I have been reflecting on how what has been shared—in this kind of Heartfelt Communication with one another—has felt so good for me. I’m thinking of the recent sense of connection that speaks from direct experience that has awakened something in each of the lives that are giving voice—or describing—their direct experience of something real and something worthwhile for them to communicate with themselves and to share with each other.
I remember that I would often say, “That touches me. Your words—or your voice—touches me deeply.”
So I’m wondering, what do I mean by that? What does that mean? “What you share here touches me deeply.” And I can feel that right now. In my heart. In my belly. In my thighs. It’s a kind of warmth, a kind of loving and a kind of wanting that seems to touch a kind of an awakening of a desire in me that’s already there.
Maybe it has happened to you, too, that small secret moment of intimacy with a non-human creature. It’s a powerful experience yet easily dismissed by the mind. The one I want to tell you about happened on a trail in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada in northern California. It is a rocky, spare place, steep and windswept and intensely alive. High on a ridge above a mountain lake, the trail weaves among pines and Douglas Fir growing singly or in small groups, huddled around granite boulders. On a hot late September afternoon, their combined scent rose like incense; the air was charged with it. I walked briskly, enjoying the vigorous motion and the give of the trail surface, changing from rock to needles to bare earth to patches of coarse grasses. I became keenly aware of an added dimension, the arrangement of bodies in the middle distance, so often lost in our habitual focus on panoramic views. I mean by that the sense of my body mass relative to trees and boulders, the way trees stood in twos or threes or alone; a pine and boulder together; or the way the boughs formed a screen so that only slivers of blue were visible, and then suddenly parted to allow a full view of distant peaks. My steps slowed to a walk as I absorbed this new pleasure. My hand reached to touch the furry patch of lichen on a granite boulder, the deep furrow of Douglas Fir bark. I put my arms around a Jeffrey Pine, maybe my age in pine years, glowing deep red in the late afternoon light. I laid my cheek against the bark and was enveloped in a light, sweet aroma, like vanilla, very different from the more pungent “conifer” fragrance that rose from the forest as a whole. (I read later that pines, and especially Jeffrey Pines, are unique among North American conifers in distilling this vanilla-like scent.) There we stood for a long while, the pine and I, in a timeless embrace of arms and branches, skin and bark, one breath.
In her book, “The Legacy of Luna”, activist Julia Butterfly Hill describes her relationship with the giant redwood in whose canopy she lived for more than two years in order to save it from being logged. Hill is positive that Luna knew Hill was there to save it, and gave her support in its tree-ish way. Similarly, with my arms around the pine, I felt very strongly, from the tree, a wave of – encouragement? Support? Was the pine hugging me back? These are human terms and they don’t quite fit. I felt that the pine and the land it sprang from were holding me up, wanted me to continue my work to save the Peace Valley in my home province of British Columbia from being dammed. I was being offered a gift – an experience of joy and unity, and something more: confirmation, confidence and strength to persevere in my work. Joy and gratitude buoyed me as I walked back to the cabin.
I offer a moment-to-moment description of a grounded presence experience that I had with a deer as we both walked through the woods. This example highlights an important Wholebody Focusing practice–holding a “we” space for partners. It also shows how we can have a “we” space with any other sentient being and how both of us are impacted by the relational space they create together.
There he was, Mr. Deer, quietly but unexpectedly just over there. In fact, he was just beyond the clearing of the forest as I began my own walk. I was taking a break from a training that wasn’t going well for me. I wanted to enjoy a walk in the forest to find a grounded sense of myself again.
That is when it happened, that encounter with Mr. Deer. It seemed to startle both of us so unexpectedly. It was a surprise, yes, and startling? Maybe for a split second we both knew that something felt different here and so we seemed to pause and take in the moment with curiosity. It was that pause that seemed to change everything because we both took some space to take in what might be happening that felt so different from what we were used to. What was that? What made us stop and take a moment to become aware of the something that felt new here?
I can’t speak for Mr. Deer. He has his own sense of what was happening in him. For me, as a reflective human creature that I am, I realized I was in a good place. Usually I walk through a forest without really taking much in. But this time I felt differently. I was enjoying this moment of peace and enjoying myself in this wooded environment.
Elizabeth this a response to “It Is for This.” It is the power of her voice, the tone of the sound that is so healing to my soul. My body instantly awakens to her tone of voice even before the words are felt.
I am just allowing Elizabeth’s prayer to be heard and to be felt inside of me. And the words that seem to awaken something deeper in me is this expression that she keeps repeating: it is for this. It is for this. It is for this.
And each time I hear that repetition, it touches me even more deeply because I know that sound. I can feel that sound and I can feel me.
That is what Elizabeth has awakened in me too—that sense of me that knows who I am. What I am.
And I love the feel of it. I love being awakened when I hear someone else is there too. It gives me a sense of myself that feels totally satisfying. It is a feeling of love.
I am Love.
I live love in my body as a whole.
It is me.
This is who I am.
Something more came for me listening to Elizabeth saying what was there for her and how deeply that awakened something in myself about me. It is as though her sound, her voice, her expression, awakened a sense of myself from inside–like awakening a tuning fork of who I am.
Monica Gomez Galaz speaking from Mexico city and Diana Scalera speaking from New York City participate in a Heartfelt Conversation when an unexpected topic develops into a mutual felt sense. They find a strong connection between them in how they were disconnected from their roots by circumstances beyond their control. This video demonstrates how WBF supports their experience. Audio: Spanish with English subtitles.
¿Qué sucede cuando nos comueve la experiencia del otro?
Mónica Gómez Galaz habla desde la ciudad de México y Diana Scalera habla desde la ciudad de Nueva York . Ellas participan en un Heartfelt Conversation cuando un tema inesperado se desarrolla en un sentimiento mutuo. Encuentran una fuerte conexión entre ellas en la forma en que fueron desconectados de sus raíces por circunstancias fuera de su control. Podemos ver en este video cómo WBF puede transformar su experiencia. Version Español extendia
I wrote what came about the ‘we’ in August 2017, and I’d like to share it here:
Hello dear friends,
When I awoke last Tuesday–after having had a meaningful conversation about the “WE” with Kevin the day before–I found the following words wanting to be expressed, and I wrote them down. Now I wish to share them with you, knowing that what I’ve written is only a beginning, not all of it, and that it may change, it may disagree with itself later, it might give lots more that I didn’t know. And it might give it through someone else.
I welcome hearing what comes for each of us about this and about related topics on heartfelt connection. I am always seeking that with everyone–sometimes feeling I’ve failed, or worse: that I’ve forgotten about it completely. And sometimes the connection appears with a great sense of love and satisfaction.
Here’s what came for me to write last Tuesday morning:
In a ‘we,’ we are now able to take in so much more.
In ‘small self,’ we know very little. In ‘small self,’ we are aware mostly of our own personal concerns and barely aware of the concerns of others. Others are largely unknown. When we sense the presence of other, we still miss most of what they are, what they think, what they experience; instead, when we think we ‘see’ the other, we are often simply seeing what we think of them.
When we begin to notice and realize that the other has experiences, views, thoughts, separate from our own, and surprising to us, we begin to open up to knowing much more than previously.
When we begin to be aware of a “We,” we are opened up to knowing infinitely more.
That “We” can take the form of me-alone-by-myself-in-connection-to-my-spiritual-guidance. I am no longer the ‘small self,’ I am now ‘with’ an ‘other’ that lives beyond me, that doesn’t rely on my breath or my mind to exist. It is a living-something that is independent of me and which I can become aware of. Can we call it Body Wisdom? Spirit?
The”We” can also come about between me and another person. That kind of “We” takes form when I become aware of the presence and existence of another person as they become aware of me; in other words, where both I and the other person can sense that the ‘other’ has experiences/thoughts/senses that are different than my own and are valuable, precious, and worthy of my careful attention. And a further component: that in some way, we are both aware of that-which-is-beyond-us; maybe we call that Body Wisdom, maybe we have other terms to describe it. And the resulting conversation has a flow to it that doesn’t happen without this alive “We”.