When Girls Don’t Move – Part I

Photo Credit: Pixabay

My focusing practice is mostly about my relationship with my moving body so you might think that moving is easy for me. That is not the case.  I have a difficult time maintaining not only my WBF practice of moving but also being able to stick to an exercise plan.

For most of my young life, moving was not encouraged and many times vociferously discouraged. For me, not engaging in physical activity was a way to contain the anger that I felt being a member of my family. If I didn’t move, I didn’t feel anything. As an adult, I can choose to be more physically active.  My question has become, “When I move, what happens on an emotional level?”

For my mother, keeping me still contained her anger and fear of the sexual abuse she had experienced as a young girl. I spent the summer of my twelfth year sitting on the steps in front of my house as an observer of the movement of my neighborhood. A friend joined me because I was forbidden to go anywhere else and our other friends stopped playing street games.  They now had responsibility for running their households because their mothers were working.

How Not Moving Moves Us

The funny thing about this restriction is that it turned our focus on what our parents were trying to avoid. All we thought about was boys, being sexy, being competitive, and imagining ourselves as independent sexual beings. We had nothing else to do. Our favorite activity was determining whether another girl or woman who went by was “competition.” If a boy or man passed by we calculated whether or not he was a potential liaison. After a few weeks of seeing the same people over and over again, we developed elaborate narratives about each of these unsuspecting neighbors—we never; however, made any attempt to act out the stories in real life.

Our stillness was not only the result of our parents’ fear; it was pervasive at that time that girls should not move. We should not play sports because it might cause infertility. We should not swim because there might be human predators in the water. Dancing was no longer okay even if we had dance lessons when at 6 or 7 years old. I got to high school never having played on a sports team.

When I joined a group of girls who wanted a girls’ basketball team in grammar school, the nuns banned even the idea of a girls’ basketball team. In high school, I worked out with the girl’s basketball team.  My parents felt it was not their responsibility to get me to and from basketball practice. There was no other way for that to happen. One night of being left on a street corner alone to find my way home after dark was enough for me to get the message of their intense disapproval and enough to stop me from playing on the basketball team.

As an adult, I tried to integrate movement and/or exercise into my life. A pattern emerged. I would start to move. At first, it was a big struggle. It then began to become more natural. Then, one day it felt ecstatic. That put an end to my movement. I would stop whatever type of movement got me there. This pattern has repeated itself throughout my life no matter how determined I was to change it.

What is your experience?

I’m in my sixties now, and I am a Wholebody Focuser.  I hold space for the part of me that is screaming to move while another part of me needs to put a stop to all movement no matter the cost.  Sometimes I hold space for both while I let movement emerge from my body.  Sometimes I hold space for both while I’m still.  That’s all I know right now.

How do you manage to hold both in situations that present fundamental challenges to moving forward?

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A Heartfelt Duet – Peace Will Come

Photo Credit: Carmen Scalera

For me, music is a way in, a way to be with parts of myself that are sometimes unknown or in the background. I’ll hear a song and locate that feeling again.

A Musical Felt Sense

I found this video, Peace Will Come sung by Miley Cyrus and Melanie Safka, during a conversation with my husband about music that influenced him as a boy. We listened to a song by Dion and the Belmonts called The Wanderer. There was a video of Dion singing this song to an audience of elegantly- dressed couples in a nightclub. While my husband was walking down memory lane, I noticed that the men in the audience had big smiles on their faces and the women were looking aghast. I pointed this out to my husband, and we discussed how this song represented an ideal for men of the ’50s and early ’60s that reduced women to objects.

At the same time, my husband was able to identify the body sense of the song for him as a teenager. He said it opened new possibilities of traveling around the world and adventure. He ended up visiting many parts of the world. He didn’t notice how women were treated because it was not any different from what he had been learning about women from the culture of that time.

Who are the Artists?

I had a felt sense that a counterpoint was needed. I wanted a voice that represented a woman’s point of view, and Melanie came to mind. We went to her web site (www.melaniesafka.com) and found the video below and other material that reminded me how, during the ’60s and ’70s, her songs influenced me along with other girls and women by exemplifying independence and candor about the experience of femaleness. There is evidence in some of the video record that she shares, that she also helped men see women more fully as human beings. She was also a strong supporter of ending the war in Vietnam, and that may have been the reason she wrote Peace Will Come.

Miley Cyrus was a Disney star in the 2000s who was the target of slut-shaming in the USA when she hit her late teens for having grown into a sexy beautiful young woman. She now has a successful career as an actor/singer/songwriter who continues to surprise and challenge her audience. She created the Happy Hippie Foundation that sponsors programs that focus on youth homelessness, the LGBTQ community, and other vulnerable populations.

My Felt Sense of the Duet

This duet between Melanie Safka and Miley Cyrus is a Heartfelt Conversation between artists. The beauty of the setting, the support of the musicians who may not have known what would happen next, the interaction between the singers, and the beauty of the song itself and its social context in the ’70s and today all moved me. A sense of well-being and hope emerged in me.

The multi-generational aspect of this performance also touched me. One commenter called it a “multi-generational eargasm.” Miley’s way of being with Melanie helped me remember how important Melanie’s music was to me as a teenager. Moreover, I became aware of how ageism, especially against women, make this kind of Heartfelt Connection very rare. I found the longing in me for the ability to be a part of a community that holds, with equal regard, the contributions of people of all ages.

Please enjoy the loveliness of this moment shared.

 

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Something is Happening That is Good For Me

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.

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In Response to the Question “What’s Alive in Me?”

Photo Credit: Eddie Nunns

I don’t have to solve that problem.
………………………fix

I don’t have to solve that problem.
………………………fix

I don’t have to solve THAT problem.
………………………fix

I don’t have to RESOLVE that question.

I don’t have to.

and then…

Just because it’s sometimes fun for me to brain-storm with mySelf
doesn’t mean that I’m obligated to.
Something in my body is recognizing the ways I storm my brain.

I don’t have to do that.

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Finding the rightness of the FRIGHTENED in me

Photo Credit: Bill Lazar

It’s different from worried or concerned.
And letting it be there without story or explanation or searching for meaning… lets there be an opening within.

… a releasing around my aorta. Then a further releasing…, a lengthening and unwinding on my left back.

A sort of uncurling. And a filling in.

It’s quite specific, this uncurling. It is uncurling rather than unwinding. The words are right even if they don’t seem to fit the usual meaning of each word.

There’s a new openness in me. An opening-ness that’s continuing, in a settling-in way.

And surprisingly… a quiet pride. And a comfort that goes along with it.

Yes, the QUIET of it. The QUIET of being touched by the NAKED TRUTH of… frightened.

……….<a deep sigh releases itSelf>

And I feel even more… a settling in to comfort. Into mySelf.

Into the ironic safety of knowing that I’m frightened.

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The Inner Core Muscle of “Holding Both”

Welcome to the third video blog of a heartfelt conversation between Kevin McEvenue and WBF trainer Addie  van der Kooy.  In this part of the conversation both share their excitement and experience of the practice of “Holding Both” – an inner dynamic that naturally comes alive when you not only make space for a body sense of your suffering, but also include the bodily felt connected-ness and aliveness of “Me Here.”  This  inner core muscle of Holding Both opens up new possibilities of deep healing and even transformation.  Enjoy,

Addie van der Kooy (email: avdkooy@outlook.com)

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The Path to Presence

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Dear Blog Readers,

A new Contributor has joined our ranks. Wholebody focuser Steven Jabokovic writes about a rarely discussed element of Wholebody Focusing—wordless, movement-centric sessions that make us new without narratives, words or cathartic thoughts. What he describes is how pure movement can bring him what he desires most—a connection to self. Join us in welcoming his insights to our blog.

Diana Scalera – Blog Administrator

For me, the path to presence is winding, but also an unwinding. It begins with a twitch in a toe or a finger.  The twitches are followed by a slight shudder or a shiver down my back.  At first, the spasms are intermittent; lightly flitting every now and again.

By now, I know what’s coming and wait. I feel carpet fibers between my toes. Through two sit bones resting upon the seat of my chair, I become aware of the weight of my body.  My eyes are closed, but I sense sunlight coming in through the window.

I speak of my bodily experience over Skype, and my voice instantly reaches Toronto, Canada. Kevin’s warm scratchy response encourages me. “Yes…good,” he says.  I agree with a nod that he cannot see with his eyes – we only use audio, but I am sure he ‘sees’ it.

The twitches become more intense and violent. My shoulders jerk back; my head turns from side to side as far as my neck allows; my wrists shake with enough force to toss my fingers across the room if only they could; my toes grab for the carpet fibers. This goes on for several minutes or maybe only thirty seconds; I’ve never counted.

The spasms slow down. A few final twitches make my body pop before it becomes quiet. Sometimes traveling this path makes me tired, but I always end up feeling loose and open.  I am neutral and quiet; a quiet that I long for, but have trouble finding.

Continue reading The Path to Presence

A Gift that Keeps Giving & How I Mustn’t Feel the Joy of all that Until I Pause!

Photo Credit: Pixaby

Here is where I want to begin, reflecting on what Diana shared below in her blog that will not let go of me until I say something. This was a very powerful connection that demanded my attention. I am appreciating how the power of Diana’s heartfelt piece on the Blog that so deeply touched me. There is so much there as I stop and make room for what wants to come in me now. Maybe see what comes for you here too. Kevin

Pauses Big and Small

“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.”

       Diana Scalera November 19, 2018

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