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.
I attend a meeting where I suddenly find myself vigorously, downright angry, opposing an initiative to determine “who will be accepted to our group, and who won’t”.
I Do Not Want Everybody In!
After the meeting, I am with my own anger. Ashamed. What is this about? Why do I feel such strong anger in a matter that is essentially just a matter of conversation?
I start to feel a strong lump in my stomach. The lump is not just a lump. It has boundaries. The walls that guard. Disqualify.
There is a small me inside the lump, who is aware of the boundary because not all should be allowed inside. The lump is not just me, but it is us. “They” belong outside. Those others. Those who are dubious. Different. Those who don’t belong to us.
The lump pushes the diaphragm so that it is difficult for me to breathe. There is right, and there is wrong. Just those two. I don’t precisely know the rules for right and wrong, nevertheless, a part of me feels I should know who belongs to us, and who doesn’t.
There is somebody outside of me, who is part of us and who knows…and is now testing me if I know it too, because I MUST know.
The Wholebody FocusingBlogseems to have expanded and has become more inclusive as it awakens the stories of other participants who share experiences of themselves so powerfully. Several stories have touched me deeply as they further validate my own story of myself. In fact, there have been surprising expanded new directions and new possibilities for me to be open to! (Look for another posting about what feels so unsatisfying at another date!)
One was a story of a generational trauma passed on from one family to the next, based on faulty belief systems that have been so destructive to healthy living for generations.
Another explores the power of the ‘Pause’ as a way to stop and fully appreciate what is there and to give it the space it needs to expand and complete itself more fully.
In my own story in this recording, I explore the experience of pain. The reality of the moment is that it hurts. It is as simple as that and yet my tendency is to try to understand it or do something with it. Anything but actually open up to and accept it. In fact, I block it.I seem to want to cut off the experience itself and go to a place to try to do something about it rather than let it do something in its own bodily wisdom!
In this recording, I am sharing a very concrete moment of an event in me that hurts! I suspect everyone has those moments and could say simply, this hurts!But we often don’t.We don’t just stop there, and pause, and give it the space it needs to be aware of itself. We seem to need to react! Why?
I invite you to hear my story and see if it resonates with something that is familiar to you, both as a story of a painful situation and the habit that comes right there as a way of “dealing” with it. Before I can even ask myself how it is—I react!! The experience itself has been denied and I have moved on to that part of me that is essentially reactive!
My story of This Hurts may open up new possibilities that offer something else for you to ponder. Please make room for what comes in you and mark it and maybe even share that.
I like this intunement. It was recorded several months ago and as I just listened to it now, I noticed that a change of direction happened that will probably be explored more deeply. As participants become more comfortable with the invitation to notice “What is alive here?” or “How am I right now?” they will begin to make room for what comes. In this intunement I demonstrate something that is happening in my body now and give voice to that experience.
This intunement is also a demonstration of what it is to speak directly from our own felt experience giving it a voice to speak from itself. Notice what happens in me, in my own body, as it responds to that invitation to speak for itself. How does my body change when it feels heard and supported to express itself so directly. Somehow that feels kind of radical to give a part of me that kind of voice. You might be surprised how that might differ from what you expect!
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.