When Joy Becomes More than a Crumb

Photo by Gabrielle Clark

Today my body bought me a long forgotten memory.
A joyful one!

As I was out walking early in the morning, a little yellow flower caught my eye.

“Do you like butter?”

Instantly, I could hear the sound of little girls giggling with delight as we played this childhood game. It was a simple game we played where you hold a flower under your friend’s chin and if it turns yellow – then you like butter!

It made me smile – and still does – to feel this body memory from long ago.

A forgotten joy.

The joy that is the precious jewel of childhood that no one can take from me. Even a difficult childhood doesn’t stop the timeless innocence, wonder, and magic that each child has available in his or her inner world. A wellspring of wonder.

Rilke says even if you found yourself in the worst prison you would still have it. The magic, wonder, and joy that is inherent in every child.

To savour an ice-cream slowly, trying to catch the drips with my tongue, without an ounce of guilt, enjoying the flavors and taste sensations of fresh passion fruit or feijoa straight off the vine. The total immersion of my whole being when listening to a favourite fairy tale, a song or a story over and over again. The joy and delight of jumping waves at the ocean and running screaming from the water with pure free abandonment. The magic of a mirror and wondering how to get into the world on the other side where the little girl is……

Somewhere along the way, I had let my joy become a crumb.
It is so nice to taste it again.

To feel once again the wonderment and joy the world offers to me when I can pause and listen to my body wisdom.

To nurture the seeds of wonder and joy that live inside me – this is my practice.

My inspiration from Rainer Maria Rilke…

“And even if you found yourself in some prison, whose walls let in none of the world’s sounds – wouldn’t you still have your childhood, that jewel beyond all price, that treasure house of memories?”

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When You Help Me Go Further, It Feels so Good

Photo Credit: Kakadu National Park, Victoria by Gabrielle Clark

The first time I tried Focusing something was not right. I was usually good at what I tried, and I could pick most things up easily. Not focusing—I froze, I could not do it. My body would shake, my jaw would shake, no words would come out.

It was so hard! How was it that some people were saying how wonderful it was. I hated it and wished I had never joined the class.

This situation led me on a mission to get it. I would try harder; surely I would get it…eventually. I went to lots of different teachers. I did lots of reading, and I even spoke to Gene on one of his phone courses.

An Encounter with Gene Gendlin

Even given a chance to speak with Gene Gendlin, the founder of Focusing, I couldn’t get the words out that I wanted. They would have been, “please help me, Gene, I can’t do focusing and I don’t know why, please help me.” Instead, I made a statement about the process model. I held my breath and blurted out…“Hi Gene, I am so excited that my body will know what it needs when it finds it.” There was silence for a few seconds “Oh…what do you mean?” he asked gently.

Oh my gosh, I froze. Did I even know what I meant? How will I answer him? What if I can’t remember what I said?  I had rushed it out so quickly, and I didn’t know if it was still there to be found. I panicked. I can feel this now, how I hold my breath and rush the words out quickly, I don’t feel my body at all. I paused and begged my body to bring it back, sure enough, it was there. I tried again.

We spoke back and forth for a while. Gene was not just answering me.  He was trying to understand me and to help me to go on from where I was. He seemed to genuinely care about what I said and even wanted to hear more, to understand me or maybe help me understand myself. He would say something that he thought I had meant and then say “is that right?” so I could check it. It moved me profoundly and brought tears to my eyes then and now- this was so new to me and so wanted.

It ended up by him saying “we need both the words and a body sense. If the body is not ready, then it’s not ready, and if the words are not ready, they are not ready. They will come when they are ready.”

How this Conversation Lives in Me Now

Kevin McEvenue says, “when the story is ready to tell itself it will” and “the secret to your unfolding lies in you not me, I just throw things out now and then for you to check them.” My body likes these statements.

I will never forget this moment, and I think one day, with practice, I will be able to slow down enough to feel both. I will be able to pause and hold both my body sense and my words together and speak slowly and surely from a place of grounded presence. My practice will be to feel me first, then speak from that deeper place. To let it come, to allow the story to tell itself from where it wants to. This new ability is a scary thought both unknown and unfamiliar, but I like it.

No one can teach me how to hold both my body sense and my words together, I have to find my own way, and I am grateful to Kevin and Gene for the way they both hold space for a person to do just that.

To find my own way feels so good.

*****

Gene Gendlin is the founder of Focusing. To learn more about him, please click on http://www.focusing.org/bios/gendlin_bio.html

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Sweet Surrender…..

Photo Credit: Pixabay

I don’t know where I’m going.

I don’t know what I’m doing.

But I do know

When I surrender into the depths of my being

When I let go of all my learning

All my trying hard, my shoulds and have to’s.

When I let go of all of it

It feels like relief –

a deep breathing out,

Ahhhh….

Sweet, surrender!

Like being held

Cradled in a big body of water

Floating, adrift

Eyes closed,

Arms softly open

Naked, vulnerable

I have no idea where I am headed.

There are moments of complete trust……

And panic!

Hello panic, I didn’t mean to let you go.

You can be just as you are, it’s okay.

I will be right here, I will just keep you company.

Back and forth they alternate, trust then panic.

Something comes, it’s a knowing from inside – hold both it tells me.

All of a sudden I can feel a deep breathing – and a wondering

…… who is this one who knows to hold both?

I give my life to this one, the one that knows the way, the one that holds me.

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Love – The Most Powerful Force…

Sculptures and Photo by: Gabrielle Clark

….hello sweet tiredness, hello despair, hello anger, hello body.
Tell me of your wanting, your desires your needs. Tell me of your tiredness, your depression, your choking on all that’s inside. Tell me of your trying so hard.

I want to know it, I want to hear it all.
I don’t care if it’s not right to share.
Tell me all your mysteries.

Keep it all in they say, get over it they say, lose weight they say, get fit they say, do this, don’t do that, be anyone other than who you are.

But it’s the truth and the truth will set me free.

I want nothing but you.
Nothing but what is.
No more fighting it.

What would that be like?

I pause and feel into it.
I sense a deep peace that comes with this surrender.
I feel the love of a mother to her babies, so tired and worn out, she gets up hour after hour to nurture her child. Breasts so full, so tight, so sore, so little sleep, tired to the edge of exhaustion, she keeps going.
Love, the powerful force that drives her.

I have that to give all these places in me!

I can want them all like I chose them,
Like precious gifts.
This life
This pain
This joy
This body
All of it

held, transformed, healed…..

by the most powerful force in the universe.

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Dear Body

Dear body please help me to remember….

My felt sense
My true nature
My inner knowing…..
Like the stars, is sometimes hidden, sometimes covered over by the darkness, concealed by the distractions of life, blocked out by conditionings imposed on me from the outside. Dimmed by the crushing thoughts that pelt down on me.

But sometimes, sometimes…..
When I’m quiet, when my mind is still, when I’m with someone who can listen well, someone who doesn’t want to change or fix me, someone who points me back home to myself, I find,

clarity
wisdom
truth and beauty
Always available

It never leaves me
I leave it….often
It never leaves me

Dear body please hear my prayer,

help me to come home to you…..
again
and again
and again.

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Letting life happen in me…

Photo Credit: Gabrielle Clark

Who am I?

I ask and ask many times and I step back, but nothing comes.

I stay and say it is okay.

I drift off and remember something I have read yesterday – ‘we must defend your dwelling place in us to the last’, so I come back. I ask again.

Then I remember a lovely note from a friend – ‘its okay and enjoy life’ he says – This makes me smile. Enjoy life – yes! The smile keeps growing. I think this is enough and I finish.

I come across a poem and I am moved by the line – “Close your eyes and follow your breath to the still place that leads to the invisible path that leads you home.”

I pause again and follow my breath – a feeling is coming in my body. It’s big! It is like a feeling of ecstasy, it is scary and nice and I am allowing it.

I remember the support of the chair.

It feels like I am allowing life to flow in me and it is so beautiful and light and uplifting. I can still feel it now, it is tingling and buzzing with life. “Let life happen to you” says Rilke.

Perhaps I am the vehicle for the life that is longing to live in me. Or am I the life I felt moving in me.

I don’t know.

Who am I beyond the conditioning that has been imposed on me?

Who is the one that looks out from behind my eyes?

Who is the one that looks out from behind your eyes?

Can I even risk being seen that deeply, seeing that deeply. The thought of that scares and excites me.

I hold both, as a hopeful possibility.

 

Note Authors of my inspiration in order: Etty Hillesum, Rainer Maria Rilke and Teresa of Avila

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Death Was Scary Then

When I was young my Mother died.

Recently I had an experience with a little bird that made me think about it. I wish I had known how to be grounded and present then.

Today I held a dead bird in the palm of my hand. The cat bought it in to me. I picked it up and gently held it.

At first I hoped it would come to life, maybe it was feigning death to protect itself. I moved my hand so it could feel the sun -maybe that would help. I tried to will it back to life.

It felt very sacred. I could feel the life in my hand and hoped the bird could feel it too.

I remembered my Mother dying when I was young and wished I would have touched her body – like I was with the bird – while it was still warm. I wished I hadn’t wanted to get away quickly. I wished I had put my head on her heart and my hand on her face. I wish I had of loved her more. Death was scarier then.

I stayed with the bird and all that was happening in this moment – my memory of my Mother’s death, the birds death, my aliveness and the aliveness I could hear and feel all around me.

I remembered them coming and putting coins on her eyes. That was weird. I didn’t like that. Why couldn’t we look at her eyes. The birds eyes were beautiful to look at. But death was scary then.

The cat walked past. I wanted to be mad at it. Then I thought, well, it just did what it naturally does. Just like the cancer did in my Mum. I gently put the bird in the garden and remembered its bones will turn into dust and then it will be the earth.

I don’t want to be put into a box and embalmed with chemicals that won’t let me become the earth. I hope someone who is not scared of death – someone who can feel their own ground and aliveness – will be brave and stay with me for a while, just until I am cold and gone. Then they can put me in the earth until my bones become dust.

Then I will be the earth too.

I am sorry Mum x.

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Breaking the Spell of Suffering

I am hard on myself and I need to break the spell of that.

When the overwhelm sets in, it takes over my body.

Before I know it I have lost myself, I am not solid.

I am like a leaf being blown around in a storm.

I am lost. I have no home base.

When I can break the spell of the panic, the overwhelm, the negative thoughts – I feel wider, softer.  I have freedom to move.

The reward from doing that is that I can hear the birdsong and the wind in the trees.

I am available to experiencing life in the here and now.

How I break it is to pause, to slow down, to remember to come back to myself, my surroundings, my breath, the beauty that is there for me as a solid support – 24 hours a day 7 days a week 52 weeks of every year.

Not as a technique that I have learned and must get right, must do a certain way. If I do that, I am going against the unique way my body knows and desires to be.

If I do that, then the trying hard sets in, the sense of failure, I don’t get it, can’t do it.

The words come in and beat me up.

I must pause and find some sense of solidity that is outside me.

I simply pause and wait for the right way for me that is coming from my own unique bodily knowing of how to be in this world.

Finally – I can trust me.

I can break the spell like that and then the magic of the birdsong will appear for me, and I can breathe out.

Because I can trust me and my body knowing of what it needs,

I can trust you and your body knowing.

I know you will find your own unique way that is just right for you.

Thank you Kevin.

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