How lucky am I
to be able to turn
to see these gnarled trees
through this train window
for some unseen obstruction
my friends, the trees
their trunks, their limbs.
crouches in front of them
Unashamed of their winter attire Take me as I am
they signal in their own
private language I have no need for adornments. I am here. That is enough.
I follow the #MeToo movement closely because it addresses a reality that is central to my existence. Sexual abuse trauma dominates my emotional life. I was never sexually abused myself; however, my mother was. Her sexual abuse impacted her ability to be a loving mother to me. I recently became aware of the depth of this reality when I read a paragraph about what it is like to be in relationship with a narcissist.
A relationship with a narcissist is a desperate relationship where you are always feeling vulnerable, worthless, hated, constantly explaining yourself, silenced, punished, and traumatized. What is it that you are actually doing wrong? Nothing!1
This describes what it was like to be my mother’s daughter. Extreme abuse can engender a particular type of narcissism. My mother, a victim of sexual abuse, needed to throw her own negative feelings about herself onto me in order to live with the unbearable truth and pain of her experience. I experience my relationship with her as something in me that always feels a need to defend myself and is sure that there is no love or margin of error available to me.
Wholebody Focusing as a Way to Heal Sexual Abuse Trauma
The dominance of this felt sense in my life became clear to me one day as I was preparing for a medical test. Try as I might, I couldn’t clear my mind and relax. Thoughts of random moments in the past in which I felt traumatized by interactions with others kept surfacing. There were so many from such a wide variety of different points in my life that I became completely overwhelmed. I slowed down and connected to the energy of the Earth. I paused with this sense of overwhelm. A new realization eventually emerged—it was futile to try to hold space for any or all of the fast shifting narratives floating through me.
We have been practicing moments of Wholebody Focusing and Heartfelt Connection with one another in enjoying these blogs, awakening something very special in each of us. I know I have. And some of those moments stay with me and enrich and expand my own life experience in me and around me–often in very unexpected ways. Here is a moment like this when I was able to Pause and enjoy the moment–as several of you have suggested.
In this recording, I want to share an unexpected kindness that happened in a situation that felt so deeply touching and satisfying and so uninvited. The situation was really quite ordinary. I had just gotten on a bus and a lady offered me her seat. The normal reaction would be simply, “Oh! she is being so nice.” But something more happened because I was open to actually feel the body connection unfolding between us, and I was able to step back and become aware of what was happening–happening without a single word being spoken, but deeply felt.
I would like to invite you to stay with me and join me in this kind of event which may have happened to you too, and maybe awakened a similar bodily felt connection that seemed heartfelt and so satisfying. Kevin.
This intunement is the last one in the “Coming Home” series of intunements that is the simplest and most gentle guide to grounded presence. All that is needed is a desire to be with Kevin in grounded presence. It is also a transition to the next series of intunements that support a deep level of being with all that is present in our lives. Being able to pause is essential to being able to hold whatever comes. The pause allows these parts to find their own way home when they are ready.
Repeated use of this intunement can lead to the deeper sense of self that supports our ability to observe and hold, with equal regard, all our felt senses and body wisdom that emerge.
This intunement is especially suited to those of us who have learned to live our lives moving ahead at all cost without enough time for reflection or observation of what is there for us. This intunement can be bookmarked on your computer and/or mobile devices in order to be easily available whenever there is a need to pause with a guiding voice as support for us to connect to our own “Me Here Now.”
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.
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.