My Heart is Here

My heart is here: arm finding itself reconnecting to the body

In conversation with Diana, unedited excerpts
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10 October 2019
Hi Diana

Just wanted to share what’s quite alive. I did a WBF session with A. after a late summer pause a few days ago. I thought it would be outside but my body just didn’t want to go when the time came and I respected that.

As we started up it was like a furnace firing up, spluttering before it got going. I got an extraordinary pain in my left arm in the bone/nerves as well as numbness and restricted movement. I was also resistant as this type of pain was a shock. I stuck in there and over the session the arm realized that it could connect to the body.

Memories came from my teenage years when I broke my collar bone on that left side. It was like the arm was reliving this on its own. And memories of my feelings in connection/part of/welcome in the human family (in family, amongst others, at school) as I struggled with this feeling ( I didn’t get it at home and somehow took it on that it wasn’t really available for me to belong or be welcome as me in LIFE).

What held me as well as my body was my longing for the energies of social interaction, the hustle and bustle of love & joy in daily life. This aliveness I’d felt when younger looking at other families, as if I was standing at their house windows looking in, alone, unloved on the street.

There seemed to be a knowing or resonance with the arm remembering its shock and these deeper and in fact simpler or more core emotional places of my teenage years. As the process continued I began to see from images of me at school that I did also belong to a living out of life, that I was part of a living web, maybe home didn’t work so well for me and created stoppages and imbalances but I was unarguably also held in a good web where I moved around.

The images also seemed to hint at how later when I left home why I might have come crashing down. It felt like the first time of touching into the sense of that collapse even while the main subject was the joy of everyday acceptance by my school & teachers & feeling a relief or love for my overall life while at school, even if there was this shock of an accident and the emotional shock or unresolved/blocked feelings at home.

I’m gobsmacked how the arm and body held and brought this. And I can’t help note that I just started to take some muscle relaxants after the doctor discovered an old injury in my neck. It feels connected, as if the arm jumped out into the space these may have created.

I wanted to share this with you, and I’m also conscious that it gives me a chance to put something in writing. I am trying to do this for the blog and finding that I don’t know how to connect afterward with my WBF experiences or indeed even share. Writing to you now I found I can connect the experience and the words, as if trusting or believing you can hear me, I can then speak.

Would love to arrange a time to connect again. I am taking the relaxants for a few more days 😊

10 October 2019
Hi barebody&soul,

I love that you are writing about what happened to you and how it connected you to some earlier trauma.  Writing is one of the ways that we can connect with our bodies. When I write a blog, it is from grounded presence and I let me fingers type out what my body wants to say without any editing.  This is the affirmation of the experience like what you just wrote.  Later I can go back and organize my experience in a way that would help others to understand the moment—like adding backstory for example.  If you would like help with that process let me know.

10 December 2019
Hi Diana

I would love to contribute to the blog and I remembered what I’d shared with you about the arm reconnecting with the body (10 Oct email above). I just arrived back from a trip to England and saw your email and found this correspondence now. When I read it I was taken aback – these are the same underlying relational senses I have in connection with “Me in England” I just described to my wife rippling through my being in connection with my trip and the deeper reorganization taking place inside!!

I’m happy to share it close to its current form but maybe it needs something more? As I can be perfectionist I realised I will take forever left to my own devices/probably not do it, for no good reason, so I welcome any suggestions. I could even write about this sharing with you and my trip to England now as part of the experiential web bringing me to share it to others via the blog. I like this idea of stories from the body shared in conversation and resonating later in stories and trips. It comes close to home. That home that is here and we wander from in search of. This moves me deeply. It is our shared story.

A title that just came was something like: Me, England. My heart is here: arm finding itself reconnecting to the body. These words seem to capture the ALL of that, which now feels like a this.

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Awakening

Photo by Bankim Desai on Unsplash

Elizabeth Morana, Dec. 9, 2019

I often awaken in the middle of the night and find myself reflecting; many seemingly disparate thoughts and ideas come. And then a sentence comes, loud and clear, and I know from past experience, if I don’t write this down, it will disappear.

This morning, one such sentence came: We are being awakened into His Love. It didn’t bring any explanation with it. I wrote it and waited to see if there was more. There wasn’t. So, I lay back down and turned the light off.

Within a minute, more came, and with the words came an image—a butterfly in the process of opening the pod it had found itself in—it’s chrysalis. I could sense it was weak and somewhat confused—as though it were awakening from a long sleep.

I sat up again, turned on the light, and continued writing. I realized as I wrote, that it was very much about me. And about more than me.

Recently, I’ve been telling people: I‘m changed! After much Wholebody focusing and Heartfelt Conversation, after much prayer, after much meditation, I made it clear to all the Powers That Be: I’m willing to be changed, to let go of old dramas and the possibility of reliving them, to face the unknown of the Present Moment.—as best I can.

Here’s what came to me at 5am this morning when I turned the light back on:

When she emerged from the Chrysalis, she was not the kind of butterfly she’d expected to be.

In fact, it was all different than she’d imagined. She wasn’t sure what to make of this.

She’d expected to be fully functional— and she stood at this new threshold, hesitant. The ground felt different. The air. She was bewildered. 

She scanned the landscape. Butterflies of all shapes and sizes—and other beings—slowly appeared. 

How do you talk to these other creatures, she wondered.  What will come out when I begin to speak? 

Relax, something whispered. No hurry

She sank into the moment. The ground beneath her softened. A sigh welled up. Even the air cradled her. 

And she knew:  I am here. That is enough. Nothing needs to happen.

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The Dance of Life (2)

By Cathy Rowan

We start with Addie guiding me into that low-gear mode of being with my body within the environment. I open to the weather outdoors, the room I am in, the quietness of it, and Addie with me on the screen.

I open to this and then also to the contact of all this with my physical body. I am sitting on the chair, the warm air on my hands and face. Once again, I am turning my attention to the air as it enters my nostrils. Once again, I am opening to the dance of life that is me living now.

The Breath, Expansion and Recession

I welcome this expansive experience. The air is flowing through my nostrils, down my throat, and into my chest. It is spreading outwards through the whole of my body. Just being with all of this and noticing too now the feel of the breath as I exhale. The in-breath is one that grows and expands my body, I get subtly and yet perceptibly physically bigger….and then the moment comes when the breath starts to pull back. Not to retract…that does not fit. Retract implies a pulling back and stopping–an ending.

The experience is a receding, it has the quality of the wave as it pulls back on the beach, and yet already it has within its movement a getting ready to come forward again as the next wave. This is just how the exhaled breath is in me. Each receding, pulling back of the breath, has within it the kernels of the new breath that is to become the next wave of air to be drawn into me.

This whole breathing pattern within me is a circular cycle. It is three dimensional — a 3D circular cycle that makes a spiraling. The spiraling is variable – some spirals are more significant, some smaller, they are not copies of each other, they are all different. They are not uniform; some are jerky, uneven even, they are not manufactured “tins of baked beans” breaths that are predictable and repetitive. No – they are all unique and different. Each a different flow, a diverse and individual dance. Each just what I need right now, for this moment, in this place, at this time.

I am with the out-breath withdrawing, with its sense of receding and yet here too are its kernels of expansion so it can go forward again…. I notice how my fingers are slightly apart as I breathe in and then come together as I breathe out. Then the next breath in the fingers opens again – only to once again enter into a withdrawing. It is coming together to make more room for expansion. And so the spiraling dance of the breath unfolds its unique flow of “aliving.”
Aliving: this is this dance of expansion and withdrawal to take in and then release the breath. And as I sit with this, a spontaneous full-formed sentence comes “until we die we are always dancing, our breath is always dancing the breath of life…until we die.”

Breath, Life and Death

A body memory comes of me sitting with my father dying – his breathing becoming increasingly difficult. How the spiraling got more and more drawn out, each out-breath having a little less energy to give to the potential for a new in-breath. Finally, there was no more receding energy in his out-breath- it was the only retraction. I can recall now how this felt tangibly different. He had finished his dance of the breath of life. The life-energy could no longer keep going, and I saw it stop. In his final out-breath, there were no kernels of the forward movement that would create the next inhale. The out-breath was his last step in his dance of life.

This experience of how the breath faded away and then stopped had a profound impact on me then, particularly concerning “following the breath” practices. Almost a decade later, it continues to fascinate me now. I felt then I had witnessed the core of what gives life and what takes away life. And as I sit here and am with my breath now, I realize each breath is a gift of life. And that this dance is not just about life, but it will be one day be about death for me too. Life and death: this is what the breath is all about.

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Being with a Felt Sense

Our new installment of the conversation between Addie van der Kooy and Kevin McEvenue takes a raucous turn when they discuss their experiences of the many ways to be with the felt sense. In the no holds barred Heartfelt Conversation, these long-time collaborators share what works for them and what is difficult for them when experiencing a felt sense.

Grounded in the work of Gene Gendlin, we experience the liveliness and fun of their heartfelt conversation. Both partners are fully engaged and moving to the rhythm of their conversation.

Watching their journey may lift you into your felt sense of being with their felt sense. Let us know where this conversation takes you by sending a comment to the discussion.

Here is the transcript of the video for those who speak languages other than English. Drop it into Google Translate for a translation or use it to follow along.

This is a link to the transcript added here so that speakers of other languages can use Google Translate to obtain a transcript in their language. Being with a Felt Sense

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The Dance of Life

By Cathy Rowan

I grew up in a family full of unacknowledged trauma and grief, where the only way to “be” was to “not be” and to not feel.  As a family, our expertise lay in dissociation and disconnection: even as a small child, something in me felt this was all wrong for me. From my early childhood, my life has been about finding a very different way. This way needed to be unlike that of my parents. I wanted to live in this new way these allotted years of my time here on earth. 

Enter Focusing

This need brought me to Focusing a decade ago, and it has proved to be my salvation, my learning to feel and to start to connect with my bodily experience and feel safe in so doing.

To go deeper into connecting to and being in my body, I started my Wholebody Focusing training more than over five years ago. However, very quickly, what I connected to, in my body, as I went deeper, were layers and layers of frozen tears and pain. I had disowned and buried the grief of the many losses in my past. Some of that grief and loss were mine, and some were those of my parents and grandparents. My Focusing journey then took the path of showing me how to grieve and mourn, how to start to hold, and befriend heartbreak and loss. This journey surprised me by also taking me into a much deeper and more spiritual lifestyle.

Then late this summer, something in me knew it was time for me to return to my Wholebody Focusing training. And so a couple of weeks ago Addie van der Kooy and Diana Scalera suggested to me I might like to contribute to the blog about this experience, so here I go.

A Very Different Way

As I turn to my body now, fingers on the keys, what comes immediately as I invite my body to write to this post, is a lightness, an expansiveness, a subtle bubbliness even. It is emanating from the solar plexus area and expanding out throughout my body and into the space around me. There is an uplifting quality and yet also a downward grounding-ness to it – a body sense of getting bigger, there is more of me here now than before the first session I had with Addie almost two weeks ago. 

And there is a sense of celebration and excitement in me: the day I started school just before I was five years old, I knew I had not had what I needed to cope with life beyond the home. Now my body is getting it – 59 years later!! 

Not only is my body getting the nourishment and loving connection it so needed, what is also different is my body now can take it in, absorb it, digest it, grow from it. In retrospect, five years ago, I realize I had only just stopped dissociating as my default mode of being. When I started Wholebody Focusing training back then, it was inevitable I was going to quickly connect to the buried body memories held inside of me. These feelings became my default mode, a Nobel-prize winning ability in dissociation when life was challenging. And there had been a lot of challenges! 

Now a significant amount of energy has surfaced. This energy helps me make space for me to enjoy the experience of embodiment and fascination with the incredible mystery that is our alive breathing bodying. 

Observing my Living Process

I feel like I have acquired Richard Attenborough’s fascination for the micro-moments of observing the living process unfolding in me as I sit with my breath. I start with being just open to the minute nuances of the travel of the cool inhale air past my nostrils, stroking down my throat, landing down in the lungs. Next, a diffuse spreading out of the breath comes, a movement that goes into every cell of my body, atoms of aliveness filling me. Then, the mysterious knowing comes of how and when to exhale, to release, to let go, to make space for more to come — finally pausing before the next drawing in of the breath. It is like the most beautiful dance. For me, it is the Dance of Life. 

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A Very Insistent and Persistent Love at the Heart of all Creation

What does Heartfelt Connection feel like in a person’s body?  What happens if other people watch two people engage in a Heartfelt way?  How can the energy of this experience carry over into other’s lives? Also, what does this have to do with Quantum Physics and Quantum Entanglements?

The podcast below by Kevin McEvenue describes such an event that can give us insight into these questions.  Kevin participated in an  International Focusing Institute event in which Rob Parker was discussing Gene Gendlin’s work when he suddenly stopped and felt into his body.  What comes next is an extraordinary entanglement that resonated not only for Rob and Kevin but also for the whole group watching their connection unfold and later for someone completely unconnected to the event or anyone who participated in the event except for Kevin.

If you ever asked any of the questions above, this is the podcast for you.  Enjoy listening to the unfolding of this experience of Heartfelt Connection between two leaders of focusing who never met before.

This is a link to the transcript added here so that speakers of other language can us Google Translate to obtain a transcript in their language.  A very insistent and persistent LovePDF

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Addie and Kevin on Gendlin’s Foundational Contribution to WBF

We have a new series of videos that provide insights to Wholebody Focusing through a Heartfelt Conversation between Addie van der Kooy and Kevin McEvenue. Their purpose is to deepen their understanding of how the theories of Gene Gendlin, founder of Focusing, is still relevant to Wholebody. They also explore the new edge of the work of Addie van der Kooy in deepening our understanding of the power of Wholebody focusing that also draws from van der Kooy’s experience of working with clients and his own transformation using WBF.

The first benefit of watching this video is that it is a great pleasure to observe these long-time collaborators and friends approach the topic as a Heartfelt Conversation. What comes is from a state of grounded presence. One can see Heartfelt conversation in action and sense into the results of this kind of conversation.

The second benefit is to hear anew how essential the foundation of Gendlin’s work is to Wholebody Focusing. Addie directs us to connect to some parts of what Gendlin proposes into our WBF practice. He also points us to the simplicity and precision of the six core Focusing movements that Gendlin introduces in the Focusing book. Particularly, sensing into Finding a Handle and Resonating the Handle with the Felt Sense.

In future videos, we will present how those foundational concepts are part and parcel to how Wholebody Focusing developed to include the role of the bodily felt sense in a new way.

This post includes the video of this conversation. It also has the transcript of the video so that those who speak other languages can use the translation app attached to this blog as a way to translate the content of the video.  Transcript of Van der Kooy, McEvenue, and Gendlin

We invite you to enjoy, like, and comment on this conversation. We also encourage your anticipation of the videos of the rest of the conversation

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Quantum Entanglement and the Field of Love

Photo Credit: Michael Lux Rollright Stones on the Oxfordshire & Warwickshire border in England

Like never before in history, this generation has at its disposal new and wonderful evidence from science, confirming the presence and power of what many of us would call A Very Insistent and Persistent Love at the heart of all creation.

Richard Rohr 2019

Dear Friends who are exploring Heartfelt Connection and Conversation, an article that appeared this morning touched me as a kind of historical support to this new experiencing that is emerging of connecting with other people that is natural on a cellular level.

It comes from quantum physics with a new aspect of connection that expands my sense of what happens when we bring our attention to the physical body and how it responds to that kind of attention. This piece expands the same exploration to include connections with other people that is vital to me in order to develop my sense of me more, instead of me less.

The views and words expressed here fit my own spiritual experience and direction but they seem to meet all of us regardless of the history and culture that we follow. For me, it is the path of the mystic, a person who chooses to live a life that seems inner-directed. People with whom I feel understood and appreciated draw me to them before I know what it is that is in me.

That might be enough, but if you would like to read further about what excited my experience today as a kind of support in this way of being here, it is in words. As I work with different people in our various ways, I see something in each one emerging here in one form or another.

Here is the link to Richard Rohr’s November 7, 2019 article The Field of Love that inspired me this morning.

Kevin McEvenue