The Worst Has Passed/Il peggio è passato

Photo Credit: Michael Lux – Sitting in a bar in Rome watching Italian soccer

What happens when we become disconnected from all or part of our families of origin, our languages, or our culture?  How does it live in our bodies? I’ve had much time to be with this.

All four of my grandparents were immigrants from Italy who left between 1909 and 1912. None of them ever returned to visit their families. They met their spouses in the USA and created new families that were unlike their own. While they each eventually married someone from their region of Italy, they were from different places. My grandmothers were from small towns, and my grandfathers were from large cities.

The Italian language, food, and culture were part of my parents’ upbringing. Both parents started school in the USA not speaking English. The schools they attended treated them as if they lacked intellectual ability rather than needing to learn English. This experience damaged them for life. Their response to this trauma was to forbid their children to speak Italian because they did not want us to suffer the way they did.

I’ve written about how a body sense that learning Italian is a heart desire for me, something that would significantly improve my life. I’ve been studying Italian and attending Changes sessions with Italian focusers via video conferencing. There was a session that helped me learn how vital regaining access to this ancestral language could be.

During my session with my Italian partner, I decided to hold space for my digestive system that has always been an unhappy part of me.  First came gentle inner-directed movements, then my hands rested on the areas of my abdomen that feel the most pain. There was also some burping and gurgling. As I held this space, a thought came for me “the worst has passed.” I do not understand what this was referring to, but my body was letting go of something, and I felt some relief.

As I was holding space for this part, I had an urge to say this phrase in Italian. I asked my partner to translate it for me so I could say it on my own. She said, “Il peggio è passato.” When I repeated those words, my body understood it differently. My body suddenly bent over toward the table in front of me, and I began to sob. It recognized and responded to this phrase more dramatically in Italian than saying the words in English.

I do not know what accounts for this difference. I want to hold space for what happened without judgment of what it meant so that more can come. Even though there is a “not knowing” why the Italian words were so much more powerful, I can hold space for the fact they were. This experience supports that felt sense that something special awaits me as I learn more Italian. I am also a bit bewildered how that particular phrase happened to show up in Italian when I never spoke any words of Italian until I was in my twenties. I remember thinking that this may be coming from an inherited trauma rather than something I actually experienced.

It also helps me understand that the experience of immigration can take generations to find a harmonious place. Immigration has become a contentious issue in our country right now. My heart goes out to all those who are experiencing the type of life energy stopping treatment that my relatives suffered.

 

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Paused to be Love

Photo Credit: Pixabay

I recently wrote about exploring that place in me that is Love. Here is an experience of that intention.

Change Your Mind

The first day of Spring gave me a lovely present. In New York City, the weather was mild and sunny. It was a beautiful day to walk around my neighborhood.

As I walked toward my favorite organic grocery store in the East Village, I became curious about an old school building, PS 122, that was converted in 1980 into a performance artist workshop operated by the artists. I used to live across the street from this building and went to many avant-garde performances there. It was in a constant state of disrepair and construction. A few years ago, the building got a 37 million dollar gentrification makeover and was taken over by a prestigious art institution in NYC. I never even considered going inside. I felt that it was part of the general destruction of a neighborhood that was once cheap enough for anyone to live and had supported a broad range of art and life.

As I walked by, I paused to be with this new incarnation of the building. There were inviting signs announcing some new performances, and I decided to go in. I spoke to the people at the front desk and found out there was a multimedia exhibition open to the public about the political nature of cells. I spent some time with this exhibit. My favorite part was seeing a video of the sun’s rays shining on the particles that are part of the air we breathe. It was called “This Is Your Living Room.”

I also got a chance to use the bathroom there. It was gender neutral with multiple stalls. This new architectural adaptation felt right to me and something that was needed to reduce gender bias.

While I am sad that I may never see the likes of Penny Arcade’s outspoken rants or Bina Sharif’s insightful plays in this building again, I got a chance to see that there is something here that does support art and life.

Try a Little Kindness

When I got to the newly-opened organic grocery, I noticed a Latino man in his forties putting vegetables on the shelf. He looked familiar to me. As I paused with that sense of familiarity, I found myself asking him if he had worked in one of the other grocery stores in the neighborhood. He had, and the store had closed. I hadn’t seen him in more than ten years, but I remembered his kindness from when he worked in the other store. I felt delighted that he was now working in this new, well-run store and wished him well in his new job. I needed to pause with the surprise that I felt because I recognized someone with whom I rarely interacted simply because his kindness was always so present.

Good Vibrations

As I walked back home, I realized I wanted to pick up a plant for my apartment. There is a fantastic store, EviFlorist, run by a family of Latin Americans who has in-depth knowledge and skill with plants. They also have a fabulous collection of gems and are able to help their customers select plants and crystals that will enrich their lives.

The moment you are near the store the vibrational energy increases. There are so many plants and gems that every breath you take raises your own energy levels. I selected a fresh hyacinth just beginning to bloom. I saw the crystals and thought I needed to bring this kind of energy into my life–more plants and more gems. I purchased a fist-sized Fluorite crystal selecting a particular one by holding them in my hands to see which one had the strongest vibration for me. I chose the one that lifted my hand up and down.

Big Yellow Taxi

As I happily left the store with my purchases, I realized that I couldn’t carry the groceries, the plant, and the crystal all the way home and I searched for a cab. I have a sure fire way to get a cab in NYC. Instead of using my cell phone, I sing a song to myself inviting a cab driver to find me. Within 30 seconds I was in a cab. The driver was a man who wore a Sikh turban. I noticed that he was stressed. I let him know that I was grateful to him for finding me with all these packages and that I was not concerned with the traffic. He relaxed. I saw he was a very young man challenged by the pressures of being a cab driver in NYC. By the time we got to my apartment, he had noticed me. He offered to help me with my bags, and we wished each other a good day.

When I was walking into my apartment building, I found a name for this experience—the Magical Mystery Tour. No drugs needed just Love.

Sister Hazel https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y944YxuE1OU

Glenn Campbell  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MvswocNN-g8

Beach Boys  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eab_beh07HU

Joni Mitchel https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=94bdMSCdw20

Beatles https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l8WMGBuNaus

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Inviting Readers to Become Contributors

The mission of this blog is to encourage heartfelt conversation among the Wholebody Focusers from around the world.  We have been quite successful up until now but need more Contributor to keep the blog viable in the long term.

In the past year, contributions have come from eleven contributors.  We are looking to increase the number of voices that write posts on the blog to at least 20.  I will keep everyone informed as we are beginning to meet our goal.

If you have some Wholebody Focusing experience and would like to contribute something that you have experienced as part of your practice, how something shifted in you,  or how WBF is part of the fabric of your life, we would love to publish it. If you speak a language other than English and would like to participate in your own language, we can help you do that.

To Get Permission to Submit a Blog Post to this Site

If you would like to become a “contributor” to this blog, please send an email to wbf285@gmail.com and a reason why you are interested in becoming an author or contributor.  You will be contacted regarding your request.

Contributor

If your request to become a Contributor is approved, you will receive an invitation to become a Contributor.  You will get an email to that effect, and you will need to click on the link in the email and set up your contributor account.  A Contributor can create and edit only their own posts, but cannot publish them.

Please consider the possibility of helping maintain the viability of the blog and to give your own voice a chance to be heard.

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Are We Love?

Photo Credit: Pixabay

I finally found the part of me that wants to be loved and the part that does not believe it is safe to be loved. I also discovered how these two parts rule my planet. My practice is to find a way to hold both the need for love and the fear that it may be harmful with equal regard. There still is a “not knowing” what holding both might feel like in my body.

Maria Hakasalo gave me something to sense into in her post “Peace in Me” when she wrote, “There is a peace in me, and I can find it even in a painful moment.” If Maria can assume that peace can be found somewhere inside of her, could I expect that I will encounter pure love, unattached to human interaction/transaction, inside me? How would that help me be with my fear of love? If love does not rely on someone else’s character but on the essential nature of love, how could it be unsafe? But does it exist as Maria’s peace place existed? This is my current exploration.

When we depend on resources outside ourselves to determine our worth, we may fall short. Can I find pure love devoid of judgment or transaction inside me? How will this change who I am? How will it change how I relate to love and how I relate to others? What would it feel like to know with surety that I am love?

I search for that magical place inside me in which love is present, and love and I are one and the same.

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When an Old Wound Becomes Present to Itself

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Sometimes we know that we do something repetitively that prevents our forward movement. It happens seemingly without explanation. Then one day a connection shows up after revisiting a very familiar place.

The Pattern

I have a difficult time taking medication that I need to take care of myself.  I will take a remedy for a brief period and experience improvement and then suddenly start to have a body sense that instead of supporting life it is causing problems.  Then I stop taking the medication and the chronic problem returns.

The Old Wound

I grew up in a family in which multiple female relatives were victims of sexual abuse from another relative I’ll call P.  P died when I was 14 months old.  I grew up hating P because all I knew about him was how he hurt the women in my life.

In a healing session when I was 40 years old, the Reiki master asked me a question.  “Who do you love?”  It took some time and at the end of the session I blurted out from my gut, “I love P” and began to sob deeps sobs like I never felt before.  All I could think was it is impossible that I could love him. My body; however, was sure that I loved him more than I had ever loved anyone else.  I spent months being with the grief that I had never had a chance to express.

I asked my mother whether I ever had a relationship with P and she said he was quite old and knew he was about to die when I was a baby.  He and I became inseparable.  As soon as we were in the same room, I would be in his arms, and he held me for hours at a time.  That love feels benevolent and pure in my body.

The Dilemma

P was the serial child molester of the women in my life, AND I loved him deeply because I felt most loved by him.  The women he harmed were not capable of loving me and caring for me because of the damage he had caused them. The memory of his energy; however, emerged in my life as the best love I had ever received in spite of what I learned about him as I grew up.  It is challenging to hold both the nature of the love I felt for him and what I also know about him.

The Wholebody Focusing Session

Kevin and I had a session in which I revisited this experience holding both my hatred for P and my sense of pure love that lived in me. In a slow and embodied way, I experienced the dilemma through movement and breath without words.  There was no sensation of a shift nor was there any new insight during the session.

What Happened Later?

After the session, I realized that I needed to take some medication for acid reflux because this new way of being with this dilemma stirred up my digestive tract.  I reached for a relatively new remedy that I had been taking for a few weeks with great success and felt sure that relief was just a pill away.

Before I took the pill, I suddenly had a thought.  I had never checked the label to make sure that this remedy was free from any known allergens.  I took a look and realized that one of the ingredients was brown algae.  I have a severe seafood allergy, and sometimes sea products have a high level of iodine which can trigger a seafood allergy.  I suddenly felt great fear about taking another dose.

Something made me pause before I completely embodied the fear.  Why did I think about whether this remedy was a problem at this time even though I had weeks of taking it without a problem?

I sensed something new was opening up.  I realized that the conflict around the medication was the same dilemma as my connection to P—something that feels so life supporting could also be very hurtful.  How could I trust my deep body sense of being loved when P was its source?  Even though my body sense of the interaction with him was benevolence, my thoughts tell me that it can’t be trusted.

My relationship with medication and food has mirrored my relationship with the feeling of being loved.  When something makes me feel good, fear rises, and I find reasons to stop the interaction.  I am anxious about eating food in the same way.  Something that nourishes can also cause damage.

What is New?

There was a great relief in this discovery.  Of course I fear nourishment and love, my best and most reliable source of love was someone who was also capable of great betrayal.  I have moved from the “not knowing” to the knowing what causes this pattern of trust and stoppage. I can hold space for the part of me that experienced great love and also great disappointment and fear of that love.  My pattern of fearing the very things that may help me is the beacon that lit the path to this moment.  My Wholebody Focusing practice is the vehicle in which this journey became possible.

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Wholebody Focusing Trainer Corner

Trainer logo2mergeInspired by the work that Addie van de Kooy has been adding to the blog that precisely describes what happens when someone learns Wholebody focusing, we decided to develop a new category of communication. We want to provide those who are Wholebody Focusing Trainers with a place to share their expertise and have a Heartfelt Conversation on how to deepen our practice of working with our clients. Kevin McEvenue’s Intunements are an extraordinary resource that can support both personal practice as well as the work of WBF trainers. Kevin is genuinely interested; however, in being a part of the growth and expansion of how the teaching of Wholebody Focusing can support the forward moving life in all of us.

To that end, we have created this new area in the blog called The Wholebody Focusing Trainer Corner so that information about teaching Wholebody Focusing can be shared and discussed. One should consider the Intunements as part of this training material; however, it will continue to have a separate section on the blog because it serves individual practice as well.

We invite all those who teach Wholebody Focusing to share with us your best practices. If you would like support to prepare an article or video for this section, please contact Diana Scalera at wbf285@gmail.com.

Enjoy the fantastic work of those who are carrying forward what they have learned and continue to find new ways of supporting life in all of us.

Today we are going to highlight a trainer in China.  YongWei Xu shares how she experiences Wholebody Focusing and Heartfelt Conversation in her life and the lives of her focusing partners and clients. She also describes her work with Wholebody Focusers in a small village near Shanghai.

To watch this video in English please click on https://wholebodyfocusing.blog/2018/03/27/is-this-the-life-i-really-want/

 

 

About Us

When Girls Don’t Move – Part II

Photo Credit: Pixabay

How does Wholebody Focusing Help?

I have a life-long curiosity about my relationship to movement–both negatively and positively.  In one of my first sessions with Kevin McEvenue after being a focuser for many years, all my body wanted to do was move. Those first movements were foundational. I found my powerful body in merely walking in place and sensing how strong my bones were. Whenever I feel like I need some support, I can call in that sensation of the strength in my bones by walking in place in grounded presence.

Next, I participated in the Advanced Training for Wholebody Focusers. I met many people who incorporated movement into their focusing practice. The first time I saw someone drop to the floor during a WBF session, my body knew that anything was possible.  From that point on, my body engaged in a variety of movements. In one partnership exchange, my body pulled me to the floor so that my root chakra was touching the ground. That need for my root chakra to be connected to the Earth lasted for months.

I eventually realized that I could allow movement to come without words. An awareness of the meaning of the action was not necessary. Holding space for what is here now has become the most consistent way for me to allow my body to find what it needs and to heal. I start my Wholebody Focusing practice with an invitation to move and the question “What does my body need now?” when I focus alone, with a partner or with my mentor.

I retired from full-time work now which gives me more time to be with this type of movement. I am willing to be with what comes — the struggle, the joy, and the stoppages.

Exercising as a Wholebody Focusing Session

Recently, I wanted to work out at home instead of at the gym so that I could try out new exercises without anyone watching. I wanted to be able to pause more often and check in with my body for its experience of these new exercises. Being at home allowed me to approach my routine differently. For example, when I was completing the last repetition of a particular workout, I got a strong sense that my body didn’t want to do this now. I paused and asked my body what it needed now. I did not need a verbal answer. Erratic and strong movements of my arms and legs emerged. I was curious where this would lead. Five minutes later my arms and legs came to a rest. Then, I slowly completed the last reps of the series, and it felt like the right thing to do.

I also decided that I would work on my squatting exercise barefooted. I would never do this in the gym for sanitary reasons. Without sneakers or socks, one’s squat is more challenging because you do not have the lift that the heel of a shoe provides. As I rested in the bottom of the squat, my left foot turned out. I instinctively pulled it back to a flat position on the floor (as it is “supposed to be.”) My left foot again turned to the outer edge. I was so surprised this happened because in shoes I have never felt this.

Later, when working with my Wholebody mentor, I started the session by saying “I am me here right now.” I was able to sense into my body and feel the authenticity of the experience I just had.

What also came for me in that session was the memory of being forced to wear orthotics as a child to correct this turning out “fault.” The orthotics made the problem more pronounced, and I eventually stopped wearing them. What I did sense into was the shame I felt for having “defective feet.” In that session I allowed my body to move in the way it needed to support the feeling my feet were holding. That day of “I am me here right now;” however, has left me with a new stoppage of being able to move.

When We Physically Exercise our Core, Does our Emotional Core benefit?

A new thought has emerged. Can working with our physical core impact our emotional core? I’ve noticed that, while I’m not doing the physical core exercises so much right now, and I am still more willing to be with my “unfiltered” self and let others see me more often. That sense of being my more authentic self is new. I am holding space for the possibility that the stoppages that I have experienced throughout my life have been my body asking me to pause to allow a new way of being to emerge and become the new normal before pushing on. Rather than seeing the stoppages as “failures” they may signify attainment of a new phase of healing that needs to time to be noticed, appreciated and integrated.

What is your experience?

Related articles

When I Give My Body Permission to Lead

When Girls Don’t Move – Part I

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When Girls Don’t Move – Part I

Photo Credit: Pixabay

My focusing practice is mostly about my relationship with my moving body so you might think that moving is easy for me. That is not the case.  I have a difficult time maintaining not only my WBF practice of moving but also being able to stick to an exercise plan.

For most of my young life, moving was not encouraged and many times vociferously discouraged. For me, not engaging in physical activity was a way to contain the anger that I felt being a member of my family. If I didn’t move, I didn’t feel anything. As an adult, I can choose to be more physically active.  My question has become, “When I move, what happens on an emotional level?”

For my mother, keeping me still contained her anger and fear of the sexual abuse she had experienced as a young girl. I spent the summer of my twelfth year sitting on the steps in front of my house as an observer of the movement of my neighborhood. A friend joined me because I was forbidden to go anywhere else and our other friends stopped playing street games.  They now had responsibility for running their households because their mothers were working.

How Not Moving Moves Us

The funny thing about this restriction is that it turned our focus on what our parents were trying to avoid. All we thought about was boys, being sexy, being competitive, and imagining ourselves as independent sexual beings. We had nothing else to do. Our favorite activity was determining whether another girl or woman who went by was “competition.” If a boy or man passed by we calculated whether or not he was a potential liaison. After a few weeks of seeing the same people over and over again, we developed elaborate narratives about each of these unsuspecting neighbors—we never; however, made any attempt to act out the stories in real life.

Our stillness was not only the result of our parents’ fear; it was pervasive at that time that girls should not move. We should not play sports because it might cause infertility. We should not swim because there might be human predators in the water. Dancing was no longer okay even if we had dance lessons when at 6 or 7 years old. I got to high school never having played on a sports team.

When I joined a group of girls who wanted a girls’ basketball team in grammar school, the nuns banned even the idea of a girls’ basketball team. In high school, I worked out with the girl’s basketball team.  My parents felt it was not their responsibility to get me to and from basketball practice. There was no other way for that to happen. One night of being left on a street corner alone to find my way home after dark was enough for me to get the message of their intense disapproval and enough to stop me from playing on the basketball team.

As an adult, I tried to integrate movement and/or exercise into my life. A pattern emerged. I would start to move. At first, it was a big struggle. It then began to become more natural. Then, one day it felt ecstatic. That put an end to my movement. I would stop whatever type of movement got me there. This pattern has repeated itself throughout my life no matter how determined I was to change it.

What is your experience?

I’m in my sixties now, and I am a Wholebody Focuser.  I hold space for the part of me that is screaming to move while another part of me needs to put a stop to all movement no matter the cost.  Sometimes I hold space for both while I let movement emerge from my body.  Sometimes I hold space for both while I’m still.  That’s all I know right now.

How do you manage to hold both in situations that present fundamental challenges to moving forward?

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