The Dance of Life Expands (3)

….. I return to my body and my breath moving in and out, expanding and receding like the waves on the shore of the ocean.

Addie offers me a new invitation: “Be open to the possibility that the breath is breathed in through the skin wherever you can feel that…”

And I discover that wherever I go to in my body as the air meets my skin, there is the breath, there is life. I notice it particularly in my arms and legs, and I feel that I am breathing in the environment around me, taking in everything, including space and the silence.

And as I do this, a new awareness comes for me. How have I always done this–this breathing in the environment around me? Memories come of both my breathing in of places, like concrete shopping arcades, which feel so much lacking in aliveness, whereas in my garden, aliveness is all around me, and I soak it up.

I sit with all of this breathing in through my skin, and I notice a “blocked place” in me that had been with me earlier, and I realise that this is something that I took in from the environment through my embodied breathing. It has to do with my contact with a particular person.

As I sit with all of this, sensing into it, a previously felt sense comes which I dubbed “icy wellies” as it feels like my lower legs and feet are literally clad in “wellington boots made of ice” comes…but this time it feels subtly but importantly different.

And then came an extraordinary discovery for me.

As I revisit all this now and watch the video that I am sharing with you, a fresh awareness comes that this dance of breath, felt within me and without, sandwiching this felt sense of surviving in me that is akin to a tango.

I am a great fan of what we in the UK call “Strictly come dancing,” in the USA it is “Dancing with the Stars,” and the tango has variants and is very much about a relating and responding between the two dancers. This relational experience is just what I discovered in me: I may not be a great physical dancer, but I have found that I can dance the Surviving Tango!

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Cathy Rowan

I originally trained as an OT and also in Gestalt therapy. In 2010 I discovered Focusing which for me was the natural next step on from Mindfulness. I trained as a Focusing Practioner with Fiona Parr and I am currently training in Wholebody Focusing with Addie van der Kooy. What I love is how Focusing blends so naturally with other previous experiences. In particular I find my work as an OT in acquired brain has informed the way I practice. This includes my interest in making accessible relational neuroscience in supporting peoples understanding of how our bodies neurology is shaped by our experiences of others and their experiencing of us. I live with a chronic pain condition from a car accident in 1999. Focusing has changed my life in how I now live with this health condition. Through this I have learnt so much personally about trauma and grief - how they live on in the body unless one befriends them. For me Focusing enabled me to heal when therapy did not - it was just "too much too fast" for my body. What I needed was the Focuser - Companion relating where the relationship feels to be for me much more one of quality and this brought to my body a sense of finally being free to choose and to control the unfolding process. This meant that the process went at my pace and was received by compassionate attuned mirroring. Thus healing what I got so little of as a child.

3 thoughts on “The Dance of Life Expands (3)”

  1. Ah, appreciating that having been invited to read your post, Cathy, I find that I have something in me that responds especially to your words in finding that you can and do “dance the surviving tango.” There is so much there. I notice that I feel gratitude here.

  2. Dear Cathy,

    As I worked on preparing your posts and videos for publication, I had an awareness in my body that something special was here. As each new part appeared, I had time to take in what was there and that felt right. With Part 3, something new comes and we are treated to witnessing that happen in real time.

    What you have done for us is provide us with an example of what is possible so we can find our own new experiences and our own “life moving forward.” Thank for having the bravery to share this process in such detail.

    These posts are valuable to both trainers, Wholebody Focusers, and partnerships.

    Much gratitude for your work and your sharing your experience.

    Diana

  3. Thank you Cathy – I have an image now of the surviving Tango. Tango involves such changes in direction and speed. It has a jerkiness and then a calm and most of all it is about two people listening to one another and finding harmony. Isn’t that life is? it takes courage and an inner strength to survive the Tango of life.

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