Sintomi-La chiave di volta per prendere contatto Symptoms-the Key to Making Contact

Sintomi-La chiave di volta per prendere contatto.

Attraverso il Focusing, andremo a scoprire un nuovo approccio per portarci ad ascoltare i Sintomi
che il nostro corpo ci trasmettere quotidianamente a fronte di disagi, malesseri, disturbi.

Andremo ad onorare il Sintomo ospitandolo in uno spazio ampio, inconsueto spesso intangibile.
Il Sintomo è un indice: Segnale di una irregolarità del funzionamento ideale di un organismo, di cui conoscendolo meglio, sarebbe opportuno ascoltarlo al ne di farlo funzionare al meglio.

Non è un segnale da ignorare o pensare di eliminare senza permettergli di esprimere la sua voce.
Patrizia Mataloni, Paola Schiesaro hanno unito le loro esperienze e competenze iniziate nel 2017 per consolidare un approccio strutturato, organizzato e ripetibile,
nell’ambito di alcuni disagi che il nostro corpo aronta ogni giorno.A chi è rivolto?

A tutti quei Focalizzatori

attivi che hanno voglia dimettersi in discussione, ascoltare empaticamente e approcciare in un modo strutturato eventuali sintomi che il proprio corpo segnala e che la nostra mente si riuta di ascoltare.

Come e dove s’ impara?

L’apprendimento della metodologia è prettamente esperienziale supportato da alcuni studi nei diversi campi di riferimento e necessita di essere insegnata la tecnica attraverso delle sessioni teorico/pratiche. Al termine di ogni corso verrà rilasciato un attestato di frequenza a completamento del Corso.

L’attestato può essere usato per crediti ECP.

Struttura del Corso e Date:
INCONTRI DI 2 GIORNI
modalità in presenza o anche via SKYPE/ZOOM

In presenza – 16/17 Ottobre 2020 Ore 9:00 -18:00 CEST Rivoli, Italy
OnLine – 07/08 Novembre 2020 Ore 9:30- 18:30 CEST
Min. partecipanti 6 Max 12
Luogo: LA CASA NELLA VIGNA Via Mongioie, 14/13 – Rivoli

Eventuali suggerimenti se necessario per chi volesse
fermarsi a dormire o non arriva da zone connanti.
Le Lezioni non possono essere recuperate frequentando parzialmente

Costo: 160€ se iscrizione eettuata e pagata entro il 30 Settembre 2020
Successivamente Settembre 180€.

Formatrici:
MATALONI PATRIZIA e SCHIESARO PAOLA, TRAINERS CERTIFICATO FOCUSING INSTITUTE NY
schpao@hotmail.it – 335.1247368
prempatma@gmail.com – 339.7439542

 

Through Focusing, we will discover a new approach to lead us to listen to the symptoms
that our body provides to us every day in the face of discomfort, illness, ailments.

We will honor the Symptom by holding them in a large, unusual and often intangible space.

The symptom is an index: A sign of an irregularity in the ideal functioning of an organism, of which knowing it better, it would be helpful to listen to them in order to support our bodies.

It is not a signal to ignore or think about eliminating them without allowing them to express their voice.

Patrizia Mataloni, Paola Schiesaro have combined their experiences and skills started in 2017 to consolidate a structured, organized and reliable approach, in the context of some discomforts that our bodies suffer every day.

Who will benefit from this workshop?

All Focuser who are active people who want to, listen empathically and approach in a structured way any symptoms that their body signals and that our mind sometimes fails to listen.

How and where do you learn?

Learning the methodology is purely experiential supported by some studies in the various fields of reference and needs to be taught the technique through theoretical / practical sessions. At the end of each course, a certificate of attendance will be issued to complete the course.The certificate can be used for ECP credits.

Course Structure and Dates: 2-DAY MEETINGS
in person and also via SKYPE / ZOOM

In attendance – 16/17 October 2020 9:00 am – 6:00 pm CEST (Rivoli, Italy)
OnLine – 07/08 November 2020 9: 30- 18:30
Minimum Participants 6 Maximum 12.
Place: THE HOUSE IN THE VINEYARD Via Mongioie, 14/13 – Rivoli, Italy

Cost: € 160 if registration is completed and paid by 30 September 2020
Subsequently September 180 €.

Teachers:
MATALONI PATRIZIA and SCHIESARO PAOLA, CERTIFIED TRAINERS FOCUSING INSTITUTE NY
schpao@hotmail.it – 335.1247368
prempatma@gmail.com – 339.7439542

 

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Make Peace with your Body

I would like to share with you a beautiful intunement between myself and my friend and colleague Sathi Roshan who will be co-hosting our upcoming Chaikhana meeting space with me.

CHAIKHANAs are traditional tea-houses in minor Asia( Afghanistan, tajikistan, uzbzkistan…..till Russia)

Symbolically for sufis, they represent a place to share and exchange knowledge.

For more details see https://www.gabeclark.com.au or email

Gabe – gabe@gabeclark.com.au or

Sathi – sat.roshan@yahoo.com

My question that sparked this conversation was “how do we find the right next steps?”

This transcript is not word for word as the audio but was inspired by the Wholebody Heartfelt-sensing focusing conversation between us. There is the actual audio of the conversation at the end that you can use as an intunement.

Make peace with your body

Through many circumstances we have been cut off from our bodies
We need to learn to listen again to find our own inner wisdom
Our own right way forward.
Make peace with your body…
Come back home to your body, your inner compass, your centre…
Feel your feet on the ground…
Sense the contact with the floor…
Sense your knees – both your knees…
Your thighs
The contact with the chair
back of the chair
seat of the chair
Your sitting bones
Your hands – both your hands…
Your arms
Your shoulders
– all of that
You don’t have to change
You don’t have to relax
Just feel them…
Whatever is there
There might be sensations
There might be tensions
There might be warm, cold
There might be…..
Anything – everything is okay
Don’t try to change them
Don’t try to modify them
Just be conscious that they are there
And bring a sense of gratitude towards your body

This is a body from 50 -60 -70…. so many years
I am living in this body & I have so little consideration
For this body
This body is holding me
This body is supporting me
And I am always fighting with this body
Wanting it to be better
Wanting it to be different
Wanting it to be this and wanting it to be that
Let us make peace with this body
With gratitude
“Oh, thank you my body
Thank you for holding me”
Allow that sense of love for your body
It is something very important to
Feel that love for your body
Many people hate their body
Make peace with your body
This is a body that can give you children
Make you love
Feel joy
Experience all your senses
Feed your children
Feel how precious this body is
It is quite a miracle
Feel that – how precious it is
Many people have not discovered its possibilities
Like the felt sense
Some people will live 100 years and will die without even knowing what it is
Come back to your body with a sense of gratitude & love
Openness and acceptance
Start to acknowledge that your body is your best friend and that knows better than anybody outside Your body has the highest level of expertise , your felt sense, knows better than anybody else what is right for you
We have always been taught to seek outwards for knowledge, for right thing to do, for advice,
we have not learned to listen inside
It is not the fault of our parents, they didn’t know either
Its not a question of blaming them
It is that we haven’t learned to turn our attention inside & listen
Now we are learning to listen for inherent wisdom.
We are never completely cut off from our felt sense
Sometimes it is in the background – under all our learnings, knowledge, conditioning, shoulds and should nots
But fortunately, it is always there
This wisdom is always there
Let us bring it to the foreground
Let it shine
The more you listen to it the more it becomes confident the more it talks to you
The more you listen to it, have trust in this wisdom
The more it becomes more functional in each moment
It is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks in a year
Sometimes we need to retire in some silence
Maybe in a corner or a garden, a quiet space
It is like stars in the sky
In the city when its noisy and too bright, we don’t see the stars,
when we come back to the mountains or the countryside we see so many
When we are back in the widerness of our nature – without thoughts, without learnings & knowing’s
Without shoulds and should nots
– then there is a little silence and space so the star dust can be revealed – it was always there
Then slowly some stars become brighter & they can guide us
Certain stars become more in focus and new steps, new insights start to emerge as guidelines
That is your real guidance
We live in the world and there are a lot of distractions in the world
This is called meditation -to come back away from the distractions, to the silence and listen
When there is no distractions then you can only see the truth of yourself and your own direction
Your own wisdom will come to you
Sometimes we need to create this quiet around us – like a desert
We have to learn to listen with veneration, with patience, with our whole body to a little quiet voice inside.

Make Peace with your Body Intunement

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My friend died last week….

by Cathy Rowan

Jose died last week. He died due to the Coronavirus. He lived over 4,500miles away from me and yet he was one of my very closest friends.

Inside me is a great big hole of missing him. A sense of both my personal and the world in general being a poorer place with his departing. I know he will have died in peace and his health had become increasingly poor over the last couple of years.

My body now feels him in the wind, sees him in the clouds scudding by, and dancing amongst the stars – probably swinging on the moon because he is now free. He is no longer locked in a prison: he spent in total just 6 months short of 30 years in prison in Texas. And for this I feel a visceral joy for him that he is no longer suffering.

But my heart is so angry with the prison system that did not even give the inmates bars of soap to wash their hands. Alongside this is this huge sadness: what is within me and most striking is just plain old “missing him” being here on the planet with me albeit thousands of miles away.

Yesterday I just sat with myself, just being with all of this and there was also a sense of more wanting to come. Suddenly an unexpectedly profound awareness came: that Donald Trump, for all his wealth, power and “freedom”, was so impoverished compared to Jose. Jose had an inner peace and freedom despite him being locked in a prison for life without parole.

Contact with Jose had a richness, an extraordinary arms-flinging-wide open in joy  feel: he had a deep abiding faith in Love that he called God. He had embodied and lived his life whilst I knew him from this deep faith that flowed through him. He had what I believe all our hearts long for – including President Trump. What came Jose was the one who was and is free, Trump is locked into a unseen cage of his past pain.

Jose wrote to many people over the 30 years including me for 15 of them. I started writing in 2005 – my life then being subsumed in micromanaging my severe chronic pain and vertigo that came from a car accident in 1999. I knew I was writing to a man on Death Row in Texas who was nearing the end of his appeal process and that the expectation by all there was he would be executed.

I wrote because I was lonely and because I missed from my work not getting to know people from very different backgrounds to my own. I even in my arrogance wrote because maybe I saw him as the one needing help. I was all wrong: it was Jose who helped me. Jose who had already in 2002 been just a few hours short of being executed was at peace with death. \jose who recognised what love truly is through his many pen friends and his amazing attorneys Dick and Mandy. And through this he found an acceptance of death and in so doing he embraced life and living.

And so it was Jose who taught me how one might actually more fully live with what cannot be changed. He taught me how one might accept with a glad heart whatever comes as, whatever this is, it is meant to be for now. Our choice is to see the gift within what comes and open to it.

He taught me that prison (and chronic pain) is a mind-set and that within us we can be free whatever our external life situations. He believed if we open our heart to the life-process we are in God will be with us and show us the way. He was a natural Focuser without ever knowing anything at all about Focusing. He knew about Presence, he radiated Presence. I found that in every letter I received from him it was just written from his felt sense supported by a place of Presence. He was so fully human, so alive, and at times got into such messes – death row definitely being the pinnacle of his “messes” list!

Jose gave me the unconditional love my parents could never give. And in July 2008 I realised I had to meet him to thank him, for what he had given me in terms of teaching me how to live positively with my pain, before he was executed. So I carefully booked my flights around treatment I was then having and in accordance with Texan prison visit requirements. And it was all set for me to go in late January 2009: then in October Jose got an execution date of mid-January.

What unfolded next is a long story, too long for a blog post: but suffice to say I so needed to meet this man I lobbied the “great and the powerful” with letters asking for his execution date to be deferred until after my visit.  Then by what Jose termed one of God’s miracles, just a couple of days before his execution date my request was granted. His date was deferred for 90 days in order that I could make my visit. My husband and I went and met him. Afterwards we also met his attorneys, Dick and Mandy, people of immense compassion and dedication.

Out of this meeting, a change in the Federal law and a huge online lobby, of which I was a part, Jose’s sentence, again just days before the execution date in April, was finally quashed. A sentencing retrial was ordered. This was almost unheard of in Texas. I had not realised in my lobbying that no-one else had thought I stood a snowball in hell chance of success. A friend said to me the other day about this – sometimes naivety is an asset!

Finally in 2013 he got a sentence of life without parole. I  had visited him twice prior to the final re-sentencing decision and then was able to visit Jose in 2014 in his new prison. At this meeting there were no bars between us and we actually got to have a hug.

And today my heart needs me, the whole of my body needs me to share with you about this extraordinary human being who has so profoundly changed my life, just as inadvertently I changed and “saved” his. Jose, following his sentencing commutation, spent his life sharing this experience of his life having been saved through love.

My heart feels I owe it to him to do the same now he is no longer here to share his story.

When his letters came I never used to open them immediately: the love emanating out of the writing on the paper was sometimes too intense for me. Often when I read them I skim-read – again too much love for my defended broken heart. And now he is gone: no more letters. Just tears, so many tears, and so much love. I have kept all his letters and when I am ready I will read them again and let them soak in even deeper. Right now my heart is not ready yet for their intensity.

Last Sunday I attended a Zoom meeting in memory of Jose with a whole group of people who also corresponded with him. People were there from around the world: eastern Australia to the Pacific Coast of the USA, from Europe. Not all his friends could make it but what was clear in this wonderful, but so painful-for-me, meeting was how Jose, transformed by love. How through letter-writing and letter receiving in a solitary confinement cage on Death Row, this love was literally spread around the globe.

Jose was not an intellectual, his IQ was 70:  yet he lived what Gene Gendlin taught and wrote about, what the mystics including Rumi writes about. I know he had a dreadful childhood and so I suspect did Donald Trump. However Trump’s was one of white privilege and money whereas Jose’s was from a poverty-stricken Hispanic family. Neither man got the love they needed: and yet somehow Jose found a way to an all-encompassing sense of love within and the richness and peace that comes with it.

Maybe Jose found Love despite his circumstances or perhaps it was because of them? I feel Jose has much to teach us all about how our chase after money and power can so damage us  and get in the way of what is truly important, what life is really all about.

I am finishing this post with a slightly paraphrased form of how Jose started all his letters to me and to all the people he wrote to:

Dear Reader, hello my precious friend, how are you and your loved ones doing? May this post find you all only in GODS hands as it leaves me. Thanks to our LORD  and SAVIOUR JESUS CHRIST!

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Wordless Heartfelt Conversation/Senza parole

How would it look to have a conversation without words? Is it possible? What might two people share this way? How can Wholebody Focusing be the medium through which this happens?

Cristina Griggio and I were curious about what connecting via videoconferencing in grounded presence without words would bring. We agreed to sense into our bodies separately and then asked our bodies to move how they needed to move. While we sensed into our bodies and gave them time and space to move, we also sensed into each other to connect to the other’s movement. We became at once the actor and observer.

The video below is but a small slice at the end of that conversation. We were interested in the experience of the communication itself rather than any meaning it might have held. Sometimes we were thoroughly connected to self, and other times were aware of the other and sensing into what is coming for her.

It was fun, surprising, and felt like playing. It also helped us know each other more profoundly. Cristina’s natural ability to express herself through movement at one point filled me with awe.

We offer this video as a suggestion to others–that you too can have a non-verbal conversation between two bodies communicating using the concepts of holding space for what is present, asking your body to move in its own way while holding all that comes with equal regard. We also offer this video as a companion to you so that you have company if you would like to allow your body to communicate with you and move in any way it wants.

Let us know what happens.

Heartfelt Conversation Senza Parole (Google Translate)

Come sarebbe una conversazione senza parole? È possibile? Cosa potrebbero condividere due persone in questo modo? In che modo Wholebody Focusing può essere il mezzo attraverso il quale ciò accade?

Cristina Griggio e io eravamo curiosi di sapere cosa avrebbe portato il collegamento via videoconferenza in presenza radicata senza parole. Abbiamo concordato di percepire i nostri corpi separatamente e quindi abbiamo chiesto ai nostri corpi di spostare il modo in cui avevano bisogno di muoversi. Mentre abbiamo percepito i nostri corpi e abbiamo dato loro il tempo e lo spazio per muoversi, abbiamo anche percepito l’uno nell’altro per connetterci al movimento dell’altro. Siamo diventati subito l’attore e l’osservatore.

Il video qui sotto è solo una piccola parte alla fine di quella conversazione. Eravamo interessati all’esperienza della comunicazione stessa piuttosto che a qualsiasi significato potesse avere. A volte eravamo completamente collegati a se stessi, altre volte eravamo consapevoli dell’altro e percepivamo ciò che le stava accadendo.

È stato divertente, sorprendente e mi è sembrato di giocare. Ci ha anche aiutato a conoscerci più profondamente. La naturale capacità di Cristina di esprimersi attraverso il movimento ad un certo punto mi ha riempito di soggezione.

Offriamo questo video come suggerimento per gli altri – che anche tu puoi avere una conversazione non verbale tra due corpi che comunicano usando i concetti di spazio per ciò che è presente, chiedendo al tuo corpo di muoversi a modo suo mentre trattieni tutto ciò che viene con uguale riguardo. Ti offriamo anche questo video come compagno per farti compagnia se desideri consentire al tuo corpo di comunicare con te e di muoverti nel modo che desidera.

Facci sapere cosa succede.

 

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“I’ll Meet You There..”

“Out beyond ideas of wrong-doing and right-doing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there. And when our souls lie down in that grass, the world is too full to talk about.” – Rumi.

This poem very well captures the essence of the monthly on-line Pause for Presence gatherings which is all about bringing people together to experience the “underlying field of living Presence” – a sense of the aliveness felt within the body and felt around you as an aliveness that holds and nourishes you.  And then to simply “lie down in that grass” and rest there, letting yourself be nourished and resourced by this dimension within you that is completely unperturbed by all that is going on within and around you.

Being together in this way also generates a palpable energy field of group Presence, which allows you to experience Presence in a much deeper way than would be possible if you were on your own.  These monthly gatherings also aim to be “an oasis amidst all the world chaos of this present time”, as a recent participant described it.

So far, we have had 3 gatherings in which, after some brief guidance into Presence, we simply rested in this underlying field of Presence, embracing the silence (interspersed with times for sharing) and “letting ourselves just be”.  And indeed at the end of each gathering, “the world was too full to talk about”.  Words felt wholly inadequate to say farewell, so we just raised our hands – paws up for Presence! – as a way of appreciating our full experience together.

We have planned our next get-together for Saturday 15th August, so if you sense a “yes” inside you to join in, then you are warmly welcome!  You can also already register for the one after that, which is on Saturday October 17th.

The details:

  • Time and date: Saturday 15th August from 4 pm to 5.15 pm BST (British Summer Time).  The next gathering is on Saturday 17th October from 4pm to 5.15 pm BST.
  • Venue: Zoom video conferencing platform. If you have no experience with Zoom, please let Cecelia know for necessary guidance.
  • Fee: £10 (by bank transfer) or £11 (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.

If you just would like to be kept informed of further future gatherings, let Cecelia know and she will include you in our mailing list.

So if you are Paws up for Presence, we’d love to see you!

UK Wholebody Focusing trainers Addie van der Kooy and Cecelia Clegg.

Photo Credit: Michael Lux Yosemite, California 2015

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Finding my Unique Shape of Being

This Whole-body Focusing training session began with discovering a new embodying experience within me as I slowed down and connected to my body and presence. I found a deepening body-trusting that the environment will support and hold me, a sense of letting go into gravity and being able to be. 

I sat with my breath just “doing its thing” when I was suddenly struck by how the breath in me awakens my unique conscious aliveness. My breath was “switching on” my Cathy aliveness–a shaping movement in my hand came under my diaphragm. With it came a sense of trying to find the shape of my aliveness. It was similar to the sense of awe and wonder I had felt at the birth of my daughters and on first meeting my new-born grandchildren. It was beyond words, a heart-felt “wow” at the creation of this particular utterly new unique and individual life energy, this new little human being and the excitement of who are they? Who will they become?  

My body remembered how with my daughters this felt sense of their own energy was there even in the womb. Connecting with these body memories, I felt the unique patterns of their energy shapes, their particular form of aliveness. I suddenly recognised that I know the contours of their life energy far better than I knew my own. A familiar pattern for me – being more aware of the felt sense of the other person than of my own aliveness and sense of self. This pattern was a well-established survival pattern. 

My hand continued the arced shaping movement, feeling for the shape of my aliveness: searching for the feeling of me-ness. The felt senses of my two grandchildren came: Meg all pink and sparkly, darting all over the place, an exploding dazzling firework of creative energy. Ethan very different – softer and flowing, leaning into, cuddling up, deep focused concentration and sensitivity, a broad connecting smile. 

Addie invited me to sense into myself to find my shape, my energetic movement pattern: this was far more elusive, the old familiar survival pattern at work. Addie encouraged me: a reminding me that I was here with my breath awakening my aliveness.

My Trauma is Not my Shape

Suddenly a light bulb moment happened: a new awareness that for decades I had been “working on” the shape of how multiple traumas had impacted on me and in many senses “shaped” me. But this was not the same thing as the unique “within-me-from-creation” sense of my essence – this was my true shape. 

Addie mirrored back to me, both in copying the shaping gesture of my hands and with these words, “This is the shape of your unique aliveness which is the essence of you that is untouched no matter what happens in life in terms of trauma”. 

The words and the movement together sank into me. My body was absorbing this new discovery in a way that felt akin to the action of the yeast fermentation process in the bread-dough. “To begin to know the essence of you,” Addie reflected back to me. 

 A sense of expansion gently occurred within my whole body with this new awareness. And then a mental recognition that this is what I needed to discover and take into myself to be able to differentiate myself from others.  

Then I noticed, as I sat with all of this, was how patterns of tightening in my body came, as they so often did. They were old trauma-shape models and I could now “mark and park” them with ease, to use Addie’s phrase. I was able to let them go rather than pursuing them and their paths. I now felt in my body that what would help me more would be if I could connect with the essence of myself untouched by my traumatic past. 

Suddenly I realised that I had a sense that my essence was around in me but was hiding! Like a baby deer hiding in the trees and it was watching me. I could feel that this little fawn needed me to be very still and not to startle it, that the fawn was shy and not used to the attention. My hand started moving up and down – a gesture showing me that this place was needing stillness and silence.

In the quiet, I began to feel more of a sense of my shape: not as energetic as star-burst Meg and yet I had her colourfulness and independence. I also had the more muted nature colours of Ethan and his sense of flow and sensitivity – this was the shyness of the fawn. 

What is My Shape?

My hands started doing a grasping movement as if trying to capture something that was ephemeral: a curiosity came to do with this fleeting feeling. Was it that this was something more trying to come? Or was it that by my very nature, in my essence I have a sense of the ephemeral? Then the energy of my younger daughter comes: she is an engineer, always has a clear understanding of direction and purpose, and there is nothing ephemeral about her! And in connecting with this, my whole body shifted as it owned that ephemeral-ness was and is part of my intrinsic shape. 

A tightness came around my head and the image of trying to fit a round peg into a square hole: my bodily experience of how this being ephemeral can mean I often feel somewhat out of kilter with our external world of left-brain planning and organising. Suddenly something came – this ephemerality of mine it is Gene Gendlin’s “fuzzy edge”. A sense of something not yet entirely known and again on the verge of conscious becoming. Addie invited me to allow all that had come to be here. “The all that had come” sank into my body with each breath. 

Suddenly my breath shifted gear, and more came: I had been in a fuzzy edge about my intrinsic fuzzy-edged-ness! My intrinsic ephemerality is the language of my body, and when I sense into and listen to it, then I am in step with myself. That being a fuzzy-edged person is not a “psychological issue” as I had always previously thought, it is not some trauma-derived problem, but it is part of the intrinsic nature of who I am. 

For me then, to be in step with myself, I need to invite and be with my fuzzy-edged-ness that this is the healthy way forward for my aliveness and also for healing the residual trauma still within me. 

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“And when our souls lie down in that grass..”

by Addie van der Kooy & Cecelia Clegg

As you may already know, the Pause for Presence project is all about bringing people together to deepen their experience of simply resting in the ground and aliveness of Being,  a dimension in us that is completely unperturbed by all that is going on within and around us. 

Being together in this way generates an energy field of group Presence, which allows for all of us to experience Presence in a much deeper way than would be possible if we were on our own. These monthly gatherings also aim to be “an oasis amidst all the world chaos of this present time”, as a recent participant described it.

Our last get-together on 12th June was rich and full. There were over 20 people and after some brief guidance into a sense of the ground and aliveness of Being, we simply rested there, embracing the silence and “letting ourselves just be“.

Some brief, rich sharing came out of this at times, but what was most noticeable was the depth and fullness felt in the group energy at the end. Words felt wholly inadequate to say farewell, so we just raised our hands – paws up for Presence! – as a way of honouring our full experience together.

It brought to mind a Rumi poem: “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and right-doing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there. And when our souls lie down in that grass, the world is too full to talk about it.”

We feel this project clearly wants to keep moving forward, so we have planned our next get-together for Friday 10th July. If you sense a “yes” inside you to join in, then you are warmly welcome!

The details:

  • Time and date: Friday 10th July from 4 pm to 5.15 pm BST (British Summer Time).
  • Venue: Zoom video conferencing platform. If you have no experience with Zoom, please let Cecelia know for necessary guidance.
  • Fee: £10 (by bank transfer) or £11 (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.

So if you are Paws up for Presence, we’d love to see you on the 10th!

UK WBF trainers Addie van der Kooy and Cecelia Clegg.

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Tiny Problem, No Big Deal

What happens when we let our egos decide how significant a problem is? Here is the story of my toe.

I was born with an oddly shaped toe—the middle toe on both feet is the longest toe. The right foot has been more problematic. That foot is also a bit longer, and there is even less space in a shoe for it. If you look at the photo of the “perfect” foot, you will see perfectly conforming toes with the big toe being the largest and the subsequent toes gradually getting smaller. What happens when one of your toes do not fit such perfection?

When Someone Finds a Flaw in You

My teenage boyfriend was the first to point out the middle toe. He said I had square feet in a mocking tone. Bye-bye, first boyfriend. But now that I knew about this “problem,” I wondered how many other people might mock me for having an oddly shaped toe. “Square feet,” however, became a background feeling to describe my relationship with my toes.

As I aged, however, I understood that I could not wear “stylish” shoes because shoe sellers predicate their designs on everyone having a “perfectly shaped” toes and two same size feet. We all know from watching many police shows that shoes give away who you are. If you can’t wear stylish shoes, then forget stylish clothes. This tiny problem also impacted how I dressed, mostly in slacks with shoes that had square “toe boxes.”

I began spending exorbitant amounts of money, not on designer shoes, but orthopedic shoes that never really were comfortable. My middle toe would never have enough space to be itself, and the nail would send painful shock waves up my leg. I decide to get professional help from a podiatrist who happily cut away the nail. Two years of nerve pain later, the nail just grew back. So what’s a gal to do with a non-compliant toe?

I wear Crocs as much as possible because Crocs designed their shoes to give one’s foot support and space. Three months of lock down made me forget my toe. I only wore Crocs. But now, because I can leave the house occasionally, I began wearing shoes again, and the pain came back.

How Merchandise Controls Our Perceptions

I decided to hold space for my toe with love and compassion. The first thing I noticed was how central this toe is to my well-being. There is nothing in being longer than average that makes it a defective toe—it performs all the tasks one expects a toe to do. Because it is different from what our society acknowledges as a middle toe, few produce shoes to accommodate it. The basis of shoe design is the supply and demand economic model. This model impacted how attractive I felt, the people I dated, and the shoes and the clothes that I wore. Somehow even though the boyfriend is long gone, his harsh words hang in the air as an acknowledgment of the limitations of not having a “classic” foot form.

Getting to Know my Toe

When I hold space for the toe, what comes is how it has been my reliable bellwether. If Diana Foot.jpgthe boyfriend didn’t like my toe, he needed to go. He was a nascent domestic abuser. When I felt pressure to dress in the hyper-sexualized clothing that society promotes, I thought, “what’s the use, I can’t wear the shoes to make the style work.” If I do not regularly care for my toe when I have to wear outdoor shoes, the unbearable pain makes me stop everything else and care for it. I’ve learned to be proactive in caring for my toe so that I can move, walk, dance, and play without pain. Maybe when I stop my ritual care for my toe, it is the same time that I am not taking care of other parts of me. So my question is, what does my toe need now?

The first word that comes is “constant.” When I have outdoor shoes on, there is never enough space for this toe. My toe develops more hard callus right at the point where the regrown nail is as a way to protect itself. The coming together of the callus with the nail’s edge is what alerts me something is wrong. My toe wants me to know that it constantly suffers from this constriction and works hard to protect my toe by reinforcing the callus already there. Then, I work carefully to remove the callus because that is what relieves my perceived pain.

I have more compassion for my toe and its lifelong journey to live under conditions that do not support it. I also hold an appreciation for the role it has played in my life to give me a reason to leave unhealthy people and activities behind. I hold space for the “not knowing” how to support my toe so that it is not under constant pressure to protect itself only to have me undo that protection. How many other ways do I undo my body’s natural activity to heal because it doesn’t fit my perception of what is right? By holding space for my toe, I trust my body to inform me of what it needs.

Perfect Toes: Photo by Lisandra Medonça
Diana’s Toes: Diana Scalera

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