Connect to Kevin’s Intunements

Photo by: Diana Scalera

One of the reason’s for the blog was to create a space for the Wholebody Focusing Community to continue to develop and grow.  Kevin McEvenue has provided our us with  more than 30 audio guided suggestions or intunements to help all of us each day of our lives.  It is important to remind readers of these amazing resources in this difficult time we are experiencing.

The intunements are organized into three “albums.”

  1. First Intunements is for anyone who wants to start or become more proficient at Wholebody Focusing;
  2. Coming Home is for anyone who has some basic understanding of Wholebody Focusing and wants to deepen their practice; and
  3. Exploring the Unexplored is for anyone who wants to extend their practice in ways that they may not have yet experienced.

You can find them by clicking on “Find your Favorite Intunement!

Enjoy and be held by Kevin’s voice and wisdom.  Let us know which ones are most helpful and why.

To leave or read a comment, click here and go past the end of the post

 

Una lettera dal nord Italia–Letter from Northern Italy

See English Translation at the end of Italian version.

Oggi qualcosa in me è profondamente scosso e triste. Sto facendo colazione e piango …piango per tutte quelle persone che non ce l’hanno fatta, che sono morte sole, anziane e non, isolate in ospedale perché nessuno poteva avvicinarsi alle zone dei contagiati.

Mi ha molto colpito la vicenda di una nonnina di più di 90 anni , che già era in ospedale, a cui il Covid-19 ha dato il colpo di grazia. Voleva tanto salutare la famiglia per un ultima volta, prima di andarsene , ma non le è stato concesso…una voce in me dice : “No!!!Non è possibile….sarà vero?”

E poi piango per la paura, che come un’ombra scura, si è insinuata nella vita di tanti e anche per l’incoscienza di chi invece non ha esitato a fuggire portando un possibile contagio dal Nord al Sud , dove le strutture ospedaliere sono ancora più bisognose che al Nord.

E infine piango per l mia piccola Confort Zone che, nello spazio di pochi giorni, è stata spazzata via. Qualcuno ieri, alla televisione, ha detto che noi qui in Europa siamo una generazione con la vita tutta “in discesa”. In parte è certamente vero se ci paragoniamo alle generazioni precedenti che hanno dovuto affrontare la guerra e l’Olocausto. E’ vero anche che si tratta di una generalizzazione perché ognuno deve affrontare i propri dolori e le difficoltà della vita anche in un periodo di pace…

Devo andare indietro fino agli anni’70 e all’Austerity per ricordare un paesaggio così “desertico”. Io faccio colazione davanti ad una grande finestra e, in lontananza, c’è una strada che unisce la mia città a Torino…questa mattina posso contare le auto che passano ad una ad una e sento diffondersi un silenzio irreale.

L’immagine dell’Austerity di 50 anni fa mi arriva come associazione ma sento anche quanto quel periodo, ed io con esso, fossimo diversi da adesso. Allora avevo 20 anni ed eravamo sì senz’auto , ma liberi di andare in bicicletta o a piedi e per noi ragazzi era un occasione per trovarci in grandi gruppi e fare gite. Questo ricordo mi aiuta di più a comprendere i giovani di ora che faticano ad accettare ciò che viene richiesto…stare chiusi in casa. .

Questo antico ricordo e come mi sentivo libera e allegra, felice di pedalare è qui, presente nella totalità del mio essere e stride con il presente.

So che una piccola, o grande, parte di me sta piangendo perché le sue abitudini, che sono anche sicurezze, sono state spazzate via e sento anche un qualcos’altro in me che vorrebbe giudicare, che mentalmente elenca tutte le Grandi Anime che hanno fatto fronte a situazioni molto dure e ne hanno fatto un’occasione di trasformazione per sé e spesso per gli altri, Faccio spazio anche a questa voce di sottofondo che elenca Assagioli, il mio primo”Maestro”, Mandela, Ghandi, Madre Teresa….ma molto di me in questo momento si sente una “piccola anima” di fronte ad una sfida grande e allora do spazio anche alle lacrime per quella parte di me che si sente persa e spaventata , che vorrebbe tanto fare una passeggiata con la sua migliore amica ma sa che è meglio lasciar perdere…

Non è facile, ci vuole veramente un grande spazio per contenere tutto e mettere tutto alla “giusta distanza” ma, lentamente sento che il mio dolore si sta calmando e mi affiorano i messaggi dei colleghi Focalizzatori , degli amici, dei gruppi di ascolto ed empatia che stiamo formando in Italia , unendoci localmente ma anche da zona a zona, fra il Nord e il Sud e vedo le risorse e anche la fiducia e mi sento meglio.

Il mio gatto ha sentito tutto questo tumulto interiore ed è venuto ad acciambellarsi accanto a me. Mi guarda e lo sento presente, discreto , qui con me , come avviene nel Focusing … ora posso affrontare questa nuova giornata.

A Letter from Northern Italy

Today something in me is deeply shaken and sad.

It’s breakfast time, and I am crying. I cry for all those people who didn’t survive, who died alone, old or not, isolated in the hospital because no one could enter the ward where contagious people are.

I have been very touched by the story of a 90-year-old grandmother who was already in the hospital, and to whom Covid-19 gave the final blow. She longed to say goodbye to her family before leaving, but it was not permitted. A voice inside me says.” No, it’s not possible. Are you sure it is true?”

Then I cry for Fear, which, like a dark shadow, has crept into the life of many people. I grieve the irresponsibility of those who ran south in the middle of the night from the northern infectious zones. They exhibited no hesitation that they might bring the contagion to areas where hospitals are very far from the excellent quality of Milan’s and where there are many old people–their grandmothers or grandfathers perhaps.

And finally, I cry for my small Comfort Zone swept away in a few days. Yesterday somebody said on TV that we are a generation whose life has been all “downhill.” Compared to the previous generation who had to face wars and The Holocaust, this is undoubtedly true. It is also true that everyone has to meet their difficulties and pains in life, even in times of peace.

I go back to the seventies and to the Austerity period to see such a “desert” landscape. I have my breakfast in front of a large window where, in the distance, I can see a road going from my town to Turin. This morning I can count the cars one by one, and I feel a creeping, unreal, and heavy silence all around.

The times and I were very different fifty years ago when Austerity came to visit us! I was twenty years old and, even if we could not go around by car anymore, we were free to walk or ride a bicycle, and we were happy to meet in large groups and organize trips to the countryside. This memory helps me to better understand young people who are now finding it hard to accept and respect the New Rule. Stay at home and don’t meet other people outside your own family.

I hold space for this old memory of how free and happy I was to ride my bike among my friends. I am here now, present to the whole of myself, and it crashes into the current reality.

I am aware that a little, or a large, part of me, is crying for its routines, and certainties swept away so suddenly. I also sense something else in me that is trying to judge this. Something that, mentally, is counting on all the Great Souls who lived through tough situations and transformed them into a path of light and growth for themselves and, often, for many other people. I make space for this voice in the background enumerating Assagioli, my first “Master,” Mandela, Mother Teresa, Gandhi. There is something in me; however, a lot of me, feeling a pure “Little Soul” facing a big challenge and so I give plenty of space to that part of me frightened and lost, a part longing for a walk in the countryside with her best friend but aware that it is better not to do it now.

It is not so easy. I need a lot of space to hold everything this morning and keep it at the “right distance” but, slowly. I feel my pain is melting away, and messages from my friends and fellow Focusers come to my mind. I know that Listening and Empathy Groups are gathering all around Italy. They link North to South awakening Resources and Trust.

Now I feel better.

My cat felt all this interior turmoil and came to curl up near me. He looks at me, and I feel he is present near me in an unobtrusive way, as we do in Focusing. Now I can go and live a new day.

To leave or read a comment, click here and go past the end of the post

Heart Holding Space

Resting in the authority of your natural presence
allow yourself to come home,
emerge from this being you.

And yet still there’s that current
shunts you away from this –
a loping grey wolf
in the wilderness of your belonging.

Taking the time, allow a fresh momentum
to assault that crooked door
on rusted hinges,
crack its frozen joints,
charm its forgotten longings.
And let the discovery be enough.

Finding a heart holding space
for these abandoned places
of forest and caves,
the spell of your here & now blooms.
Let it be your home.

In the depth is the direction:
rising like spring waters,
welling up and filling out itself
in unexpected ways,

a new beginning.

 

This poem was a result of a session between barebody&soul and Addie van der Kooy.

To leave or read a comment, click here and go past the end of the post

The Common Good, WBF and COVID-19

We are living through an experience like none other in our lifetime. We face a massive pandemic that will have some impact on every human on this planet. How are we holding that in our bodies? 

Different Experiences

When I speak to friends about how it is impacting them, there is a wide range of responses. My Italian friends are living through the worst moments of the pandemic for their country. They are frustrated by the restrictions and also aware that they are safer than people in other countries. They have national health care, a government that is acting decisively, and are expected to Stay Home until April 13. 

Italy is following the same measures that the Chinese had taken. These measures reduced the power of the virus in a matter of 5 weeks. My Italian friends mention a sense of national pride that their country is putting human life first, all human life, despite those who might want to leave out some people. I suspect the Chinese are proud of the efficiency of their government to act quickly, even in light of the high death toll. China is also supplying the medical equipment that Italy desperately needs to boost its treatment capacity. That includes 10,000 pulmonary ventilators, 2 million face masks, and 20,000 protective suits. 

Matteo Renzi, a former prime minister, said that the Stay Home decree was necessary to save all of Europe. Both China and Italy have acted in the common good–for their countries and the world population.  

When Common Good is not a Consideration

I live in NYC. The first measure that the city announced was that it found a place for 51,000 cadavers somewhere on a small island around NYC. Before the City hospitals will test someone, the patient must meet the need to be hospitalized.  Without knowing if we are infected, each person is left to make their own decisions about how to respond to the virus with a few guiding suggestions of wash your hands, do not touch your face and stay away of crowds if you can.  Every person who has not been tested is a potential carrier of the virus.  As of March 10, only a quarter of one percent of the USA population has been tested.

Fox News, a main media outlet, actively supports the idea the COVID-19 is “hoax” whose intention is yet another attempt to impeach the president. President Trump did not want to transfer the Princess Cruise vacationers to land because he “didn’t want his numbers to go up.” There is also a federal censorship decree that demands that government agencies have their “message” approved by Vice President Pence before making it public. Each state is left to come up with plans without resources. California, for example, has a population of 40 million and has only received 400 tests for COVID-19. That is one test per 40,000 people. In the newspapers, there are more articles about the impact on the stock market than the human impact of the virus.

My friends and I debate what to do. My husband is in his 70’s and has COPD plus a compromised immune system. We are both in social isolation not only to protect ourselves but also to protect others because we do not know if some of the the physical problems we face have anything to do with COVID-19. Other friends are washing their hands and not touching their faces. Some are somewhat limiting their contact with others. One friend plans to go on vacation to another country. None of us know or have a mechanism to find out whether or not we have the virus. Our conversation is about our own risk. Sometimes someone mentions their concern about being a carrier of the virus.  

When a Society Ignores the Common Good

It has become evident that the lack of common good in the US government’s reaction to COVID-19 leaves us to decide how we can protect ourselves and others. That will not save us from this pandemic.   When governments do not act in the common good, citizens often lack awareness of their responsibility to think beyond their personal situation. The decision to act in a way that supports the common good becomes a personal one and not necessarily endorsed even by one’s peers. When I explained to a friend that we had decided to isolate socially, he asked, “Did you get your doctor’s permission?”  

Holding Space for All That

Yesterday morning as I was practicing my Buddhists chants, a thought came to me. I needed to find a deeper connection with the chants. I decided to pause after each one to connect to the energy that it brought to me. When I paused, I found my hands moving, tears coming, and energy enlivening my body. I allowed space for this energy until it had wholly moved through me. A safe place emerged in which I felt was present and supported by the energy of the chants. I paused to give my body a chance to enjoy the connection to the power of the chant. I had an opportunity for a deeper relationship with my present self. I found the “self without content” that Addie van der Kooy talks about in his videos.  

That chance to be with what is living in me now in a safe way helps me have more space for me after the chanting. It also gives me a chance for a good cry, which doesn’t come easily for me. It gives me space to feel alive. I also have space for “I am alive right now,” and what that means to me.

“Give space for your inner authority to come, let it be your home.”
barebody&soul

As I interact with my friends over how we deal with COVID-19, the threat to our health, the health of our loved ones, and the future of our existence post-pandemic, I remember how l loved reading about Galileo and how he survived the multiple bouts of plague in Italy during his lifetime. It was a time of study, connecting with friends, other scientists, and loved ones via letters across Europe and parts of Asia as he remained his curious and amazing self by continuing his studies of how the universe unfolds.   

This weekend our yearly St. Patrick’s Day gathering at our home will be via online conferencing so we won’t miss out on being with each other.  

To leave or read a comment, click here and go past the end of the post

Why Heartfelt Conversation?/ Perché Conversazione del Cuore?

When Rosa and I found Wholebody Focusing for the first time, both of us were seasoned Focusers. We had our own way to enter the Focusing process, which worked well. Still, we both realized immediately how Wholebody Focusing grounding was bringing us into a deeper and broader state of presence, in a very natural and straightforward way.
Whenever we engage in a partnered focusing session, we always start with a deep grounding through Heartfelt Conversation. We use this practice to facilitate a session with a client or student. We also enter into a Heartfelt Conversation with each other this way.

We could not start a Heartfelt Conversation without a slow, detailed grounding. First, each of us talks aloud to guide ourselves into a grounded presence. We describe everything we notice and feel to each other; then, we switch and, afterward, we still spend at least five minutes, or even more, exploring our “We Space.” It is a prolonged, natural process that opens both of us to a broader consciousness in which we both resonate with the space around us and experience more abundant wisdom coming from inside and outside ourselves. We feel we are in a vast field of energies and information, more fertile than both our fields alone.
This process helps us to very naturally step into grounded presence, and we experience something that is very wise–more profound, and love guides us as we interact with each other.

This is Heartfelt Conversation at its best for us!

Not all Conversations are so deep. Some of them are a very creative process, and others are full of lightness and sharing. We have also experienced healing process during this process.

As we work to support our clients, students, and focusing partners, we enter Heartfelt Conversation many times with outstanding outcomes. For example, we used HFC when we started working together to explore our differences, their most unclear and hidden parts, and also our different experiences in life. We touched our fears about this new collaboration, and we explored what could interfere, stopping or blocking the flow of energy between us and any chance at having an authentic, open connection.

We explored our discordant aspects in a careful, respectful, and authentic way through HFC. This in-depth process allowed us to open up to an appreciation of our mutual qualities. What did we like about each other? What was moving us to work together, and what was attracting one towards the other?

HFC showed itself as the most touching, positive, and transforming part of our process: any doubt or difficulty disappeared. Spontaneously, almost without becoming aware of what was happening between us, we shared a mutual appreciation for our qualities and positive aspects.  We brought out a whole series of qualities that had remained silent until we began having Heartfelt Conversations. The result of these interactions was that confidence was strengthened not only in our collaborative projects but also in our self-esteem.

Perché iniziare con un buon Radicamento

Quando abbiamo incontrato l’Wholebody Focusing cinque anni fa eravamo entrambe focalizzatrici ormai da tempo. Avevamo sviluppato ognuna il proprio modo di entrare nel processo di Focusing ma, fin da subito, ci siamo rese conto dell’efficacia del radicamento. Come previsto dal primo dei cinque spazi corporei dell’Wholebody, iniziando con un buon Radicamento, il processo andava molto più in profondità e il nostro Stato di Presenza risultava ampliato. Così è diventato il nostro modo di iniziare una sessione o una Conversazione col Cuore.

Iniziare una Conversazione col Cuore con un buon Radicamento per noi è fondamentale: ognuno a turno guida se stesso, descrivendo ad alta voce al compagno, in maniera semplice ed autentica, tutto ciò che percepisce. Così facendo si apre in modo naturale ad uno stato di coscienza più ampio, entra in un ritmo più lento e il pensiero va a servizio della percezione. Le informazioni giungono ai due partner dal Tutto in cui ci si radica, un luogo interiore ed esteriore allo stesso tempo.

I corpi fisici, emozionali ed energetici entrano in risonanza e si aprono all’esplorazione consapevole dello “Spazio del Noi”, quel campo di energie ed informazioni più vasto e ricco di contenuti dei reciproci campi. Si entra naturalmente in uno Stato di presenza Radicata che, nella Conversazione col Cuore, è ancora più vasto e profondo perché è formato dal campo fisico, energetico e spirituale di entrambi e, molto spesso, viene esperito come un qualcosa di molto più intelligente, saggio, amorevole di ciò che potrebbe emergere da una sessione individuale.

Sono molti i casi in cui la Conversazione col Cuore può essere utilizzata con evidenti benefici. Ad esempio all’inizio della nostra collaborazione è stato molto utile per noi esplorare quali erano gli aspetti più diversi, difficili, oscuri dei nostri caratteri e delle nostre esperienze. Quali erano le nostre paure rispetto ad una possibile collaborazione. Cosa avrebbe potuto mettersi in mezzo tra di noi ed impedire l’autenticità, l’apertura, l’accoglienza o semplicemente lo scorrere di una buona energia?

Dopo aver esplorato con discrezione, rispetto e autenticità questi aspetti più spigolosi, ci siamo naturalmente aperte, in maniera sincera, a quelle che erano le nostre reciproche qualità. Cosa apprezzavamo veramente l’una dell’altra, cosa ci aveva attratto e cosa ci aveva spinto a quella collaborazione? Quest’ultima parte si è rivelata la parte più commovente e costruttiva del processo, la parte che ha sciolto ogni nodo e dubbio. Senza neanche rendercene conto, in una spinta naturale di spontaneità, ci siamo confidate la nostra reciproca ammirazione e apprezzamento per alcuni degli aspetti che avevamo colto nell’altra e abbiamo fatto emergere tutta una serie di qualità rimaste in silenzio fino a quel momento. Questo ha sicuramente rafforzato la nostra fiducia non solo nel nostro progetto di collaborazione ma anche nella nostra autostima.

To leave or read a comment, click here and go past the end of the post

Mia Nonna Etrusca/My Etruscan Grandmother

When I was about six years old, I was in the basement of our house with my grandmother — my mother’s mother. She had a kitchen there for cooking in the summertime before people had air conditioners. It was a big space, and I was dancing by myself behind her while she cooked.

I saw her stop and turn around to say something. I wanted to hear what she might say because we mostly never spoke to each other. She mainly spoke Italian, and I spoke English. She asked me a simple question. “Will you remember me? I recall being overwhelmed by sadness by that question. I thought, “How could she have any doubt that I would remember her?” To me, she was the center of all that happened in my life. I told her there was no way I could ever forget her. She turned around and continued to cook. I wonder if my companionship while she was cooking made her feel loved and maybe a bit worried that that love might vanish with time.

While my grandmother died in 1978, she is still at the center of my life. Every meal I cook, she is there. I sense my grandmother in each of my creative acts. The walls of my healing room are alive with her art. Her old furniture and sewing machine fill my apartment. My other grandparents had already died or died soon after I was born. She was the one who connected me to the ancient world that was part of her essence.

My Grandmother’s Roots

My grandmother was from a small town called Corchiano, Viterbo, Lazio in Italy. When I went there in 1984, it was a tiny town on a precipice in the middle of hazelnut orchards and sunflower fields. She had told me stories about a castle, Etruscan burial grounds, and secret passageways that she and her friends used to play in to dare each other’s courage.

Etruscans dominated this land from 900 BCE to the height of the Roman Empire. When I visited this Corchiano, I found that my grandmother’s wildly fantastic stories were all true. It helped me understand that these ancient peoples were still very much alive to the people who lived in Corchiano, which was founded thousands of years ago.

How We Reflect our Heritage

As I continue to recapture my Italian language, I become more curious about my heritage and culture. I began working on my family tree. I found that names repeat over centuries. So do professions. My father, his father, and all my paternal grandfathers were either carpenters or cabinet makers going back five generations. My brothers also work with wood as a pastime. My nephew, who always eschewed construction work, recently announced he would begin working in construction.

On my mother’s side, the men were barbers. I have a talent for cutting hair. The women on both sides of my family worked with textiles. I’ve made many of the essential clothes I’ve worn during my life and have a love of exotic textiles.

Connecting to Ancestors

I’ve always had an appreciation of my connections to my ancestors. I grew up in a household where the adults spoke out loud to those who had passed to share news, ask for their help or complain that they had been left adrift. When I began to go to a Buddhist temple, and I learned about the rituals to console one’s ancestors, it was as if a missing piece had shown up for me.

I began practicing this ritual mostly about ancestors whom I might have known and some for whom I only knew by reputation. A particular situation arose for me that was related to the actions of some of those ancestors. I decided to ask for their consolation as part of my chanting practice.  An outcome of these prayers that I had hoped for was that my mother’s suffering might subside.

After a few weeks, my mother called me and said that she fired the home health aides that I had helped provide. She wanted them out of her house. My mother is 90 years old and mostly deaf and blind. She also lives in a large multi-level home with lots of stairs. I took in the news and wondered if there was anything to this consolation of ancestors. Now, who would take care of my mother’s daily needs? I also had some space for this being the outcome for which I was asking.

A few days later, I spoke to my mother, and she said: “I am so happy to have my home back.” I have never heard her say she was happy. Even though I fear for her safety being alone, she is sure that she is much better off.

What We Ask for Might Be Different from What Shows up

I am holding space for how, when we ask for a situation to move forward, that forward movement might not look like what we expect. Any changes can also include new things arriving into our lives that we may not even have known would be essential to us.

A few days later, my friend Jim sent me an email about an Etruscan webinar and I immediately registered.

First, I found that so many of the paintings from Eturia were of people with dark curly hair. I had never seen cave paintings with curly-haired people before. Then, I discovered my Etruscan grandmother. The photo of the statue reminded me of a picture of me. I pulled out my likeness and put the images next to each other and felt this fantastic resonance. When I was 26 years old, I needed a photo for my international driver’s license before my first trip to Corchiano, Italy. I sat with these likenesses and checked into my body. I had a sense that I have found my home—a place where others looked like me. It makes me very happy even though these images are from two thousand years ago.

Later, I recounted this story to my acupuncturist. She explained that connecting to one’s ancestors strengthens one’s kidney energy. Establishing a link to a place of origin enhances one’s earth energy—both areas of weakness in my body.

The Help We Receive Is from Timeless Sources

My work in reaching out to my ancestors is unveiling so many new ways to be with who I am and how connected I am to the expanse of time, space, place, and energy.  My Wholebody Focusing training supports me in trusting what my body feels and enhances my spiritual connection to this ritual that connects me to my ancestors.

To leave or read a comment, click here and go past the end of the post

The Dance of Life: Finding My Own Space in the World

Each training session with Addie builds upon previous learning. This time having connected with my surroundings, what supports me, the silence, my breath, Addie invited me to notice how the chair is holding the weight of my body.

Then Addie invited a further investigation. He said, “there is an invitation to be held by Mother Earth here in a very simple way… just welcome this and the sense of letting go.”

This changed everything for me. My body started pulling back – it reacted to the concept of “Mother Earth” to the word “mother,” especially. To view my mother as if she were like mother earth or mother rock felt like an oxymoron – solid and dependable was not my experience of her.

What then started to emerge is a newly discovered mode of body-based surviving in me. Then more emerged, sparked by an event that happened to me a couple of days before my session with Addie. I witnessed a very overt poisonous attack of one person on another on social media. This attack activated in my body a memory of being on the receiving end of many similar experiences, fuelled by my mother’s rage and hatred. Then out of this, a whole new level of discovery and connection with my start of life experiencing started to emerge.

Addie encouraged me to stay with this womb experience and invited me to see if I can find a place in my body where I felt this “not believing” feeling.

I took Addie’s invitation and stayed with my body and the felt sense, and then spontaneously, words did come: I have finally found my own space in the world. This felt sense, at the time, felt odd yet exciting. It was so new and so unfamiliar. I was delighted and amazed at what came for me. This experience has created in me a spaciousness and a sense of possibility that was not there before. Yes, I have found my own space in the world.

To leave or read a comment, click here and go past the end of the post.

Do You Love Yourself?

I went to a shaman many years ago for a Reiki treatment. He started the session by asking me, “Do you love yourself?” I was dumbfounded because I could not answer him. The question froze me in some way. He then changed the subject to “Who do you love?” and again, I froze, but this time my body helped me out. I felt a heavy weight in my arms as if I were holding a body of someone. I sensed into this weight, and again, I could not come up with who that might be.

We started the Reiki session without an answer. As the shaman was finishing the session by energetically clearing my body, I began to sob. It was clear who I loved. At that moment, my body revealed what I had never known. The person I loved was my grandfather, who died when I was 14 months old. I knew at that moment, with certainty, that the love I felt for him was profound.

When I asked my mother about why I might feel this way, she said that my grandfather knew he was dying when I was born. Whenever we visited him, he held me in his arms, and we were inseparable. After I heard this, I spent the next few months holding space for his loss and my appreciation that he held me in a way that made me feel deeply loved. This certainty that I was loved has sustained me throughout my life even though I did not know it was there.

Markers of Love

I recently met someone who works with a process called Neural Linguistic Programming (NLP). NLP uses a concept of the Five Languages of Love to help people become aware of love in their lives and to be able to better provide love to those around them.

When I looked up information about this process, it seems to have some scientific detractors; however, there are numerous books and workshops run by NLP practitioners who may also use hypnotism as part of their work. According to NLP, the following markers are evidence of love: Gift Giving; Quality Time; Physical Touch; Words of Affirmation; and Acts of Service.

Without getting into the pros and cons of this practice, I decided to use these measures to do an inventory of myself of these central questions “Do I love myself? What makes me feel loved? I established my grounded presence to write about my investigation into my body’s sense of love.

Do I love myself?

I give myself many gifts. As a child, I didn’t ask for things because I knew the answer would be “NO” even if those were things my brothers received. So now, I allow myself to want anything, and I provide myself with what I need and want. It gives me great pleasure, for example, when I go food shopping and buy myself a treat that I can eat on the way home. It was a big unsatisfied want as a child. I also buy myself the essential things that I need—like a hearing aid. I give myself gifts freely without making excuses that someone or something is more worthy. I often get a body sense that something is needed. Sometimes my hand reaches out for an unsuspecting item; other times, it’s a sense of urgency I feel somewhere in my body.

I spend quality time with myself. To me, this is time in presence. My WBF practice and Reiki practice are the main ways I do this. I also have many self-care rituals that support my body. Sometimes that self-love involves being with my incredible focusing partners who help me find me.

Physical touch is a magical way to help oneself feel loved. Ulla-Stina Johansson, a psychologist, and WBF blog author explained to me that the part of our brains that can react to touch is unable to discern the difference between someone else touching us and our own touch. I have daily rituals that include holding parts of my body that rose out of my WBF practice. Currently, my hands massage the area at the base of my neck on the front of my body. Then my hands move to the left and rest on my shoulder. I don’t know what the significance of this movement is, and I am happy that my hands have that wisdom.

Words of Affirmation might not be my strong point. It does not occur to me to stop to affirm anything in particular and, maybe I’m not so sure what affirmations might be needed. It is something I do not feel in my body. Neither, however, do I spend a lot of time criticizing myself.

I have chosen a life that includes acts of service. As a teacher and school leader, I saw my role as someone who created an atmosphere in which children and adults had space to do their best work. Some school leaders supported me in this way, and I felt a strong responsibility to do that for others. As a retired person, I still feel a need to be part of something that supports forward movement in myself and others. I have found that giving others the support that I needed at different times in my life helps me spend quality time with the part that was left needing.

What makes me feel loved?

Clearly, in my pre-verbal days, loving physical touch stayed with me so firmly that 40 years later, my body remembered being loved by someone for whom I had no conscious memory. I still enjoy physical contact with the people whom I choose; however, I do not limit myself to waiting until there is someone else who will touch me in a caring way. My hands are always willing to hold me when I am lovingly present to them.

I depend on others for words of affirmation. It wasn’t until I was an adult that this became a part of my life. As a young woman, a new female friend named Barbara would notice what I did well and encouraged me to see it too. It felt so amazing. I felt this in my body as if a kind mother was holding me on her lap.

Then I met my future husband, and for the first time, I felt what it was like to have male encouragement. That felt wonderful and a bit dangerous. It was scary because I perceived men as not being interested in supporting women in this way. Our 36 years together has helped me learn that his support will never be dangerous and will always be loving.

The support of these two essential people set me on a path to get an education that was not available to me before. That led to teachers and mentors, both men and women, who gave me opportunities to be my best self. In my current life, I most enjoy being with those who value themselves and have room to value others.

Gifts are enjoyable to receive. The greatest pleasure I experience from receiving gifts is that they are gentle reminders of someone’s love. When I see a gift, an image of the person finding this gift for me emerges. The present becomes a recognition of their presence to who I am.

Quality time with others is especially important to me. I grew up in a large, extended family with 16 aunts and uncles and 19 cousins and one grandmother. The times I felt like I belonged anywhere was when this group gathered and shared food, music, dancing, and laughter. What was not present in my nuclear family was made up for in spades being a part of this larger group. 

My husband and I have an extended family of friends who come together to eat good food, celebrate whatever needs a celebration, talk about the world situation, share our dedication to improving the lot of everyone.

I also value being alone with my husband. Sitting by the East River or by the water fountain outside our apartment complex always gives us a chance to pause and experience an energetic connection to each other.

I also love being with a dear friend like Robin, even if it is to go on an errand together—having time to be in the present moment with someone for whom I have a secure connection is quite extraordinary.

Once again, acts of service are paradoxical. The more I do them, the more I feel joy. For example, helping Pat Omidian in her work with refugee support personnel in Uganda allowed me to get a better understanding of what it means to be a refugee. It was an honor to be part of this experience. I felt I might have a small role in relieving suffering in this part of the world. 

As Valentine’s Day approaches and we get to eat all sorts of delicious sweets, checking in on our ability to love ourselves and feel the love of others might be an excellent way to celebrate. I do not think the experience of love is limited to these five characteristics, but each one of these qualities can be a starting point to affirm how love is an essential part of one’s life.

To leave or read a comment, click here and go past the end of the post

.