The Arm Raising exercise is something I created. It helps me move forward when a desire to do something is stopped by an equally powerful feeling of “I mustn’t”. There is always something in me that needs to take control of life at all costs. When I desire something there is an equal desire to stop that from happening. This is a very physical mind-body exercise to find a way to awaken a third option beyond control and letting go. It invites a quality of movement beyond thought and understanding in a focusing modality. It offers a physical pathway to move us beyond what we know.
It brings us to the very crux of the discomfort at that edge between the two. By being present to both, holding both with equal positive regard, we wait and see if something new appears beyond our expectation. That is the purpose of this exercise to explore something in us that knows how to move us beyond our stoppages in a way we think we can’t. And yet discover something in us can. And it feels like a very, very different experience that emerges which is very clearly something not only desirable but something that is not of our own making and yet it is just what is wanted beyond our expectations. Good luck.
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.
This intunement is about connecting to ourselves without any goal or need to “do it the right way.” Kevin starts with inviting us to use our breath. He guides us on a clear path to experience ourselves from both inner movement (breath) and outer movement (whatever shows up). That is it!
You can choose to stay only with the movement or make space for something wanting to come into consciousness. He ends by suggesting a gentle way to re-engage with the fullness of the world around us.
This is an intunement to put on your cell phone so that you can pause and take a mini “Me Here” vacation whenever it is needed.
In the first 12 intunements, Kevin helps us strengthen our sense of Me Here. We are now at the beginning of a new phase of this this work–a phase that guides us to being with the parts of ourselves that need our attention and love. This new group of intunements helps us hold both Me Here and something else. The first intunement of this group works with a painful part.
Something in Me Hurts! is an intunement that supports us when we need loving kindness for a part of us that has pain or is suffering. Kevin walks us through, in real time, what happens to him when he awakes to a painful shoulder. He connects to himself and to the part that hurts which allows both to become more aware of themselves and each other. Through this process something new emerges.
Feel what happens when you share this experience with Kevin.
My Wholebody Focusing practice is mostly silent. I move into grounded presence and give my body permission to move in the ways it needs. Automatic or spontaneous movements emerge. Words or images might surface but not necessarily. I eventually settled on this type of practice because it allows me to remain in grounded presence in a deeper and more sustained way. Without the need to search for words or images, I do not get triggered out of grounded presence as easily and I don’t have to worry about whether I am doing something “right” or if I’m addressing what is needed. My body takes care of that. Whatever emerges from my body is what it needs. I just need to give what emerges my awareness, equal regard and my consent.
Two dominant movements have consistently emerged. The first one is how every session starts. If I stand, my legs shake from the hips to the ankles. This movement first came to me during an automatic movement Qigong session many years ago. If I am sitting, my feet lift off the floor and shake in a different way. I have a vague sense of what is behind these movements. The leg movements seem to have a cleansing quality. It feels like a release of built up tension or static that might get in the way of what my body might need.
The second dominant movement usually emerges while my legs are still shaking. My arms shoot up over my head and stay there. My arms can be moving or still. This second movement emerged in a foundational session related to an image that has been with me for a long time—an image of a small bird with damaged wings that stubbornly preferred not to change in any way. This movement emerged during a health crisis. In a grounded state, I brought my awareness to how this crisis was affecting my body. My arms flew up at the same time a Kundalini-like sensation of a tornado arose from my feet and moved toward the top of my head. My understanding of this movement is that it was a moment in which this little bird tested its wings and found that they actually worked. This was a turning point in this health crisis. This movement emerges each time I am in grounded presence to remind me that anything is possible and to give me courage. Both of these dominant movements ebb and flow through my sessions in relation to whatever else emerges.
It is very warm this morning. I have the overhead fan on to keep me cool. As I hear Kevin suggest that I connect to something outside myself I notice the sensation of the cool air on my skin. And then Kevin suggests that the sensation of something outside myself can be how my skin feels. He asks me to wait for something to come and I realize that my feet are already moving and my arms are wrapped around each other. My body is here with me today. Is there any goodness in me today? I wait for the answer. My thoracic spine releases the tension it was holding.
In this intunement, Kevin took me back to the roots of focusing. Using the five senses, I found that place in me that is free of the “to dos,” the “shoulds” and the worries. There was Me There waiting to connect. Revisiting this practice with Kevin’s guiding voice helped me to slow down and easily reconnect to my body. As I heard Kevin’s explanation of how being with ourselves in an authentic way is different from being with the narrative we’ve created, I began to reconnect to a safe and welcoming place in my own body.