As a reader and a contributor to this blog, I’m very touched to hear this audio from Kevin, “Something is Happening That is Good For Me.”
And it turns out that he’s talking about his response to recent contributions and comments on this cyber-gathering place. It’s as though I’m hearing it for the first time—that we are “…participating in something not of our own making…” in these recent writings.
He reminds us that we’re participating—we’re not passive carriers for inspired ideas—instead we‘re active participants in what comes through each of us; something that is uniquely helpful to the writer, and uniquely helpful—in yet another way—to the reader.
And he adds something else that I feel is new: that we are experiencing “…a felt-sense, person-to-person.” And he says “YES” to that, adding, “.that’s why I’m here in this moment, to say YES.”
Lucky us—to have the opportunity to sense into this new-knowing.
Today’s intunement helps us connect to another way of finding grounded presence through using our attention to our breath. Kevin guides us to being with this simple practice used for ages in so many healing modalities in a way that the experience of grounding itself becomes self-aware.
What is the quality of your breath? What comes for you as you are holding space for your breath? How does that help you be with what is there for you today?
Start your day with this short exploration and see what comes.
Maybe it has happened to you, too, that small secret moment of intimacy with a non-human creature. It’s a powerful experience yet easily dismissed by the mind. The one I want to tell you about happened on a trail in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada in northern California. It is a rocky, spare place, steep and windswept and intensely alive. High on a ridge above a mountain lake, the trail weaves among pines and Douglas Fir growing singly or in small groups, huddled around granite boulders. On a hot late September afternoon, their combined scent rose like incense; the air was charged with it. I walked briskly, enjoying the vigorous motion and the give of the trail surface, changing from rock to needles to bare earth to patches of coarse grasses. I became keenly aware of an added dimension, the arrangement of bodies in the middle distance, so often lost in our habitual focus on panoramic views. I mean by that the sense of my body mass relative to trees and boulders, the way trees stood in twos or threes or alone; a pine and boulder together; or the way the boughs formed a screen so that only slivers of blue were visible, and then suddenly parted to allow a full view of distant peaks. My steps slowed to a walk as I absorbed this new pleasure. My hand reached to touch the furry patch of lichen on a granite boulder, the deep furrow of Douglas Fir bark. I put my arms around a Jeffrey Pine, maybe my age in pine years, glowing deep red in the late afternoon light. I laid my cheek against the bark and was enveloped in a light, sweet aroma, like vanilla, very different from the more pungent “conifer” fragrance that rose from the forest as a whole. (I read later that pines, and especially Jeffrey Pines, are unique among North American conifers in distilling this vanilla-like scent.) There we stood for a long while, the pine and I, in a timeless embrace of arms and branches, skin and bark, one breath.
In her book, “The Legacy of Luna”, activist Julia Butterfly Hill describes her relationship with the giant redwood in whose canopy she lived for more than two years in order to save it from being logged. Hill is positive that Luna knew Hill was there to save it, and gave her support in its tree-ish way. Similarly, with my arms around the pine, I felt very strongly, from the tree, a wave of – encouragement? Support? Was the pine hugging me back? These are human terms and they don’t quite fit. I felt that the pine and the land it sprang from were holding me up, wanted me to continue my work to save the Peace Valley in my home province of British Columbia from being dammed. I was being offered a gift – an experience of joy and unity, and something more: confirmation, confidence and strength to persevere in my work. Joy and gratitude buoyed me as I walked back to the cabin.
Looking back, a year and a half later, I see how this moment marked a turn in my work on the Peace River campaign. I felt invigorated, emboldened and supported. My health and energy improved and I was able to take on tasks that would have daunted me before. At the same time, I remained very much aware that the ultimate outcome is beyond my control. I was not “saving” the Peace – not by myself, not even all of us together. We cannot save anyone or anything. The Peace river has its own path. That path, like the path of other beings, may include wounding and suffering. All any of us can do is allow the land to become alive in us, and then act from that place.
In a culture less rigidly dualistic than the one that dominates our time, I believe experiences like this would be accepted by the society at large as valid and true. I feel gratitude that moments like these are still able to shine through the cultural conditioning that has been instilled in western peoples over generations, dividing nature from spirit and denying spirit to other creatures. What an impoverishment! Experiences like these bring incredible abundance and depth to our lives. They are our true birthright.
To read or leave a comment please click on the word Comments next to or under the photo at top left-hand-side of this page.
In this latest conversation between Addie van der Kooy and Kevin McEvenue, they explore fear and it’s potential. Given the current state of the world and all the unknowns, how do we find a way to transform fear into a potent ally that can support us through difficult times.
Enjoy this conversation between Addie and Keven and learn how to explore the potential of your own fear.
To read or leave a comment please click on the word Comments next to or under the photo.
I look out of the huge windows that open to the sea in the retreat center at Punta de Tralca, Chile. It is the morning. The sea is quiet. The sky is looming pale and it is hard to see where the sea ends, where the sky begins. Yesterday red warning flags waved on the beach. Wild, foam-headed waves wandered loudly to the beach. The water was cloudy brown from the sand.
On the fourth morning of the Focusing Weeklong, during the bio-energetic movement group class, I move according to the sounds of nature in me. I become nature itself. It is not easy, because I am used to the fact that all the sound, which arises from me, should be wise, reasonable or right. I am now the wind, I am swinging in the breeze. I am a seagull skipping on the beach.
Then we settle in a circle. Everyone who wants can step into the middle, move and make the sounds their body wants to express. I step into the middle without making any sound. I look everyone in their eyes swinging my body from side to side. At some point, I feel timid. Is it acceptable to be silent, if we were asked to make sounds?
Is it acceptable to be silent if using our voice is what was asked? This question lives in me until the end. Only at the very end, a new thought sneaks into my mind: silence is a voice.
During the Weeklong I sometimes get tired of speaking English. I don’t understand Spanish at all, or just a word now and then. In the cafeteria, I start to think about speaking Finnish without waiting for anyone to understand me. In this way, nobody would be confused nor would they find it distracting or worry about the meaning, because that wouldn’t be my point. It would just be…my voice. With this thought in my mind, I try to listen to Spanish with the idea of listening to the “voice of another,” another person with a voice and language different from mine.
I have been writing Haiku about the energetic patterns of my days. I write them fast with very little editing to capture the moment and post them to Twitter.
I love the format of Haiku and have always used it to describe my urban experiences even though it is traditionally known as a form of poetry honoring nature. Since I love urban life so much, I include the urban built environment as part of “nature.” It is a product of humanity, therefore, for me, a part of nature. Almost everything we touch in cities is part of nature in some way. My very large apartment complex, for example, is constructed from bricks made from the clay residue of the glacier that became the Hudson River. I take great comfort in this as someone might living in a log cabin.
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.
Kevin McEvenue explores Participatory Spirituality as a new experience of his ever evolving Wholebody Focusing Practice.
by Kevin McEvenue
Participatory Spirituality: I am introducing a new topic to be shared and explored together.
As I say the words out loud, I notice I stop! I feel confused—as though I don’t know what to think. I don’t know! I pause; I wonder.
I don’t panic or shutdown; I wonder as though I am curious. I am aware of both.
I stop and I notice, and then something comes into my awareness! It feels new—like a new direction—as though a door has been opened in this way of responding. And holding both with equal positive regard.
Something comes that is clearly unexpected and not of my own making. Body, mind, and an awakening that is not of my own making! This is what we will be exploring as this new direction takes us to a place we have not been before, a kind of engagement with life that seems very personal.
Please join me here in this new experience of myself as I explore what happens in me when I take this next step and then the next step, and then the one after that. It seems to have a life of its own. I am given a choice.