I love to discover the naturalness of Wholebody Focusing in life itself, including in art and music. I found something new listening to Billie Holiday’s version of Good Morning Heartache.
Focusing is based on the work of Gene Gendlin. He worked with Carl Rodgers to research why some people thrive in psychotherapy and others did not. Their award-winning research found that whether or not psychotherapy helped a person with their emotional issues was not related to the type of therapy or the skill of the therapist. It had mostly to do with the client’s innate ability to be aware of their emotional challenges in a meta-cognitive way. Focusing and Wholebody Focusing are practices that help people learn how to become more aware of their inner emotional life in a way that naturally helps one heal.
Good Morning, Heartache is a wonderful example of how as someone becomes aware and accepting of what is there emotionally, healing begins. In this song, Ms. Holiday’s voice guides us through her experience of heartache. She starts with wanting the heartache to “get lost” and cycles through what comes for her by being with these feelings. She ends with lightheartedly offering her heartache to “sit down” next to her. This song demonstrates an important practice in Focusing in which one can hold both the heartache and the not wanting the heartache with equal regard as a part of the healing process.
Please enjoy Good Morning Heartache. This 1946 song was created through a collaboration of writers Irene Higgenbotham, Ervin Drake, and Dan Fisher. It was sung by Billie Holiday with backup from Bill Stegmeyer and his Orchestra.
Today’s intunement helps us connect to another way of finding grounded presence through using our attention to our breath. Kevin guides us to being with this simple practice used for ages in so many healing modalities in a way that the experience of grounding itself becomes self-aware.
What is the quality of your breath? What comes for you as you are holding space for your breath? How does that help you be with what is there for you today?
Start your day with this short exploration and see what comes.
Are you in need of some lighthearted play? Here is an intunement that will move you into an inner-directed body experience without narrative or particular intention other than to experience movement that is generated by your body alone. Kevin narrates the experience of asking his body to stand from a sitting position merely by relying on its own body wisdom sense of standing.
We can be partners in this game. If we invite our bodies, they may want to share the same experience with Kevin, something that takes longer than our own ability to stand and has many nuances that one might not expect.
So ask you body to stand, allow all necessary movement to emerge and let go of any need to create meaning or narrative out the experience.
Holding Both with Equal Positive Regard is the essence of Wholebody Focusing. It is here that the most benefit will be experienced. Kevin explains how “holding both” can be supportive of your body’s sense of the next positive or negative event that you will be experiencing. He also shares his experience of being in grounded presence with the planned events happening for him soon and how his body responds to each event–with pleasure or anxiety.
While holding all that is there for him, Kevin asks his body which, among all these events, needs his attention most? At that point, he feels the expansion of his experience of himself and he can relax into that feeling. As the expansion grows, he also becomes aware of the resistance to that expansion. A part of him does not want to expand so quickly.
Kevin feels his hands massaging his thighs. The words come “You’re okay. You’ll be okay. It’s okay.” His hands have a function that is separate from his thoughts. Kevin holds onto that comfort he receives from the movement of his hands as anticipation resurfaces of an event that could possibly be uncomfortable.
His body is expanding into that spaciousness of being okay and he is aware that while the discussion may not be comfortable, there will be some space to accommodate that discomfort. He will be okay regardless of what comes.
Anyone who has been around Wholebody focusing for a while has heard stories of, or has had the experience of an emotionally or psychically painful part soften in some way as a result of their WBF experience. In this intunement, Kevin demystifies what may seem like a magical experience. He walks us through his own experience of a painful calf in order to help us experience how grounded presence, combined with acceptance and giving that painful part all the time it needs actually creates something new. This is a simple, reproducible practice that can help anyone through difficult moments and bodily sensations.
To listen to this intunement is to be an observer/participant in the process of the softening of a painful part as it finds a new way of being.
Kevin McEvenue, Addie van der Kooy, Patricia Manessy and I, as participants in this blog, have been engaged in a conversation about a new edge of Wholebody Focusing. Addie presented us with the idea that “I can be okay, whilst not feeling okay.” Patricia let us know how important this concept is to her. Kevin’s intunement gives us an example of how to achieve that sense of wholeness with movement while holding whatever is present in the body.
What came for me today while listening to this intunement was the pure joy of moving without searching for its meaning. I was able to feel joy in my movements as I was aware that I woke up this morning with some emotional heaviness.
This is a great intunement to connect you to your natural ability to move from an inner directed source of self, to become solidly grounded, and possibly to be able to hold both a strong sense of “Me Here” and whatever is wanting your attention. This may alleviate what is suffering in the moment and may also lead to some longer lasting shift in that suffering.
Out of nothing, something new emerges. Kevin connects us to one of his influences, Pierre de Chardin, who believed that we have a role to play in the expanding universe. We are a part of planet Earth and it sustains life–even our lives. We can sense into the laws of gravity, for example, that help us function every moment of our lives. This intunement is about the experience of our sense of self connected to the Earth in grounded presence and what might get in the way.
An important block can be the emotional pain of the fear of not being loved or wanted. This type of despair might be a very powerful presence in our lives. If we make room for fear of nothingness, more comes. We need to endure the sense of nothing in order to allow something that is not of our own making to emerge.
Enjoy what emerges today in your grounded presence.
Welcome to the second video blog of a recent conversation between Kevin and UK Wholebody Focusing trainer Addie van der Kooy. In the first clip Kevin and Addie explored the “inner core muscle” of “Me Here” and in this clip Addie speaks about another inner core muscle that can be activated by the practice of Letting Your Experience Be – a letting go of any notion of what your experience should be in each moment. Enjoy!