The “Me Here” Series of Training Conversations

Trainer logo2mergeIn August of 2018, Addie van der Kooy, Kevin McEvenue and I met to discuss what is new in Wholebody Focusing.  Addie and Kevin collaborated on FOCUSING WITH THE WHOLE BODY: A CD-integrated Focusing Learning Program that was published in October 2006.  We wanted to bring together the two people responsible for this extraordinary learning program and to look toward the future of Wholebody Focusing.

That day we filmed until what needed to be said was complete.  The result was the six videos listed below.  The first four are already on the blog.  You may have seen them already.  The last two complete the series and set the stage for what comes next.

My experience as the producer/editor of these videos is that new ground is broken in these intimate dialogues and they may need several views to fully take in what is being shared.  This blog is proud to have the opportunity to make these conversations possible and to be the mechanism to share them with those who would benefit.

These six videos are each part of a flow of exploration so you may want play them in the order they are listed. Once you become familiar with them, you may want to pick and choose which one suits you most on any given day.

Please comment and share how these conversations have impacted you.  This is an exciting way to keep WBF as a vibrant life experience.

The Inner Core Muscle of “Me Here” This Interview discusses training someone to find grounded presence.

The Inner Core Muscle of “Holding Both”   This interview discusses training someone to “hold both with equal positive regard.”

Let Your Experience Be This interview discusses how to be with whatever comes even if it is not what you expected.

Me Here and My Thoughts This interview discusses how to be with racing thoughts that may or may not be true or helpful.

What Is Needed to Start the WBF Process?

Why is establishing an inner structure so important to learning Wholebody Focusing?

 

The End Note: Why Talk About Muscles?

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When an Old Wound Becomes Present to Itself

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Sometimes we know that we do something repetitively that prevents our forward movement. It happens seemingly without explanation. Then one day a connection shows up after revisiting a very familiar place.

The Pattern

I have a difficult time taking medication that I need to take care of myself.  I will take a remedy for a brief period and experience improvement and then suddenly start to have a body sense that instead of supporting life it is causing problems.  Then I stop taking the medication and the chronic problem returns.

The Old Wound

I grew up in a family in which multiple female relatives were victims of sexual abuse from another relative I’ll call P.  P died when I was 14 months old.  I grew up hating P because all I knew about him was how he hurt the women in my life.

In a healing session when I was 40 years old, the Reiki master asked me a question.  “Who do you love?”  It took some time and at the end of the session I blurted out from my gut, “I love P” and began to sob deeps sobs like I never felt before.  All I could think was it is impossible that I could love him. My body; however, was sure that I loved him more than I had ever loved anyone else.  I spent months being with the grief that I had never had a chance to express.

I asked my mother whether I ever had a relationship with P and she said he was quite old and knew he was about to die when I was a baby.  He and I became inseparable.  As soon as we were in the same room, I would be in his arms, and he held me for hours at a time.  That love feels benevolent and pure in my body.

The Dilemma

P was the serial child molester of the women in my life, AND I loved him deeply because I felt most loved by him.  The women he harmed were not capable of loving me and caring for me because of the damage he had caused them. The memory of his energy; however, emerged in my life as the best love I had ever received in spite of what I learned about him as I grew up.  It is challenging to hold both the nature of the love I felt for him and what I also know about him.

The Wholebody Focusing Session

Kevin and I had a session in which I revisited this experience holding both my hatred for P and my sense of pure love that lived in me. In a slow and embodied way, I experienced the dilemma through movement and breath without words.  There was no sensation of a shift nor was there any new insight during the session.

What Happened Later?

After the session, I realized that I needed to take some medication for acid reflux because this new way of being with this dilemma stirred up my digestive tract.  I reached for a relatively new remedy that I had been taking for a few weeks with great success and felt sure that relief was just a pill away.

Before I took the pill, I suddenly had a thought.  I had never checked the label to make sure that this remedy was free from any known allergens.  I took a look and realized that one of the ingredients was brown algae.  I have a severe seafood allergy, and sometimes sea products have a high level of iodine which can trigger a seafood allergy.  I suddenly felt great fear about taking another dose.

Something made me pause before I completely embodied the fear.  Why did I think about whether this remedy was a problem at this time even though I had weeks of taking it without a problem?

I sensed something new was opening up.  I realized that the conflict around the medication was the same dilemma as my connection to P—something that feels so life supporting could also be very hurtful.  How could I trust my deep body sense of being loved when P was its source?  Even though my body sense of the interaction with him was benevolence, my thoughts tell me that it can’t be trusted.

My relationship with medication and food has mirrored my relationship with the feeling of being loved.  When something makes me feel good, fear rises, and I find reasons to stop the interaction.  I am anxious about eating food in the same way.  Something that nourishes can also cause damage.

What is New?

There was a great relief in this discovery.  Of course I fear nourishment and love, my best and most reliable source of love was someone who was also capable of great betrayal.  I have moved from the “not knowing” to the knowing what causes this pattern of trust and stoppage. I can hold space for the part of me that experienced great love and also great disappointment and fear of that love.  My pattern of fearing the very things that may help me is the beacon that lit the path to this moment.  My Wholebody Focusing practice is the vehicle in which this journey became possible.

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Peace in Me / Rauha minussa

Photo Credit: Cerro Santa Lucia in Santiago, Chile by Maria Hakasalo

I sit in a subway in Santiago, Chile. My husband sits at the other end of the full car. I am worried. The next day we go in different directions. He will leave by himself for a backpacking trip to Paraguay, to Iguazu Falls in Brazil and later to Argentina, while I will spend a week in Punta de Tralca, Chile. I will be safe–his experience is an unknown. Who knows, it may even be a bit dangerous. Something in me is absolutely scared.

A man gets on the subway car with another man. They are  standing near the door. The man holds on to an adjacent bar. Noticing him, I suddenly start to feel my feet firmly against the floor of the car. Peace begins to rise up all over my body. I look at the man when he speaks to his companion.  Just an ordinary man about sixty years old carrying a briefcase in his hand. He’s taller than other men in the car.

I look at people around me curiously: could I find someone else with the same peace in their face and in their whole appearance? Not a soul.

After a while, the man leaves the subway. Deep peace in me does not disappear.

This experience reminds me of focusing, when I am with issues, thoughts or feelings that can arise, there is resistance, fear, and hardening in me. When I pay attention to the support of the floor, the chair, the environment, the listener, I start to feel my grounded presence and me here that is completely safe and peaceful.

Later, I realize that the peace of that man resonated with the peace that was just hidden somewhere in me at that moment. There is a peace in me, and I can find it even in a painful moment.

I can feel the same when listening to Kevin’s attunement at:

Looking for the Life Support to Move Forward the Complexity of a Growing Me?


Istun metrovaunussa Santiagossa, Chilessä. Puolisoni istuu toisessa päässä täyttä vaunua. Olen huolissani. Seuraavana päivänä me menemme eri suuntiin. Hän lähtee yksin reppureissailemaan Paraguayhin, ja Iguassun putouksille sekä Brasilian että Argentiinan puolelle samaan aikaan, kun minä vietän viikon Punta de Tralcassa, Chilessä. Minä olen turvassa, hän tuntemattomassa, kuka tietää, jopa vaarallisessa paikassa. Joku minussa on todella peloissaan.

Metrovaunuun nousee mies toisen miehen kanssa. He jäävät seisomaan oven suulle. Mies ottaa tukea viereisestä tangosta. Kun näen hänet, alan yhtäkkiä tuntea jalkapohjani tukevasti vaunun lattiaa vasten. Rauha alkaa nousta ylöspäin koko kehooni. Katson miestä, kun hän puhuu toiselle. Aivan tavallinen mies, noin kuudenkymmenen ikäinen salkku kädessään. Pidempi kuin moni mies ympärillään.

Katson ihmisiä ympärilläni uteliaana: löytyisikö joku toinenkin, jonka kasvoista ja koko olemuksesta huokuisi sama rauha kuin miehestä vierelläni. Ei ketään.

Jonkun ajan päästä mies poistuu metrosta. Minussa asuva syvä rauha ei häviä.

Tämä kokemus muistuttaa fokusointia. Sitä, kuinka olen asioiden, ajatusten tai tunteiden kansssa, jotka voivat herättää minussa vastustusta, pelkoa, jähmettymistä. Kun vien huomion lattian, tuolin, ympäristön ja kuuntelijani antamaan tukeen, alan tuntea, kuinka jalkani juurtuvat maahan ja löydän sen osan minusta, joka on täysin turvassa, jolla on täysi rauha vain olla.

Myöhemmin oivallan, että miehen rauha resonoi minussa itsessäni sillä hetkellä piiloutuneena olleen rauhan kanssa. Minussakin on se rauha, ja voin löytää sen kipeälläkin hetkellä.

Kevinin harjoitus vie minut tähän samaan tunnelmaan. Löydät sen täältä

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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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