My New Reality Now

Untitled Collage by Michael Lux

“The whole structure of me has expanded and been transformed by the very trauma that was given to me and that trauma becomes a source of inspiration without which I would have never become me.”
Kevin McEvenue
Founder, Wholebody Focusing

Addie van der Kooy, Kevin McEvenue and I spent an afternoon in February discussing the many manifestations of the “Me Here” muscle as part of our Wholebody Focusing practice. We are sharing more of that conversation through these videos. They document what has been coming for us from our collaboration with our grounded selves and with each other. We listened to each other and found new places—tiny spaces that we did not know were there that emerged on this chilly day in February. We are very excited about sharing them with others who are interested in the continued development of Wholebody Focusing.

A Heartfelt Conversation of Practitioners

The two clips at the end of this post are the result of our desire to be with what we are learning as we move forward with our own healing and the healing of the clients and students with whom we work.

In the first video, we shared our observations which included an example of the quietly holding of space for our trauma while holding space for our sense of “Me Here.” This way to hold space is different from traditional focusing in which one might hold space for the trauma and for a part that is critical of the trauma or not wanting to recognize its existence. As we held space for what came, we were moved deeper into our understanding of the value of this work and its nuances. We brought the information that we shared into our bodies and responded with what came for each of us. At the same time, we connected what we already know about the Wholebody Focusing process to the new ideas that are emerging. We explained what is happening on a physical, emotional and spiritual level. This process is something that helped us find our “New Reality Now.” We used the process of Heartfelt Conversation to get us there.

In the second video, we began to discuss the implications of what we are uncovering, how it might change the way we are connecting to ourselves and, how we are teaching Wholebody Focusing.

How to Watch the Videos

We offer some suggestions on how to approach the content presented here.

You can refresh your memory of the original concepts of this discussion by reviewing: https://wholebodyfocusing.blog/2019/04/28/holding-space-for-me-here-and-our-trauma/.

You can watch Example and Explanation and the Implications video only.

Or, you can take novelist Julio Cortazar’s advice about reading when he was discussing his book Hopscotch. He encouraged readers to read his chapters in any order they choose and to come up with their own understanding of what is written. You can also watch the last four “Me Here” videos in any order and notice if something new emerges.

As always, we invite our readers to share their reactions, comments and concerns as part of this dialogue.

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Holding Space for “Me Here” and our Trauma

Image by Hans Braxmeier from Pixabay

Is Wholebody Focusing an alive practice? How does it move into the future? Are there new ideas to explore? How will Wholebody Focusers find out about emerging ideas? These are some of the questions Kevin, and I asked ourselves when we created this blog.

As part of this exploration, we are continuing our collaboration with Addie van der Kooy and his ground-breaking work around the nature of grounded presence and its function in creating a broad definition of what healing ourselves feels like in our bodies. These new concepts of building “WBF Muscles” will help focusers better understand how to hold our trauma so that it has a higher, more nuanced ability to heal itself.

One afternoon in February, Addie van der Kooy, Kevin McEvenue and I filmed a conversation that goes deeper into our relationship between our state of grounded presence and the trauma that may live in us. We will be presenting parts of this conversation as it happened and eventually the full video of the discussion which lasted about 50 minutes. This new understanding emerges out of the work Addie has been doing with his clients as he teaches WBF in this new way.

Heartfelt Conversation – What is New to Explore?

The first video is the intunement that Kevin provided to help us hold space for what was wanting to be heard. There is no new information here; however, it is a beautiful example of how encouraging a state of grounded presence can enliven any interaction.

The second video is an overview of what Addie calls the “Me Here” muscle that supports us in holding space for trauma in grounded presence with no judgment or expectation of change and why this process is the foundation of what might come in the future. As Addie gets more experience working with this concept, more comes for him about how it supports his clients.

We hope you enjoyed this first installment of this exciting conversation which is part of the mission of the blog—to provide Wholebody Focusers with an opportunity to learn more and to add your voice to keeping WBF alive.

Please consider adding your comments and questions to the “Reply” area, and we will answer them as they come in. If you have something new you have learned please write a response and contact Diana Scalera to get it published at: wbf285@gmail.com.

Please consider joining Addie van der Kooy and Cecilia Clegg in “Practicing Presence” workshop on May 11, 2019 from 9:00 – 11:00 AM EDT sponsored by The International Focusing Institute.

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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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When Love Pays Attention to a Deep Wound

Photo credit: Pixabay
This audio tells us about an unusual solo focusing session—no listening partner—and its extraordinary aftereffect, described by an advanced Wholebody focuser who had decided to sit-with a serious medical condition for which surgery had been recommended.  

He knew he needed to pause.

He speaks succinctly.  No explanations!  No analysis!  When confronted with chronic pain, he simply sat-with what came, watched and consented to the thoughts, the feelings, the inner-directed movements that came directly from the Body—simply present to all-that-came without trying to change it.  Or to explain it.

After two hours of simply sitting-with, the pain was largely gone. And, for all the twenty years since, his chronic, medically-recognized symptom has not reappeared.

I wonder what you will notice when you listen to his story.

And I welcome you to share, here, your own unique transformative experiences that have resulted from your own inner-listening to stuck places.

I know I will open myself to this invitation as well.

Hearing from each other on this blog can be a powerful way for us—as a community—to explore our emerging edge together.

Elizabeth Morana
Adapted from a recording from Nada Lou

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On Being Reactive Versus Being Responsive

Painting: Kevin McEvenue

Dear Kevin,

When the body hears that it’s “directed to do something,” it is not being given a choice. It’s expected to do it. It might refuse, or it might comply. But it cannot come from a natural place because there’s no offer of a choice.

What you are showing us is that we can build in a choice. For ourselves! After you see the typical reaction we all have to being told to do something, and we don’t want to, and yet, we’re going to make ourselves do it. It’s a burden trying to comply, and fighting it as we do.

So you’re showing us that we can turn to our own inner self, and offer a choice—an invitation. Instead of forcing ourselves to cooperate, we can ask the body to choose how it would like to respond.

An option not always offered to children. Or to us, when we were children. Yay for giving the body the chance to do something on its own, creatively. Rather than just feeling forced to comply or rebel.

Yay for offering ourselves the freedom of choice! What would the world be like if we had this option built into us? Would we be a bunch of ‘hippies?’ Or would we be purely self-centered people?

Or would we be a group of kindhearted, peaceful, beings connected to one another in a gentle way?

Elizabeth Morana

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Intunement Beginning Place Part 2

Preamble for Intunement 2

In this audio recording, Kevin tells us more about how the practice of intunements have continued to evolve.  At the risk of missing rich nuance, I’ll say this:  first, he makes explicit that heartfelt conversation is not a one-way-street bringing value only to the ‘focuser.’

Kevin shares:  “….heartfelt connection has a quality of GOODNESS, of light, of wisdom, that—perhaps—is for BOTH OF US….it begins with you—but maybe the life in it also has something in this experience of Alive that’s for me.  That felt new!   And gradually—and only now—beginning to emerge as something that I can claim for myself, and spend time with, and allow that to open more fully in my life too….”  Much like trying to describe a beautiful sunset, it’s hard to give concise words to this, but I’ll say that Kevin seems to be describing that quality of Goodness that forms in a Heart Felt connection and inevitably brings something new for each of those present.

Then he turns to the aliveness that we feel in each part of ourselves—a body part, for example.  And then he goes further, Inviting us to give our attention to something alive to us in nature: “….what we bring to that is our human consciousness…whether a foot or a tree…..we ADD something to its awareness of itself that wasn’t there until we mutually met one another in that way….”
He may not have made his case yet for some of his readers—although he has succeeded, with me.  If so, just hold all of it, all of these ideas, and hold your own not-sure-about and your own even-a-bit-cautious, and see how that shakes out in the coming days and weeks.  Your own questions are seeds of the MORE that can and will grow in this exploration of what is happening when two or more are gathered in heartfelt connection.

Elizabeth Morana

Reference:  Mr Deer and Me and The Pine and I (Stories on the Blog as excellent examples of giving our Heart Felt attention to something alive in Nature, Kevin.)

Mr. Deer and Me

The PIne and I

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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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Boundary Wall / Rajamuuri

Photo Credit: Pixabay

I attend a meeting where I suddenly find myself vigorously, downright angry, opposing an initiative to determine  “who will be accepted to our group, and who won’t”.

I Do Not Want Everybody In!

After the meeting, I am with my own anger. Ashamed. What is this about? Why do I feel such strong anger in a matter that is essentially just a matter of conversation?

I start to feel a strong lump in my stomach. The lump is not just a lump. It has boundaries. The walls that guard. Disqualify.

There is a small me inside the lump, who is aware of the boundary because not all should be allowed inside. The lump is not just me, but it is us. “They” belong outside. Those others. Those who are dubious. Different. Those who don’t belong to us.

The lump pushes the diaphragm so that it is difficult for me to breathe. There is right, and there is wrong. Just those two. I don’t precisely know the rules for right and wrong, nevertheless, a part of me feels I should know who belongs to us, and who doesn’t.

There is somebody outside of me, who is part of us and who knows…and is now testing me if I know it too, because I MUST know.

But I don’t.

Continue reading Boundary Wall / Rajamuuri