When We Observe Ourselves

This video captures one of those moments where transformation becomes dramatically self-evident. You can see it happening!

By Kevin McEvenue

When we observe ourselves on videoconferencing, something in us changes. See The Observer Effect. Videoconferencing has become a favored method of interacting with other people either professionally or socially.  This form of interacting with ourselves and others has never been true for humanity before. I am examining what it means to observe oneself on screen.

You are a witness to a bodily event emerging, changing itself as it happens. In this video, you are watching a bodily experience being transformed from that deeper wisdom of Self, actually undergoing a fundamental reorientation for all to see—even me.

What is becoming transparent is a very familiar pattern: a self-defeating belief that suddenly becomes something just its opposite! It first happened that day in August 2008.

When Perception Changes

What emerged is a whole change of perception of what is true. The very opposite what I have believed to be true most of my life. An immediate shift in perception that actually facilitates a behavior shift and restructuring. Almost like alchemy!

This video captures one of those moments where transformation becomes dramatically self-evident. You can see it happening!

My immediate response to any stimulation is to stop, protect, tighten, or hold-on-to for dear life! Like a bulldog gripping on with that kind of intensity. And then suddenly the opposite occurs—a physical release, expanding with equal determination but from a very different place.

The image that comes is that of a pull-up bar. I find myself lifting myself up, playfully allowing my muscles to flex and work with a pleasurable kind of tension. It seems to be enhancing my ‘wanting’ muscles; “I can do this; I want to do this, I am enjoying doing this; it feels so good to do this.”

This is a beautiful illustration of focusing with your whole body in action as it explores its own possibilities for all to witness. (Wholebody Focusing: Life Lived in the Moment.  It is a wonderful integration of mind/body working together to create a new wholeness of self as it emerges. In the end, the imagining of the event is enough to awaken that process once again! So good—and enough!

The Pause for Presence Project

Recently Cecelia Clegg and I were both sitting silently in Presence together during an on-line WBF session, and it felt so rich and right to do so during a time in which it is so easy to contract in fear, anxiety and frustration.

To pause and give ourselves time to open up to the “Life felt within and without” feels Cecilianow more meaningful than ever, and it gave us the idea to invite others to join us in a Pause for Presence gathering. We take time together to come into grounded Presence. Then we rest silently in the depth and aliveness of our Being. This process helps us to enter a dimension unaffected by all that is going on within and around us.

About a month ago, we had our first Pause for Presence gathering. After a brief lead-in (for those who needed it), we sat (or stood or moved) in silent Presence, which at times would flow into some sharing between us.

We knew that it would be richly nourishing for everyone but what was surprising also to notice was how quickly the broader field of the group Presence became palpable in our virtual meeting room. There was an added richness that allowed many of us to experience a much deeper sense of Presence than would have been possible if we had been on our own. At the end of our time together, it also felt like there was a tangible calm, still eye amid today’s turbulence.

There is a definite heartfelt “Yes” in us to continue with these Pauses for Presence get-togethers as they are nourishing in so many ways. We have planned our next meeting on Friday 12th June. And if you sense a “yes” inside you to join in, then you are warmly welcome!

The details:

To give you a little taster of our first gathering, here is a brief 7-minute audio-clip of one of the lead-ins by Addie.

So if you are Paws up for Presence, we’d love to see you on the 12th!

UK WBF trainers Addie van der Kooy and Cecelia Clegg.

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Heartfelt Loving Beyond Expectation

The first law of spiritual energy: energy follows attention! In other words, wherever I focus my attention, the energy in my body, mind, and spirit follows. It is as simple as that!

The power of heartfelt loving is beyond any expectation we can imagine. It is the essence of the practice of Heartfelt Connection in Wholebody Focusing as we know it.

HeartFelt Loving

I start by inviting a connection between me, a part of me, a part of something outside myself, and especially a sense of you over there as I hold the whole of that in my consciousness. I pause, to just notice what is there, and accept what comes beyond what I might expect.

This feels proactive in some way—like an opportunity to notice that seems to want my attention, and to do so. Often something totally unexpected or even uninvited appears out of the blue! It is an opportunity to turn my attention towards something there with an open heart and wait there. I just notice…that is all…and allow a felt sense to emerge…as though it seems to notice itself and notice me too…with mutual affection.

Beyond Expectation

Something very powerful seems to be present at the same time; something not of my own making. I can feel it there and it feels powerful. If I am able to hold a space for such an experience, something more begins to happen. Something happening that couldn’t happen without this kind of heartfelt participation!

We could call this the first law of spiritual energy: energy follows attention! In other words, wherever I focus my attention, the energy in my body, mind, and spirit follows. It is as simple as that!

In this blog, I offer two concrete examples of situations where Heartfelt Presence is activated; first, my own experience happening now, and next an event that happened 25 years ago to a man who suffered a very debilitating crisis called carpal syndrome. (See a previous blog entitled: When Love Pays Attention to a Deep Wound.) Today I fill in the empty pieces that unfolded over all these many years and updated that event with some very surprising results.

These two ‘happenings’ speak for themselves. What more can I say except to appreciate the power explored in Participatory Spirituality in this series.

 

Heartfelt Conversation Explained

Photo Credit: Image by splongo from Pixabay

We have a special podcast from Kevin McEvenue in which he explains what makes Heartfelt Conversation so unique. He points to it as a way of caring for one another as we care for ourselves. As we give ourselves a chance to be with ourselves uncritically, we also find a way to be with another uncritically. It is a mutual agreement that our ability and willingness to be fully present to each other is unconditional and supportive.

Sometimes, as focusers, we find ourselves in Heartfelt Conversations as a natural outcome of our interaction with our partners. This podcast helps us appreciate, to a higher degree, what is happening. Kevin also provides some guidance on how to consciously create a situation in which Heartfelt Conversation emerges and supports both parties at the same time.

These specific steps can be used as a guide to help us learn Heartfelt Conversation. They can also serve to deepen our experience by bringing to our consciousness how Heartfelt Conversation is different from talking to someone.

We invite you to enjoy this groundbreaking podcast and share your own experiences of Heartfelt Conversation by submitting your own posts or comments.

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Fear is a Potent Energy

In this latest conversation between Addie van der Kooy and Kevin McEvenue, they explore fear and it’s potential. Given the current state of the world and all the unknowns, how do we find a way to transform fear into a potent ally that can support us through difficult times.

Enjoy this conversation between Addie and Keven and learn how to explore the potential of your own fear.

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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

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