In this part of the conversation the excitement and experience of the practice of “Holding Both” naturally comes alive when you not only make space for a body sense of your suffering, but also include the bodily felt aliveness of “Me Here.”
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,
The more I practice Whole Body Focusing the shorter the path has become to the place I long for. A place where there is quiet. A place where there is me.
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.
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.”
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.”
my friends, the trees
their trunks, their limbs.
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.
Whatever remedies we put in place to prevent sexual abuse have to be an unambiguous actions with real consequences that leave no room for interpretation or advantage for perpetrators to continue their destructive behavior. We must also pair new laws with programs to heal those who have been wounded. Wholebody Focusing stands in the forefront of practices that can support that healing.
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.
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 unfolded between us.
A moment of kindness that felt so satisfying.
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.