Deep Hunger and Wholebody Focusing

 

How is a sense of deep hunger helped by Wholebody Focusing ? A few years ago, I was experiencing chronic anxiety due to a stressful situation at work. My body was deeply affected. My blood pressure, heart rate, and diabetes markers were all higher than usual. I relied on my focusing practice to help me. In a Wholebody focusing session, a wordless felt sense of anxiety transformed into a sensation of me experiencing my birth. As I exited the birth canal, I felt free from the stress that I had been experiencing. A new understanding emerged about how my body experienced anxiety.

My History with Hunger

I was my mother’s second child. Her first pregnancy with my older brother was traumatic, and she came close to dying. A few months before my brother was born, my mother’s friend, Mrs. C, a parishioner at our Catholic church, was pregnant with twins. C-Sections were out of favor during more than half of the twentieth century because the medical outcomes were unacceptable due to inadequate surgical procedures and lack of antibiotics.

As a result, there was a heightened possibility that a crisis might happen in the delivery room. The mother or the fetus might be in danger of dying. Because the Catholic Church saw the mother and fetus as two human entities, Catholic hospitals had a policy that prioritized saving the fetus’s life in circumstances in which the doctors could save either the mother or fetus. Mrs.C died in childbirth along with one of her twins. The other twin, a baby girl, was born with severe cerebral palsy. She could not walk, talk, or feed herself.

My mother, having witnessed how this policy impacted her friend’s life and family, felt great anxiety about her fate. Then she also had her crisis in the delivery room. My brother was a large baby in the breech position. The doctor told my mother that she might not survive the birth. Fortunately, both survived; however, my mother was deeply traumatized by the experience. My brother also suffered from this experience. His trauma showed up as severe learning disabilities and emotional difficulties.

Three years later, my mother became pregnant with me. She decided to lose weight during her pregnancy so that the birth would be less complicated. Throughout her pregnancy, the danger she experienced with her first birth and the memory of her friend’s death caused her great anxiety. As a result, my mother starved herself and me during her pregnancy as a strategy to circumvent a possibly fatal outcome.

At the end of a full-term pregnancy, I was born weighing only five pounds. It took me four years to achieve an average weight Moreover, I have had a lifelong struggle with anxiety and panic disorder.

Wholebody Focusing and Anxiety

I always had a felt sense that the level of anxiety I experienced was not all mine– that it was stronger than my constitution created on its own. From this early morning WBF session, I became aware that her anxiety bathed me in my mother’s high cortisol levels for nine months. I carried my mother’s experience of body tension in my body along with my tendency to be anxious. Since that session, my level of chronic anxiety has dramatically subsided. My anxiety connection with my mother had ended. My fear is at a much lower level.

Now, I can be with whatever anxiety emerges in grounded presence. Being grounded gives my body space to carry itself forward in its own way and at its own pace. Under these circumstances, the anxiety sometimes transforms into something else. Before, my stress level was often too overwhelming to be with it in grounded presence. Wholebody focusing helped me experience the release of my mother’s panic from my body and allowed me to understand how it had impacted her and me.

A new awareness about my birth experience happened years later when I attended a week-long workshop at a Catholic retreat center. I often felt hungry because the portions and total amount of food served were inadequate. This experience triggered a bodily sense of hunger, agitation, and anger.

The Intelligence of our Bodies

It wasn’t until early morning on the last day of the conference, during a focusing session, that I sensed what was triggering me. This session started with a felt sense of guilt for my surliness toward the staff in response to the lack of food. An image came to me of working as a young girl in the convent, stirring a pot of soup. I was feeling hunger in the pit of my stomach. I did chores after school in the convent. None of the Sisters ever offered a snack. Finally, one day, I was so hungry that I found the courage to ask for a snack. The sister told me she was not allowed to give students a snack.

It occurred to me in that focusing session that my anger at the staff was due to hunger, a deep historical hunger linked to Catholicism. First, my mother starved us when I was in the womb because of her fear for her life while giving birth in a Catholic hospital. Then there was a longing for food while I worked for almost a year in the convent. Then, 50 years later, I returned to a Catholic environment for the first time in many decades and experienced hunger again. This experience allowed me to be with this deep hunger hidden in my body.

Social conditions, pre-birth experiences, laws or rules that influence medical or educational practices, and other people’s personal decisions can cause trauma. Yet, unfortunately, we sometimes live our whole lives never learning these stories.

Freeing Ourselves from “Not Knowing”

Wholebody focusing gives practitioners a path to be with those hidden parts. One gives their body permission to be with what is there and to move in any way it needs. One’s awareness of something outside yourself and neutrality toward what comes are the only requirements. Often, internal or external movements emerge, and they carry forward without words or images.

The practitioner stays with the movement until a shift happens. In the process, a felt sense, a phrase, or a picture might emerge that gives more information. Other times an agitated movement, for example, might shift to a comforting one without any additional information. When I experienced my birth, I observed the felt sense of my rapid heartbeat during a panic attack. Suddenly, I felt myself moving through the birth canal. I remember what it felt like on my arms and the release of anxiety when I exited the birth canal.

Wholebody focusing trains the practitioner to rely on body wisdom for its information. Body wisdom does not need the right word or image to carry forward. Deeply hidden truths may not have words. Their foundation may not be related to your particular life story. Those places where the unknown parts live also have the ability, with our attention, to tap into the abundant benevolent energy that surrounds us as a support to carry forward our healing. Whenever we rely on only words and images from our narratives, There is a possibility that we may miss the vast resources and stories the universe offers to help our recovery. Wholebody focusing gives us this kind of range of opportunity.

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Wordless Heartfelt Conversation/Senza parole

We agreed to sense into our bodies separately and then asked our bodies to move how they needed to move. While we sensed into our bodies and gave them time and space to move, we also sensed into each other to connect to the other’s movement.

How would it look to have a conversation without words? Is it possible? What might two people share this way? How can Wholebody Focusing be the medium through which this happens?

Cristina Griggio and I were curious about what connecting via videoconferencing in grounded presence without words would bring. We agreed to sense into our bodies separately and then asked our bodies to move how they needed to move. While we sensed into our bodies and gave them time and space to move, we also sensed into each other to connect to the other’s movement. We became at once the actor and observer.

The video below is but a small slice at the end of that conversation. We were interested in the experience of the communication itself rather than any meaning it might have held. Sometimes we were thoroughly connected to self, and other times were aware of the other and sensing into what is coming for her.

It was fun, surprising, and felt like playing. It also helped us know each other more profoundly. Cristina’s natural ability to express herself through movement at one point filled me with awe.

We offer this video as a suggestion to others–that you too can have a non-verbal conversation between two bodies communicating using the concepts of holding space for what is present, asking your body to move in its own way while holding all that comes with equal regard. We also offer this video as a companion to you so that you have company if you would like to allow your body to communicate with you and move in any way it wants.

Let us know what happens.

Heartfelt Conversation Senza Parole (Google Translate)

Come sarebbe una conversazione senza parole? È possibile? Cosa potrebbero condividere due persone in questo modo? In che modo Wholebody Focusing può essere il mezzo attraverso il quale ciò accade?

Cristina Griggio e io eravamo curiosi di sapere cosa avrebbe portato il collegamento via videoconferenza in presenza radicata senza parole. Abbiamo concordato di percepire i nostri corpi separatamente e quindi abbiamo chiesto ai nostri corpi di spostare il modo in cui avevano bisogno di muoversi. Mentre abbiamo percepito i nostri corpi e abbiamo dato loro il tempo e lo spazio per muoversi, abbiamo anche percepito l’uno nell’altro per connetterci al movimento dell’altro. Siamo diventati subito l’attore e l’osservatore.

Il video qui sotto è solo una piccola parte alla fine di quella conversazione. Eravamo interessati all’esperienza della comunicazione stessa piuttosto che a qualsiasi significato potesse avere. A volte eravamo completamente collegati a se stessi, altre volte eravamo consapevoli dell’altro e percepivamo ciò che le stava accadendo.

È stato divertente, sorprendente e mi è sembrato di giocare. Ci ha anche aiutato a conoscerci più profondamente. La naturale capacità di Cristina di esprimersi attraverso il movimento ad un certo punto mi ha riempito di soggezione.

Offriamo questo video come suggerimento per gli altri – che anche tu puoi avere una conversazione non verbale tra due corpi che comunicano usando i concetti di spazio per ciò che è presente, chiedendo al tuo corpo di muoversi a modo suo mentre trattieni tutto ciò che viene con uguale riguardo. Ti offriamo anche questo video come compagno per farti compagnia se desideri consentire al tuo corpo di comunicare con te e di muoverti nel modo che desidera.

Facci sapere cosa succede.

 

To leave or read a comment, click here and go past the end of the post

Loving-Kindness Changes the World

When I saw the loving embrace, I could feel my relief and my sadness when I realized that my body expected a negative response. Watching this interaction allowed me to be with this part of me with compassion. I could be the loving elder to my young, distressed heart. I hold this precious memory whenever I need a reminder that there is love and support when we need it.

Loving-kindness changes the world? Is it possible? The other day I was walking down the street. There was a group of adults and a ten-year-old girl standing and talking to each other. The men were in deep conversation. There also was a woman and a girl. I was thinking about my COVID stance vis-à vis this group–worrying if there would be enough distance between us as I contemplated walking past them. But something else came.

I noticed that the girl was distressed. The woman looked directly into her eyes and listened intently as the girl explained why she was distressed. Then, the girl had said what she needed to say. The woman pulled her into her chest and held her in a loving embrace. Watching this interaction of two people whom I do not know was deeply felt. In general, it was an act of love. The woman listened in a way that helped the young girl feel deeply heard and embraced her with love and compassion after she said what she needed to say.

Evidence of Loving-kindness

I knew that I was watching something that I deeply desired, and I also knew that I doubted that such an emotion could be genuine. It was not just that someone would hold another’s distress so lovingly but also that one could accept that offering of kindness without fear that something else, something dark, would emerge. Such an action was absent from my childhood, and I have never wholly believed it could exist. Watching this interchange as I walked around the group helped me sense into that longing and fear.

Nevertheless, here it was, evidence that, in any given moment, loving-kindness could prevail. I noticed it and held space for what it meant for me. It helped me appreciate how delicate this part of me is and how much it longs for this kind of interaction. I felt joyful knowing that this young girl could be heard and loved for who she was.

When we see something for which we have a longing, it can touch us in a healing way. As I was watching this interaction, I identified with the ten-year-old girl. I connected to her distress. The women responded to that distress with her heartfelt attention.  I felt worried that she would act harshly or mockingly. And just the opposite happened.

How Loving-kindness Changes the World

When I saw the loving embrace, I could feel my relief and my sadness when I realized that my body expected a negative response. Watching this interaction allowed me to be with this part of me with compassion. I could be the loving elder to my young, distressed heart. I hold this precious memory whenever I need a reminder that there is love and support whenever we need it.

So share Loving-kindness as much as possible. You never know who might be watching.

Painting by Isobel Bennett Hennman

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.

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Gravity is Unconditional Love

Keep  noticing Gravity and what shows up. The act of recognizing grounding to Gravity as an energetic bond will strengthen our energetic connection to ourselves and support a sense of being loved in any form of bodywork we do. 

 

Gravity is unconditional love. I learned to understand this in a drumming workshop many years ago. The presenter was a beautiful woman named Aida, and we drummed all day and throughout the evening. Our energy levels were high from the vibrations of the drums, tambourines, and cymbals. All worldly concerns disappeared, and we didn’t want the experience to end. However, what stands out most for me most is what the presenter taught us: “Gravity is unconditional love.”

Aida explained that Gravity holds all things to the Earth without prejudice or judgment for prophets or sinners alike. Therefore, when anyone needs to feel grounded or is looking to feel loved, we only need to sense how Gravity feels in our bodies. So, what does it feel like to connect to Gravity?

Gravity, Love and Silence 

I traveled to Flaming Gorge, Utah, to one of the least populated places in the United States. Being from the east coast of the US, I have always lived in highly populated areas. Noise, pollution, and the vibrations from all the motors that run the systems we use to support such large populations are the background of our lives, and we seldom notice them. 

Being in Utah gave me a chance to reset my awareness. Once my friends and I got to Flaming Gorge, they chose to hike. I decided to sit alone in an open space on a high cliff overlooking the river gorge. I suddenly became aware of the intense silence. There was no car, airplane, or boat traffic. I didn’t hear any sounds of motors. The lack of human presence eliminated speaking and breathing sounds. Nothing was present that usually would fill my environment with noise.  

Gravity, Silence and Me

As I sat on a rock and relaxed into the what seemed like complete silence, I began to hear my heartbeat. For some time I held space for this new experience marveling at the sound of me. Who knew that I had a discernible  sound? Eventually, I noticed other sounds like a pattern as if  someone  was walking on gravel but not so loud. It sounded like tiny feet crunching on dirt. It wouldn’t go away. I started to look for what might be making this sound. At my feet, I found an army of ants walking in a line in rhythm across the sand. The sound matched perfectly with their movement. 

I had never thought that ants walking could make any sound. I realized that I do not hear or perceive certain sounds because other sounds typically drown them out. This experience was the first time I had a chance to listen to things unrelated to humans. I then started hearing flying bugs from a long distance. It was like an army of insects (of which I have a life-long fear) had decided to show up for me. I wasn’t afraid; I was amazed that I was missing so much of the world because I mostly live in a noisy place.

Gravity, Love and Wholebody Focusing

A few years later, when I began learning Wholebody Focusing, I remembered this experience, and it helped me learn to ground. Many energetic practices ask us to “ground” ourselves before starting a meditation or other techniques that help us connect to our bodies. So the first thing a Wholebody trainer might say is, “notice your feet and include your buttocks if you are sitting or your whole body if you are lying down.” Some people understand this as a metaphor for relaxing or letting go of whatever is in your consciousness. However, what would it feel like if it were not a metaphor? 

What if we focused our attention on how our feet, buttocks, or whole bodies feel the connection to Gravity–the Earth’s primary energy. All we need to do is to shift our attention to where our bodies touch the ground and wait to notice what that sensation entails. Sometimes the area becomes energized, and sometimes we can feel energy outside the part of our body to which we are sending your attention.  We shift our attention to a part of the body connected to the Earth and let go of the noise, thoughts and other stimuli. It will give us the ability to consciously connect to the Gravity of the Earth’s energy.    

It may, at first, seem indiscernible, but with a bit of patience and willingness to hold our attention to our connection to the Earth,  a bodily sensation will emerge. 

 Sensing Gravity’s Love

Whatever does arise, recognize it, thank it for showing itself. We have newly connected to the most potent source of unconditional love. This energy has been with us from inception and will stay with us throughout our lives. It provides us with the stability to move and function that we may be taking for granted or not noticing.  

Recognizing Gravity as an energy force will give us a greater sense of its constancy, inability to use judgement to determine its actions , and how you share this bond with all sentient beings and other objects. Gravity can also reinforce the sense of being loved within ourselves, especially if we are not generally in touch with the love that surrounds us. It is energetic love, not emotional love. Energetic love functions without requirements. Emotional love often comes with limits.  The greater the connection we create, the more we will begin to notice and trust the energetic forces that are our birthright and constant support. We are a part of a collective force that creates our reality.

Gravity as an Energetic Force

What we are doing is giving ourselves a chance to appreciate how nothing will get between us and the Earth no matter how hard we try. Gravity is always holding us, even in airplanes. So the first time we try connecting to Gravity, set goals aside and just experience what happens.  

We can always take a few minutes out of our day to reconnect our body to the Earth. For example, sitting at a desk, reconnect to the floor below you. Standing at a bus stop,we connect feet to the ground below. Keep  noticing how Gravity shows up . The act of recognizing grounding to Gravity as an energetic bond will strengthen our energetic connection to ourselves in any form of bodywork you do. 

Gravity: Accepting Life Itself Unconditionally

Photo Credit: Ellie Brady Flaming Gorge 2018

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/

To read or leave a comment please click on the word Comments next to or under the photo.

 

About Us

Haiku, Reiki and WBF

I have been writing Haiku about the energetic patterns of my days. I write them fast with very little editing to capture the moment and post them to Twitter.

I love the format of Haiku and have always used it to describe my urban experiences even though it is traditionally known as a form of poetry honoring nature. Since I love urban life so much, I include the urban built environment as part of “nature.” It is a product of humanity, therefore, for me, a part of nature. Almost everything we touch in cities is part of nature in some way. My very large apartment complex, for example, is constructed from bricks made from the clay residue of the glacier that became the Hudson River. I take great comfort in this as someone might living in a log cabin.

Continue reading “Haiku, Reiki and WBF”

Living a Heart’s Desire

Living a Heart’s Desire can be an overwhelming knowing, an elusive felt sense, or something that shows up when the conditions are right. It is a deeply felt need to have something in your life that moves you forward. I found a new heart’s desire when I changed schools and found out the new school had a TV studio to teach students how to use this technology. Discovering and learning to embrace our Heart’s Desire is one of the beautiful possibilities of Wholebody Focusing. It helps us say “yes” when needed and keeps us connected to what our heart wants.

Approximating a Heart’s Desire

While I occasionally was in a play, I realized that I was more comfortable making costumes and organizing the box office. At least the actors invited me to the post-production parties. However, when I saw the TV studio, I immediately thought about all the possibilities it could provide. Finding  a way to make this opportunity mine became my obsession.

I eventually became the “TV Producer” of the TV studio. I had many happy years of working with students, teaching them how to develop stories, act them out in front of a camera, and record and edit these stories to show them to others. These experiences have continued through the years as my job titles, locations, and resources changed. However, an acknowledged Heart’s Desire always finds a way.

A Life Long Heart’s Desire

The following video is an interview by a friend about how this Heart’s Desire lives in me. It connects to my authentic self, and how it inspires me to find ways to continue creating using video. Wholebody Focusing has been the guiding light to keep me connected to this desire. It helps me say “Yes” whenever needed.

Please enjoy the interview about the creative process and the video “We Are the Sea,” which we share while celebrating Earth Day on April 24.

Videos to Explore

Interview

We are the Sea

Since “We are the sea” was written, the Northern Gateway pipeline and associated tanker traffic through Hecate Strait on Canada’s west coast has been rejected by the Canadian government. This was the result of years of legal challenges by First Nations, and vocal and sustained solidarity from Canadians from all walks of life. Subsequently the Canadian government passed the Oil Tanker Moratorium Act, which prohibits tanker traffic along the north-west coast. This is a grassroots success story worth celebrating.
Unfortunately, at the same time it rejected Northern Gateway, the Canadian government gave the green light to expanding an existing pipeline from the tar sands to Burnaby, B.C., despite opposition by First Nations on whose territory the “twin” pipeline and terminal would be built. Tsleil-Waututh First Nation continues to oppose and fight against Trans Mountain pipeline and tankers project. Learn more: https://twnsacredtrust.ca/
Ana Simeon
%d bloggers like this: