Silence is a Voice / El Silencio es voz / Hiljaisuus on ääni

Photo credit: Eduardo Esquivel

Silence is a Voice

I look out of the huge windows that open to the sea in the retreat center at Punta de Tralca, Chile. It is the morning. The sea is quiet. The sky is looming pale and it is hard to see where the sea ends, where the sky begins. Yesterday red warning flags waved on the beach. Wild, foam-headed waves wandered loudly to the beach. The water was cloudy brown from the sand.

On the fourth morning of the Focusing Weeklong, during the bio-energetic movement group class, I move according to the sounds of nature in me. I become nature itself. It is not easy, because I am used to the fact that all the sound, which arises from me, should be wise, reasonable or right. I am now the wind, I am swinging in the breeze. I am a seagull skipping on the beach.

Then we settle in a circle. Everyone who wants can step into the middle, move and make the sounds their body wants to express. I step into the middle without making any sound. I look everyone in their eyes swinging my body from side to side. At some point, I feel timid. Is it acceptable to be silent, if we were asked to make sounds?

Is it acceptable to be silent if using our voice is what was asked? This question lives in me until the end. Only at the very end, a new thought sneaks into my mind: silence is a voice.

During the Weeklong I sometimes get tired of speaking English. I don’t understand Spanish at all, or just a word now and then. In the cafeteria, I start to think about speaking Finnish without waiting for anyone to understand me. In this way,  nobody would be confused nor would they find it distracting or worry about the meaning, because that wouldn’t be my point. It would just be…my voice. With this thought in my mind, I try to listen to Spanish with the idea of listening to the “voice of another,” another person with a voice and language different from mine.

Continue reading Silence is a Voice / El Silencio es voz / Hiljaisuus on ääni

When Girls Don’t Move – Part I

Photo Credit: Pixabay

My focusing practice is mostly about my relationship with my moving body so you might think that moving is easy for me. That is not the case.  I have a difficult time maintaining not only my WBF practice of moving but also being able to stick to an exercise plan.

For most of my young life, moving was not encouraged and many times vociferously discouraged. For me, not engaging in physical activity was a way to contain the anger that I felt being a member of my family. If I didn’t move, I didn’t feel anything. As an adult, I can choose to be more physically active.  My question has become, “When I move, what happens on an emotional level?”

For my mother, keeping me still contained her anger and fear of the sexual abuse she had experienced as a young girl. I spent the summer of my twelfth year sitting on the steps in front of my house as an observer of the movement of my neighborhood. A friend joined me because I was forbidden to go anywhere else and our other friends stopped playing street games.  They now had responsibility for running their households because their mothers were working.

How Not Moving Moves Us

The funny thing about this restriction is that it turned our focus on what our parents were trying to avoid. All we thought about was boys, being sexy, being competitive, and imagining ourselves as independent sexual beings. We had nothing else to do. Our favorite activity was determining whether another girl or woman who went by was “competition.” If a boy or man passed by we calculated whether or not he was a potential liaison. After a few weeks of seeing the same people over and over again, we developed elaborate narratives about each of these unsuspecting neighbors—we never; however, made any attempt to act out the stories in real life.

Our stillness was not only the result of our parents’ fear; it was pervasive at that time that girls should not move. We should not play sports because it might cause infertility. We should not swim because there might be human predators in the water. Dancing was no longer okay even if we had dance lessons when at 6 or 7 years old. I got to high school never having played on a sports team.

When I joined a group of girls who wanted a girls’ basketball team in grammar school, the nuns banned even the idea of a girls’ basketball team. In high school, I worked out with the girl’s basketball team.  My parents felt it was not their responsibility to get me to and from basketball practice. There was no other way for that to happen. One night of being left on a street corner alone to find my way home after dark was enough for me to get the message of their intense disapproval and enough to stop me from playing on the basketball team.

As an adult, I tried to integrate movement and/or exercise into my life. A pattern emerged. I would start to move. At first, it was a big struggle. It then began to become more natural. Then, one day it felt ecstatic. That put an end to my movement. I would stop whatever type of movement got me there. This pattern has repeated itself throughout my life no matter how determined I was to change it.

What is your experience?

I’m in my sixties now, and I am a Wholebody Focuser.  I hold space for the part of me that is screaming to move while another part of me needs to put a stop to all movement no matter the cost.  Sometimes I hold space for both while I let movement emerge from my body.  Sometimes I hold space for both while I’m still.  That’s all I know right now.

How do you manage to hold both in situations that present fundamental challenges to moving forward?

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Something is Happening That is Good For Me

As a reader and a contributor to this blog, I’m very touched to hear this audio from Kevin, “Something is Happening That is Good For Me.”

And it turns out that he’s talking about his response to recent contributions and comments on this cyber-gathering place.  It’s as though I’m hearing it for the first time—that we are “…participating in something not of our own making…” in these recent writings.

He reminds us that we’re participating—we’re not passive carriers for inspired ideas—instead we‘re active participants in what comes through each of us; something that is uniquely helpful to the writer, and uniquely helpful—in yet another way—to the reader.

And he adds something else that I feel is new:  that we are experiencing “…a felt-sense, person-to-person.”  And he says “YES” to that, adding, “.that’s why I’m here in this moment, to say YES.”

Lucky us—to have the opportunity to sense into this new-knowing.

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In Response to the Question “What’s Alive in Me?”

Photo Credit: Eddie Nunns

I don’t have to solve that problem.
………………………fix

I don’t have to solve that problem.
………………………fix

I don’t have to solve THAT problem.
………………………fix

I don’t have to RESOLVE that question.

I don’t have to.

and then…

Just because it’s sometimes fun for me to brain-storm with mySelf
doesn’t mean that I’m obligated to.
Something in my body is recognizing the ways I storm my brain.

I don’t have to do that.

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Finding the rightness of the FRIGHTENED in me

Photo Credit: Bill Lazar

It’s different from worried or concerned.
And letting it be there without story or explanation or searching for meaning… lets there be an opening within.

… a releasing around my aorta. Then a further releasing…, a lengthening and unwinding on my left back.

A sort of uncurling. And a filling in.

It’s quite specific, this uncurling. It is uncurling rather than unwinding. The words are right even if they don’t seem to fit the usual meaning of each word.

There’s a new openness in me. An opening-ness that’s continuing, in a settling-in way.

And surprisingly… a quiet pride. And a comfort that goes along with it.

Yes, the QUIET of it. The QUIET of being touched by the NAKED TRUTH of… frightened.

……….<a deep sigh releases itSelf>

And I feel even more… a settling in to comfort. Into mySelf.

Into the ironic safety of knowing that I’m frightened.

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The Inner Core Muscle of “Holding Both”

Welcome to the third video blog of a heartfelt conversation between Kevin McEvenue and WBF trainer Addie  van der Kooy.  In this part of the conversation both share their excitement and experience of the practice of “Holding Both” – an inner dynamic that naturally comes alive when you not only make space for a body sense of your suffering, but also include the bodily felt connected-ness and aliveness of “Me Here.”  This  inner core muscle of Holding Both opens up new possibilities of deep healing and even transformation.  Enjoy,

Addie van der Kooy (email: avdkooy@outlook.com)

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The Path to Presence

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Dear Blog Readers,

A new Contributor has joined our ranks. Wholebody focuser Steven Jakobovic writes about a rarely discussed element of Wholebody Focusing—wordless, movement-centric sessions that make us new without narratives, words or cathartic thoughts. What he describes is how pure movement can bring him what he desires most—a connection to self. Join us in welcoming his insights to our blog.

Diana Scalera – Blog Administrator

For me, the path to presence is winding, but also an unwinding. It begins with a twitch in a toe or a finger.  The twitches are followed by a slight shudder or a shiver down my back.  At first, the spasms are intermittent; lightly flitting every now and again.

By now, I know what’s coming and wait. I feel carpet fibers between my toes. Through two sit bones resting upon the seat of my chair, I become aware of the weight of my body.  My eyes are closed, but I sense sunlight coming in through the window.

I speak of my bodily experience over Skype, and my voice instantly reaches Toronto, Canada. Kevin’s warm scratchy response encourages me. “Yes…good,” he says.  I agree with a nod that he cannot see with his eyes – we only use audio, but I am sure he ‘sees’ it.

The twitches become more intense and violent. My shoulders jerk back; my head turns from side to side as far as my neck allows; my wrists shake with enough force to toss my fingers across the room if only they could; my toes grab for the carpet fibers. This goes on for several minutes or maybe only thirty seconds; I’ve never counted.

The spasms slow down. A few final twitches make my body pop before it becomes quiet. Sometimes traveling this path makes me tired, but I always end up feeling loose and open.  I am neutral and quiet; a quiet that I long for, but have trouble finding.

Continue reading The Path to Presence

A Gift that Keeps Giving & How I Mustn’t Feel the Joy of all that Until I Pause!

Photo Credit: Pixaby

Here is where I want to begin, reflecting on what Diana shared below in her blog that will not let go of me until I say something. This was a very powerful connection that demanded my attention. I am appreciating how the power of Diana’s heartfelt piece on the Blog that so deeply touched me. There is so much there as I stop and make room for what wants to come in me now. Maybe see what comes for you here too. Kevin

Pauses Big and Small

“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.”

       Diana Scalera November 19, 2018

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