My New Reality Now

Untitled Collage by Michael Lux

“The whole structure of me has expanded and been transformed by the very trauma that was given to me and that trauma becomes a source of inspiration without which I would have never become me.”
Kevin McEvenue
Founder, Wholebody Focusing

Addie van der Kooy, Kevin McEvenue and I spent an afternoon in February discussing the many manifestations of the “Me Here” muscle as part of our Wholebody Focusing practice. We are sharing more of that conversation through these videos. They document what has been coming for us from our collaboration with our grounded selves and with each other. We listened to each other and found new places—tiny spaces that we did not know were there that emerged on this chilly day in February. We are very excited about sharing them with others who are interested in the continued development of Wholebody Focusing.

A Heartfelt Conversation of Practitioners

The two clips at the end of this post are the result of our desire to be with what we are learning as we move forward with our own healing and the healing of the clients and students with whom we work.

In the first video, we shared our observations which included an example of the quietly holding of space for our trauma while holding space for our sense of “Me Here.” This way to hold space is different from traditional focusing in which one might hold space for the trauma and for a part that is critical of the trauma or not wanting to recognize its existence. As we held space for what came, we were moved deeper into our understanding of the value of this work and its nuances. We brought the information that we shared into our bodies and responded with what came for each of us. At the same time, we connected what we already know about the Wholebody Focusing process to the new ideas that are emerging. We explained what is happening on a physical, emotional and spiritual level. This process is something that helped us find our “New Reality Now.” We used the process of Heartfelt Conversation to get us there.

In the second video, we began to discuss the implications of what we are uncovering, how it might change the way we are connecting to ourselves and, how we are teaching Wholebody Focusing.

How to Watch the Videos

We offer some suggestions on how to approach the content presented here.

You can refresh your memory of the original concepts of this discussion by reviewing: https://wholebodyfocusing.blog/2019/04/28/holding-space-for-me-here-and-our-trauma/.

You can watch Example and Explanation and the Implications video only.

Or, you can take novelist Julio Cortazar’s advice about reading when he was discussing his book Hopscotch. He encouraged readers to read his chapters in any order they choose and to come up with their own understanding of what is written. You can also watch the last four “Me Here” videos in any order and notice if something new emerges.

As always, we invite our readers to share their reactions, comments and concerns as part of this dialogue.

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Don’t disappoint me / Älä tuota pettymystä

Photo Credit: Maria Hakasalo

When I heard the diagnosis of an autoimmune disorder, strong feelings arose in me. it seemed challenging to find a connection to myself with the symptoms caused by the illness. The depression, as I experienced it, was new to me.

Since I started to listen to my body more, my body has started to call me to move. It happens in me during focusing sessions with minor and sometimes major movements in my body, but also I suddenly feel a need to listen to music and move. I stand up, start listening, and then moving in any way my body takes me.

One morning after the diagnosis I felt how my body was longing for movement again. What would I listen to? The YouTube channel had sent me a recommendation overnight, and I decided to listen to it.

The first notes of the song fit perfectly with my sad feelings. I started to move, without noticing the words, until I heard: “Don’t disappoint me, don’t let me down”. The words hit my own situation strongly. My body had deceived me. I was moving and grieving.

Suddenly I felt just like something turned on me. It was no longer me whose request it was. The “sick part” in me asked me not to disappoint it, not to be let it down. Amazing! It has hopes for me. It wants me to hold  it gently, and listen to its needs. It does not want to be left alone, blocked or rejected.

This started a new kind of journey, one in which the disease and I are not separate, or apart. We have a relationship in which  both of us have our needs. I listen to it, and it listens to me.

What kind of movement does this piece of Ruth B. bring to you? What kind of thoughts does it awaken in you?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AwIF_BdOmIY


Kun minulla todettiin autoimmuunisairaus, jouduin myllerryksiin oman kehoni kanssa. Tunsin pettymystä, minua masensi, tuntui haastavalta löytää yhteys itseeni sellaisena kuin mitä sairauden aiheuttamien oireiden myötä olin. Masennus sellaisena, kuin se päälleni vyöryi, oli täysin uutta minulle.

Continue reading Don’t disappoint me / Älä tuota pettymystä

Direction / Suunta

Photo Credit: Juuka, Finland by Maria Hakasalo

I had set a really tight schedule for writing the focusing book. I woke up to reality in January. While attending  a focusing course in Chile I received a request from the publisher to provide them with the title of the book and the back cover by the end of the month. Help! I did  not have a name ready and I was far from home. I thought that I would not think about writing a book at all during this trip.

On the same day we explored the tremendous ability of focusing to open us up to what cannot be measured on a logical scale and where to reach what is even more than logical. First, we created a few sentences to define the word direction. I wrote: “The direction is the path that must pass from A to B so you can achieve something.”

After that, we brought our attention to the body and how the word direction “sits in our body”. For me it started with a feeling of space in the chest and, as a result, my body bent backward in the chair, casually. Rest. My hands followed really slowly. When I tried to move them faster, I feltl how wrong it was and I had to return my hands to where I had started to rush. By hurrying forward my hands were out of sync with my body’s timing and location.

“The direction is something that moves at its own pace, in its own way, and you can’t rush it or make it happen faster,” my body said.

Next, we did a pair exercises where we compared the wisdom given by our bodies in the direction of a real situation in our lives. I compared it to the schedule I had set for the focusing book. In my right hand was the direction, in the left was the timetable. They were not close together, but stayed far apart. I felt energy in both hands, but in the right hand there was considerably more energy than the left. When my partner called me to look more closely at my left hand, I noticed the holes in it.

I called these far away places to meet each other. I asked for a “book schedule” to show up  where the direction is. I moved my left hand toward my right hand. This movement opened up like a curtain to what I had never seen before. I saw deeply, who I really am and how it contradicted with what I thought I should be. It also showed me what made me want to hurry. While I cried for something I am not, I was deeply grateful for what I am.

After talking to the publisher, I woke up to feelings of shame. The shame arose mainly from the fact that I had not at all considered the correct timetable.

The shame revealed a deep-seated pattern in myself: I appreciated speed over everything. Something in me wants me to be fast. What is this all about ? Now I am learning to be slower in what I had wanted to do quickly.


Olin asettanut fokusointikirjan kirjoittamiselle todella tiukan aikataulun. Todellisuuteen heräsin tammikuussa. Ollessani fokusointikurssilla Chilessä sain kustantajalta pyynnön, että ilmoittaisin kirjan nimen ja takakannen tekstin kuun loppuun mennessä. Apua! Ei minulla ole nimeä valmiina ja olen kaukana kotoa, lähtenyt sillä ajatuksella, että en mieti kirjan kirjoittamista lainkaan reissun aikana.

Saman päivän aikana tutustuimme fokusoinnin valtavaan kykyyn avata meille yhteys siihen, mitä ei voida mitata loogisuuden asteikolla, vaan missä tavoitetaan se, mikä on enemmän kuin loogista. Muodostimme ensin kukin muutaman lauseen sanakirjamaisen määritelmän sanalle suunta. Minä kirjoitin: ”Suunta on tie, jonka tulee kulkea paikasta A paikkaan B, jotta voit saavuttaa jotain.”

Continue reading Direction / Suunta

When Rectangles Become Circles or Am I a stubborn person? / Olenko jääräpää?

Photo credit: Maria Hakasalo

I go out frequently to take pictures with a question in my mind: What wants my attention today?

Recently I went to the forest nearby. On the way I passed an area of an allotment garden. I saw a pile of boards on the ground.  Small rivets were bored through one of the boards. It felt stupid to take a photo of them, so I didn’t. Instead I continued walking. Next to the pile of boards I saw an icy grill on the grass. Even though I didn’t understand why I should take a picture of it, I did because it just felt right. Then, I returned back to the pile of boards and took a picture of it too because of a bodily felt sense that it was the right thing to do for some unknown reason.

I started to see circles everywhere around me. I took a picture of a hole in a stick, a tub which was upside down, a wheel of a wheelbarrow, to mention a few things I saw. All of them were frozen.

I took about 120 photos. As I was doing this, I realized that it was a way to invite certain quality in me to be more fully present. The part of me that is not immediately and strongly opinionated was pushing forward exactly the way it sees the world. It is the part of me that is willing to listen and even to bend in to new perspectives. This part of me has been frozen in certain areas of my life because I thought I should be immediately and completely sure about my own thoughts and opinions.

And suddenly, somehow the world was not as rectangular nor with such clear edges as it normally seems to me. It felt much more circular and soft. Somehow it is easier to live and be.

This body sense continued for a couple of days when I suddenly realized why it wasn’t easy to own that soft side of me. It related to my school experiences and how I always felt like I did  not fit into the group. I tried my best to be accepted—I even tried to change my way of being to be more like the others so that I wouldn’t appear so different. For example, the kind of bag they liked was the one I also must like, the color that was their favorite color must be mine too. For many decades I had difficulties knowing what I really like. What is “my taste?”

I hated the part of me that was waiting for the others to say their opinion first so that I could say the same, the part that wasn’t able to know and recognize what I really, deeply wanted and was just worried about what others would say about me being me.

All these circular things around me are now welcoming back this part of me that has its own point of view.

Maria Hakasalo

***

Lähden usein ulos kameran kanssa tietty kysymys mielessäni: Mikä haluaisi huomioni tänään?

Tällä kertaa lähdin kohti keskuspuistoa, jonne kuljen viljelypalsta-alueen halki vievää kävelytietä. Alueen laitamilla huomasin ensimmäisenä lautapinon, erityisesti yhdessä laudassa olevat pyöreät ”nappulat”. Tuntui hölmöltä ottaa kuva epämääräisestä lautakasasta, enkä ensin ottanutkaan vaan lähdin kävelemään eteenpäin. Lautojen vieressä näin jäisen pyöreän ritilän ruohikossa. Vaikka en ymmärtänyt, miksi ottaisin siitä kuvan, otin kuitenkin, koska se tuntui jotenkin oikealta. Palasin myös takaisin äsken ohittamieni lautojen luokse ja otin niistäkin kuvan.

Aloin nähdä pyöreää joka puolella. Otin kuvan viljapaalista, reiästä puussa, kumollaan olevasta saavista, kottikärryn renkaasta ja monesta muusta. Kaikki kylmän kohmettamia.

Otin noin 120 valokuvaa. Siinä kuvatessani oivalsin, että tällä tavoin kutsuin esiin sitä, minkä olin vähän aikaa sitten tiettyyn asiaan liittyen löytänyt, “pyöreyden” itsessäni. Sellaisen, joka ei välittömästi ja vahvasti heti tiedä, mitä mieltä on ja asetu jääräpäisesti ajamaan ko. asiaa juuri sellaisenaan kuin sen itse näkee. Sellaisen, joka kuuntelee, katsoo monelta näkökulmalta ja on valmis edelleen kuuntelemaan, jopa taipumaan uusien näkökulmien edessä. Tämä puoli oli jähmettyneenä minussa, koska luulin, että minun täytyisi aina olla täysin varma omista ajatuksistani ja mielipiteistäni.

Yhtäkkiä maailma ei ollutkaan enää niin suorakulmainen ja jyrkkä vaan pyöreä ja pehmeä. Jotenkin helpompi elää ja olla.

Tämä tarina jatkui parin päivän päästä, kun yhtäkkiä ymmärsin, miksi minun oli niin vaikea hyväksyä tätä pehmeää puolta itsessäni. Se liittyi koulumuistoihini, siihen, miten en koskaan oikein tuntunut kuuluvani joukkoon. Yritin parhaani, että minut hyväksyttäisiin. Yritin jopa sopeuttaa omaa makuani toisten makuun. Laukun, josta toiset pitivät, piti olla se, josta minäkin pidän, toisten lempivärin kuului olla minunkin lempivärini. Vuosikymmenten ajan minun oli vaikea tietää, mistä minä pidän. Mikä on minun “makuni”.

Inhosin sitä osaa minussa, joka odotti toisten ensin sanovan, mistä he pitivät, että voisi sitten sanoa saman, sitä, joka ei tiennyt eikä tunnistanut, mitä itse syvimmiltäni halusin ja joka oli vain huolissaan siitä, mitä toiset sanoisivat, jos olisinkin se, mitä olin.

Kaikki nämä pyöreät esineet ja asiat toivottavat tämänkin osan, jolla on nyt ihan uusi näkökulma, tervetulleeksi kotiin.

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Listen to the Warm

This exercise allowed me to connect with my own warm and the people that are warm around me. It also helped me to connect to the hostility that was there when I grew up and my struggle to get a bit of warm.

After listening to the intunement for a second time, I have been dancing with both, the hostility and the warm, and I am surprised that I am able to find that warm place in me not only for me but for others, no matter their hostility.

Inviting my body into the warm makes me feel like I am in my own cocoon and  I feel less threatened.  I can always come back here and make the choice to engage with other human beings who can be warm and nice. 

I know more will come… it is just opening up. 

Monica Gomez-Galas

Asking for Help!

Photo Credit: Michael Lux Bjørnefjorden Norway

When the despair gets into me and the helplessness and stuckness set in I have often found myself searching outside of me for help. This plea from inside that screams ‘help me, help me’ is often looking outside for the answer. As I write that I smile and realize this plea is wanting me to be with it not search outside of me. It is saying Gabe I need you come back home to me. I like that this process brings me back home to myself and my own inner wisdom.

In this audio Kevin says that this whole body focusing process introduces a resource as a way of meeting these places inside that are full of pain and despairing. The stuckness and hopelessness bring us an opportunity to bring in this deep inner resource that knows the way forward.

I step back and find my groundedness and my presence and I invite the background feeling of despair and immobility and resistance to life to be there and I wait. Kevin says to step back and wait and allow that to be there just as it is. Then to invite that physical reality of a deeper wisdom – that is always there in all of us- to show me what is possible from what seems impossible. This deeper wisdom is always there waiting to be invited to show me the way forward.

Continue reading Asking for Help!