A situation happened recently that felt so uncomfortable that I couldn’t leave it alone. I just had to address it and so I did. It was a very familiar event—having dinner with somebody or a group of people and walking away feeling so unsatisfied, hating every moment of it.
In fact, I realized I could kvetch for days and I would still remain unsatisfied. This time, I did something quite different. I paused and found a safe place to ask my body what was so unsatisfying here? And when I could pause like that, I could feel my body appreciating the question and it felt very present in a different way than the usual chatter of thinking about something I don’t like, and why!
This is what came, being with that kind of ‘background feeling’ at a dinner gathering where I came away feeling so very unsatisfied wondering why, again! What came was a real surprise and left me feeling in a very different place!
Join me here and see what comes for you in this kind of situation where you’re feeling either uncomfortable or more—unsatisfied.
Actually, they might feel slightly different. Feeling unsatisfied often points to the possibility of what it would feel like to feel fully satisfied. Feeling uncomfortable seems more like doing something, like making a list about what to do about it, but not necessarily point to something that could change the body experience, more like a quick fix to get rid of that feeling.
In this recording, I discover something very different as a possibility I never dreamed of.
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
I follow the #MeToo movement closely because it addresses a reality that is central to my existence. Sexual abuse trauma dominates my emotional life. I was never sexually abused myself; however, my mother was. Her sexual abuse impacted her ability to be a loving mother to me. I recently became aware of the depth of this reality when I read a paragraph about what it is like to be in relationship with a narcissist.
A relationship with a narcissist is a desperate relationship where you are always feeling vulnerable, worthless, hated, constantly explaining yourself, silenced, punished, and traumatized. What is it that you are actually doing wrong? Nothing!1
This describes what it was like to be my mother’s daughter. Extreme abuse can engender a particular type of narcissism. My mother, a victim of sexual abuse, needed to throw her own negative feelings about herself onto me in order to live with the unbearable truth and pain of her experience. I experience my relationship with her as something in me that always feels a need to defend myself and is sure that there is no love or margin of error available to me.
Wholebody Focusing as a Way to Heal Sexual Abuse Trauma
The dominance of this felt sense in my life became clear to me one day as I was preparing for a medical test. Try as I might, I couldn’t clear my mind and relax. Thoughts of random moments in the past in which I felt traumatized by interactions with others kept surfacing. There were so many from such a wide variety of different points in my life that I became completely overwhelmed. I slowed down and connected to the energy of the Earth. I paused with this sense of overwhelm. A new realization eventually emerged—it was futile to try to hold space for any or all of the fast shifting narratives floating through me.
Kevin invites us, here, to join him in an exploration that covers some really revolutionary material that most of the world doesn’t entertain—that we can develop a relationship with our own bodily experiences. There’s a whole lot here, so feel free to pause this audio to really take it in, as he draws us forward through the many nuanced steps toward a relationship between our consciousness and our felt sense.
I was especially energized to hear his words: what emerges is not of your own making. Years of socialization make that difficult for me to take in. And another personal favorite: it’s almost as though the body waits for your connection…. ….almost as though it appreciates your attention. Even now, I have a sweet spark of surprise when I realize that a relationship is forming:
Here I am, and there that is. We are in relationship.
This intunement is the last one in the “Coming Home” series of intunements that is the simplest and most gentle guide to grounded presence. All that is needed is a desire to be with Kevin in grounded presence. It is also a transition to the next series of intunements that support a deep level of being with all that is present in our lives. Being able to pause is essential to being able to hold whatever comes. The pause allows these parts to find their own way home when they are ready.
Repeated use of this intunement can lead to the deeper sense of self that supports our ability to observe and hold, with equal regard, all our felt senses and body wisdom that emerge.
This intunement is especially suited to those of us who have learned to live our lives moving ahead at all cost without enough time for reflection or observation of what is there for us. This intunement can be bookmarked on your computer and/or mobile devices in order to be easily available whenever there is a need to pause with a guiding voice as support for us to connect to our own “Me Here Now.”
I love to discover the naturalness of Wholebody Focusing in life itself, including in art and music. I found something new listening to Billie Holiday’s version of Good Morning Heartache.
Focusing is based on the work of Gene Gendlin. He worked with Carl Rodgers to research why some people thrive in psychotherapy and others did not. Their award-winning research found that whether or not psychotherapy helped a person with their emotional issues was not related to the type of therapy or the skill of the therapist. It had mostly to do with the client’s innate ability to be aware of their emotional challenges in a meta-cognitive way. Focusing and Wholebody Focusing are practices that help people learn how to become more aware of their inner emotional life in a way that naturally helps one heal.
Good Morning, Heartache is a wonderful example of how as someone becomes aware and accepting of what is there emotionally, healing begins. In this song, Ms. Holiday’s voice guides us through her experience of heartache. She starts with wanting the heartache to “get lost” and cycles through what comes for her by being with these feelings. She ends with lightheartedly offering her heartache to “sit down” next to her. This song demonstrates an important practice in Focusing in which one can hold both the heartache and the not wanting the heartache with equal regard as a part of the healing process.
Please enjoy Good Morning Heartache. This 1946 song was created through a collaboration of writers Irene Higgenbotham, Ervin Drake, and Dan Fisher. It was sung by Billie Holiday with backup from Bill Stegmeyer and his Orchestra.
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.
Are you in need of some lighthearted play? Here is an intunement that will move you into an inner-directed body experience without narrative or particular intention other than to experience movement that is generated by your body alone. Kevin narrates the experience of asking his body to stand from a sitting position merely by relying on its own body wisdom sense of standing.
We can be partners in this game. If we invite our bodies, they may want to share the same experience with Kevin, something that takes longer than our own ability to stand and has many nuances that one might not expect.
So ask you body to stand, allow all necessary movement to emerge and let go of any need to create meaning or narrative out the experience.