Deep Hunger and Wholebody Focusing

 

How is a sense of deep hunger helped by Wholebody Focusing ? A few years ago, I was experiencing chronic anxiety due to a stressful situation at work. My body was deeply affected. My blood pressure, heart rate, and diabetes markers were all higher than usual. I relied on my focusing practice to help me. In a Wholebody focusing session, a wordless felt sense of anxiety transformed into a sensation of me experiencing my birth. As I exited the birth canal, I felt free from the stress that I had been experiencing. A new understanding emerged about how my body experienced anxiety.

My History with Hunger

I was my mother’s second child. Her first pregnancy with my older brother was traumatic, and she came close to dying. A few months before my brother was born, my mother’s friend, Mrs. C, a parishioner at our Catholic church, was pregnant with twins. C-Sections were out of favor during more than half of the twentieth century because the medical outcomes were unacceptable due to inadequate surgical procedures and lack of antibiotics.

As a result, there was a heightened possibility that a crisis might happen in the delivery room. The mother or the fetus might be in danger of dying. Because the Catholic Church saw the mother and fetus as two human entities, Catholic hospitals had a policy that prioritized saving the fetus’s life in circumstances in which the doctors could save either the mother or fetus. Mrs.C died in childbirth along with one of her twins. The other twin, a baby girl, was born with severe cerebral palsy. She could not walk, talk, or feed herself.

My mother, having witnessed how this policy impacted her friend’s life and family, felt great anxiety about her fate. Then she also had her crisis in the delivery room. My brother was a large baby in the breech position. The doctor told my mother that she might not survive the birth. Fortunately, both survived; however, my mother was deeply traumatized by the experience. My brother also suffered from this experience. His trauma showed up as severe learning disabilities and emotional difficulties.

Three years later, my mother became pregnant with me. She decided to lose weight during her pregnancy so that the birth would be less complicated. Throughout her pregnancy, the danger she experienced with her first birth and the memory of her friend’s death caused her great anxiety. As a result, my mother starved herself and me during her pregnancy as a strategy to circumvent a possibly fatal outcome.

At the end of a full-term pregnancy, I was born weighing only five pounds. It took me four years to achieve an average weight Moreover, I have had a lifelong struggle with anxiety and panic disorder.

Wholebody Focusing and Anxiety

I always had a felt sense that the level of anxiety I experienced was not all mine– that it was stronger than my constitution created on its own. From this early morning WBF session, I became aware that her anxiety bathed me in my mother’s high cortisol levels for nine months. I carried my mother’s experience of body tension in my body along with my tendency to be anxious. Since that session, my level of chronic anxiety has dramatically subsided. My anxiety connection with my mother had ended. My fear is at a much lower level.

Now, I can be with whatever anxiety emerges in grounded presence. Being grounded gives my body space to carry itself forward in its own way and at its own pace. Under these circumstances, the anxiety sometimes transforms into something else. Before, my stress level was often too overwhelming to be with it in grounded presence. Wholebody focusing helped me experience the release of my mother’s panic from my body and allowed me to understand how it had impacted her and me.

A new awareness about my birth experience happened years later when I attended a week-long workshop at a Catholic retreat center. I often felt hungry because the portions and total amount of food served were inadequate. This experience triggered a bodily sense of hunger, agitation, and anger.

The Intelligence of our Bodies

It wasn’t until early morning on the last day of the conference, during a focusing session, that I sensed what was triggering me. This session started with a felt sense of guilt for my surliness toward the staff in response to the lack of food. An image came to me of working as a young girl in the convent, stirring a pot of soup. I was feeling hunger in the pit of my stomach. I did chores after school in the convent. None of the Sisters ever offered a snack. Finally, one day, I was so hungry that I found the courage to ask for a snack. The sister told me she was not allowed to give students a snack.

It occurred to me in that focusing session that my anger at the staff was due to hunger, a deep historical hunger linked to Catholicism. First, my mother starved us when I was in the womb because of her fear for her life while giving birth in a Catholic hospital. Then there was a longing for food while I worked for almost a year in the convent. Then, 50 years later, I returned to a Catholic environment for the first time in many decades and experienced hunger again. This experience allowed me to be with this deep hunger hidden in my body.

Social conditions, pre-birth experiences, laws or rules that influence medical or educational practices, and other people’s personal decisions can cause trauma. Yet, unfortunately, we sometimes live our whole lives never learning these stories.

Freeing Ourselves from “Not Knowing”

Wholebody focusing gives practitioners a path to be with those hidden parts. One gives their body permission to be with what is there and to move in any way it needs. One’s awareness of something outside yourself and neutrality toward what comes are the only requirements. Often, internal or external movements emerge, and they carry forward without words or images.

The practitioner stays with the movement until a shift happens. In the process, a felt sense, a phrase, or a picture might emerge that gives more information. Other times an agitated movement, for example, might shift to a comforting one without any additional information. When I experienced my birth, I observed the felt sense of my rapid heartbeat during a panic attack. Suddenly, I felt myself moving through the birth canal. I remember what it felt like on my arms and the release of anxiety when I exited the birth canal.

Wholebody focusing trains the practitioner to rely on body wisdom for its information. Body wisdom does not need the right word or image to carry forward. Deeply hidden truths may not have words. Their foundation may not be related to your particular life story. Those places where the unknown parts live also have the ability, with our attention, to tap into the abundant benevolent energy that surrounds us as a support to carry forward our healing. Whenever we rely on only words and images from our narratives, There is a possibility that we may miss the vast resources and stories the universe offers to help our recovery. Wholebody focusing gives us this kind of range of opportunity.

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Open Hearts as a Door to Social Justice

How can individuals find their own personal way to let go of the bias and inequities in our society and participate in its healing.

Photo Credit: Ellen Korman Mains – Broken Heart Monument at the site of a former children’s camp in Lodz, Poland

Addie van der Kooy’s Wholebody Focusing concept of “holding both with equal regard”  can help us open our hearts and sense our personal role in promoting social justice and perceiving bias. It can also be a guiding principle in developing ways to support social justice in the broader society. As white supremacy roils the U.S. and I prepare to attend an important Holocaust commemoration in Poland, while Diana tends to her own ancestral legacy in Italy, here is another segment from our conversation that touches these issues. It also touches on the inherent vulnerability and truth of the human heart that flies beyond bias and sees basic goodness and equal regard as fundamental to reality, not just a technique we do.

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Something in Me Hurts!

In the first 12 intunements, Kevin helps us strengthen our sense of Me Here.  Something in Me Hurts is the beginning of a new phase of this this work–a phase that guides us to being with the parts of ourselves that need our attention and love.  This new group of intunements helps us hold both Me Here and something else. The first intunement of this group works with a painful part.

Something in Me Hurts!  is an intunement that supports us when we need loving kindness for a part of us that has pain or is suffering.  Kevin walks us through, in real time, what happens to him when he awakes to a painful shoulder.  He connects to himself and to the part that hurts which allows both to become more aware of themselves and each other. Through this process something new emerges.

Feel what happens when you share this experience with Kevin.

Something in Me Hurts! Intunement

For more intunements please visit Find your Favorite Intunements 
Or visit Kevin Speaks  for more of Kevin's work.

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To Feel Good about Myself is Desirable

It is very warm this morning.  I have the overhead fan on to keep me cool.  As I hear Kevin suggest that I connect to something outside myself I notice the sensation of the cool air on my skin.  And then Kevin suggests that the sensation of something outside myself can be how my skin feels.  He asks me to wait for something to come and I realize that my feet are already moving and my arms are wrapped around each other. My body is here with me today. Is there any goodness in me today?  I wait for the answer.  My thoracic spine releases the tension it was holding.

Diana Scalera

 

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Coming Home to Myself Again

This podcast is self-exploratory as I struggle with a sense of empowerment next to having to learn to control at the same time. It is like creating a kind of empowering willfulness: I can do this.

By Kevin McEvenue

In this seventh preamble in the series I call The Doors of Perception, what is explored is the issue of power and the need for control—and how I have struggled with this conflict most of my life, passionately wanting something and holding back, that stops me with equal measure.

Again, I am being transparent in living in a direct experience of my own history as I give voice to these events from childhood to the present day and how the conflict is gradually resolving, offering something fresh, better than imagined!  Humpty Dumpty, (wholebodyfocusing.com), is a witness to all those shattered pieces coming together—amazingly. My Humpty Dumpty came into the world with an intuitive kind of Perception, awakened very early in life:  an encounter with a cat—not on a hot tin roof—but a cat looking for warmth right there, a warm breath, sitting on my mouth, stopping my breath that early spring morning! I am in a baby crib, outdoors alone in the fresh air.

It seems that much of my life was preoccupied with just that, holding back, tensing my body to hold back, not feel, not say. No room for the joy of the flow of just being, just being me.  It seemed to suppress that deeper empowerment, that part of me that does know something and wants to have a life of its own. It still does! The fear of life seems to overwhelm the joy of living. That became my reality, my preoccupation to stop, to control and prevent. “I mustn’t!” There was no room for anything else, namely, to enjoy my own empowerment, there to be loved and appreciated.

Gradually the confusion is beginning to clear as my inner wisdom is finding its way through this apparent conflict.   It needed rebuilding a whole new structure, starting from the bottom up, finding my feet, rather than trying to function from a top down that just didn’t fit.  Gradually I am emerging as the person I know and love. This is me, coming home to me! The Love of me!

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Wear a Mask. Save Lives!

If everyone starts wearing masks immediately, in a few weeks, the death rates should go down.  This mandate is not only about epicenters like New York, Italy, or Spain. It is also about places where irresponsible government leaders reject “stay home” orders and do not provide masks like they have begun to do in Italy.

Sometimes it is not about what your body needs now. Sometimes it is about what humanity needs now. While we get conflicting messages about how to save ourselves and others, what has emerged in the last few days is that wearing a mask when you leave your living space saves lives. The countries that require their “stay at home” citizens to also wear masks when they need to leave their living spaces have the lowest new infection rates.

If everyone starts wearing masks immediately, in a few weeks, the death rates should go down.  This mandate is not only about epicenters like New York, Italy, or Spain. It is also about places where irresponsible government leaders reject “stay home” orders and do not provide masks like they have begun to do in Italy. Wearing a mask and staying home are two things you can do to protect yourself and your fellow humans. According to New York City Guidelines, everyone should wear a face covering, cloth is fine, whenever going outside where other people may be present….while shopping for instance or commuting.  And homemade masks, a scarf or a bandana will do fine, just wash it once daily and use it again.

Take some time to sense into what wearing a mask triggers for you and hold space for those feelings. Then wear the mask!  Here’s a video from the Czech Republic about wearing a mask. Stay well, and help keep your community well too!  Share a picture of yourself showing that you are a “masker” at #Masks4all Encourage others to do the same.

 

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The Sun Flowed Out

Photo by Diana Scalera

The morning of New Year’s Day, I happened to wake up early before the sunrise, which is rarely the case for me. Out of pure curiosity I rolled up the curtains fully to see the sky and the far mountains across my town, and realized that the atmosphere out there was so clean and quiet, even including the neighborhood parking lot and streets. I noticed everything there was so still in the veil of darkness and felt as if everyone held their breath, waiting for the particular moment—-the sun’s appearance. So I, too, kept still and quiet, standing by the window and just watching how the sky and the landscape would be changing.

The darkness gradually faded, and bits of red began to tint the clouds here and there. It was a bird’s cry which disrupted the silence, and it was the first sign for the rise of the sun. Other birds also joined with their calls as if they could not help but cry out of joy. When the bright light of the sun flowed out of the mountain ridge and penetrated through the landscape and me, I experienced “joy” myself, with my eyes closed, filled with overwhelming white light from head to toe.

Through this small drama, I felt as if I experienced Nature’s direct and powerful language, her pure feelings of joy and happiness, which I wanted to share with you at the beginning of this New Year.

Hiromi

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Incontro il mio Corpo/I Meet my Body

There is great movement here … in my body…on the left

I am relieved, supported and happy…with this laboratory that helps me

That never stops,

That works even when I am not aware of it.

Painting by Cristina Griggio

Incontro il mio Corpo

Antefatto:

(Nasce dal racconto a Natale 2019 con Claudio…..Il sollievo del superamento, gratitudine per il rapporto cambiato).

Il mio corpo inizia ad oscillare…destra – sinistra

Incontro il grande attraversamento e la fatica che c’è stata………Densa…

Oscura….Brullicante….sul mio lato sinistro.. del corpo.

Lo ascolto …

E’ UN GRANDE LABORATORIO !!!

E’ un posto… con un grande laboratorio

Che è qui.

C’è un gran lavoro qui….nel mio corpo… a sinistra.

Sono sollevata, sostenuta e contenta….di questo laboratorio che mi aiuta..

Che non si ferma mai,

Lavora anche quando io non lo so..…

E’ un gran conforto tutto questo

Cristina Griggio

I Meet my Body

Background:

It comes from a Christmas  2019 story with Claudio…the relief of finding a new way becomes gratitude for our changed relationship.

Something that is on the right and is now on the left…..

Dark….confusing…. on the left side of my body

I listen to it….

IT IS A LARGE LABORATORY!!!

It is a place… with a large laboratory

Right here.

There is great movement here … in my body…on the left

I am relieved, supported and happy…with this laboratory that helps me

That never stops,

That works even when I am not aware of it.

All this is a great comfort.

Grazie

Cristina Griggio

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