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

Peace in Me / Rauha minussa

Photo Credit: Cerro Santa Lucia in Santiago, Chile by Maria Hakasalo

I sit in a subway in Santiago, Chile. My husband sits at the other end of the full car. I am worried. The next day we go in different directions. He will leave by himself for a backpacking trip to Paraguay, to Iguazu Falls in Brazil and later to Argentina, while I will spend a week in Punta de Tralca, Chile. I will be safe–his experience is an unknown. Who knows, it may even be a bit dangerous. Something in me is absolutely scared.

A man gets on the subway car with another man. They are  standing near the door. The man holds on to an adjacent bar. Noticing him, I suddenly start to feel my feet firmly against the floor of the car. Peace begins to rise up all over my body. I look at the man when he speaks to his companion.  Just an ordinary man about sixty years old carrying a briefcase in his hand. He’s taller than other men in the car.

I look at people around me curiously: could I find someone else with the same peace in their face and in their whole appearance? Not a soul.

After a while, the man leaves the subway. Deep peace in me does not disappear.

This experience reminds me of focusing, when I am with issues, thoughts or feelings that can arise, there is resistance, fear, and hardening in me. When I pay attention to the support of the floor, the chair, the environment, the listener, I start to feel my grounded presence and me here that is completely safe and peaceful.

Later, I realize that the peace of that man resonated with the peace that was just hidden somewhere in me at that moment. There is a peace in me, and I can find it even in a painful moment.

I can feel the same when listening to Kevin’s attunement at:

Looking for the Life Support to Move Forward the Complexity of a Growing Me?


Istun metrovaunussa Santiagossa, Chilessä. Puolisoni istuu toisessa päässä täyttä vaunua. Olen huolissani. Seuraavana päivänä me menemme eri suuntiin. Hän lähtee yksin reppureissailemaan Paraguayhin, ja Iguassun putouksille sekä Brasilian että Argentiinan puolelle samaan aikaan, kun minä vietän viikon Punta de Tralcassa, Chilessä. Minä olen turvassa, hän tuntemattomassa, kuka tietää, jopa vaarallisessa paikassa. Joku minussa on todella peloissaan.

Metrovaunuun nousee mies toisen miehen kanssa. He jäävät seisomaan oven suulle. Mies ottaa tukea viereisestä tangosta. Kun näen hänet, alan yhtäkkiä tuntea jalkapohjani tukevasti vaunun lattiaa vasten. Rauha alkaa nousta ylöspäin koko kehooni. Katson miestä, kun hän puhuu toiselle. Aivan tavallinen mies, noin kuudenkymmenen ikäinen salkku kädessään. Pidempi kuin moni mies ympärillään.

Katson ihmisiä ympärilläni uteliaana: löytyisikö joku toinenkin, jonka kasvoista ja koko olemuksesta huokuisi sama rauha kuin miehestä vierelläni. Ei ketään.

Jonkun ajan päästä mies poistuu metrosta. Minussa asuva syvä rauha ei häviä.

Tämä kokemus muistuttaa fokusointia. Sitä, kuinka olen asioiden, ajatusten tai tunteiden kansssa, jotka voivat herättää minussa vastustusta, pelkoa, jähmettymistä. Kun vien huomion lattian, tuolin, ympäristön ja kuuntelijani antamaan tukeen, alan tuntea, kuinka jalkani juurtuvat maahan ja löydän sen osan minusta, joka on täysin turvassa, jolla on täysi rauha vain olla.

Myöhemmin oivallan, että miehen rauha resonoi minussa itsessäni sillä hetkellä piiloutuneena olleen rauhan kanssa. Minussakin on se rauha, ja voin löytää sen kipeälläkin hetkellä.

Kevinin harjoitus vie minut tähän samaan tunnelmaan. Löydät sen täältä

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Something against you – or me? / Jotain sinua vastaan – vai minua?

Photo credit: Maria Hakasalo

As I was working on my focusing book, I was listening to music–something random from You Tube. Next thing that I noticed was how I was criticizing the singer’s vocal technique. I had just written about some painful school memories when a sense of isolation emerged.  I also noticed how I was compensating for those feelings by thinking I was being better than others.

Suddenly I understood the connection between feeling isolated and compensating by finding fault in others. Instead of facing the something in me that didn’t feel accepted, I criticized the You Tube singer. I  compensated for my own pain by pretending to be skillful, successful and perfect.  This is what I did as a child who felt isolated.

As I sat next to the small child in me who was feeling the pain I said to her: “You can be as you are, small, painful, sometimes competent, sometimes incompetent. You do not need to be perfect or look like it..”

I sighed deeply and noticed that something in me released.

Do you want to get in touch with the part in you that is not feeling alright? You can listen to one of Kevin’s intunements at https://wholebodyfocusing.blog/2018/10/19/something-is-not-right/

When listening I could feel a firm lump in my stomach which softened after I listened to the following intunement. It helped me to be tenderly present with the felt sense in my stomach: https://wholebodyfocusing.blog/2018/07/19/an-active-meditation-to-welcome-what-wants-to-present-itself-for-your-attention/

***

Kun kirjoitan fokusointikirjaa, kuuntelen välillä musiikkia, tällä kerralla jotain satunnaista Youtubesta. Kirjoittamisen lomassa havaitsin arvostelevani laulajan laulutapaa. Olin juuri kirjoittanut kipeistä koulumuistoista, erillisyyden tunteestani ja kuinka pyrin kompensoimaan sitä näyttämällä paremmalta kuin muut.

Continue reading Something against you – or me? / Jotain sinua vastaan – vai minua?

Melting Point / Sulamispiste

Photo Credit: Maria Hakasalo

MELTING POINT

A judging mind
who crush and shrink, burden and destroy
You come out from the nooks of my mind
seizing me with full of shame
Could I shake you off so that no one notices
how dark and ugly you are?

Welcome, judging mind
Welcome home
Welcome to my arms, welcome to be seen
Welcome to the warmth of my embrace
to the shine of the sun

there you soften
forget your job
begin to melt and love

Continue reading Melting Point / Sulamispiste

You Have Appeared!

It’s beginning to sink in—that I can form a relationship—a WE—with something in me.  I’d been sitting with certain troubling sensations and thoughts recently and had begun to understand this more deeply.

I woke up the other morning with an uncomfortably dry mouth and it came to me:  I can sit-with this!  I’d been wishing this dry throat situation away for years, and now saw that I’d been missing an opportunity to be-with-it.

What follows below is what I wrote while it was happening. Two short sentences came to me.  I sat up and wrote them.  And then kept writing.

*******************************

“I don’t look to you to disappear. I look to you to appear.”

I said/thought this to that place in me that is dry—thirsty to the point of having no more resources, completely dry and without what she desperately needs.

Continue reading You Have Appeared!

Billie Holdiay and “Holding Both”

I love to discover the naturalness of Wholebody Focusing in life itself, including in art and music.  I found something new listening to Billie Holiday’s version of Good Morning Heartache.

Focusing is based on the work of Gene Gendlin.  He worked with Carl Rodgers to research why some people thrive in psychotherapy and others did not. Their award-winning research found that whether or not psychotherapy helped a person with their emotional issues was not related to the type of therapy or the skill of the therapist.  It had mostly to do with the client’s innate ability to be aware of their emotional challenges in a meta-cognitive way.  Focusing and Wholebody Focusing are practices that help people learn how to become more aware of their inner emotional life in a way that naturally helps one heal.

Good Morning, Heartache is a wonderful example of how as someone becomes aware and accepting of what is there emotionally, healing begins. In this song, Ms. Holiday’s voice guides us through her experience of heartache. She starts with wanting the heartache to “get lost” and cycles through what comes for her by being with these feelings. She ends with lightheartedly offering her heartache to “sit down” next to her.  This song demonstrates an important practice in Focusing in which one can  hold both the heartache and the not wanting the heartache with equal regard as a part of the healing process.

Please enjoy Good Morning Heartache. This 1946 song was created through a collaboration of writers Irene Higgenbotham, Ervin Drake, and Dan Fisher.  It was sung by Billie Holiday with backup from Bill Stegmeyer and his Orchestra.

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