Invitation to Commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day

Photo Credit: Ellen Korman Mains

A Contemplative Focusing-oriented Zoom Gathering
January 25, 2020, 12 Noon – 1:30 pm EST
with Ellen Korman Mains
author of the award-winning memoir

Buried Rivers: A Spiritual Journey into the Holocaust

To the chagrin of her parents—Polish Jews who survived the Holocaust—Ellen became a Buddhist at 19, nearly tearing her family apart. Decades later, on the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, an experience on a German train sent her on a series of life-changing journeys to Poland to explore the meaning of basic goodness after the Holocaust, and her own family history. January 27, 2020 marks the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz and 15 years since that 2005 train ride.

As nationalism and other threats increase around the planet, how do we acknowledge and hold space for an event as monumental as the Holocaust? Is healing possible? As a daughter of Holocaust survivors, Ellen will offer some personal and historical context for this gathering, including her journey since January of 2005. This gathering will include a guided meditation to help us connect with grounded presence, to create an environment of safety, and to invite ancestral support. Breakout groups will allow us to freshly share our experience.

“We, the living, are the body of our ancestors, and in our bodies we carry all the tears they could not cry during their lifetimes. And when we allow their tears to be cried through us, something is being made whole between the generations . . .”

-The Tears of the Ancestors: Victims and Perpetrators in the Tribal Soul, by Daan van Kampenhout

“If we go underneath the overwhelming emotions and touch into physical sensations, something quite profound occurs in our organism—there is a sense of flow, of “coming home.”

-In an Unspoken Voice: How the Body Releases Trauma & Restores Goodness by Peter Levine

Please join us!

Email EllenKormanMains@gmail.com to RSVP and receive the Zoom link.

To leave or read a comment, click here and go past the end of the post.

Love – The Most Powerful Force…

Sculptures and Photo by: Gabrielle Clark

….hello sweet tiredness, hello despair, hello anger, hello body.
Tell me of your wanting, your desires your needs. Tell me of your tiredness, your depression, your choking on all that’s inside. Tell me of your trying so hard.

I want to know it, I want to hear it all.
I don’t care if it’s not right to share.
Tell me all your mysteries.

Keep it all in they say, get over it they say, lose weight they say, get fit they say, do this, don’t do that, be anyone other than who you are.

But it’s the truth and the truth will set me free.

I want nothing but you.
Nothing but what is.
No more fighting it.

What would that be like?

I pause and feel into it.
I sense a deep peace that comes with this surrender.
I feel the love of a mother to her babies, so tired and worn out, she gets up hour after hour to nurture her child. Breasts so full, so tight, so sore, so little sleep, tired to the edge of exhaustion, she keeps going.
Love, the powerful force that drives her.

I have that to give all these places in me!

I can want them all like I chose them,
Like precious gifts.
This life
This pain
This joy
This body
All of it

held, transformed, healed…..

by the most powerful force in the universe.

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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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Gravity: Accepting Life Itself Unconditionally

Someone once told me that gravity is the purest form of unconditional love.  Everything is held by gravity without prejudice or discernment.  Grounding to this force of nature helps one experience unconditional love.  As I listened to Kevin’s voice today, I felt held by the energy of the Earth.  A deep relaxation came over me.  When the intunement ended, I laid down on my bed and continued to sense that deep sense of being held and I experienced the much needed deep sleep my body was craving.

Diana Scalera

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My Heart’s Desire

isabelsheartsquare
Painting by Isabel Bennett Hennman

Many of us who are Wholebody Focusers have learned concepts and practices from many other modalities. In a workshop many years ago, I learned about the concept of “heart’s desire.” The practice I was taught in this workshop was to silently wish yourself your heart’s desire and then silently wish those around you their heart’s desire. We also learned that a true heart’s desire can only be for our highest and greatest good.

What Happens When You Wish People their Hearts Desire

I live in New York City and take public transportation so I have ample opportunities to live this practice.  It has helped me learn so many things. First, I struggled to remember to wish myself my heart’s desire. It would be ten minutes of concentrating on others before I remembered myself. Then mentioning me felt quite “selfish.” Eventually, it took less and less time to remember me and wishing myself my heart’s desire gave me a surge of energy.

Then I noticed how judgmental I was. I vowed to wish everyone in my subway car or bus their heart’s desire but I felt negative feelings coming about some people. I had to recognize that harsh part of myself that is so critical. Often the criticism would be about someone’s hairstyle or clothing but it also showed up when people seemed different from me too. My practice became noticing what came for me when I thought about wishing a particular person their heart’s desire. I would acknowledge what was there and let it go. When I added the wish for that person, my heart and the criticism would soften. It also helped me be with how all that criticism that emerged was really about me. This practice helped me be with both the wish to generate love for others along with a fierce need to separate myself through criticism of others.   I needed hold those parts with equal regard. This eventually has led to much less criticism for myself and for unsuspected random citizens of NYC.

Continue reading My Heart’s Desire

My Prayer Hears Your Prayer

Painting; Riverdale Park in Cabbagetown by Kevin McEvenue

Elizabeth this a response to “It Is for This.” It is the power of her voice, the tone of the sound that is so healing to my soul.  My body instantly awakens to her tone of voice even before the words are felt.

I am just allowing Elizabeth’s prayer to be heard and to be felt inside of me. And the words that seem to awaken something deeper in me is this expression that she keeps repeating:  it is for this. It is for this. It is for this.
And each time I hear that repetition, it touches me even more deeply because I know that sound.  I can feel that sound and I can feel me.
That is what Elizabeth has awakened in me too—that sense of me that knows who I am.  What I am.
And I love the feel of it.  I love being awakened when I hear someone else is there too. It gives me a sense of myself that feels totally satisfying.  It is a feeling of love.
I am Love.
I live love in my body as a whole.
It is me.
This is who I am.
Amen.

Something more came for me listening to Elizabeth saying what was there for her and how deeply that awakened something in myself about me. It is as though her sound, her voice, her expression, awakened a sense of myself from inside–like awakening a tuning fork of who I am.

Continue reading My Prayer Hears Your Prayer

It’s For This

 

I want to know.
To experience
It
directly.
Not just to know about
It.

To sit in the
silent hum of my being
To sit in the
silent hum of that
Transcendent Being
The One I choose to call
God
Father

That’s what’s needed
that’s what’s important
to me

I don’t want to settle for less
for writing a beautiful piece
for creating an amazing painting
or sculpture
or for giving something needed to another
All those are Good
But not enough—for me

Continue reading It’s For This

To Become Alive / Att bli levande

Photo Credit: Ulla-Stina Johansson

Your experience Kevin resonated profoundly in me. When you listened deeply, in searching for a sense of self, an uninvited Trappist monk connected with you – and you came alive. As if listening deeply for life could be as a calling to the universe and something from beyond answered you. Could this be possible?

In the beginning of the nineties I was on a similar journey, in my longing to become alive and be myself. My travel led me to an Orthodox Monastery, named New Valamo, in Finland. During the winter war 1939, some 190 monks fled from Valamo Monastery in Russia. They founded a refuge and a new home in a mansion in the east of Finland. To have somewhere to live they had to rebuild the old barn into monk’s cells. The monks lived and prayed in the barn for years. It was possible for me, as a visitor, to stay in one of the old monk´s cells in the barn. And of course, it was an offer I could not refuse.

The whole night I had deep dreams which felt as some sort of inner rebuilding of my whole life. For the next few days, I walked around the monastery without any thoughts, feelings or words. But with tears constantly pouring down, gently melting, cleansing and making me soft and receiving. I was filled with awe that made me feel fresh and alive.

Ulla-Stina Johansson

Continue reading To Become Alive / Att bli levande