The next step in exploring new directions: the curiosity that comes when my body seems suddenly excited by something and what happens as an immediate bodily response to that stimulation. And the question: is there a link between the nature of the excitement and the bodily response when I pause to make room for this event unfolding even before thought or choice appears?
Exploring the Link
In this episode, I make a choice; I choose to touch myself and then step back and notice what happens when I touch a sensitive place near a nipple. I pause, step back, and notice what comes. The physical response is instantly pleasurable, wanting more, an expansion of wanting more.
By pausing and waiting in this way and just noticing, that sensitive part of my chest registers something pleasurable. Something I would want to hold on to, to desire!
Then more connection of awakening begins to happen spontaneously throughout different body parts in some kind of meaningful order. Some pleasurable, some not so—maybe something quite different.
The Power of Noticing
There seems to be a pattern awakened when I do this. I touch myself; that awakens a response. It follows immediately with an activation that seems to be in sync with the nature of that kind of stimulation. And also, something else—new connections that were unexpected or even unwanted.
It is as though a whole story begins to unfold that is not of my own making and yet it seems filled with meaning and not-knowing. I pause and wait for more to come…..what else….what’s next….? A next step happens immediately! And then a next!
Maybe as you hear my story unfold, you could playfully explore this kind of awareness that has excited you—out of the blue. It doesn’t have to be pleasurable; maybe something you are drawn to or something that wants your attention right now?
Photo Credit: Kevin McEvenue - Megalithic Carnac Stones in Brittany, France
Kevin McEvenue explores Participatory Spirituality as a new experience of his ever evolving Wholebody Focusing Practice.
by Kevin McEvenue
Participatory Spirituality: I am introducing a new topic to be shared and explored together.
As I say the words out loud, I notice I stop! I feel confused—as though I don’t know what to think. I don’t know! I pause; I wonder.
I don’t panic or shutdown; I wonder as though I am curious. I am aware of both.
I stop and I notice, and then something comes into my awareness! It feels new—like a new direction—as though a door has been opened in this way of responding. And holding both with equal positive regard.
Something comes that is clearly unexpected and not of my own making. Body, mind, and an awakening that is not of my own making! This is what we will be exploring as this new direction takes us to a place we have not been before, a kind of engagement with life that seems very personal.
Please join me here in this new experience of myself as I explore what happens in me when I take this next step and then the next step, and then the one after that. It seems to have a life of its own. I am given a choice.
I realize this is just what I have been doing all these twenty years and more—following a life that is essentially inner-directed!
By Kevin McEvenue
We come to the last chapter in this exploration of what Perception is for me, how it was first awakened and what my experience is now. As I stop and feel what is there, there is an immediate sense of warmth…sense of love…happiness…a sense of contentment, all around me.
There have been many surprises along the way as my awareness grew in this direct experiencing of Perception. But what surprises me the most right now is how this exploration has come full circle.
Twenty years ago, I wrote a little book entitled “Dancing the Path of the Everyday Mystic” (Available now on Amazon Kindle). When I glanced over it today, I see how I defined the word Mystic. It points to leading an inner-directed life. I realize this is just what I have been doing all these twenty years and more—following a life that is essentially inner-directed!
At the same time, it has also moved my life forward. This feels so true. My life has expanded in so many unexpected ways. It seems to have taken on a life of its own beyond what I could have ever imagined to be possible and to which I have given my consent so willingly.
This concluding podcast speaks for itself. It seems like it’s all coming together in a kind of celebration of life itself!
What I have been searching for in my life has changed remarkably and not even what I thought was wanted or even hoped for. And yet…it seemed exactly what was needed! I was taken care of beyond what I thought I wanted. It helped me avoid some of the pitfalls that I didn’t know were there!
In short: my life matters! I ended up doing what matters. I am able to reach out beyond myself and wait there…invite, and then pause…this is the power of consciousness… Noticing, just noticing! This is the action step that expands me and leads my life forward in spite of myself. It seems to happen almost effortlessly when it feels right! It just happens. That seems to be how it works; perhaps this is how life is meant to work! What I wrote twenty years ago is as true now as it was then. Just lived more fully. So be it!
The capacity to reach out to something more than me is where loving happens—something that is not of my own making.
by Kevin McEvenue
Once again, I can feel it all coming together in me because Perception is speaking directly to that experience. Something is emerging, coming to my consciousness as I speak, as I feel, and as I express in the presence of another person included in my consciousness.
This podcast speaks for itself directly, more that I could try to put words to. It describes a clarity of relationship between me, a wounded part of me, and a higher sense of me, all coming together here! A direct experience in myself that is often beyond words. And then maybe words come. The words that come seem to form directly from the experience.
This is me here: me who can actually reach out and engage with something beyond me. I am doing just that now—right now. It is an action step that I initiate by inviting a connection. And that is enough!
What is so amazing is that something actually does happen. It is like my wounded self is discovering the power of its own consciousness. This is the power in me, a part of me that can invite and receive, quite different from trying to possess, trying to take from, or trying to make happen. These activities come from very different places.
When I speak about the power of me experiencing this sense of me as powerful, there is some discernment happening at the same time. It is this power that I have been exploring and struggling with in this exploration of perception. What is coming here is the word Presence—to feel myself being present and grounded like how an electric plug needs to be grounded to the earth to make it safe to come alive.
The capacity to reach out to something more than me where loving happens—something that is not of my own making—is an experience that really can’t be described. That is it!
It is something I invite and then I pause, I stay with the desire, and make room for whatever comes—like whatever seems to be the next right step. That is how it works and it requires my consent. In short, I have reached out, something has come as a response, and I sayyesin some way.
This series, the Doors of Perception, seems to have taken on a life of its own. Something has come to a head; I have recalled the struggles of life and named the basic conflict that seems to always be there. I want so much and I can’t have it in equal proportion. How devastating this has been for most of my life.
Now I feel something has changed; just being with these podcasts seems to have made a difference, being transparent with you present in my awareness at the same time. Something has happened that perhaps could not have happened until I did this: speak out, pausing, waiting for the words to form directly from the experience itself.
This podcast really does speak for itself and I invite you to feel the change of mood and expectation. How something has happened here—how the perception itself has taken on a life of its own, independent of the patterns I so struggle with. I am enjoying that shift as I feel it in my own body this morning. I feel different. My body is feeling the warmth of itself, physically warm, a sensual feeling, gradually warming every part of me all over, warm and inviting.
What a good feeling that is, to feel myself in this way. And there is a natural pause to enjoy it as I realize I don’t have to know, I don’t have to understand, I don’t have to do anything. I can enjoy my life just the way it is.
And right now, I am enjoying my warm body being felt all through me. It feels like the struggle doesn’t need to be there—at least not now. It feels like an internalized permission, I don’t have to do anything, I can just be. My wanting, my desires—they have a place in me to be there. It is okay.
There is a fundamental change of expectation. More a sense of acceptance with delight and gratitude. Not a wishing, not a fantasy. There is a quality of hope here that seems to know what is needed. Like a bodily experience of who I am and what I am in my possibilities that seem satisfying. And yet there will be challenges here too, challenges that are manageable, that strengthen me, not drain me. So be it!
This podcast is self-exploratory as I struggle with a sense of empowerment next to having to learn to control at the same time. It is like creating a kind of empowering willfulness: I can do this.
By Kevin McEvenue
In this seventh preamble in the series I call The Doors of Perception, what is explored is the issue of power and the need for control—and how I have struggled with this conflict most of my life, passionately wanting something and holding back, that stops me with equal measure.
Again, I am being transparent in living in a direct experience of my own history as I give voice to these events from childhood to the present day and how the conflict is gradually resolving, offering something fresh, better than imagined! Humpty Dumpty, (wholebodyfocusing.com), is a witness to all those shattered pieces coming together—amazingly. My Humpty Dumpty came into the world with an intuitive kind of Perception, awakened very early in life: an encounter with a cat—not on a hot tin roof—but a cat looking for warmth right there, a warm breath, sitting on my mouth, stopping my breath that early spring morning! I am in a baby crib, outdoors alone in the fresh air.
It seems that much of my life was preoccupied with just that, holding back, tensing my body to hold back, not feel, not say. No room for the joy of the flow of just being, just being me. It seemed to suppress that deeper empowerment, that part of me that does know something and wants to have a life of its own. It still does! The fear of life seems to overwhelm the joy of living. That became my reality, my preoccupation to stop, to control and prevent. “I mustn’t!” There was no room for anything else, namely, to enjoy my own empowerment, there to be loved and appreciated.
Gradually the confusion is beginning to clear as my inner wisdom is finding its way through this apparent conflict. It needed rebuilding a whole new structure, starting from the bottom up, finding my feet, rather than trying to function from a top down that just didn’t fit.Gradually I am emerging as the person I know and love. This is me, coming home to me! The Love of me!
Something shifts right now, as I put words to it! A new clarity comes now, not the panicked hurried feeling I know so well. And it feels new, I can feel space inside. I have some room, room to pause, to breath, wait and see with a kind of curiosity…
By Kevin McEvenue
These preambles are all about inviting a direct experience—in words, as they are sounded out, then explored, as you listen to me. This is a mutual, bodily-felt event happening as an experience of me and then a sense of you.
It starts with feeling something inside myself. I pause and I wait for the words to come. For your part, you hear the sound of them. Maybe notice that.
This is an opportunity to create a mutual experiencing with each other in this kind of direct experience. Direct—you and me—two different worlds awaken to one another each in our own way as we speak and listen together.
So, let’s see what comes in this next podcast. It came suddenly in the early morning. I wrote it down immediately, because it needed to be precise: “I know something before I know what it is.”
Those were the very words that excited me. I knew I wanted to spend time with it, companion it as I share this experience with you. Speaking out—aware you are there too. To include another beyond myself seems to benefit the whole experience in its possibilities of revelations.
Again, the podcast speaks for itself. It offers surprises, twists and turns that happen. Full stop!……. it brought me right back to an earliest moment of life. Freshly remembered now; perhaps the first experience of awakening to human consciousness, noticing, something is not right! Followed by an instantaneous response, a loud scream that seems to say, get the fuck off me. That is what it felt like then and now—right now—I feel the force of it!
I was in a baby crib—a few months old—left outside in the early spring. A cat jumped on me, sat on my mouth to feel the warmth from my breath. My response was instantaneous, I can still smell it, its fur on my face. Maybe I felt my breathing blocked. I reacted with force. Get the fuck off me! It got the message and fled. I felt it gone. I felt empowered, it brought relief. In other words, it felt good. It worked and it taught me, I can do it! And I still feel that same powerful reaction inside: Something is not right here!
What was your first reaction to something like that in your life? A moment when it felt life-threatening. What did you perceive? What was your reaction?
For me, I acted with anger and yelled like hell. It was over in a second. But the pattern stuck, maybe because I felt I could! It worked! And I liked it, it felt empowering. I got noticed!
And that is what I want to explore now. It is a pattern that is still there, feels good, but it also causes trouble; it feels conflicted with other parts of me. I seem to react too quickly before taking action! For example, to type a message: so much confusion happens right there as I type. As though I am too much in a hurry. Almost like a panic; I have to do something—do something now!
Back to those opening words that excited me; “I know something before I know what it is.” This time, I pause; I wait for the feel of it to come again. Suddenly I hear Gene’s words—Gene Gendlin saying, with a tone of gentle curiosity: “Oh, so you don’t know! (pause) You don’t know yet!” This feels like heartfelt listening at its best.
Something shifts right now, as I put words to it! A new clarity comes now, not the panicked hurried feeling I know so well. And it feels new, I can feel space inside. I have some room, room to pause, to breath, wait and see with a kind of curiosity…to see what wants to come here. What wants to come next. The pull to act quickly is also here, but the desire to wait and see is even more compelling!
The Olympic diver comes to mind again. How he practices that perfect dive, enjoying the whole event slowly in his wonderful imagining, feeling it all, the whole of it. Waiting for the right moment to happen and then it does. Effortlessly it just flows.
The crowd cheers and so do I. I can do this too. And I want to…….
I awaken to a sense of myself; me, and then you, coming from that sense in the warmth in each other. This podcast explores this question with some surprises that speak from themselves better than I could if I tried to!
by Kevin McEvenue
We Want to Dance with One Another!
There is a pattern in these podcasts; they end with a question as though there is something more to be added and yet I don’t know what that is. And there is a sense that this is enough for now. Just accepting that; it is as though it seems to want time and space to fulfill itself in its own wisdom.
In this podcast entitled: We Want to Dance with One Another, I awaken to a sense of myself; me, and then you, coming from that sense in the warmth in each other. This podcast explores this question with some surprises that speak from themselves better than I could if I tried to! And then they open a door to something else that wants my attention. What stops me?
Once again, I am using my own exploration of giving voice to my own direct experience of an issue that is dear to my heart and perhaps to yours too—how to feel connected to myself and to life outside in ways that satisfies us and brings so much more to life around us when we can.
Guiding Suggestions: Please remember to become grounded in yourself first before you listen to make room another person’s experience.
What comes to me is appreciating that Gene Gendlin spent his whole life exploring what is already there from the get-go. What is already implied—the whole of it, being felt in our body, waiting for it to be more fully realized. It becomes the story of our life and how that is acted out—and its possibilities.
As Gendlin said, “Although basic to living, implicit knowing is often overlooked precisely because it is implicit.”
That is what I am doing here, right now: having a sense of what is there, being felt in my body, pausing, allowing what is being felt in me the space it needs to find the words to form, and then words come in speech. For me this is a demonstration of ‘felt sensing’ in action.