Swimming

There is a place in me where, like the dawn, light and darkness meet. Is that true? Am I remembering this, or feeling its truth?

ocean-waves-water-light-warren-keelan-29.jpgI signed up for a spiritual writing course. Not being a joiner, this was a leap of faith. I wanted something to push me, and help me make more sense of the world around me. The exercises in the class pushed me further than I thought there was universe. The lessons, I thought, would be wrapped up after the class was over, but apparently not. It keeps insinuating itself, even after the last class, which makes me feel like a flayed hunk of flesh washed up on a Mediterranean dock at high noon. I’m getting ahead of myself, though. There was a whole swimming experience that I enjoyed while doing the writing exercises, before my beached carcass appearance.

 

This writing sends me flailing in to the beautiful, sparkly sea, but during one of my soul-searching swims, I have inadvertently gotten pushed in to a riptide. I know I am supposed to go with it. I know I’m supposed to stop fighting it. I’m even telling myself, “Stop fighting it! Just let go!” I am stronger than I think I am and fight myself harder and harder. It’s because I don’t want to go further out in to the deep water. It’s scary there and I can’t see the bottom. “Trust me! It’s going to be okay,” I hear myself say but the fear is choking the air out of my lungs and my diaphragm is in permanent lockdown. I need air. I need air! I take a deep breath and it only calms the surface waters. I take another breath and it calms further down. The next breath, I am curious if I will feel calmer, still. I do. I feel my mind wanting to mix this feeling with the panic. I breathe. I remember that noticing the breath is one way to come in to presence. Another way is to sense in to the body. I stay with my breathing, knowing that if I have too many choices I will choose none and stay in the panicky area of my mind. My breath holds me in its rapture but I can still see the ocean, or rather sense being in it. I’m floating out. Here I go. I can feel the ocean’s weight, heavier the further out I go with the tide. I can hear the water lapping at itself. I breathe and feel my chest asking for deeper breaths. I take one, and then another. I stay with it, even though I want to write to you something else. I stay breathing here because this is where I need to be right now. I feel the clutching of the things I want to think about, to take me anywhere else where I can control the course of things, and I breathe again, not breathing them away but breathing as if I am alive right this moment, as if I am being born for the first time and breathing my first breath of air, enjoying this being alive while everything else becomes the fleshing out to this bone hard fact. This living is a verb.

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I’m writing to you, dear sweet you, from my heart to yours. And I’m offering you my little orange life vest, if you need it. I know something has thrown you off course, maybe a little or maybe a lot. Life is good, it’s just that something is shoving your face in the murky, foamy water and you can’t see the horizon at the moment. It’s okay. There’s nothing to truly be afraid of. Let go. You will find the horizon again. You will know exactly where to look. Breathe. It will bring you back. But most of all, trust. What you are seeing is part of the goodness, even when it doesn’t feel like it. I’ll be here with you, holding the rope to your buoy. Just grab it to remember that you are not alone.

From Fear to Self-Authoring

Bridging Between Bodywork and Focusing Part II:
From Fear to Self-Authoring
Taught by Anastasia Brencick & Jack Blackburn
Saturday Sunday January 23-24 (9am-6pm) $280

Click here to register

Hi there! We want to welcome you to take one of our Focusing and Bodywork Bridging classes/series if:

  • You feel something more is wanting to emerge in your practice with clients that includes realms of emotional content and/or spiritual growth using touch and non-touch approaches, but you don’t know what that would look like
  • You want to find a language to support and encourage the integration of mind/body/spirit and the client’s own inner process in a natural, non-formulaic way
  • You know bodywork and verbal interaction have so much more to offer; something fresh and not yet done before, and you have a sense of how you might be a part of it. Anastasia and Jack

From Jack: Dear Ones, Since last August Anastasia and I have been exploring the different connections between professional touch and Focusing. We both taught at the international Focusing Conference in Seattle last summer. We wanted to create a forum where non-touch therapists and bodyworkers could exchange processes together to see how much both groups could learn from each other. Both Anastasia and I have been teaching elements of Focusing to bodyworkers to help them with verbal interaction with their clients. Over the past ten years or so non-touch therapists have been exploring somatics and proprioceptive interactions with their clients along with such body sensing techniques as eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR). At the same time bodyworkers have been exploring connections between conscious awareness, proprioception, somatic or sensory awareness and fascial connective tissue as a profound communication system distributed throughout the whole body. These explorations by both groups are moving us towards a final mind-body solution in which we can realistically posit a direct connection between thoughts, actions, emotional states and bodily health.

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A thought passes….

As bodyworkers we are now aware of various signs and symptoms of what we might call fear in the body. We can feel the direct inhibitory effects of fearful states in the body and mind as a direct experience of our clients’ and our own growing edges. So part of this second class in our series is first to explore the effects of fear in our own bodies; where is the fear; what does it feel like; how is fear related to pain and discomfort; what are the patterns of interaction in other parts of the body; and what other thoughts and memories are generated in the mind? We will then discuss what bodyNOWpresencing is so that we can use it in those fear-imbued body parts and notice the effects of presencing on pain and fear. We will practice on ourselves, with partners, and have a discussion about fear in general: what are the effects of chronic fear in our bodies; what fears have been passed down through our own family lines; what parts of our lives have been inhibited by fear; What would we do differently if we were not living fearfully; Do we sense that we have much more fulfilling life to live; Are our fears realistic or are they products of the fact that we humans are the only species that live in fear of one another; Are our fears of one another intrinsic or are they extrinsic; What role can bodyworkers and Focusers play in relieving ourselves and our clients of fears?

unnamedJoseph Campbell: “The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.”
ACIM Quote: “I am responsible for what I see.
I choose the feelings I experience, and I decide upon the goals I would achieve.
And everything that seems to happen to me
I ask for, and receive as I have asked.”
If we are creating our own experiences – What are the implications? What does it feel like to be meaningfully alive?

Considering the above quotations as true means that when we realize that we have a role in creating the life we are experiencing, we can then choose to play that role actively or passively. Does life happen to me? Does life happen through me? We can then learn the ways to play that role, starting by assuming responsibility forour own thoughts, and their effects.. What do we mean by responsibility?

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Using Focusing during a bodywork session: The Dialogue of Touch

In this part of the class we will measure our experience when we use the steps of Focusing and bodyNOWpresencing to go deeply into our conditions of pain and fear both individually and with partners. If we discover that we really can transform fears into useful and non-stressful actions then perhaps we can consider authoring our lives differently. Certainly it is worth a try to apprise our fears and our actions more knowingly; testing the bases of our fears. As we spend more time using our body sensory systems to train ourselves to dwell in presence, we become more open to the following effects of presencing: In presence we notice the difference between our fearfully conditioned thought patterns, where we search our memory banks for causes of our fearful state, and using these conditioned thoughts to assess our present situation. Instead we have the option to focus on a process that unfoldsas we use the tool of bodyNOWpresencing in order to enter a state in which the eternal now opens us up to all possibilities. As we IN-form ourselves with the effects of now-processing we are freeing our minds and bodies from the fearful conditioning of the past, which we explored earlier in the class. We are also opening ourselves to a non-reactive state of being in which we are free to choose our directions free from inner or outer coercion.

How can we develop self-authoring? Basic practices:

  • Authoring my day using Focusing and/or presencing
  • Co-creating with deep Self, practicing and learning throughout day
  • Learning to invite Inner Being to help/teach me my specific role in creation
  • Reviewing my day and giving thanks
  • Participating in making life better
  • Pausing for meaning
  • Participating in Presence – gifts and signs of presence
  • Active inner life – watching/feeling my reactions and sensations throughout the day

Healing work – As I learn self-authoring I pass it on. With these new-found possibilities we can start to become aware of the following effects of bodyNOWpresencing in our lives: We start to become aware of the signs and gifts of presencing. We also become much more aware of our ego-based feelings of guilt, shame, blame, and competition that attend our machinations. On the other hand we are more and more attentive to inner guidance that produces states of peacefulness, clarity, a sense of destiny and mission, to become co-creative with all of life and especially in reversing our human fear of one another and our distrust of life.

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Here is a quote: from Thích Nhất Hạnh echoing he Buddha’s teachings in his book No Death, No Fear,

“This body is not me; I am not caught in this body, I am life without boundaries, I have never been born and I have never died. Over there the wide ocean and the sky with many galaxies All manifests from the basis of consciousness. Since beginningless time I have always been free. Birth and death are only doors through which we go in and out. Birth and death are only a game of hide-and-seek. So smile to me and take my hand and wave good-bye. Tomorrow we shall meet again or even before. We shall always be meeting again at the true source, always meeting again on the myriad paths of life.”

Bodywork and Focusing: A New Class

Bridging the Gap Between Bodywork and Focusing:

A New Class from Anastasia Brencick and Jack Blackburn

As teachers of Focusing and as bodywork practitioners we have each attempted to bring methods and principles of Focusing to bodyworkers so as to aid them with appropriate verbal interaction skills. In addition we have both presented various aspects of touch to International Focusing Conventions in the US, Europe, Canada, Argentina and Japan. Starting with the most recent International Focusing conference, (IFC), we are now bringing both groups together. There is so much each profession can learn from the other, especially when we can deepen our connection and similarities that are often buried underneath current ‘scope of practice’ beliefs.

How do we form a bridge between what we feel and what we feel. How can we support one another in following our own felt sense, our own guide of that inner rightness that reveals to us our true path?

Anastasia and Jack

Forming a Bridge between Bodywork and Focusing

Course Description: We are constructing a bridge between Bodyworkers and Focusers. Join us in this exciting enterprise, new insights guaranteed! Bodyworkers can add effective verbal skills to their sessions. Focusers can add touch as a way to monitor their clients’ somatic reactions in sessions. This is a rare opportunity for both groups to learn together and enter new depths of work with their clients. Receive the mutual benefits as both groups share together from our respective experiences.

Date: September 12-13, 2015

Time: 9 am to 6:00 pm CEUs: 16 Cost: $280,

2 weeks advance registration, $320 after
Sponsor: Jack Blackburn, Trillium Institute

206-527-0908 presencinginfo@gmail.com

Come

When You’re Not Feeling It

That's some kind of crazy talk

That’s some kind of crazy talk

What happens when we are feeling blissed out and peaceful, and then it goes away? Just when you found a place of contentment, you then realize that it left you. It could go something like this:

So there you are, feeling the peace. It’s the season for it so you are reveling in the oneness of all that is good in the world. Then there’s the feeling about having peace. You feel peace but you are also feeling like, ‘Wow! I’m feeling at peace!’ You have just made yourself go from experiencing your peaceful state, to observing that you have been having a peaceful state.

What happens next is that you start having the worry about the peace, like when it will inevitably end. You start thinking about how the peace might not be as peaceful as it could be. Other people’s peace seems, well, more peaceful. Why isn’t yours that way?

And there goes that peace you just experienced. Dang! And it was so great, too! Commence the second inner dialogue, where something in you tells you that this is evidence of why you are not as cool as everybody else, that you are somehow flawed and that your life will never be normal. You will always struggle to be at peace. And your breath smells.

What does one do?

"Just LISTEN to me!"

“Just LISTEN to me!”

1. Go back to your body.

You cannot have feelings without your body. In other words, the mind does not feel. It has other great gifts for you, but feeling is not one of them. If you have lost your way from feeling peace, sense in to your body what peace feels like. Check in with your belly, your chest, your eyes, your tongue. Drop down in to sensing parts of your body and invite what peace might be like there.

2. Go into the place of wordlessness.

Before we have words to help us articulate how we are, we go to the place where words are waiting to symbolize what is there. (hint: It’s in your body). You know you are there when it feels vague, and unclear and kind of like things could emerge from there. From there, invite yourself to sense into what is emerging. It might be the feeling of peacefulness. How great! And it might be what is wanting your attention before the peace can come. Okay! This is where it gets good!

3. Take a breath and say a hello

You may notice now, something NOT so peaceful. It’s maybe something sad, or melancholy or maybe angry. Whatever is there, breathe in to your body and feel your whole body take in your breath; your fingers, your toes, the sides of your abdomen, between your shoulder blades. Then, turn towards the feeling that is there and say hello to it. Yes, I know. It’s so elementary, yet one of the most important steps here, because it establishes that you are entering in to a relationship with yourself that includes all of you. There is a part of you that needs you to know something, and it is coming to you from the place before the peace. Visitors like this one usually come for some good reason. So be it! You are giving it some room to tell you something about it, such as what gets it so sad? Melancholy? Angry? You have made a space that can include it, not pushing it away. You are at the same time, holding the knowing that you are more than this melancholy. Yes, it might feel really big, but you are also more than this. Breathing in your whole body helps us ground in this knowing.

4. Stay in the pause, and let it show you

When entering in to this kind of inner relationship, one of the hardest things to do is to NOT do. We want to feel peace and this melancholy is in the WAY! Maybe that’s what part of you is feeling like and wants to do something to get to the peaceful place. Try pausing. Try not doing anything but rather letting it show you how it is. It will be unique to you and its experience with you. It has something to share and maybe wants you to hear it. So pause and receive what it is wanting to show you. It may be that melancholy reminds you of the holidays when you were a kid and it was hard.  Melancholy is it’s way of wanting you to remember that, as if it doesn’t really want you to have to experience that again. So, maybe, from it’s view, feeling peace is the beginning of feeling those hard times. So, it’s trying to show you this for maybe a new way of resolution or healing or just coming back in to wholeness about it.

Sometimes, just the act of acknowledging what is there other than the peaceful feeling is enough to bring the peace back. It may also show you there is more that wants to be acknowledged and said hello to. There is a desire in you, a spark if you will, that wants you to come in to all of the goodness and love and knowing that you were rightfully born to enjoy and to grow. It comes from that vague place where words try to articulate it. It is dynamic and insightful and the place where you can find wholeness.

I love to learn!

Want to learn how to do this with any of life’s stuck places? I’m teaching a weekend retreat on Whidbey Island, WA. January 10-11, 2015. I hope to meet you! If you want to learn more about the retreat and what I teach, please peruse my website, check out my video and feel free to email me.

Finding your Touchstone: A Body Centered Approach

A way to look at yourself, deeply. 

Entering in to the Inner Relationship

Entering in to the Inner Relationship

You have a body. And this body travels with you everywhere. Every situation you have experienced, every environment you have been in, every interaction, known or unknown, your body has been with you every step of the way. You think your thoughts, live your life, and still, this body is the physical manifesting of all that you have experienced. Think about that. It’s pretty amazing, because there is so much your body knows about because it picks up more information and perspectives that our conscious awareness doesn’t. But the information is there for you, and is probably wanting to share with you so that you can make better choices, see the whole of any situation, and know what you are truly wanting for yourself. So, we can turn towards this body and learn more about anything that you are wanting to know about yourself. The relationship formed from listening to your body and learning the language of your body, offers you so much more knowing than you previously had. Isn’t that exciting?

How the heck do we do that?

We do it by learning how to turn inward, with interested curiosity and listen to what is coming. We do this using something called Focusing…..

A traditional Focusing session

A traditional Focusing session

Focusing is a body oriented, introspective process using your inner awareness to find insight into any issue or problem that is hindering your ability to feel whole, centered, balanced, and joyful. It gives you direct access to your own embodied knowledge, offering  information about any situation that is not yet known. It takes you directly to the place within where you have a deep body knowing about a situation, uncovering something fresh, new and alive that was previously experienced as stagnant and unchanging. Focusing is a practice that allows the Focuser an opportunity to turn towards the stuck, painful, stagnant places to discover something profound and new.

As a social worker-turned-bodyworker, I have found that integrating this Focusing way of being with yourself, accompanied by a companion who uses a hands-on approach to his or her listening, offers gentle presence and support for you to deeply listen to yourself. This is what I teach you in this next workshop I am offering. I hope to see you!

This workshop:

  • introduces you step-by-step to Inner Relationship Focusing, a method that develops your ability to listen within yourself skillfully and compassionately, finding insight into problems so that your life can open and flow more fully.
  •  gives you tools for accessing deep bodily knowing, uncovering new information in what was previously experienced as stagnant and unchanging. You can shift what is stuck and find your next steps.
  •  uniquely offers a way to integrate touch into the Focusing process. You will learn how touch offers points of contact during your inner discoveries, presenting doorways to fresh communication and the recovery and sustaining of self in presence.  gives you practice as it introduces you to being both focuser and companion within a Focusing relationship, as well as developing a more trusting relationship with ourselves.

This workshop is for you if: Mindfulness

  • you are a body worker or massage therapist who is looking for ways to develop a new kind of dialogue with yourself and your clients.
  • you want a fun and experiential introduction to Inner Relationship Focusing.
  • you already have experience with Focusing and want to integrate touch into the process.
  • you are wanting more tools that support you in living an embodied life with your own inner wisdom as your guide.

Reading assignments and hands-on, touch-based practice strengthen your learning in this class. Learn all the details about this workshop and  others by clicking the classes tab. Welcome!

If you are a licensed massage practitioner, you will receive 16 hours of CE credit.

To sign up or to inquire about this class, email us at: whidbeymassage.ab@gmail.com or call 510-704-1478.

COST:  $225, or half-price with  friend.

Image of Dialogue of Touch with chest handholdFocusing is practiced everywhere! It is used in bodywork, writing, psychotherapy, meditation, and non-violent communication. These communities and others experience the dynamic inner relationship happening in body that supports new ways of knowing about yourself, your clients and your creative endeavors. Come learn with us!

Want to learn more? I am offering a free phone introduction class in December. Just email me and I will send you the call-in number. Easy! This one hour phone call will be on Monday, December 23rd at 7:30pm, PST.

About the teacher

IMG_0170Anastasia Brencick (MA 9346) Sharing what I know and learning from others are among the greatest parts of being a teacher. This Level 1 workshop gives you the tools to begin your own Focusing practice right away where we integrate Focusing and bodywork, called The Dialogue of Touch. DOT grew from my graduate school research at Lesley University and now I teach the Dialogue of Touch internationally to bodyworkers as well as to those who want to learn and deepen their own inner relationship. If you like this first Focusing workshop, come learn advanced skills in the next three in the series! Already know Focusing? I offer weekend intensives for bodyworkers who know Focusing and want more training in integrating this wonderful skill into their healing practice.

Focusing Level One: November 16-17, 2013 in Berkeley, CA.

A time for whatever wants to be heard.

A time for whatever wants to be heard.

Focusing Level One:

for Bodyworkers and YOU

with Anastasia Brencick MA, LMP and Abbe Blum Ph.D

Saturday and Sunday,  9AM– 6PM ,in a North Berkeley home retreat…

Can’t make this one? Another Level One is scheduled for the first weekend of Januray, 2014 on beautiful Whidbey Island, Washington!

This workshop:

  • introduces you step-by-step to Inner Relationship Focusing, a method that develops your ability to listen within yourself skillfully and compassionately, finding insight into problems so that your life can open and flow more fully.
  •  gives you tools for accessing deep bodily knowing, uncovering new information in what was previously experienced as stagnant and unchanging. You can shift what is stuck and find your next steps.
  •  uniquely offers a way to integrate touch into the Focusing process. You will learn how touch offers points of contact during your inner discoveries, presenting doorways to fresh communication and the recovery and sustaining of self in presence.  gives you practice as it introduces you to being both focuser and companion within a Focusing relationship, as well as developing a more trusting relationship with ourselves.

This workshop is for you if: 

  • you are a body worker or massage therapist who is looking for ways to develop a new kind of dialogue with yourself and your clients.
  • you want a fun and experiential introduction to Inner Relationship Focusing.
  • you already have experience with Focusing and want to integrate touch into the process.

Reading assignments and hands-on, touch-based practice strengthen your learning in this class.

If you are a licensed massage practitioner, you will receive 16 hours of CE credit.

To sign up or to inquire about this class, email us at: whidbeymassage.ab@gmail.com or call 510-704-1478.

COST:  $225, or half-price with  friend.

Image of Dialogue of Touch with feetFocusing is a body oriented, introspective process using your inner awareness to find insight into any issue or problem that is hindering your ability to feel whole, centered, balanced, and joyful. It gives you direct access to your own embodied knowledge, offering  information about any situation that is not yet known. It takes you directly to the place within where you have a deep body knowing about a situation, uncovering something fresh, new and alive that was previously experienced as stagnant and unchanging. Focusing is a practice that allows the Focuser an opportunity to turn towards the stuck, painful, stagnant places to discover something profound and new.

Image of Dialogue of Touch with chest handholdFocusing is practiced everywhere! It is used in bodywork, writing, psychotherapy, meditation, and non-violent communication. These communities and others experience the dynamic inner relationship happening in body that supports new ways of knowing about yourself, your clients and your creative endeavors. Come learn with us!

About the teachers

IMG_0170Anastasia Brencick (MA 9346) Sharing what I know and learning from others are among the greatest parts of being a teacher. This Level 1 workshop gives you the tools to begin your own Focusing practice right away where we integrate Focusing and bodywork, called The Dialogue of Touch. DOT grew from my graduate school research at Lesley University and now I teach the Dialogue of Touch internationally to bodyworkers as well as to those who want to learn and deepen their own inner relationship. If you like this first Focusing workshop, come learn advanced skills in the next three in the series! Already know Focusing? I offer weekend intensives for bodyworkers who know Focusing and want more training in integrating this wonderful skill into their healing practice.

Abbe Blum, Ph.D

Abbe Blum, Ph.D

Abbe Blum As a professor of Shakespeare at Swarthmore College for many years , I found some of my best students paralyzed by stress, procrastination, and perfectionism (I personally know about all three).  I have developed Embodied Education, which includes Focusing, to address the increased pressures students and anyone with goals and deadlines regularly face.  I give workshops and classes to audiences of all types—from dissertation to non fiction writers, from freshmen, athletes, and high schoolers to elders and university deans. I am a curriculum consultant with the Center for Talented Youth at Johns Hopkins University, teach Eastern Psychologies at Saybrook University, and give instruction in meditation, writing, Tibetan yoga, and Inner Relationship Focusing to people in all walks of life.

Focusing: Level One class in September

Focusing for Bodyworkers and Others

When: Sunday-Monday, September 22nd and 23rd, 2013

Time: 9:00-6:00 pm

Where: Langley, Washington on beautiful Whidbey Island

Deception Pass on Whidbey Island

Have you been waiting for an in-person class that takes you through the fundamentals of Focusing? Here it is! We will be using massage tables for this class, showing the wonderful support that gentle touch offers to us while we turn inward. This class offers massage therapists 16 hours of continuing education and for everyone, life long skills to support you in living wholly, fully, receptively, attentively. Please learn more by clicking the ‘classes’ tab, or just give a call: 360-221-8415. Looking forward to hearing from you!

The Dialogue of Touch: Focusing Level One workshop

A time for whatever wants to be heard.

A time for whatever wants to be heard.

FOCUSING LEVEL ONE STARTS IN SEPTEMBER!

If you haven’t heard about Focusing, it’s a wonderful practice of turning inward with loving care to be with whatever is needing your attention. Are you feeling like life isn’t going right in some way? Are you not inspired? Unmotivated? Too stuck in the details of life to know what your heart’s desire is? With Focusing, there is always something new that comes from these places. Interested in knowing more?

A Focusing Level One is starting on Sunday, September 22- 23rd, 2013, from 9 am-6 pm. It’s a great way to introduce you to what Focusing is, the research behind its development, the philosophy that Focusing comes from, and beginning the practice of Focusing.

If you are a massage therapist, CEs are provided. Hooray!

To learn more, click on the the ‘Classes’ tab above or email me at whidbeymassage.ab@gmail.com.

Staying When Something In Me Says, “Go!”

A part of me got downright pissed off today in spinning class. Imagine the scenario: It’s 6:30 a.m. and I’m pumping my legs to the music of Hotel California. It’s a hard morning for me, especially because I am forced to listen to Hotel California, but also because my legs can’t keep up with the rhythm.

Image

Most spinning classes offer a nice large video screen and the instructor can choose videos for the class. Imagine some of the videos you might want to watch while exercising: Something encouraging perhaps? Maybe something that shows the beauty of the outdoors? Me, too.

Now, how about a wolf running down a baby antelope after five minutes of chase? Probably not the first thing you might consider, but you understand that the Planet Earth video directors might also want to show the drama that is nature. And nature is brutal beauty.

So, we watch the wolf thing, and after that a shark starts eating seals. The last time the instructor showed a Planet Earth video we watched TEN WHOLE MINUTES of orcas hunting down and killing a humpback mama and baby. There was blood, let me tell you, and lots of it. Was this the same video? I kept cringing with each changing scene, hoping it wasn’t that one.

Some of you may be wondering what the fuss is about. It’s nature, you say, it’s part of life. Others may agree wholeheartedly about why I was pissed off. Why should we have to watch that? It’s not something we need to see first thing in the morning. Or at any other time, for that matter.

For me, it wasn’t that I had feelings one way or the other. It was that I had BOTH of those feelings, and I was not sure what to DO about it! A part of me wanted to leave. It was uncomfortable. Another part of me wanted to stay, finish my good workout, and be with the gang. And from this conflicted dialogue in me, anger rose about the whole scene in general. I even sensed a part of me angry that I even had to have this conflict to begin with!

I am sure having more than one feeling about something is familiar to you. I am sure, at some point, you have felt opposite feelings about the same person or situation. For example, it’s your birthday and you know your Dad and step mom will be there with her kids. You like them and all, and you actually like that your Dad is happy. But you just wish you could have your family together just ONCE the way it was before the divorce. You want to feel the way it used to be before the changes that came with the

60062056new and blended family. You acknowledge the feelings of longing and loss for the old way, grateful and glad for the new way, AND maybe feelings of dissatisfaction that what you are wanting for your birthday will probably not happen.

It’s hard being human. If the only emotions we had were happy or sad, it would be so much easier. But we are complex and have wonderful things like words to help us articulate the full expression that our feelings offer. I can be sad—but is it a happy sad, like in a romantic comedy, or is it a never-ending gray-cloud kind of sad? If we can actually pay attention to our inner world long enough, we get to learn more about ourselves and what it is that we are really feeling. In doing so, we are developing a rich inner relationship with ourselves so that we can get to the place where we know what we really want and what the next steps are for that.

So, back to spinning class. My legs are still not going fast, and the instructor yells at us to “increase your resistance!” And I feel all that in my body. I feel resistance to stay at the same time that I feel resistance to leave. I feel the part of me that is angry because I have to deal with this whole scenario, and so I turn inward and find out that, in fact, it isn’t really that I’m angry. What this part of me feels is sad… and from the inside I hear the word “sacred.”

And then I finally get it. I am upset because to me, the cycle of life is sacred. When I went salmon fishing for the first time, I cried and prayed and gave thanks that this salmon gave its life to me. I knew it was a gift to me and my family. We ate that fish with appreciation and love for its life. When we ate it, its body became a part of our bodies. And that is good.

Witnessing the sacred act of dying so that another may live is not honored when I am doing so while sweating to the oldies. It isn’t honored when I watch one, then another, and then another killing, without being able to give myself any pause for grace or connection. I want to honor and appreciate that as much as I do the cinematography and the stamina and heart it must have taken the film crew to spend the hours waiting for those images to occur.

Now that I know what all of this internal dialogue wanted to share with me, I am left with a feeling of relief and light heartedness. I don’t have the pressing need to stay or to go. Instead, I am able to naturally glide off the bike and say farewell to my friends as I move into the morning light that awaits me outside. I love life and everything that’s in it. It was just re-affirmed by my spinning class. How cool is that?

This blog is a way to share what it can be like to live in an embodied way. I use my background in social work, my many years of bodywork, and the skills I have learned as a certified Focusing teacher. Please read more about what I offer as a mentor and teacher on my WordPress site. I hope to hear from you!