experienced from her Catholic education was demeaning treatment, punishment, and fear. It was not until she began focusing that her connection to spirit emerged. In one of her first sessions with Kevin McEvenue, a Neanderthal woman became present in her body to support her in a situation in which she felt weak and powerless. Diana was able to sense into how strong these bones were and how they were being offered as a gift to guide her. From that point on, Diana let go of a traditional idea of spirituality and became open to her own innate connection to spirit.
Ellen Korman Mains grew up in a Jewish home of Holocaust survivors where ties to previous generations seemed completely cut. At the age of 19, she met a Tibetan Buddhist teacher who emphasized trusting direct experience over dogma or wishful thinking, and this began her spiritual journey. Twenty years later, illness and energy work broadened her sense of connection to the invisible world and to the “larger system” that Gene Gendlin referred to. Later still, traveling to Poland to embrace her family’s past led to extraordinary openings described in her book, Buried Rivers: A Spiritual Journey into the Holocaust, as ancestors began showing up to support her. Since 2011, both Focusing and meditation have been important venues for trusting her direction and spiritual connection, and helping others to trust theirs.
In the video below, Diana and Ellen discuss how both spirituality and focusing live in their bodies and how they support their struggles with the “Little Monsters” with a sense of befriending what’s there by holding both with equal regard.
Thank you to John Sibbick for allowing us to use his wonderful drawing of a Neanderthal woman.
We hope you enjoy this conversation about how two individuals find their way.
To leave or read a comment, click here and go past the end of the post.
3 thoughts on “Holding Our Strengths and “Little Monsters” with Equal Regard”
This was a powerful post for me in strange ways. First the image of ‘strong women’ from the beginning of time! I had a take a second look because my eyes did not pick up right way what was actually there ‘Neanderthal Women’…. ‘strong man with breasts!’. It blows my story of Adam & Eve and how I saw how a women was created from Adam’s rib. How deeply embodied we hold that.
And then Ellen’s story herself as a “strong woman” able to hold both because she is able to be grounded in her own sense of who she is! As I listened to her story, what came for me was there is that part of me that says “I don’t want to know that” and it stops me dead. It is like the voice of the monster.
That is the pot of gold! That is the part that holds so much blocked energy for the potential me to emerge. And it needs that strong “man” / the strong “women” to be able to hold both to allow that whole new life in ourselves to emerge now!
Thank you Kevin
Thanks for noticing how Neanderthal usually means “male” for most people. Even trying to find an image of a Neanderthal Woman was difficult. There was one image of a woman to 20 of men. It is, as you say, for most people that we have been predisposed to thinking only about the existence of men in per-historic times.
Furthermore, when that felt sense of a Neanderthal woman came to me, I first wanted to reject it because of what I had been taught about Neanderthals; however; the energy was so powerful and benevolent that I was able to connect to this new, unexpected sensation and information. I’ve since have learned so much about Neanderthals and understand that my sensation of strong bones was part of the how they were different from modern humans. Also, most people with European ancestry have approximately 10% Neanderthal DNA.
I also love what you wrote “That is the pot of gold! That is the part that holds so much blocked energy for the potential me to emerge.” This says it all. By accepting all that is present, we allow our bodies to find their way to homeostasis and healing.
A wonderful conversation, exploration between you, finding commonality and also enlarging the understanding for you both. I found myself holding both in equal regard and being grateful to have been a part of this exchange.