Wholebody Focusing Trainer Corner

Trainer logo2mergeInspired by the work that Addie van de Kooy has been adding to the blog that precisely describes what happens when someone learns Wholebody focusing, we decided to develop a new category of communication. We want to provide those who are Wholebody Focusing Trainers with a place to share their expertise and have a Heartfelt Conversation on how to deepen our practice of working with our clients. Kevin McEvenue’s Intunements are an extraordinary resource that can support both personal practice as well as the work of WBF trainers. Kevin is genuinely interested; however, in being a part of the growth and expansion of how the teaching of Wholebody Focusing can support the forward moving life in all of us.

To that end, we have created this new area in the blog called The Wholebody Focusing Trainer Corner so that information about teaching Wholebody Focusing can be shared and discussed. One should consider the Intunements as part of this training material; however, it will continue to have a separate section on the blog because it serves individual practice as well.

We invite all those who teach Wholebody Focusing to share with us your best practices. If you would like support to prepare an article or video for this section, please contact Diana Scalera at wbf285@gmail.com.

Enjoy the fantastic work of those who are carrying forward what they have learned and continue to find new ways of supporting life in all of us.

Today we are going to highlight a trainer in China.  YongWei Xu shares how she experiences Wholebody Focusing and Heartfelt Conversation in her life and the lives of her focusing partners and clients. She also describes her work with Wholebody Focusers in a small village near Shanghai.

To watch this video in English please click on https://wholebodyfocusing.blog/2018/03/27/is-this-the-life-i-really-want/

 

 

About Us

Haiku, Reiki and WBF

I have been writing Haiku about the energetic patterns of my days. I write them fast with very little editing to capture the moment and post them to Twitter.

I love the format of Haiku and have always used it to describe my urban experiences even though it is traditionally known as a form of poetry honoring nature. Since I love urban life so much, I include the urban built environment as part of “nature.” It is a product of humanity, therefore, for me, a part of nature. Almost everything we touch in cities is part of nature in some way. My very large apartment complex, for example, is constructed from bricks made from the clay residue of the glacier that became the Hudson River. I take great comfort in this as someone might living in a log cabin.

Continue reading “Haiku, Reiki and WBF”

Participatory Spirituality: A New Experience

Kevin McEvenue explores Participatory Spirituality as a new experience of his ever evolving Wholebody Focusing Practice.

by Kevin McEvenue

Participatory Spirituality: I am introducing a new topic to be shared and explored together.

As I say the words out loud, I notice I stop! I feel confused—as though I don’t know what to think. I don’t know! I pause; I wonder.

I don’t panic or shutdown; I wonder as though I am curious. I am aware of both.

I stop and I notice, and then something comes into my awareness! It feels new—like a new direction—as though a door has been opened in this way of responding. And holding both with equal positive regard.

Something comes that is clearly unexpected and not of my own making. Body, mind, and an awakening that is not of my own making! This is what we will be exploring as this new direction takes us to a place we have not been before, a kind of engagement with life that seems very personal.

Please join me here in this new experience of myself as I explore what happens in me when I take this next step and then the next step, and then the one after that. It seems to have a life of its own. I am given a choice.

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Wordless Heartfelt Conversation/Senza parole

We agreed to sense into our bodies separately and then asked our bodies to move how they needed to move. While we sensed into our bodies and gave them time and space to move, we also sensed into each other to connect to the other’s movement.

How would it look to have a conversation without words? Is it possible? What might two people share this way? How can Wholebody Focusing be the medium through which this happens?

Cristina Griggio and I were curious about what connecting via videoconferencing in grounded presence without words would bring. We agreed to sense into our bodies separately and then asked our bodies to move how they needed to move. While we sensed into our bodies and gave them time and space to move, we also sensed into each other to connect to the other’s movement. We became at once the actor and observer.

The video below is but a small slice at the end of that conversation. We were interested in the experience of the communication itself rather than any meaning it might have held. Sometimes we were thoroughly connected to self, and other times were aware of the other and sensing into what is coming for her.

It was fun, surprising, and felt like playing. It also helped us know each other more profoundly. Cristina’s natural ability to express herself through movement at one point filled me with awe.

We offer this video as a suggestion to others–that you too can have a non-verbal conversation between two bodies communicating using the concepts of holding space for what is present, asking your body to move in its own way while holding all that comes with equal regard. We also offer this video as a companion to you so that you have company if you would like to allow your body to communicate with you and move in any way it wants.

Let us know what happens.

Heartfelt Conversation Senza Parole (Google Translate)

Come sarebbe una conversazione senza parole? È possibile? Cosa potrebbero condividere due persone in questo modo? In che modo Wholebody Focusing può essere il mezzo attraverso il quale ciò accade?

Cristina Griggio e io eravamo curiosi di sapere cosa avrebbe portato il collegamento via videoconferenza in presenza radicata senza parole. Abbiamo concordato di percepire i nostri corpi separatamente e quindi abbiamo chiesto ai nostri corpi di spostare il modo in cui avevano bisogno di muoversi. Mentre abbiamo percepito i nostri corpi e abbiamo dato loro il tempo e lo spazio per muoversi, abbiamo anche percepito l’uno nell’altro per connetterci al movimento dell’altro. Siamo diventati subito l’attore e l’osservatore.

Il video qui sotto è solo una piccola parte alla fine di quella conversazione. Eravamo interessati all’esperienza della comunicazione stessa piuttosto che a qualsiasi significato potesse avere. A volte eravamo completamente collegati a se stessi, altre volte eravamo consapevoli dell’altro e percepivamo ciò che le stava accadendo.

È stato divertente, sorprendente e mi è sembrato di giocare. Ci ha anche aiutato a conoscerci più profondamente. La naturale capacità di Cristina di esprimersi attraverso il movimento ad un certo punto mi ha riempito di soggezione.

Offriamo questo video come suggerimento per gli altri – che anche tu puoi avere una conversazione non verbale tra due corpi che comunicano usando i concetti di spazio per ciò che è presente, chiedendo al tuo corpo di muoversi a modo suo mentre trattieni tutto ciò che viene con uguale riguardo. Ti offriamo anche questo video come compagno per farti compagnia se desideri consentire al tuo corpo di comunicare con te e di muoverti nel modo che desidera.

Facci sapere cosa succede.

 

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Find the Magic of the Felt Sense

Wholebody Focusing expands the physicality of the Felt Sense to include more of our body’s physical sense of Me Here — all of me present to the situation.

Painting by Kevin McEvenue

A Heartfelt Conversation between
Addie van der Kooy and Kevin McEvenue

In the third part of this series between Addie and Kevin, we hear their thoughts about a Felt Sense starting from the early days of Gene Gendlin’s concept of a handle–a word that resonates with the Felt Sense.  When a Felt Sense emerges, shifts can happen because the word can create a resonance with the Felt Sense. Something can begin to change. Something may be freed up, and more comes alive in our bodies.

For Addie and Kevin, Wholebody Focusing expands the physicality of this experience to include more of our body’s physical sense of Me Here — all of me present to the situation. When all of me becomes present to itself, a deeper appreciation develops of our essence.

We invite you to view and comment on Addie and Kevin’s exploration of this essential aspect of Wholebody Focusing.

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Escaping Digital Distraction; does mindfulness help us doze?

Scientists were interested in two questions, first whether mindfulness can effectively promote sleep, and second, whether mindfulness is better than other evidence-based sleep practices.​

21st-century living is no walk in the park; like a swarm of mosquitoes buzzing in our ears, little numbered red dots relentlessly force themselves into our lives. And like a mosquito dipping into our flesh and depositing its saliva, social media profitably reminds us of our inadequacies, one nip at a time. 

Amidst all of this, mindfulness encourages us to remain, at least for a moment, detached from all the trials of modernity. Instead, it promotes a period of respite, free from our critical self-judgment, free from our obsessive planning for the future, free from ruminations on the past. Mindfulness is about simply remaining present, passively attentive to the thoughts, feelings, and perceptions that comprise our momentary conscious experience.

Over the past couple hundred years, the practice has migrated from eastern philosophy and religion into the western world as an educational tool promoting student focus, a corporate strategy fostering employee welfare, and even into the medical community as a stress-reducing, blood-pressure normalizing, weight-loss promoting, health panacea (Abbott, 2014; Ruffault, 2017).

And sleep. 

Wouldn’t it be nice if mindfulness promoted sleep? And wouldn’t it make sense? If we think that some of our struggle to tamp down the stochasticity of our EEG trace has something to do with excessive mind-wandering, self-critical rumination, and planning for the future, why not develop our mental capacity to stay focused on the present?

In people who regularly practice mindful meditation, there are visible brain structural changes in areas associated with perception, memory, and emotion (Fox, 2014). There are also clear functional differences in brain connectivity when meditators and non-meditators are instructed to lie still in an MRI scanner (Hasenkamp, 2012). And when it comes to psychology and mental health, it’s pretty clear that practicing mindfulness is good for our moods (Khoury, 2015). At the same time, mindfulness is a relatively new field, and scientists are still trying to parse out the details. 

When it comes to the relationship between mindfulness and sleep, there’s been a lot of research. According to the science search engine Web of Science, almost 600 published peer-reviewed articles. While some studies have found positive outcomes, the value of mindfulness for sleep is not universally accepted. To begin clearing up some of the confusion, a group of scientists attempted to systematically integrate the data from a collection of well-controlled sleep studies (Rusch, 2018). Their goal – the most up-to-date scientific evidence on whether mindfulness can improve sleep.

The Data – Mindfulness Helps People Sleep 

Scientists were interested in two questions, first whether mindfulness can effectively promote sleep, and second, whether mindfulness is better than other evidence-based sleep practices.

To their first question, does mindfulness work at all, the answer seems that yes, it does. Not only is it effective, but the sleep benefits seemed to be long-term; five to twelve months after completing the study people were still reporting better sleep. 

This group of studies all relied on comparing mindfulness to what’s called an “attention matched control”. For example, in one study, subjects were instructed to listen to a podcast (Radiolab) for the same amount of time as they would have practiced mindfulness. In each case, the control condition had no known relationship with sleep. While there was some variability, from 11 studies and 900 participants, on average, the authors found “moderate strength evidence” that mindfulness improves sleep.

Then came the real test, is mindfulness is better than existing sleep treatments? In this case, scientists looked at studies that compared mindfulness to things like exercise, interpersonal talk therapy, or instruction on good sleep habits (like no screens before bed, how many Tasty videos do you really have to watch anyways?) – in other words, evidence-based recommendations that on average, improve sleep. Looking at seven studies with over 700 participants, researchers couldn’t come to a strong conclusion but found no reason to believe that mindfulness is any better or worse than existing treatment recommendations.

Mindfulness as an Alternative Sleep Remedy

It is important to keep in mind that there’s a range of interventions that are already known to have a positive impact on sleep. Melatonin, exercise, and interpersonal talk therapy are all thoroughly supported by scientific evidence. But not everything’s for everyone. Some people are (sometimes rightly) suspicious of chemical pharmaceuticals, some are physically limited and therefore can’t exercise, some lack the time or resources for interpersonal therapy, and, for some people, the existing interventions just haven’t worked for them. 

This study provides the strongest evidence to date that mindfulness meditation can also improve sleep quality. While the practice doesn’t seem to be especially powerful, it does provide people suffering from sleep disturbances another option to try out on their own, which could make it an important evidence-based complement to the existing range of sleep treatments.

About the Author: Andrew Neff completed his Ph.D. in neuroscience and currently lectures psychology at Rochester University. He founded the company Golgi Productions which runs the blog Neuroscience From Underground – find more on Twitter.

References

  • Abbott, Rebecca A., et al. “Effectiveness of mindfulness-based stress reduction and mindfulness based cognitive therapy in vascular disease: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials.” Journal of psychosomatic research 76.5 (2014): 341-351.

  • Fox, Kieran CR, et al. “Is meditation associated with altered brain structure? A systematic review and meta-analysis of morphometric neuroimaging in meditation practitioners.” Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews 43 (2014): 48-73.

  • Hasenkamp, Wendy, and Lawrence W. Barsalou. “Effects of meditation experience on functional connectivity of distributed brain networks.” Frontiers in human neuroscience 6 (2012): 38.

  • Khoury, Bassam, et al. “Mindfulness-based stress reduction for healthy individuals: A meta-analysis.” Journal of psychosomatic research 78.6 (2015): 519-528.

  • Rusch, Heather L., et al. “The effect of mindfulness meditation on sleep quality: a systematic review and meta‐analysis of randomized controlled trials.” Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences (2018).

  • Ruffault, Alexis, et al. “The effects of mindfulness training on weight-loss and health-related behaviours in adults with overweight and obesity: A systematic review and meta-analysis.” Obesity research & clinical practice 11.5 (2017): 90-111.

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How to Start Wholebody Focusing with a Partner

This is a description of the steps of a session with Cristina Griggio via Skype. It can be a starting point for focusers who would like to add some Wholebody sensibility to their practice.

Photo Credit: Diana Scalera

When I attended the Scambi 2019 in Albano Terme, Italy this past summer, I presented my workshop Focusing Around the Dinner Table using mostly Wholebody Focusing as the vehicle to access this theme in our bodies. Since then, some focusers have been asking for help to learn Wholebody Focusing. I have begun working with some of the Italian focusers and have come up with a way for them to get started on their path to incorporating Wholebody Focusing into their Focusing practice. Below is a description of the steps of a session with Cristina Griggio via Skype. It can be a starting point for focusers who would like to add some Wholebody sensibility to their practice. 

  1. Both partners need to be willing let go of the need to have an agenda for their session and actively hold space to what your body prioritizes. Each partner can take a turn being the person who is focusing, and the other person is mostly silently holding energetic space for their partner while noticeing how what happens to your partner impacts your body.  
  2. Establish your energetic connection with your partner. If you are in person, make sure you have a sense of each other’s energy. If you are working via the internet, find your way to connect in this situation.  
  3. The Focuser asks her body a simple question “Where does my body need attention now?” Let your body choose what it needs. Let go of any narrative and your thoughts about what is necessary in this moment. Your body might have a different point of view.
  4. Wait and hold space for whatever comes. 
    1. Acknowledge the body’s sense of what is there without adding a narrative. Stay with the bodily sensation.
    2. Let what is there know that it can be just the way it is and has all the time it needs to be present to itself.
    3. Give your body permission to move, especially your hands, which may be able to support parts that are struggling.  
  5. Stay with whatever comes. Ask for help from other parts of your body, from the earth below you, the sky above, the air you breathe, or the chair in which you sit. 
  6. Let your body indicate when it has found a resting place (or ask your body to find a resting place).
  7. When the Focuser has come to a resting place, the partner can share how that experience with her partner impacted her body. The Focuser can also share more if they choose with their partner about their experience.  
  8. After the session, both Focuser and Listener should pay attention to whatever comes that relates to what happened in the session. According to Addie van der Kooy, each opportunity we take to spend time with our bodies in grounded presence causes changes (from minor to monumental). Our lived experiences after our sessions let us know what has changed.  

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The “Holding Both with Equal Regard” Challenge

Photo Credit: Pixabay

How do we live day to day with so much evidence that our society does not support basic human needs? It is like being children and having families that do not meet our needs. I propose that our readers practice “holding both with equal regard” when we are encouraged or disturbed by what is happening politically. Take time to be with the body sense of your experience and share the results in the comments section of this blog.

Election night 2016, my friends and I went to a performance of Coriolanus, a Shakespeare play about governmental corruption and abuse of power. At the end of the play, everyone in the audience turned on their cell phones at the same time and collectively groaned. The news said, much to everyone’s surprise in NYC, that Donald Trump had won the election for president.

From that night on, most Americans have had their concept of being an American undercut in some way. We all do not share the same ideas. For examples, some of us have been horrified by the growth of white nationalism, while others are firmly against the radical changes that some groups propose.

One thing that has happened, as a result, is that more people are taking an interest in politics and discussing it, arguing it, and feeling it in our bodies.

How Can Wholebody Focusing Help?

I propose we do a mini-research on how “holding both with equal regard” can help us to move forward in this challenging environment. This activity is not limited to people who live in the USA.  There are many reasons people in other countries are experiencing the same instability.  I recommend the following:

  1. Notice when you see, read, or hear something that is accompanied by a body reaction.
  2. Connect to your grounded presence.
  3. Pause to be with that reaction by holding both with equal regard. If it is something we like, give your body time to process it. If it is disturbing, also welcome it and allow your body to process this new information.
  4. Let your body show you when it is complete. You might notice that the strength of the reaction has lessened or you have moved on to another idea.
  5. Over time, notice if there is anything different in how you are experiencing the ups and downs of the current political situation.
  6. Send comments to the blog about what you are noticing.

We look forward to hearing from you.

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