My New Reality Now

Untitled Collage by Michael Lux

“The whole structure of me has expanded and been transformed by the very trauma that was given to me and that trauma becomes a source of inspiration without which I would have never become me.”
Kevin McEvenue
Founder, Wholebody Focusing

Addie van der Kooy, Kevin McEvenue and I spent an afternoon in February discussing the many manifestations of the “Me Here” muscle as part of our Wholebody Focusing practice. We are sharing more of that conversation through these videos. They document what has been coming for us from our collaboration with our grounded selves and with each other. We listened to each other and found new places—tiny spaces that we did not know were there that emerged on this chilly day in February. We are very excited about sharing them with others who are interested in the continued development of Wholebody Focusing.

A Heartfelt Conversation of Practitioners

The two clips at the end of this post are the result of our desire to be with what we are learning as we move forward with our own healing and the healing of the clients and students with whom we work.

In the first video, we shared our observations which included an example of the quietly holding of space for our trauma while holding space for our sense of “Me Here.” This way to hold space is different from traditional focusing in which one might hold space for the trauma and for a part that is critical of the trauma or not wanting to recognize its existence. As we held space for what came, we were moved deeper into our understanding of the value of this work and its nuances. We brought the information that we shared into our bodies and responded with what came for each of us. At the same time, we connected what we already know about the Wholebody Focusing process to the new ideas that are emerging. We explained what is happening on a physical, emotional and spiritual level. This process is something that helped us find our “New Reality Now.” We used the process of Heartfelt Conversation to get us there.

In the second video, we began to discuss the implications of what we are uncovering, how it might change the way we are connecting to ourselves and, how we are teaching Wholebody Focusing.

How to Watch the Videos

We offer some suggestions on how to approach the content presented here.

You can refresh your memory of the original concepts of this discussion by reviewing: https://wholebodyfocusing.blog/2019/04/28/holding-space-for-me-here-and-our-trauma/.

You can watch Example and Explanation and the Implications video only.

Or, you can take novelist Julio Cortazar’s advice about reading when he was discussing his book Hopscotch. He encouraged readers to read his chapters in any order they choose and to come up with their own understanding of what is written. You can also watch the last four “Me Here” videos in any order and notice if something new emerges.

As always, we invite our readers to share their reactions, comments and concerns as part of this dialogue.

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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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It is What it Is!

Painting by Kevin McEvenue

It Is What It Is!

I would like to do something new, something that speaks from my direct experience of something that is coming to me that I would like to share with you. I would like to begin by saying a few things about what I would like to share and if you are interested in exploring this topic, you can click on the audio recording to hear my direct experience of this particular subject matter that may be of interest to both of us.

The phrase in this session that has triggered something more for me comes to me in this way: “It is what it is.”

This kind of saying has been repeating itself over and over again and maybe it will get some attention because obviously it seems important for me to hear it. And, of course, I have a question: what does this phrase, “It is what it is” mean to me? And perhaps what does this phrase “It is what it is” mean for you.

It is my belief–or trust–that if I speak directly from my experience as something felt, rather than just understood, you may feel a connection between us that feels different and perhaps a little unusual. Particularly if you resist trying to understand what is being said but just feel it or just “take it in”!  What I have been exploring is that when we share something meaningful, that feels real and true and alive in me, something can happen in you too! Often the energy in that way of sharing is palpable.

In focusing terminology, you might describe this as a felt sense to felt sense connecting in a heartfelt way. Something in me that feels alive in me awakens something in you that feels alive and may touch you. It is clearly an inner experience of yourself because of this connection happening between us. This is the kind of sharing I would like to explore with you and see if what is being shared on this topic resonates with something in you as well.

The phrase, “it is what it is” perhaps is very familiar. It’s a phrase, a series of words. But I would like to pause and let those words be felt inside me, deliberately pausing and stepping back a little so that these words have the space they need to awaken to their own sense of themselves as though they can have a life of their own.

It begins with a thought, but if I step back a little and come back to that place in me that has a sense of “me here” something more can awaken and perhaps take on a life of its own beyond thought; become more, an “experience” that I feel inside me suddenly. This is what I want to demonstrate today. I will start by just saying these words, “it is what it is,” and then wait and see what comes inside me physically—physically connecting to these words.

If you are still curious, please continue and click on the audio and join me here. See what comes—or I should say—notice what comes in me and then maybe in you, that resonates mutually each in our own ways.

Yes, maybe make room for what feels like a surprise or unexpected and yet very connected to your own life, separate from mine. And mark that.  Mark what came as something that is wants to be noticed in you, in your life, and maybe share that with others in some way.

Kevin McEvenue

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