Illustration: John Sibback (with permission from 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 tainted by the Holocaust, where ties to previous generations seemed to have been cut and religious belief was weak, if not suspect. At the age of 19, she met a Tibetan Buddhist teacher who emphasized trusting direct experience over belief, and this began her spiritual journey. Twenty years later, illness and energy work broadened her sense of connection to spirit and “the larger system” that Gene Gendlin often referred to. Later still, embracing her Holocaust inheritance led to unexpected openings she describes in her memoir, Buried Rivers: A Spiritual Journey into the Holocaust, as ancestors began showing up for her in Poland. Since 2011, Focusing has been an important venue for trusting her own direction and helping others 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 Sibback to allow us to use your wonderful drawing of a Neanderthal woman.
We hope you enjoy this conversation about how two individuals find their way.