Open Hearts as a Door to Social Justice

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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A Heartfelt Duet – Peace Will Come

Photo Credit: Carmen Scalera

For me, music is a way in, a way to be with parts of myself that are sometimes unknown or in the background. I’ll hear a song and locate that feeling again.

A Musical Felt Sense

I found this video, Peace Will Come sung by Miley Cyrus and Melanie Safka, during a conversation with my husband about music that influenced him as a boy. We listened to a song by Dion and the Belmonts called The Wanderer. There was a video of Dion singing this song to an audience of elegantly- dressed couples in a nightclub. While my husband was walking down memory lane, I noticed that the men in the audience had big smiles on their faces and the women were looking aghast. I pointed this out to my husband, and we discussed how this song represented an ideal for men of the ’50s and early ’60s that reduced women to objects.

At the same time, my husband was able to identify the body sense of the song for him as a teenager. He said it opened new possibilities of traveling around the world and adventure. He ended up visiting many parts of the world. He didn’t notice how women were treated because it was not any different from what he had been learning about women from the culture of that time.

Who are the Artists?

I had a felt sense that a counterpoint was needed. I wanted a voice that represented a woman’s point of view, and Melanie came to mind. We went to her web site (www.melaniesafka.com) and found the video below and other material that reminded me how, during the ’60s and ’70s, her songs influenced me along with other girls and women by exemplifying independence and candor about the experience of femaleness. There is evidence in some of the video record that she shares, that she also helped men see women more fully as human beings. She was also a strong supporter of ending the war in Vietnam, and that may have been the reason she wrote Peace Will Come.

Miley Cyrus was a Disney star in the 2000s who was the target of slut-shaming in the USA when she hit her late teens for having grown into a sexy beautiful young woman. She now has a successful career as an actor/singer/songwriter who continues to surprise and challenge her audience. She created the Happy Hippie Foundation that sponsors programs that focus on youth homelessness, the LGBTQ community, and other vulnerable populations.

My Felt Sense of the Duet

This duet between Melanie Safka and Miley Cyrus is a Heartfelt Conversation between artists. The beauty of the setting, the support of the musicians who may not have known what would happen next, the interaction between the singers, and the beauty of the song itself and its social context in the ’70s and today all moved me. A sense of well-being and hope emerged in me.

The multi-generational aspect of this performance also touched me. One commenter called it a “multi-generational eargasm.” Miley’s way of being with Melanie helped me remember how important Melanie’s music was to me as a teenager. Moreover, I became aware of how ageism, especially against women, make this kind of Heartfelt Connection very rare. I found the longing in me for the ability to be a part of a community that holds, with equal regard, the contributions of people of all ages.

Please enjoy the loveliness of this moment shared.

 

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In Response to the Question “What’s Alive in Me?”

Photo Credit: Eddie Nunns

I don’t have to solve that problem.
………………………fix

I don’t have to solve that problem.
………………………fix

I don’t have to solve THAT problem.
………………………fix

I don’t have to RESOLVE that question.

I don’t have to.

and then…

Just because it’s sometimes fun for me to brain-storm with mySelf
doesn’t mean that I’m obligated to.
Something in my body is recognizing the ways I storm my brain.

I don’t have to do that.

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Deep Hunger, the “Not Knowing” and 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 normal.  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 own birth.  As I exited the birth canal, I felt free from the anxiety that I had been experiencing.  A new understanding emerged about how my body experienced anxiety.

dreamstime_m_34661935
Photo Credit: Dreamstime

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Pauses Big and Small

This past week I had my first class with Addie van der Kooy and Cecilia Clegg called “Practicing Presence.”   I came away from that workshop with some homework—pause and find your grounded presence whenever you can even if you are just waiting for the kettle to boil.  The experience of these pauses helped me learn so much about myself.

One task I needed to do was to put together my bookcases that I had dismantled when the painters came to freshen up my apartment. For months I’ve been promising myself I would make some sense out of the mess so I could actually find a book I might want.

I began sorting my books into piles. I paused to be with all the categories looking for meaning.  The first thing I noticed was how many journals I had.  Even though writers are supposed to be people who wrote in journals all their lives, I never thought of myself as a journal writer.  I found 11 full journals.  Who knew?  They are mostly from extended trips abroad and times of strife.  This was the first big pause.  I stopped to sense into “Who was this person who wrote in journals and what did she write about?”  There were texts of prose, letters to angels, dreams, schedules, poetry and many different types of art—painting, drawing, collage, and textile design.

I paused with each journal in my hands.  I found the text below in a journal I had written when I was struggling with cancer and my relationship with my mother.

The Rage Temple has Gone out of Business

You have rage that’s too dangerous to express?
Open up an account with me. 
Just tell me your problem
And I’ll deposit it in my body.

And when my body explodes with rage
We are sorry.
Now these Temple doors are closed for good.
How long will it take to empty the inventory?

I had these journals. I never read them. I didn’t remember writing them.  I didn’t remember me.  A pause changed that.  The pause got me to open the journals and remember the me who wrote them.

The next pause helped me notice what books I have been reading.  There were a large number of books about all sorts of energy healing, diet, health, wellness, etc. There’s a considerable number of books about Focusing and WBF.  There are also books about Reiki, Flower Essence Therapy and Homeopathy.  These are all practices that are now as normal to me as breathing.  I paused with the books and I sensed how I loved learning about these modalities and how they have saved me and helped me move toward my highest and greatest good.

The next pause that came was around artistic endeavors. There are books on crochet, drawing, creating Flash cartoons, dance, poetry, and feminist literary criticism.  As I was putting some odd books away, I paused again.  Where should I put my bound copy of the Master’s thesis?  It is study of two Spanish women writers who wrote about breaking free, or not, of their patriarchal limitations. They do this through writing self-begetting novels about women who read Fascist romance novels as children and are trying to create new structures for novels about women’s lives. It suddenly occurred to me that my thesis should go with the other books of feminist literary criticism.  Some of these books were quoted in my work.  Rather than being just an activity that I did to graduate, I could understand now that this work is a companion to the other books of feminist literary criticism that I had.

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.

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The Basic Elements of Wholebody Focusing and the Not Knowing

In this intunement Kevin reflects on the overall purpose of Wholebody Focusing – the embodied experience of “Being Me” – and how this experience can only be sustained and deepened through practice, like an inner muscle that will strengthen through exercise.

After briefly re-visiting the various elements in the WBF journey, Kevin highlights the practice of “open detachment” – a complete stepping back from any need to know and understand what is happening, so that you can be truly open and available to what wants to emerge from a deeper wisdom inside you.

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Active Meditation to Inform Me about Me

I’ve listened to this intunement today—more than once, as there’s so much.

Kevin says that there’s a vast body of information available to us. And it’s accessible! Something rises up in me, and it says, Yes, that’s true! Somehow, I am very, very sure there is a vast-universal-awareness-of-knowing, and that we can know it.

Then he adds, And it’s not me making it happen. A lot of energy rises in me when I hear this. He’s sharing this from his Whole Self—like a grass fire that spreads, and awakens in me a memory.

And there’s so much more—he noticed he can awaken that in someone else—and it wasn’t just him doing it! Hearing that, this comes: There’s this flame in me, it receives from beyond-me, and it speaks.

Elizabeth Morana

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Coming Home to Me Again

Kevin shares a deep—and I want to say ‘unfolding’—insight into something unusual that his long-time focusing partner said to him, and how this statement opened up to him over a period of sitting-with-it. He’d fallen into the details, the talking-about. He’d lost the being-with.

Here’s what his partner said: Kevin, I need you to come back to me.

Over time, Kevin realized: This isn’t about my partner! And he explores, in his here-right-now-way, what was revealed to him. Yes, you guessed it: it’s about coming home to me again.

And then, he gently invites us to contemplate these words too—these words that, he tells us: have their own life, their own physical presence in me.

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