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.
I’m envisioning a Daily Practice in Wholebody Focusing: to embody and sustain that sense of Me-Here as a body-sense of my Self as the foundation place—an Inner-Directed Experience of who I am and what I want to do.
Over the years, it has become clear to me that we seem to desire to start with an Intunement, to begin to have a fresh sense of ourselves as a Wholebody Focusing experience—to get in touch with what might be there in us right now.
How am I? What is going on right now? How can I make room for that? –that kind of attention. We seem to need some kind of solid grounding, something that we can hold onto, to allow those kinds of questions to emerge.
We usually start with some form of an Intunement to find that place in us that awakens what naturally wants to come alive and to inform us about ourselves and what is happening when it feels safe enough to do so!
It works when we can do this, and a sense of gratitude often follows when we spend time with ourselves in this way. It also initiates a relationship—it is not just a thought, it is an experience of me and something out there, a not-me, that together awakens a sense of feeling alive to myself beyond stuck-me! Continue reading Beginning a Wholebody Focusing Practice
Kevin McEvenue, Addie van der Kooy, Patricia Manessy and I, as participants in this blog, have been engaged in a conversation about a new edge of Wholebody Focusing. Addie presented us with the idea that “I can be okay, whilst not feeling okay.” Patricia let us know how important this concept is to her. Kevin’s intunement gives us an example of how to achieve that sense of wholeness with movement while holding whatever is present in the body.
What came for me today while listening to this intunement was the pure joy of moving without searching for its meaning. I was able to feel joy in my movements as I was aware that I woke up this morning with some emotional heaviness.
This is a great intunement to connect you to your natural ability to move from an inner directed source of self, to become solidly grounded, and possibly to be able to hold both a strong sense of “Me Here” and whatever is wanting your attention. This may alleviate what is suffering in the moment and may also lead to some longer lasting shift in that suffering.
In the first 12 intunements, Kevin helps us strengthen our sense of Me Here. We are now at 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.
My Wholebody Focusing practice is mostly silent. I move into grounded presence and give my body permission to move in the ways it needs. Automatic or spontaneous movements emerge. Words or images might surface but not necessarily. I eventually settled on this type of practice because it allows me to remain in grounded presence in a deeper and more sustained way. Without the need to search for words or images, I do not get triggered out of grounded presence as easily and I don’t have to worry about whether I am doing something “right” or if I’m addressing what is needed. My body takes care of that. Whatever emerges from my body is what it needs. I just need to give what emerges my awareness, equal regard and my consent.
Two dominant movements have consistently emerged. The first one is how every session starts. If I stand, my legs shake from the hips to the ankles. This movement first came to me during an automatic movement Qigong session many years ago. If I am sitting, my feet lift off the floor and shake in a different way. I have a vague sense of what is behind these movements. The leg movements seem to have a cleansing quality. It feels like a release of built up tension or static that might get in the way of what my body might need.
The second dominant movement usually emerges while my legs are still shaking. My arms shoot up over my head and stay there. My arms can be moving or still. This second movement emerged in a foundational session related to an image that has been with me for a long time—an image of a small bird with damaged wings that stubbornly preferred not to change in any way. This movement emerged during a health crisis. In a grounded state, I brought my awareness to how this crisis was affecting my body. My arms flew up at the same time a Kundalini-like sensation of a tornado arose from my feet and moved toward the top of my head. My understanding of this movement is that it was a moment in which this little bird tested its wings and found that they actually worked. This was a turning point in this health crisis. This movement emerges each time I am in grounded presence to remind me that anything is possible and to give me courage. Both of these dominant movements ebb and flow through my sessions in relation to whatever else emerges.
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.
In this intunement, Kevin took me back to the roots of focusing. Using the five senses, I found that place in me that is free of the “to dos,” the “shoulds” and the worries. There was Me There waiting to connect. Revisiting this practice with Kevin’s guiding voice helped me to slow down and easily reconnect to my body. As I heard Kevin’s explanation of how being with ourselves in an authentic way is different from being with the narrative we’ve created, I began to reconnect to a safe and welcoming place in my own body.
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.