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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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 Jabokovic 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

Letting life happen in me…

Photo Credit: Gabrielle Clark

Who am I?

I ask and ask many times and I step back, but nothing comes.

I stay and say it is okay.

I drift off and remember something I have read yesterday – ‘we must defend your dwelling place in us to the last’, so I come back. I ask again.

Then I remember a lovely note from a friend – ‘its okay and enjoy life’ he says – This makes me smile. Enjoy life – yes! The smile keeps growing. I think this is enough and I finish.

I come across a poem and I am moved by the line – “Close your eyes and follow your breath to the still place that leads to the invisible path that leads you home.”

I pause again and follow my breath – a feeling is coming in my body. It’s big! It is like a feeling of ecstasy, it is scary and nice and I am allowing it.

I remember the support of the chair.

It feels like I am allowing life to flow in me and it is so beautiful and light and uplifting. I can still feel it now, it is tingling and buzzing with life. “Let life happen to you” says Rilke.

Perhaps I am the vehicle for the life that is longing to live in me. Or am I the life I felt moving in me.

I don’t know.

Who am I beyond the conditioning that has been imposed on me?

Who is the one that looks out from behind my eyes?

Who is the one that looks out from behind your eyes?

Can I even risk being seen that deeply, seeing that deeply. The thought of that scares and excites me.

I hold both, as a hopeful possibility.

 

Note Authors of my inspiration in order: Etty Hillesum, Rainer Maria Rilke and Teresa of Avila

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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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Wisdom from an Unlikely Place

How lucky am I
to be able to turn
to see these gnarled trees
through this train window
stopped
waiting
for some unseen obstruction
ahead

Sunlight illuminates
my friends, the trees
their trunks, their limbs.
Orange-khaki-colored brush
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.

Elizabeth Morana

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Death Was Scary Then

When I was young my Mother died.

Recently I had an experience with a little bird that made me think about it. I wish I had known how to be grounded and present then.

Today I held a dead bird in the palm of my hand. The cat bought it in to me. I picked it up and gently held it.

At first I hoped it would come to life, maybe it was feigning death to protect itself. I moved my hand so it could feel the sun -maybe that would help. I tried to will it back to life.

It felt very sacred. I could feel the life in my hand and hoped the bird could feel it too.

I remembered my Mother dying when I was young and wished I would have touched her body – like I was with the bird – while it was still warm. I wished I hadn’t wanted to get away quickly. I wished I had put my head on her heart and my hand on her face. I wish I had of loved her more. Death was scarier then.

I stayed with the bird and all that was happening in this moment – my memory of my Mother’s death, the birds death, my aliveness and the aliveness I could hear and feel all around me.

I remembered them coming and putting coins on her eyes. That was weird. I didn’t like that. Why couldn’t we look at her eyes. The birds eyes were beautiful to look at. But death was scary then.

The cat walked past. I wanted to be mad at it. Then I thought, well, it just did what it naturally does. Just like the cancer did in my Mum. I gently put the bird in the garden and remembered its bones will turn into dust and then it will be the earth.

I don’t want to be put into a box and embalmed with chemicals that won’t let me become the earth. I hope someone who is not scared of death – someone who can feel their own ground and aliveness – will be brave and stay with me for a while, just until I am cold and gone. Then they can put me in the earth until my bones become dust.

Then I will be the earth too.

I am sorry Mum x.

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