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.
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.
For those who would like to use the Audio Guiding Suggestions/Intunements that Kevin has provided to the blog for their practice, here is an easy way to find them on the blog. Below you will find an index of the three albums of intunements that are available. The three albums have different themes:
- First Intunements is for anyone who wants to start or become more proficient at Wholebody Focusing;
- Coming Home is for anyone who has some basic understanding of Wholebody Focusing and wants to deepen their practice; and
- Exploring the Unexplored is for anyone who wants to extend their practice in ways that they may not have yet experienced.
These Audio Guiding Suggestions/Intunements are here for your free use and enjoyment. Our greatest wish is that they bring healing into the lives the people who listen to them.
Please find the Audio Guiding Suggestion/Intunement you are interested in below. This list will be on the home page for three days.
After a new blog appears on the home page, you will be able to:
- Use the “Search by Theme” menu and click on “Audio Guiding Suggestions/Intunements.” This index will be the first page that comes up. Just click on the links on this page and it will get you to the intunement for which you are searching.
- You can also access this list on the Home Page menu option “Audio Guiding Suggestions/Intunements Index.” Once again, click on the name of the intunement, it will take you to the page where you will find it.
Below is a list by album of all the intunements.
Painting by Kevin McEvenue
Intunement # 1 Finding Me
Intunement # 2 We Need a Physical Connection to Find Me
Intunement # 3 What Feels Alive in Me Right Now?
Intunement # 4 Gravity: Accepting Life Itself Unconditionally
Intunement #5 Tuning into a Direct Experience Awakens a Connection with the Embodied Self
Intunement # 6 To Feel Good about Myself is Desirable
Intunement # 7 The Experience of Something that has a Consciousness all its Own!
Intunement # 8 Finding a Safe Structure to Experience Life Fully Inside Me as Me!
Intunement # 9 Explore the Power of Listening Silently to the Alive, a Force, in side of all of us!
Intunement # 10 From a Solid Base of Me Here I ask, “What is going on in Me Right Now?”
Intunement # 11 Looking for the Life Support to Move Forward the Complexity of a Growing Me?
Intunement # 12 Meet that Inner Power in each of US: It Knows How to Put us Together Again!
Painting by Kevin McEvenue
Coming Home – Intunements to Deepen your Practice
Intunement # 13 Something in Me Hurts!
Intunement # 14 The Felt Sense of What Feels Alive and the More that Emerges from that Alive
Intunement # 15 Asking, What is There in Me? Just Noticing the Different Body Responses!
Intunement # 16 A Shared Body to Body Listening & Understanding Beyond Trying to Think
Intunement # 17 An Active Meditation to Welcome What Wants to Present Itself for your Attention
Intunement # 18 Me & Planet Earth That Sustains Me & More
Intunement # 19 Life just ‘Moves’. Just ‘IS’. That is what it is to say ‘I Am’!
Intunement # 20 An Active Meditation to Invite a Question: “What is Alive in Me Right Now?”
Intunement # 21 Holding Both with Equal Positive Regard!
Intunement # 22 An Inner-Directed Experience
Intunement # 23 Active Meditation with the Breathing Self as “Me Here!”
Intunement # 24 The Power to Pause and Wait For!
Photo Credit: Michael Lux – Mohonk Preserve
Exploring the Unexplored
Intunement # 25 Felt Sense Naming and Reflecting a Body Experience
Intunement # 26 Coming Home to Me Again
Intunement # 27 The Arm Raising Exercise
Intunement # 28 A New Way to be with Pain
Intunement # 29 The Basic Elements of Wholebody Focusing and the Not Knowing
Intunement # 30 Active Meditation to Inform Me about Me
Intunement # 31 Listen to the Warm
Intunement # 32 To Discern & Unpack What is There
Intunement # 33 What do I do When Something Feels Right?
Intunement # 34 Something Is Not Right!
Intunement # 35 Asking for Help!
Intunement # 36 Who Am I?
Intunement # 37 Asking: Who Are You?
Photo credit: Maria Hakasalo
As I was working on my focusing book, I was listening to music–something random from You Tube. Next thing that I noticed was how I was criticizing the singer’s vocal technique. I had just written about some painful school memories when a sense of isolation emerged. I also noticed how I was compensating for those feelings by thinking I was being better than others.
Suddenly I understood the connection between feeling isolated and compensating by finding fault in others. Instead of facing the something in me that didn’t feel accepted, I criticized the You Tube singer. I compensated for my own pain by pretending to be skillful, successful and perfect. This is what I did as a child who felt isolated.
As I sat next to the small child in me who was feeling the pain I said to her: “You can be as you are, small, painful, sometimes competent, sometimes incompetent. You do not need to be perfect or look like it..”
I sighed deeply and noticed that something in me released.
Do you want to get in touch with the part in you that is not feeling alright? You can listen to one of Kevin’s intunements at https://wholebodyfocusing.blog/2018/10/19/something-is-not-right/
When listening I could feel a firm lump in my stomach which softened after I listened to the following intunement. It helped me to be tenderly present with the felt sense in my stomach: https://wholebodyfocusing.blog/2018/07/19/an-active-meditation-to-welcome-what-wants-to-present-itself-for-your-attention/
Kun kirjoitan fokusointikirjaa, kuuntelen välillä musiikkia, tällä kerralla jotain satunnaista Youtubesta. Kirjoittamisen lomassa havaitsin arvostelevani laulajan laulutapaa. Olin juuri kirjoittanut kipeistä koulumuistoista, erillisyyden tunteestani ja kuinka pyrin kompensoimaan sitä näyttämällä paremmalta kuin muut.
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.
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!
The Arm Raising exercise is something I created. It helps me move forward when a desire to do something is stopped by an equally powerful feeling of “I mustn’t”. There is always something in me that needs to take control of life at all costs. When I desire something there is an equal desire to stop that from happening. This is a very physical mind-body exercise to find a way to awaken a third option beyond control and letting go. It invites a quality of movement beyond thought and understanding in a focusing modality. It offers a physical pathway to move us beyond what we know.
It brings us to the very crux of the discomfort at that edge between the two. By being present to both, holding both with equal positive regard, we wait and see if something new appears beyond our expectation. That is the purpose of this exercise to explore something in us that knows how to move us beyond our stoppages in a way we think we can’t. And yet discover something in us can. And it feels like a very, very different experience that emerges which is very clearly something not only desirable but something that is not of our own making and yet it is just what is wanted beyond our expectations. Good luck.
Kevin invites us, here, to join him in an exploration that covers some really revolutionary material that most of the world doesn’t entertain—that we can develop a relationship with our own bodily experiences. There’s a whole lot here, so feel free to pause this audio to really take it in, as he draws us forward through the many nuanced steps toward a relationship between our consciousness and our felt sense.
I was especially energized to hear his words: what emerges is not of your own making. Years of socialization make that difficult for me to take in. And another personal favorite: it’s almost as though the body waits for your connection…. ….almost as though it appreciates your attention. Even now, I have a sweet spark of surprise when I realize that a relationship is forming:
Here I am, and there that is. We are in relationship.