Letting In The Sunlight of Being

To sense the vitality of Presence within and without recharges our body and mind and resources us in ways nothing else can.

It is a real pleasure to welcome you to our next monthly Pause for Presence gathering on Saturday February 27th.  Life in lockdown during these dark, cold and sun-starved winter months (at least here in the northern hemisphere) is a perfect time to pause and let in the “sunlight of Being”.  To sense the vitality of Presence within and without recharges our body and mind and resources us in ways nothing else can.

Letting in the Sunlight–Addie van der Kooy

In one of our last gatherings the image of the ocean floor emerged with a sense of its deep vibrantly alive stillness, unperturbed by but not separate from the wind-swept waves and cross currents on its surface.  This felt image speaks beautifully of the dimension of Presence that can be felt inside us as “an underlying energy field of living Presence”, always alive, at peace and undisturbed by the waves of thoughts, emotions and physical discomforts you may experience on the surface.

Letting in the Sunlight–Cecelia Clegg

The idea of these monthly 90-minutes gatherings is to come to rest in this underlying energy field of Presence – a sense of the aliveness felt within the body and around us as a nourishing Presence that holds and constantly resources us: to rest and be nourished by the aliveness of “just being” and allowing the surface to be as it is.  Being together in this way creates a palpable energy field of group Presence which allows you to experience Presence in a much deeper way than if you were on your own.

The format of our gathering is simple.  After a brief guidance into Presence (for those who need it), we silently come to rest in “this underlying energy field of Presence”. There will also be time for any heartfelt sharing that wants to happen.

The details:

  • Time and date: Saturday 27th February from 4 pm to 5.30 pm GMT.
  • Venue: Zoom video conferencing platform. If you have no experience with Zoom, please let Cecelia know for necessary guidance.
  • Fee: £15 (by bank transfer) or £16 (by Paypal which includes £1 Paypal fee). It includes a free audio-recording of the guided sessions.
  • Email Cecelia Clegg at ceceliaclegg44@gmail.com to register.

If you are unable to attend, you can still register to receive an audio-recording of the guided sessions for a £5 fee.

See you then!

Addie van der Kooy and Cecelia Clegg

UK Wholebody Focusing Trainers

Previous workshops:
Pause for Presence

Welcome to the Depths of the Ocean

Photo Credit: Diana Scalera Labyrinth at Kripalu. Stockbridge, MA 

Other Worlds Around Us

 

I want to get lost in the other worlds around us. I’m talking about the worlds we walk by and seldom see or hear. Our attention lately is frequently drawn to the larger picture–the health crisis we share with the rest of the world along with the political and financial upheaval.  How can we find a way to go on vacation from the Big Picture?

What Other Worlds?

I was in Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area in Wyoming a while back with some friends.  They were ambitious and wanted to hike up a mountain.  I wasn’t interested. So I found a rock on which to sit overlooking the Gorge. It was a sunny day and this was  a gravely overlook.  Siting on a rock looking over the gorge meant that there were no humans, cars, airplanes or anything else with a motor anywhere in sight. This was my first experience with other worlds.

Insect Worlds Around Us

The silence felt like my ears were relaxing.  Nothing to pay attention to, or so I thought.  As my body relaxed, I started to I enjoy the silence and the calm. Then, I began to hear a crunching sound.  It sounded like someone walking over gravel. I waited and listened.  No person or animal in sight.  Out of the corner of my eye I saw movement. Then I didn’t see it.  The movement was in rhythm with the crunching  sound.  I looked down and saw a team of unidentifiable insects walking across the sand in front of me.  Was I really hearing the sound of insects walking?

Barbara’s Plant Worlds. Photo Credit: Barbara Fotta

While I was contemplating  the walking insects, something flew past me.  I was sure it was a large bird but no bird appeared.  I began to hear the sound of something flying from a distance and listened as it came closer. Once again I realized it was an insect!  Then, more insects buzzed by like airplanes on a recognizance mission.

What occurred to me was, that as I sat in this location that was completely devoid of the human noise, my body reorganized itself to be part of the world that is hidden by human sounds.  I felt very privileged that I had this time to learn that there is so much more life around me.  My  ability to hear the insects helped me understand that we have layers of perception. Some layers are so loud they block out others. “Civilization” makes sentient beings that exist around us  mostly out of our range of perception. When we allow these energy patterns into our awareness, we expand.

The Plant Worlds Around Us

My friend, Barbara Fotta, in one of focusing sessions, spoke about her walks through a cemetery in Pittsburgh as a place of calm. Here is her description of her experience.

 I love wandering through cemetery parks. I have fond childhood memories of adventuring in the cemeteries near my house with my brother. Since then, I never fail to find refuge and solace there. The cemeteries feel sacred and quiet and weeping is allowed. Combine that with the natural wonder of trees and shrubs and a cloudy sky and I’m in heaven. There is something about seeing clouds that can shift my mood dramatically. They can take my breath away. And I am unquestionably a tree huger to the core! So living in Pittsburgh is a blessing because we have an abundance of both here.

What we Learn from Other Worlds

Deni’s Plant Worlds. Photo Credit: Deni Tessarolo

Nature shows us that it exists and keeps on functioning according to long established processes whether humans recognize it or not. Insects continue to be insects and can even take some time out of their busy day to check out a human sitting on a rock.  It makes me think about how nature photographers find that the animals they photograph often come and crawl all over them.

It is known that cells of plants communicate with each other across species for each’s mutual benefit. These ecosystems surround us no matter if we live in a crowded city or the countryside. When the lock down started in Italy, Deni Tessarolo was limited to staying within 200 meters of her home in the small town of Marostica. She described how she spent time learning to appreciate her garden and how that relationship supported her.  She wrote:

This time helped me to discover the expansive effects on my body that contemplating the beauty  of the flowers initiated and how the act of looking at them filled me with wonder by opening a space of time where I could rest.

For Barbara walking through the cemetery…

The cemetery I walk in almost daily is atop a hill, full of trees and a panoramic view of the sky that has me turning in circles to admire all the sights. I feel cradled in its arms. It is where I first experienced a deep sense of the beauty of all things. Sometimes I try to capture what I see with my phone’s camera. I thought that then I could hold onto it in some way. Then the realization came that nothing of real value is ever lost. The essential matter is the capacity to see the beauty that is always here and everywhere whenever I’m willing to let go of my guardedness and open to it. I aspire to have my feet on the ground and my head in the clouds like a tree!

Otherworld. Photo Credit: Barbara Fotta

For me, sitting on the top of a gorge, I learned something that has stayed with me for life.  My surroundings impact my  perception in any given moment, as well as my willingness to notice, and the forces of energy around me.  Many things obfuscate my ability to perceive the fullness of my experience.  In any situation, I might ask myself “what is here that I do not perceive,” then I wait for it to show itself to me.

Otherworld Vacations

I invite everyone to reconnect to or to find their own personal otherworld vacation and share your stories with this blog. It will help us to remember that we are part something much larger than ourselves. We can also observe how these ecosystems communicate and mutually support each other.  There are things we can learn from this–we are part of this system; and enjoy its benefits. We also have a responsibility to create mutually-beneficial environments for all sentient beings.

Participatory Spirituality: A New Experience

Kevin McEvenue explores Participatory Spirituality as a new experience of his ever evolving Wholebody Focusing Practice.

by Kevin McEvenue

Participatory Spirituality: I am introducing a new topic to be shared and explored together.

As I say the words out loud, I notice I stop! I feel confused—as though I don’t know what to think. I don’t know! I pause; I wonder.

I don’t panic or shutdown; I wonder as though I am curious. I am aware of both.

I stop and I notice, and then something comes into my awareness! It feels new—like a new direction—as though a door has been opened in this way of responding. And holding both with equal positive regard.

Something comes that is clearly unexpected and not of my own making. Body, mind, and an awakening that is not of my own making! This is what we will be exploring as this new direction takes us to a place we have not been before, a kind of engagement with life that seems very personal.

Please join me here in this new experience of myself as I explore what happens in me when I take this next step and then the next step, and then the one after that. It seems to have a life of its own. I am given a choice.

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How We Find Our Way

These albums documented how one family used the available means of communication (photography and letter writing) at the time to support each other through a challenging time. Twenty years later, my aunt and her daughter used audiotapes. Now online videoconferencing is giving us a medium to hold onto ourselves and those we love.

Many generations have survived pandemics, wars, and political strife. I’ve looked back at how generations of my family used our need for connection with each other to stay whole and survive.

The Attic

When I was a very young girl, I escaped to the attic to find out information about my relatives. There were steamer trunks my Italian grandparents had used to travel to the US in the early 1900s. At that point, they were full of old photos and artifacts from my parents, grandparents, aunts’ and uncles’ lives.

I would spend hours looking at pictures, trying on dresses, and holding each item in my hands. I could see photos of everyone so many years younger and wondered what secrets these images, old dresses, scraps of material, baby shoes, and other everyday items held. It was my favorite place to be, and it was part of my ongoing need to gather information about the past.

The War Albums

My Dad with his Dog

My favorite images were from my father’s photo albums from when he was in Europe during World War II for three years. He had three albums of photos. I could spend hours looking at these photos and making up stories about who Dad was, what happened to him, and how I could relate the essence of what I saw in the pictures with the man who was my father.

How My Father Survived World War II

My father’s approach was unique for his time. Instead of being caught up in the fervor of nationalism, it was clear to him how the Army used working-class men as cannon fodder in the war. “The Red Ball Express.” was a movie about one of the platoons in which he served. When we watched it on TV, I asked him which character he was in the film. He answered, “the guy who peeled the potatoes.”

As a young girl, I felt crushed that he wasn’t one of the “hero” characters. As an adult, I admire him for being honest even though he knew it wasn’t the answer I wanted. It taught me that jingoistic responses were of no value when you are talking about living through wartime.

Many years later, one of my brothers scanned the albums and gave me the files. On a whim, I set up the photo albums as a screen saver. I was sitting with a friend when the photos started rolling onto my computer screen. My friend and I paused and talked about the images. She loved seeing them and asked a lot of questions.

Later I looked at the photos one at a time. I already had a pattern from my childhood: Who are they? Where are they? What relationship did they have with my dad?

What Emerged from the Photos

Soldiers who transformed rail cars into hospitals  for victims of war

Initially, I saw each picture as a separate story. And then I paused. Something new came to me. These pictures tell the story of a family with a son in the theater of war during WWII. The images were from two locations–Europe and the US. Some were the pictures my father took of his experience in Europe (mostly England). My father worked as a carpenter transforming rail cars into hospitals throughout England. He was mainly on the periphery of the war in small villages that had train stations.

What happened during an air raid in war time
What happened during an air raid in war time

On the back of one photo, my father’s friend documents that his friend kissed the woman he loved at 11:30 pm on April 23, 1943, during an air raid in Swindon. When I read the back of the photo, what came to me was the joy at finding happiness despite the horror. Almost all of the  pictures were of my father being with people on bike rides, in the countryside, dressed in his uniform and street clothes, smoking cigars, working on the railroad, and fixing things. He documented what made him happy. That’s what he sent home to his family.

He had lots of pictures of his fellow carpenters. Each image of a person had a name and address written on the back in a handwriting that was not my dad’s. Most likely, the script belonged to the person in the picture. These were relationships which both partners wanted to keep for longer than the war. Others had commentary from my dad about why the day was essential to him.

There were no pictures of dead bodies, destroyed buildings, or any evidence of war. They could have been a series of images from someone who spent a few years abroad. But it was not. My dad only chose to document his experiences that were pleasant and life-affirming.

He once told me as I was going into surgery to treat cancer that he knew what fear was. My father said he was fearful that he would die each day for three years when he went to war. Dad assured me that there was a way to be with both the fear of the moment and the hope that everything will be okay.

The pictures tell that story. My dad chose to get to know the people he had never met, form strong connections, and enjoy every minute he could. He also documented them to help him keep going. After D-Day, he went to France and participated in one of the most dangerous assignments—he drove gasoline trucks that refueled tanks across France, Belgium, and Germany under fire and mostly without sleep. There are no pictures of those times. Maybe the memory of these pictures kept him going. Maybe there was no time to take new ones.

How the Family Survived World War II

The new generation: Ron, Betty and Marie

His family’s pictures told how, when my father was in the war, his brothers and sisters started their families. They had  had four children while he was in Europe. My father’s twin sister took on the role of the family communicator.

Below is a picture of my grandmother and my oldest cousin. The note from my father’s sister tells him his niece was a timid person. I love this short note and photo because it included my father in the family’s life. He got to see a picture of his mother and his niece, find out something about this young girl’s personality, and also how the family was improving their multi-generational home.

Grandma and cousin Marie during World War II

Many years later, when one of this aunt’s daughters became a nurse in Vietnam during the war, she did the same thing. She documented the family’s life so that her daughter could stay connected. This time they used audiotapes to communicate. My aunt would play the tapes from her daughter for us when we visited. Our nurse mostly talked about what she did when she wasn’t a caring for the wounded.

My favorite picture is the leading photo that I have spent many hours examining over the years. It is a picture of my grandmother’s birthday party (the lady in the back row with the flower on her lapel) in the garden of her brother’s house. Someone took the photo specifically to send to my dad to let him know that they held space for him. There are people you can immediately see in the picture–his parents and aunts and uncles. One can see parts of other people. This photo is full of wanting someone far away to feel loved and remembered.

How We Can Survive

These albums documented how one family used the available means of communication (photography and letter writing) at the time to support each other through a challenging time. They limited their communication to things that brought normality to their lives and shared their stories to reassure each other.  Twenty years later, my aunt and her daughter used audiotapes. Now online videoconferencing is giving us a medium to hold onto ourselves and those we love as we enter the second year of this pandemic. I thank my father and Aunt Virginia for teaching us how.

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Welcoming the new year with a Pause…

Please consider yourself to be warmly invited to our next monthly on-line Pause for Presence gathering on Saturday 16th January (see details below).

In our last gathering the image of the ocean floor emerged with a sense of its deep vibrantly alive stillness, unperturbed by but not separate from the wind-swept waves and cross-currents on its surface.  This felt image spoke beautifully of the dimension of Presence that can be felt inside us as “an underlying energy field of living Presence”, always alive, at peace and undisturbed by the waves of thoughts, emotions and physical discomforts you may experience on the surface.

The idea of these monthly 90-minutes gatherings is to come to rest in this underlying energy field of Presence – a sense of the aliveness felt within the body and around us as a nourishing Presence that holds and constantly resources us: to rest and be nourished by the aliveness of “just being” and allowing the surface to be as it is.  Being together in this way creates a palpable energy field of group Presence which allows you to experience Presence in a much deeper way than if you were on your own.

The format of our gathering is simple.  After a brief guidance into Presence (for those who need it), we silently come to rest in “this underlying energy field of Presence”. There will also be time for any heartfelt sharing that wants to happen.

The details:

  • Time and date: Saturday 16th January from 4 pm to 5.30 pm GMT.
  • Venue: Zoom video conferencing platform. If you have no experience with Zoom, please let Cecelia know for necessary guidance.
  • Fee: £15 (by bank transfer) or £16 (by Paypal which includes £1 Paypal fee). It includes a free audio-recording of the guided sessions.
  • Email Cecelia Clegg at ceceliaclegg44@gmail.com to register.

If you are unable to attend, you can still register to receive an audio-recording of the guided sessions for a £5 fee.

See you then!

Addie van der Kooy and Cecelia Clegg

UK Wholebody Focusing Trainers

To comment or read others’ comments, click here and go past the end of the post

 

 

The “Doors of Perception” Comes to Its Conclusion—For Now

I realize this is just what I have been doing all these twenty years and more—following a life that is essentially inner-directed!

By Kevin McEvenue

We come to the last chapter in this exploration of what Perception is for me, how it was first awakened and what my experience is now. As I stop and feel what is there, there is an immediate sense of warmth…sense of love…happiness…a sense of contentment, all around me.

There have been many surprises along the way as my awareness grew in this direct experiencing of Perception. But what surprises me the most right now is how this exploration has come full circle.

Twenty years ago, I wrote a little book entitled “Dancing the Path of the Everyday Mystic” (Available now on Amazon Kindle).  When I glanced over it today, I see how I defined the word Mystic.  It points to leading an inner-directed life. I realize this is just what I have been doing all these twenty years and more—following a life that is essentially inner-directed!

At the same time, it has also moved my life forward. This feels so true.  My life has expanded in so many unexpected ways. It seems to have taken on a life of its own beyond what I could have ever imagined to be possible and to which I have given my consent so willingly.

This concluding podcast speaks for itself. It seems like it’s all coming together in a kind of celebration of life itself!

What I have been searching for in my life has changed remarkably and not even what I thought was wanted or even hoped for. And yet…it seemed exactly what was needed! I was taken care of beyond what I thought I wanted. It helped me avoid some of the pitfalls that I didn’t know were there!

In short: my life matters! I ended up doing what matters. I am able to reach out beyond myself and wait there…invite, and then pause…this is the power of consciousness… Noticing, just noticing! This is the action step that expands me and leads my life forward in spite of myself. It seems to happen almost effortlessly when it feels right! It just happens. That seems to be how it works; perhaps this is how life is meant to work! What I wrote twenty years ago is as true now as it was then. Just lived more fully. So be it!

Intunement #10 An inner Directed Life as Lived

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The Gift of Consciousness Expanded

The capacity to reach out to something more than me is where loving happens—something that is not of my own making.

by Kevin McEvenue

Once again, I can feel it all coming together in me because Perception is speaking directly to that experience. Something is emerging, coming to my consciousness as I speak, as I feel, and as I express in the presence of another person included in my consciousness. 

This podcast speaks for itself directly, more that I could try to put words to. It describes a clarity of relationship between me, a wounded part of me, and a higher sense of me, all coming together hereA direct experience in myself that is often beyond words. And then maybe words come. The words that come seem to form directly from the experience.

This is me here: me who can actually reach out and engage with something beyond me. I am doing just that now—right now. It is an action step that I initiate by inviting a connection.  And that is enough!

What is so amazing is that something actually does happen. It is like my wounded self is discovering the power of its own consciousness.   This is the power in me, a part of me that can invite and receive, quite different from trying to possess, trying to take from, or trying to make happen. These activities come from very different places.

When I speak about the power of me experiencing this sense of me as powerful, there is some discernment happening at the same time. It is this power that I have been exploring and struggling with in this exploration of perception. What is coming here is the word Presence—to feel myself being present and grounded like how an electric plug needs to be grounded to the earth to make it safe to come alive.  

The capacity to reach out to something more than me where loving happens—something that is not of my own making—is an experience that really can’t be described.  That is it! 

It is something I invite and then I pause, I stay with the desire, and make room for whatever comes—like whatever seems to be the next right step. That is how it works and it requires my consent.  In short, I have reached out, something has come as a response, and I say yes in some way.

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Ambient Grief – Progress

It’s been a few days since I wrote The Ambient Grief of the Moment. I’ve been able to make some progress in finding ways to be with the energy of this ambient grief.  

Ambient energies are more likely to impact us if we have body memories of those energies. My own experience with unexpressed childhood grief opens me up to sensing the suffering around me. WBF helps me know what to do about it.

New Growth

After connecting to this grief, the I first time I noticed that I struggled to understand or explain something, I recognized that grief was present. I took a few breaths and chanted a Buddhist prayer to connect me to a power outside of myself and then took a few more breaths. I also held space for “this is grief, my own, or what is floating around in the world. What I did not do, however, is even more critical.  

Whenever, confusion arose, I had been getting anxious about my health and creating catastrophe scenarios about what is wrong with me. Now that I am aware that grief is engaged here, I can let go of the need to determine what is causing these problems and what I have to do. That is the game-changer. There is no longer a need to see these symptoms as a health problem and go into overdrive to solve them.

I know this is the correct path because the symptoms have lessened since I began holding space in this way for confusion or the inability to function.

I also connected to a flower essence remedy called Grief Relief, made by the Flower Essence Society. There are three ways to administer this remedy. One can spray the mixture into the mouth (has alcohol), on to your skin, or into the aura. This treatment also helps with the intensity of the sense of grief. It gave me hope that progress was happening in how my body is adjusting to the moment. If you use a flower remedy, I recommend that, whether you take this remedy by mouth or on your skin, include the area around your body for the grief that is not yours.  

The Momentum

I hope that others find new ways to be with these energies that are part of our existence at this moment and may get stronger as we move forward in the next few months. Please share what you find with the Wholebody Focusing Community.  Sharing may increase the possibility of advancing the processing of grief by helping others through this difficult time.

Drawing by Diana Scalera

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