One night, I read something* about a prisoner during the holocaust who was in line with a group of men waiting to be taken to their death. In the midst of this horror, one of the men jumped out of line, offering to read the palms of other prisoners, exuberantly telling them of their future wives, their future children, of what seemed to be their extinguished possibilities. More and more of the prisoners asked to have their palms read. The mood changed, for both prisoners and guards—and against all odds, the unexpected happened: the guards loaded the prisoners back on the truck and drove away with them, taking them back to their barracks.
I wondered about what enabled that solitary palm-reader to act. The next morning as I awoke, a sentence came to me, and then more:
Please Let me also look at their palms and see their infinite possibilities!
And seeing them,
they glimpse themselves
As they really are!
Let us not be hypnotized
by modern day brutes
Let us look past all their dark thoughts
Let us turn again and again
beyond those dark clouds
to what is beyond their sight
Let us see our true pure being
and all our possibilities for Joy
Pull back our curtain of fear and disconnection
Open our ears to the truth of our being
Open our eyes to That Light
Not what they see
they do not define me!
My Wholebody Focusing practice is mostly silent. I move into grounded presence and give my body permission to move in the ways it needs. Automatic or spontaneous movements emerge. Words or images might surface but not necessarily. I eventually settled on this type of practice because it allows me to remain in grounded presence in a deeper and more sustained way. Without the need to search for words or images, I do not get triggered out of grounded presence as easily and I don’t have to worry about whether I am doing something “right” or if I’m addressing what is needed. My body takes care of that. Whatever emerges from my body is what it needs. I just need to give what emerges my awareness, equal regard and my consent.
Two dominant movements have consistently emerged. The first one is how every session starts. If I stand, my legs shake from the hips to the ankles. This movement first came to me during an automatic movement Qigong session many years ago. If I am sitting, my feet lift off the floor and shake in a different way. I have a vague sense of what is behind these movements. The leg movements seem to have a cleansing quality. It feels like a release of built up tension or static that might get in the way of what my body might need.
The second dominant movement usually emerges while my legs are still shaking. My arms shoot up over my head and stay there. My arms can be moving or still. This second movement emerged in a foundational session related to an image that has been with me for a long time—an image of a small bird with damaged wings that stubbornly preferred not to change in any way. This movement emerged during a health crisis. In a grounded state, I brought my awareness to how this crisis was affecting my body. My arms flew up at the same time a Kundalini-like sensation of a tornado arose from my feet and moved toward the top of my head. My understanding of this movement is that it was a moment in which this little bird tested its wings and found that they actually worked. This was a turning point in this health crisis. This movement emerges each time I am in grounded presence to remind me that anything is possible and to give me courage. Both of these dominant movements ebb and flow through my sessions in relation to whatever else emerges.
Wholebody Focusing Haiku # 21 When upset, I ask What does my body need now? Then I notice me.
Frequently writing Haiku about my WBF discoveries not only helps me document what is emerging but also helps me to sustain the new healing.
As I was preparing for bed a few weeks ago, I noticed that I felt defeated. There were so many challenges that made me anxious and fearful that I wondered if it were useless to try to sleep. My husband and I have been experiencing serious health problems for the last year and a half and it feels exhausting to be in this place.
The words “what does my body need now?” came to me. I thought I would give it a try. As a got into bed, I felt into my body as I asked this question. My hands moved. They landed crossed, on my upper chest with my hands near my shoulders. It felt so comfortable and comforting. The next thing I remembered is that I woke up at 6:00 AM. I had slept through the night and my hands were still in this position. It was as if I had given myself a seven hour Reiki treatment.
Your experience Kevin resonated profoundly in me. When you listened deeply, in searching for a sense of self, an uninvited Trappist monk connected with you – and you came alive. As if listening deeply for life could be as a calling to the universe and something from beyond answered you. Could this be possible?
In the beginning of the nineties I was on a similar journey, in my longing to become alive and be myself. My travel led me to an Orthodox Monastery, named New Valamo, in Finland. During the winter war 1939, some 190 monks fled from Valamo Monastery in Russia. They founded a refuge and a new home in a mansion in the east of Finland. To have somewhere to live they had to rebuild the old barn into monk’s cells. The monks lived and prayed in the barn for years. It was possible for me, as a visitor, to stay in one of the old monk´s cells in the barn. And of course, it was an offer I could not refuse.
The whole night I had deep dreams which felt as some sort of inner rebuilding of my whole life. For the next few days, I walked around the monastery without any thoughts, feelings or words. But with tears constantly pouring down, gently melting, cleansing and making me soft and receiving. I was filled with awe that made me feel fresh and alive.