What's so valuable about developing body awareness?
Our bodily systems hold our memories forever, including memories of traumatic events, (the amygdala has no sense of time); until we reclaim the moments when we experienced overwhelm with attuned, warm, resonate presence. When we intentionally slow down both our inner and outer experiences, mindfully checking in with our body to notice any sensations and/or impulses to move, we open a new doorway of experiencing. Daniel Siegel describes this as "a new plane of possibility."
Is it possible to rest in our experience of what is happening in order to see it more clearly?
When pausing to bring attention to one's body, and notice the first place the mind rests, one opens a doorway to the Present moment. As one attunes to one's own inner experience, one can begin to receive the wisdom of the body, notice the sensations in this area, and intentionally take time to become aware of the subtleties within sensations (such as tingling, cramping, hollow, tension, tightness, expansion, warmth, etc.) To tune into the sensations and intuit the deeper emotional flavor of one's experience, (happy, sad, mad, glad, afraid, etc.) Without hurry, to mindfully accompany this inner experience in the moment in present time with warmth (One's Compassionate Self-Witness) while acknowledging any thought fields as they sift through the mind's eye. Observe the breath, (is it shallow, mid-range, or slow and deep into the belly?) As one's capacity is developed to welcome with warmth the flow of emotion (energy in motion) it opens a portal to resonate with the needs alive within and around life itself.
This whole process can happen in a moment. As you deepen your capacity to rest in your experience, new layers may begin to be sensed. In my experience it is like whispers of a memory, maybe just out of reach of conscious awareness, yet ever so near. I have developed a practice of turning gently toward them (in my mind's eye) slowly, and with warmth, to acknowledge their presence in the present moment. "I see you," my Compassionate Self murmurs, "thank you, for allowing me to accompany you today. I welcome you to remain with me, there is no danger here, you are safe."
I remember an experience which was quite powerful for me. I had just held space for a participant who was triggered, and beginning to debrief with my co-facilitators; I noticed a lightness in my chest as I took in the brightness of another's eyes. She listened nodding, and smiling, with resonance.
Suddenly, I felt a drop of energy in the room, like a void, a dark cloud of energy. Glancing to my right I noticed one of the women sitting quiet, still-faced, and looking away. I recognized a familiar sense of dread and nothingness waft over my felt sense of existing in that moment. Doom felt eminently near.
Immediately, my Compassionate Self silently acknowledged this inner felt part; "I see you," she said gently, "I am here with you, it is safe to be you, especially now."
Breathing into my belly I turned with curiosity to the still-faced person, "I'd like to check in with you, I sense it may feel as if I rolled over you, and that was not my intention, I apologize..."
"Well, I understand people get excited..." she interjected with a flat affect, and then redirected the flow of conversation.
Feeling some shock course through my body, my inner self viscerally recoiled as I silently acknowledged my truth to my Compassionate Self, "I wasn't feeling excitement - I feel a sense of wonderment and awe laced with celebration from the discovery the participant made!" Sensing this inner part withdraw inside, ever so slightly with shame, my Compassionate-Self intentionally stepped forward energetically to hold my physical position in time and space.
As I sat silent, I noticed a slight collapse in my core, utter disbelief, and a trace of horror. My breathing was shallow. I heard my Compassionate Self gently offer reassurance, "Remember, this is why we chose to come here - so that you could have a different experience in the face of this specific flavor of energy when unexpected shifts happen. For you to experience and know you are never alone."
"Well, it feels really uncomfortable and incongruent right now!" my inner self grumbled quietly.
With curiosity my Compassionate Self was empowered to stay present - noticing the subtle energy and information flow of what was here in the moment - my inner self believed she was not being trusted, or else was being punished for some unknown crime she had committed. Needing acknowledgment that there had been no conversation around the experience for self-understanding to unfold.
"I feel demoted. I feel pissed off. I need clear, contingent communication, especially with those holding the position to guide the flow of connection." Silently empathizing, my Compassionate Self listened deeply as the thought clouds sifted through the mind, "I really like it when I am seen, heard, and my intention is acknowledged, and plans are made and changed with consideration and care."
My Compassionate Self rested beside the inner experience, tracking the subtle shifting sensations moving from the belly to the heart, radiating out to encompass the wholeness that is me. Clarity that comes from compassion timelessly shifted the clouds of fog from my brow. My breath slowed and deepened with calm. My vision widened.
In this moment I recognize anew the powerful healing that resonate, warm accompaniment brings, especially when held empathetically. As the experience of accompaniment rests with me, right where I am in the moment, the pain isn't as overwhelming as I had feared it would be. It's actually quite tolerable, and my cells feel really alive and new rather than semi-frozen. How relieving and rather astonishing this new plane of possibility is to experience in the here and now!
A sense of empowerment swells within as I honor the privilege it is to hold this sacred space on multiple levels of awareness; for my inner experience (connecting with the wisdom of my body) for each individual in the circle, and for my current time capacity for Presence. This greatly contributes towards my need to develop more confidence and trust within myself, and clarity around my purpose from the inside out.
Trust is a huge value that resonates for me - it's a held intention I named for myself at the beginning of my journey; to develop my ability for Self-trust, especially when it feels uncomfortable. Companions along the way have also named trust as a big part of what they experience receiving as we build enduring community together.
This experience felt very different for me, a big A-HA in a very visceral way, deep in my core. I am clear that I no longer need to perceive myself as being treated with inconsideration and disrespect by anyone. Nor do I need to take in others energy and information flow as personal, or about me. That was my learned way of perceiving my environment from my earliest childhood. I became subservient to survive.
The inner child that survived all the years she did, needs to know, and trust, that she is valued, honored, respected and loved, and that I am willing to receive my body's wisdom to empower me as I speak up for my needs, for the needs of our community, for all my inner parts (and those of others) so they learn to trust they can be welcomed home (within the wholeness of the body) and receive acknowledgement for all the gifts they bring home within them. Negotiating the pathway from surviving to thriving, we are reclaiming our wholeness.
As I work with others, I witness a repeated pattern; when triggered, we tend to jump out of the body (the right hemisphere) especially when it feels uncomfortable, and into the head to label the experience with a reoccurring story (what the left hemisphere does so well - especially when disconnected from the body's wisdom.) What supports integration at a much deeper level, is to slow time down, and rest with the observation of sensation in the body, tracking the subtleties with warmth, welcoming them just as they are in the moment.
Ah - Peace permeates my being and soul profoundly - even though I ride many varying waves of emotion (energy in motion) along the way. I am accompanied by, and remain in relationship with, a nurturing and enduring community.