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

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

Digitize Me?

Living guided by body wisdom is a process, not a solution. But, each step of the way, my body wisdom is central to any deliberate change or belief I might have about how I can be healthier and happier.

Digitize me, or don’t digitize me–that is the question: whether it is healthier to be with oneself and experience the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune or to take up digital arms against a sea of trouble by opposing, end them.

Lyndsay Crouse, a New York Times editor and producer, took up this question in her op-ed, I Ditched my Smart Watch and I Don’t Regret It.   Crouse takes on what happens when we turn over control of our bodies to digital devices. It is worth the one-dollar special offer for a week’s access. She describes how, at some point, the information from her devices overtook her own confidence in her body’s wisdom.

“It (a device) can interfere with our ability to know our own bodies. Once you outsource your well-being to a device and convert it into a number, it stops being yours. The data stands in for self-awareness. We let the device tell us when and how to move, when we’re tired and when we’re hungry.” Lindsay Crouse

My First Digitized Experiences

The first device that determined my worth was the scale. When I hit puberty, I gained weight. It happened at the same time my mother began worrying about her weight. We went on Weight Watchers together. The process included weighing ourselves every week in a public place to determine whether or not we had successfully lost some pounds. We were happy if the scale told us we did and sad and ashamed if we didn’t. We got claps or sighs from our group depending on if we lost weight or not. Before digital devices, a scale had diabolical power over my sense of self-worth.

As an educational administrator, I worked in a large NYC high school with two and a half miles of hallways. I know this because my Fitbit told me so. The building had five floors and was three blocks long. My goal was 10,000 steps a day. I seldom missed my mark, adding the distance to and from public transportation. It made me happy to quantify how much energy I expended during my day. The Fitbit information matched my exhaustion when I arrived home. I would need a 20 minute Yoga Nidra to get me to the dinner table, after which I slept on the couch while I pretended to watch TV until  I was dragged to bed at 9:30 PM by my husband. Because I was achieving this magic healthy step goal every day, I didn’t question if my life style was out of wack.

Not Digitize Me

At the same time, I studied Wholebody Focusing with Kevin McEvenue and Karen Whalen in a three-year-long training program. I was learning to sense into my body. It was a delightful and exciting process.  I became fond of being in grounded presence without words or goals. Starting in a standing position, I grounded to the energy of gravity and the planet Jupiter. There was  a simple question. “What does by body need now?” My body responded with movement, sounds, smells, images, and sometimes answers.

I became entranced with the idea that my body was creating sign language  to help me understand it. When I Give My Body Permission to Lead When I held space for something in particular, for example, my relationship with my mother, a specific movement would show up. My right hand would rest on the upper left corner of my chest area. Sometimes, a tapping movement would start at various velocities as the time spent in this position continued. I didn’t necessarily “know” what it meant, but some part of me had a process to work through, and I was a willing partner to give it the time and space it needed.

My Body Shows Up

The next stage came when my body took the lead even if I was not in grounded presence. It sometimes shows up when I need to make a choice, even if I wasn’t aware of that need.

I was on a treadmill even though I had never been an athlete. When I retired, something in me said that this was my time to “get into shape.” What I didn’t expect was how there was another part of me that didn’t want to “get into shape.” I started having panic attacks over whether to go faster or not on the treadmill. While my mind was arguing about the benefits of going faster, my right hand lifted and moved toward the button to go faster. I stopped that movement and then realized this was my body wisdom speaking. My hand moved again toward the machine and pressed the button to go faster.

I was in a gem store walking around picking up stones and enjoying being in the presence of all these new gems. As I got to a particular spot, my hand reached out, picked up a clear green rock, and placed it under my nose. It was a swift and determined action that didn’t leave me any time for me to censor it. I read the explanation of the benefits of the gem. It was not only suitable for my emotional state (anxiety) my hand had moved the stone to a point under my nose that in acupuncture helps reduce stress. I immediately went to the cash register and bought gem, and we have lived happily ever after.

The New Devices

Covid-19 and my lifelong struggle with weight and insulin resistance brought me back to digital devices. By this time, the devices had advanced from measuring your steps to including heart rate, sleep quality, blood sugar levels, sleep apnea, stress management, daily readiness, heart, lung brain synchronicity, level of exercise, health metrics, and hydration.

I deeply wanted what the devise seller promised—to become a healthier person. But, unfortunately, using these devises led to every moment of my day was being measured. I was trying to feel the security in that, but it raised my anxiety levels and had no actual positive outcomes. So I joined Lindsay Crouse in ditching my devices and have gone back to my WBF practice in a new way.

Digitized Chaos

As a child, I felt “less than” because of the numbers on a scale. Even if I lost weight, some part of me thought, “I can eat “forbidden foods” because I lost weight. The numbers on the scale had a profound impact on me, no matter what they were. 

The same was true when I monitored the number of carbs, fat, and protein I ate. The goals set by the apps were not realistic for my body. Instead of having a “coach,” it felt more like my grammar school teachers, who were nuns. The nuns gave us impossible goals to meet without real change occurring, along with warnings about our failures.

Return to Body Wisdom

First, I ditched the apps and devices. Second I did nothing. Without the “critics,” I could enjoy some space to sense into “I’m okay just as I am.” Then I allowed myself to notice what made my body feel good and what made it feel worse. Two culprits emerged–dairy products and wheat. So I decided to eliminate them from my diet again and wait to see what would happen. 

I had so much less digestive stress, and, subsequently, I slept a bit better. Not surprisingly, my weight also started to decline. This time I wasn’t thinking, “I can eat these foods again.” I felt a calmness that supported keeping away from these foods. Instead of an outside source telling me not to eat certain foods, my body was clear that these foods caused me distress, and I had a choice to eat them or not. It seems easier not to eat them because it is a body choice.

I see this process as a path to a more authentic self, guided by body wisdom instead of electronic device calculations, app priorities, and the abundant pseudo health industry that markets all kinds of cures for bodily discomforts. My junk email usually has numerous invitations to lose belly fat, sleep better, and be perfect by taking  magic pills.

Living guided by body wisdom is not a solution. But, each step of the way, my body wisdom is central to any deliberate change I might have about how I can be healthier and happier. It also frees up a considerable amount of time I was monitoring apps, feeding information into them, and living with a sense of failure created by what Crouse describes as some app’s aspirational goals.

This video shows how an Apple iOS upgrade changed my desktop about the same time I start thinking about how digital devices impact our relationship to our bodies. 

--Diana Scalera

Nowhere to Stand

Nowhere to Stand, K. D. Lang’s song touched a place in my heart for its truth about the long-term impact of child abuse. As a high school teacher, people would ask me, “How can you stand being with so many teenagers?” My answer was that the students were my gift for putting up with the crazy adults that run the schools. These interchanges made me aware of how little our society values teenagers. As a result, schools often leave students adrift in this particularly challenging time of their lives.

Nowhere to Stand for Students

When we do not address the challenges that students face, we pay the price of raising adults who cannot manage the memories of the abuse, neglect, shame, and outright exploitation that they often suffered. As K.D. Lang’s song says, “the rights of children have nowhere to stand.”

Currently, there is a tug of war between those who insist that sending students at all costs, even into COVID-19 infected schools, is in the best interest of students and staff. Yet, at the same time, students, parents, and staff members are fighting to make schools safer so that this generation of students will not lose more education.

I offer K.D Land’s song to help us open our hearts to solutions that take into account the experiences of students and staff and the impact some of the current policies might have had on their lives.

The school districts that have managed to provide safe learning conditions are thriving. At the same time, other communities have chosen to do the minimum needed to show they have COVID-19 protocols in place. They do not meet the school communities’ medical, social, and emotional needs. Both students and parents have become deeply distrustful of the conditions children must negotiate.

With equal and positive regard, we must hold the need for quality education and proper COVID-19 protection. The medical profession has shown us how school districts can do this. Many hospitals have created protocols that keep staff, patients, and caregivers safe while providing proper medical care.

Providing safe schools and quality education will significantly reduce the future symptoms of trauma that can emerge for all those impacted by the current conditions. Anything less is extraordinarily problematic and a sign of our society’s lack of value for students’ lives.

Link to You Tube  Nowhere to Stand

Lyrics

As things start to surface
Tears come on down
Scars of childhood
In a small town
Hurt she pushed inward
Starting to show
Now she’ll do some talking
But he’ll never know
Tables have turned now
With a child of her own
But she’s blind to the difference
What’s taught is that’s known
Numbed by reaction
Stripped of the trust
A young heart is broken
Not aware that it’s just
A family tradition
The strength of this land
Where what’s right and wrong
Is the back of a hand
Turns girls into women
A boy to a man
But the rights of the children
Have nowhere to stand
But the rights of the children
Have nowhere to stand
Memories of children
Are written in stone
Some they get buried
Not to be shown
Still they do linger
Deep down inside
Like a seed that’s been planted
And won’t be denied
A family tradition
The strength of this land
Where what’s right and wrong
Is the back of a hand
Turns girls into women
A boy to a man
But the rights of the children
Have nowhere to stand
But the rights of the children
Have nowhere to stand
Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: K. D. Lang

The “Holding Both with Equal Regard” Challenge

The Tug of War

 

There is a Tug of War taking over the world. It is not new, but it is currently very potent. A spiritual guide from my Buddhist community shared this information with me. “Be the peacemaker,” the spiritual leader said, “in the tug of war that is overwhelming us individually, socially, politically.” How can we mediate and moderate this energy pattern that has taken over our minds as Omicron has taken over our bodies? What guidance can Wholebody Focusing provide?

Tug of War: Holding Space for my Heart

The spiritual guide suggested that I start with the Tug of War in my heart. I found that quite prescient since holding space for waring parts of me has recently become central to my WBF experience. How do I reconcile my traumatized self that doesn’t want to change anything for fear it will cause more significant harm with the part of me that needs to heal.
My body leads me in holding both parts with equal positive regard. Through movement, each traumatized part receives the time and space to process whatever is there with love and compassion. There is space for the “not knowing.” Many resources will help me, including my WBF partners, my spiritual practice, and my ability to share this struggle with others. My highest and greatest good will be served by connecting to these efforts with patience and faith.

Tug of War: Holding Space for the Personal, Social and Political

My spiritual guide indicated that holding space for the global “Tug of War” is part of my healing. So how can my Wholebody Focusing practice become a vehicle to guide others to hold space for whatever shows up with equal regard.

When unvaccinated family members recently became infected with COVID-19, I began to open up to an expanded view of anti-vaxxers. Instead of only seeing them as the cause of the vastly increased transmission of COVID-19, I asked for guidance in what I do not know about their situation. I became open to learning what else was there.

Opening to More

  • Anti-vaxxers become an easy target because they lead the surge of new infections.
  • There is no free universal health plan in the USA or even an agreement about whether we should have one.
  • 42% of Anti-vaxxers are without health benefits.
  • Many others have inadequate health insurance that doesn’t cover COVID-19 costs.
  • Some anti-vaxxers live in impoverished neighborhoods so full of violence that preventing COVID-19 is not a priority.
  • As a Highly-Sensitive Person, I can sympathize with people who do not want any vaccines.
  • Some US leaders and the media encourage anti-vax arguments in opposition to scientific explanations.

Moreover, I realized that what has been missing in our relationship to COVID-19 is a national consciousness of oneness. Our country has not promoted a sense of common good. Capitalism, by its nature, is about a small group of individuals using their power to have more than the rest of us. It is challenging to cultivate a sense of a “common good” under these conditions. When I listen to people’s thought process about moving forward, it seldom includes a consideration of how their actions might impact others. What I hear is “they are adults, and they make their choices.”

Instead of blaming anti-vaxxers, I can recognize the suffering they are experiencing because of the choices they feel compelled to make. Their grief may also include remorse for infecting others. Therefore, I hold anti-vaxxers, some of whom are my family members, with compassion for how their choices cause them increased suffering and, in some instances, how they have increased the suffering of others.

Be the Peacemaker

The most important thing I can do to be the “Peacemaker” is to live my practice—to not contribute to the Tug. It doesn’t mean not having opinions but having an expanded understanding of the situations in which people find themselves. We can share that compassion with others due to showing compassion for our personal situations. As we support our heart’s Tug of War, we can learn to be a peacemaker for the global Tug of War. So give your heart a hug, not a tug, today.

The Inner Core Muscle of “Holding Both”

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

When Art Just Happens

Two human hearts, the song of insects, and the movement of the sun conspired to give us a chance to stop and open ourselves to what can come from our ability to pause and notice what is present.

Sometimes art just happens. Maybe someone is there to observe it. Another person can also be inspired by the moment as much as you might be. It is about sensing something, observing it, slowing down, being present, and having an open heart to know when this moment arrives.

A friend, Liz Taub, aka Violizzy, an excellent violin and fiddle player, and her son, Jonny Warschauer, also an artist, were on Tybee Island, Georgia, at dusk. It is the 17th year of the cycle of the local cicadas. They were out in full-throated song. The sun was setting. Liz had her violin as she picnicked  along  Tybee Creek with Jonny, who had his phone.

The video below is a document of that moment. It is when two human hearts, the song of insects, and the movement of the sun conspired to give them, and now us, a chance to stop and open ourselves to what can come from our ability to pause and notice what is present. So Liz and Jonny decided to become part of the moment by contributing what they had to offer.

With great delight, we share this moment with you. Enjoy.

Rumi on When Art Just Happens

This Rumi poem below speaks to the spontaneous nature of art and how is it constantly in our lives.

In your light I learn how to love.
In your beauty, how to make poems.

You dance inside my chest,
where no one sees you,

but sometimes I do,
and that sight becomes this art.

Drum  sound rises on the air,
its throb, my heart.

a voice inside the best say,
“I know you’re tired,
but come. “This is the way.”

Are you jealous of the ocean’s generosity?
Why would you refuse to give
this joy to anyone?

Fish don’t hold the scared liquid in cups!
They swim in the huge fluid freedom.

The Essential Rumi 
Translation by Coleman Barks with John Moyne
excerpt from CHINESE ART AND GREEK ART
Pages 122 and 123

You can see another example of art coming from a heartfelt place from the Blog: Billy Holiday and Holding Both

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