A few years ago, I was experiencing chronic anxiety due to a stressful situation at work. My body was deeply affected. My blood pressure, heart rate and diabetes markers were all higher than normal. I relied on my focusing practice to help me. In a Wholebody focusing session, a wordless felt sense of anxiety transformed into a sensation of me experiencing my own birth. As I exited the birth canal, I felt free from the anxiety that I had been experiencing. A new understanding emerged about how my body experienced anxiety.
I’m envisioning a Daily Practice in Wholebody Focusing: to embody and sustain that sense of Me-Here as a body-sense of my Self as the foundation place—an Inner-Directed Experience of who I am and what I want to do.
Over the years, it has become clear to me that we seem to desire to start with an Intunement, to begin to have a fresh sense of ourselves as a Wholebody Focusing experience—to get in touch with what might be there in us right now.
How am I? What is going on right now? How can I make room for that? –that kind of attention. We seem to need some kind of solid grounding, something that we can hold onto, to allow those kinds of questions to emerge.
We usually start with some form of an Intunement to find that place in us that awakens what naturally wants to come alive and to inform us about ourselves and what is happening when it feels safe enough to do so!
It works when we can do this, and a sense of gratitude often follows when we spend time with ourselves in this way. It also initiates a relationship—it is not just a thought, it is an experience of me and something out there, a not-me, that together awakens a sense of feeling alive to myself beyond stuck-me! Continue reading Beginning a Wholebody Focusing Practice
This past week I had my first class with Addie van der Kooy and Cecilia Clegg called “Practicing Presence.” I came away from that workshop with some homework—pause and find your grounded presence whenever you can even if you are just waiting for the kettle to boil. The experience of these pauses helped me learn so much about myself.
One task I needed to do was to put together my bookcases that I had dismantled when the painters came to freshen up my apartment. For months I’ve been promising myself I would make some sense out of the mess so I could actually find a book I might want.
I began sorting my books into piles. I paused to be with all the categories looking for meaning. The first thing I noticed was how many journals I had. Even though writers are supposed to be people who wrote in journals all their lives, I never thought of myself as a journal writer. I found 11 full journals. Who knew? They are mostly from extended trips abroad and times of strife. This was the first big pause. I stopped to sense into “Who was this person who wrote in journals and what did she write about?” There were texts of prose, letters to angels, dreams, schedules, poetry and many different types of art—painting, drawing, collage, and textile design.
I paused with each journal in my hands. I found the text below in a journal I had written when I was struggling with cancer and my relationship with my mother.
The Rage Temple has Gone out of Business
You have rage that’s too dangerous to express?
Open up an account with me.
Just tell me your problem
And I’ll deposit it in my body.
And when my body explodes with rage
We are sorry.
Now these Temple doors are closed for good.
How long will it take to empty the inventory?
I had these journals. I never read them. I didn’t remember writing them. I didn’t remember me. A pause changed that. The pause got me to open the journals and remember the me who wrote them.
The next pause helped me notice what books I have been reading. There were a large number of books about all sorts of energy healing, diet, health, wellness, etc. There’s a considerable number of books about Focusing and WBF. There are also books about Reiki, Flower Essence Therapy and Homeopathy. These are all practices that are now as normal to me as breathing. I paused with the books and I sensed how I loved learning about these modalities and how they have saved me and helped me move toward my highest and greatest good.
The next pause that came was around artistic endeavors. There are books on crochet, drawing, creating Flash cartoons, dance, poetry, and feminist literary criticism. As I was putting some odd books away, I paused again. Where should I put my bound copy of the Master’s thesis? It is study of two Spanish women writers who wrote about breaking free, or not, of their patriarchal limitations. They do this through writing self-begetting novels about women who read Fascist romance novels as children and are trying to create new structures for novels about women’s lives. It suddenly occurred to me that my thesis should go with the other books of feminist literary criticism. Some of these books were quoted in my work. Rather than being just an activity that I did to graduate, I could understand now that this work is a companion to the other books of feminist literary criticism that I had.
Each time I paused, I felt more like myself. I felt more appreciation for who I am, the struggles I’ve survived and the beauty I created along the way. This is an appreciation I had never felt before because I was always too busy trying to change myself to be something or someone “better.” Instead, I now know that this treasure trove of information about me is readily available and that whenever I pause and hold space with equal regard for what is there, something new about me will emerge.
Painting by Kevin McEvenue
It Is What It Is!
I would like to do something new, something that speaks from my direct experience of something that is coming to me that I would like to share with you. I would like to begin by saying a few things about what I would like to share and if you are interested in exploring this topic, you can click on the audio recording to hear my direct experience of this particular subject matter that may be of interest to both of us.
The phrase in this session that has triggered something more for me comes to me in this way: “It is what it is.”
This kind of saying has been repeating itself over and over again and maybe it will get some attention because obviously it seems important for me to hear it. And, of course, I have a question: what does this phrase, “It is what it is” mean to me? And perhaps what does this phrase “It is what it is” mean for you.
It is my belief–or trust–that if I speak directly from my experience as something felt, rather than just understood, you may feel a connection between us that feels different and perhaps a little unusual. Particularly if you resist trying to understand what is being said but just feel it or just “take it in”! What I have been exploring is that when we share something meaningful, that feels real and true and alive in me, something can happen in you too! Often the energy in that way of sharing is palpable.
In focusing terminology, you might describe this as a felt sense to felt sense connecting in a heartfelt way. Something in me that feels alive in me awakens something in you that feels alive and may touch you. It is clearly an inner experience of yourself because of this connection happening between us. This is the kind of sharing I would like to explore with you and see if what is being shared on this topic resonates with something in you as well.
The phrase, “it is what it is” perhaps is very familiar. It’s a phrase, a series of words. But I would like to pause and let those words be felt inside me, deliberately pausing and stepping back a little so that these words have the space they need to awaken to their own sense of themselves as though they can have a life of their own.
It begins with a thought, but if I step back a little and come back to that place in me that has a sense of “me here” something more can awaken and perhaps take on a life of its own beyond thought; become more, an “experience” that I feel inside me suddenly. This is what I want to demonstrate today. I will start by just saying these words, “it is what it is,” and then wait and see what comes inside me physically—physically connecting to these words.
If you are still curious, please continue and click on the audio and join me here. See what comes—or I should say—notice what comes in me and then maybe in you, that resonates mutually each in our own ways.
Yes, maybe make room for what feels like a surprise or unexpected and yet very connected to your own life, separate from mine. And mark that. Mark what came as something that is wants to be noticed in you, in your life, and maybe share that with others in some way.
Fusako Nakamura is a long-time Wholebody Focuser who experiences an essential connection between her spiritual practice of Zen Buddhism and Wholebody Focusing. On the evening of the filming of this video, a monk from the local Buddhist temple came to chant at her door just as we were about to start filming. We get to hear his chant as part of the video and feel the integration of Fusako’s spirituality and WBF practice in real time.
What she shares with us is how the importance in Zen Buddhism of honoring ancestors is enlivened by her Wholebody focusing practice. Please enjoy the aliveness in Fusako’s spiritual practice and how Heartfelt Conversation helps her to feel connected to others and allows her to feel less lonely.
For those who would like to use the Audio Guiding Suggestions/Intunements that Kevin has provided to the blog for their practice, here is an easy way to find them on the blog. Below you will find an index of the three albums of intunements that are available. The three albums have different themes:
- First Intunements is for anyone who wants to start or become more proficient at Wholebody Focusing;
- Coming Home is for anyone who has some basic understanding of Wholebody Focusing and wants to deepen their practice; and
- Exploring the Unexplored is for anyone who wants to extend their practice in ways that they may not have yet experienced.
These Audio Guiding Suggestions/Intunements are here for your free use and enjoyment. Our greatest wish is that they bring healing into the lives the people who listen to them.
Please find the Audio Guiding Suggestion/Intunement you are interested in below. This list will be on the home page for three days.
After a new blog appears on the home page, you will be able to:
- Use the “Search by Theme” menu and click on “Audio Guiding Suggestions/Intunements.” This index will be the first page that comes up. Just click on the links on this page and it will get you to the intunement for which you are searching.
- You can also access this list on the Home Page menu option “Audio Guiding Suggestions/Intunements Index.” Once again, click on the name of the intunement, it will take you to the page where you will find it.
Below is a list by album of all the intunements.
Painting by Kevin McEvenue
Intunement # 1 Finding Me
Intunement # 2 We Need a Physical Connection to Find Me
Intunement # 3 What Feels Alive in Me Right Now?
Intunement # 4 Gravity: Accepting Life Itself Unconditionally
Intunement #5 Tuning into a Direct Experience Awakens a Connection with the Embodied Self
Intunement # 6 To Feel Good about Myself is Desirable
Intunement # 7 The Experience of Something that has a Consciousness all its Own!
Intunement # 8 Finding a Safe Structure to Experience Life Fully Inside Me as Me!
Intunement # 9 Explore the Power of Listening Silently to the Alive, a Force, in side of all of us!
Intunement # 10 From a Solid Base of Me Here I ask, “What is going on in Me Right Now?”
Intunement # 11 Looking for the Life Support to Move Forward the Complexity of a Growing Me?
Intunement # 12 Meet that Inner Power in each of US: It Knows How to Put us Together Again!
Painting by Kevin McEvenue
Coming Home – Intunements to Deepen your Practice
Intunement # 13 Something in Me Hurts!
Intunement # 14 The Felt Sense of What Feels Alive and the More that Emerges from that Alive
Intunement # 15 Asking, What is There in Me? Just Noticing the Different Body Responses!
Intunement # 16 A Shared Body to Body Listening & Understanding Beyond Trying to Think
Intunement # 17 An Active Meditation to Welcome What Wants to Present Itself for your Attention
Intunement # 18 Me & Planet Earth That Sustains Me & More
Intunement # 19 Life just ‘Moves’. Just ‘IS’. That is what it is to say ‘I Am’!
Intunement # 20 An Active Meditation to Invite a Question: “What is Alive in Me Right Now?”
Intunement # 21 Holding Both with Equal Positive Regard!
Intunement # 22 An Inner-Directed Experience
Intunement # 23 Active Meditation with the Breathing Self as “Me Here!”
Intunement # 24 The Power to Pause and Wait For!
Photo Credit: Michael Lux – Mohonk Preserve
Exploring the Unexplored
Intunement # 25 Felt Sense Naming and Reflecting a Body Experience
Intunement # 26 Coming Home to Me Again
Intunement # 27 The Arm Raising Exercise
Intunement # 28 A New Way to be with Pain
Intunement # 29 The Basic Elements of Wholebody Focusing and the Not Knowing
Intunement # 30 Active Meditation to Inform Me about Me
Intunement # 31 Listen to the Warm
Intunement # 32 To Discern & Unpack What is There
Intunement # 33 What do I do When Something Feels Right?
Intunement # 34 Something Is Not Right!
Intunement # 35 Asking for Help!
Intunement # 36 Who Am I?
Intunement # 37 Asking: Who Are You?
I already exist
Rather than make myself Be Someone
or Be Some Way
Just notice me-here.
No need to be someone else.
The Great Good already exists.
Rather than trying to manufacture It,
to prove Its existence to someone else,
or to convince It to Do Something.
Just notice It-Here.
Can you sit quietly and Notice It?
Can you capture a glimpse of It
now and then?
No need to Make-It-Happen.
Photo credit: Maria Hakasalo
As I was working on my focusing book, I was listening to music–something random from You Tube. Next thing that I noticed was how I was criticizing the singer’s vocal technique. I had just written about some painful school memories when a sense of isolation emerged. I also noticed how I was compensating for those feelings by thinking I was being better than others.
Suddenly I understood the connection between feeling isolated and compensating by finding fault in others. Instead of facing the something in me that didn’t feel accepted, I criticized the You Tube singer. I compensated for my own pain by pretending to be skillful, successful and perfect. This is what I did as a child who felt isolated.
As I sat next to the small child in me who was feeling the pain I said to her: “You can be as you are, small, painful, sometimes competent, sometimes incompetent. You do not need to be perfect or look like it..”
I sighed deeply and noticed that something in me released.
Do you want to get in touch with the part in you that is not feeling alright? You can listen to one of Kevin’s intunements at https://wholebodyfocusing.blog/2018/10/19/something-is-not-right/
When listening I could feel a firm lump in my stomach which softened after I listened to the following intunement. It helped me to be tenderly present with the felt sense in my stomach: https://wholebodyfocusing.blog/2018/07/19/an-active-meditation-to-welcome-what-wants-to-present-itself-for-your-attention/
Kun kirjoitan fokusointikirjaa, kuuntelen välillä musiikkia, tällä kerralla jotain satunnaista Youtubesta. Kirjoittamisen lomassa havaitsin arvostelevani laulajan laulutapaa. Olin juuri kirjoittanut kipeistä koulumuistoista, erillisyyden tunteestani ja kuinka pyrin kompensoimaan sitä näyttämällä paremmalta kuin muut.